Author Archives: mea

Yu Darvish

Cubs just traded Yu Darvish for Zach Davies and a bunch of prospects. None of these prospect made it to A+ yet so they are all off our radar. Yu Darvish was in the middle of a 6 year $120M contract which is around the salary for a second or third starter salary on a good team. Like Trevor Bauer, Darvish had a very good shortened 2020 season. Let’s take a look at his career.

Yu Darvish 2012-2020

Year Rank WAA TeamID Pos  
2012 XXXXX 0.53 TEX PITCH  
2013 +029+ 5.06 TEX PITCH  
2014 +121+ 2.54 TEX PITCH  
2016 +188+ 1.81 TEX PITCH  
2017 +157+ 1.18 TEX PITCH  
2017 +157+ 1.05 LAN PITCH  
2018 XXXXX -0.82 CHN PITCH  
2019 +169+ 2.23 CHN PITCH  
2020 +005+ 4.26 CHN PITCH  
TOTAL XXXXX 17.84      

Show WAR Records

Darvish’ first season with the Cubs in 2018 wasn’t good and his contract was looking pretty bad.  He improved in 2019 after a rough start to that season.  By All Star break in 2019 that Darvish contract was looking horrible.  The rank links in these career tables bring up seasonal trajectories as well as post season play.  Darvish is very much under water in post season play during his career as well.

Let’s look at the pitcher Cubs acquired from San Diego for Darvish.

Zach Davies 2015-2020

Year Rank WAA TeamID Pos  
2015 XXXXX 0.23 MIL PITCH  
2016 XXXXX 0.92 MIL PITCH  
2017 +180+ 1.93 MIL PITCH  
2018 XXXXX -1.01 MIL PITCH  
2019 +087+ 3.38 MIL PITCH  
2020 +028+ 2.71 SDN PITCH  
TOTAL XXXXX 8.16      

Show WAR Records

Davies has 3 years less time in the league than Darvish and also posted a pretty good 2020.  Both these pitchers had problems in 2018.  Davies is also under water in post season play like Darvish.  If you look at seasonal trajectory in 2019 Davies was ranked #21 2 months into that season and dropped to #87 by the end.

Both these pitchers have similar numbers.  You can click on their WAR records to see what that model has to say.  Since this model does not go back farther than A+ there is no data on any of these prospects coming over from the Padres.  Hopefully Theo and (now only) Jed have more insight than simply reading Baseball Prospective.

Buy low sell high is often difficult in baseball because parting with a player who is highly rated is much harder than one who is lowly rated.  Unfortunately teams don’t return value on lowly rated players.  After the 2017 season Cubs fans would have been ecstatic parting with Darvish’ large contract for such a sub par year.  

Overall this seems like an OK deal if it frees up salary to acquire/keep all the Cubs who become free agents after this season.

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer is in baseball free agency thinking he’s worth more than $36M/year, more than what Gerrit Cole got from Yankees. According to this data model he was the highest rated player in 2020 but that was just a 60 game season. Many mediocre pitchers have started out of the gate early to fade as the marathon 162 game season progressed past All Star break. I could write a script and come up with a dozen examples.

Since the Twitterspere has been comparing him to Gerrit Cole’s recent contract, let’s look at their respective careers. All of this is up on baseball-handbook.com but this will be the first time copying tables there into this WordPress blog. Here are Trevor Bauer’s numbers through the years…

Trevor Bauer 2012-2020

Year Rank WAA TeamID Pos  
2012 XXXXX -0.78 ARI PITCH  
2013 XXXXX -0.55 CLE PITCH  
2014 -134- -1.70 CLE PITCH  
2015 -090- -2.29 CLE PITCH  
2016 XXXXX -0.38 CLE PITCH  
2017 XXXXX 0.69 CLE PITCH  
2018 +008+ 7.83 CLE PITCH  
2019 XXXXX 2.69 CLE PITCH  
2019 XXXXX -2.46 CIN PITCH  
2020 +001+ 4.81 CIN PITCH  
TOTAL XXXXX 7.86      

Show Minors

Show WAR Records

Lots of negative numbers early in his career.  Two years ago Bauer broke top ten which is very good and then in the shortened 2020 season he ended up #1.   Rank links show seasonal trajectories.  In 2019 Bauer was ranked around #50 before Cleveland traded him to Cincinnati where he tanked second half of that season.

Let’s look at Gerrit Cole.

Gerrit Cole 2013-2020

Year Rank WAA TeamID Pos  
2013 XXXXX 1.64 PIT PITCH  
2014 XXXXX 0.25 PIT PITCH  
2015 +016+ 6.05 PIT PITCH  
2016 XXXXX 0.76 PIT PITCH  
2017 XXXXX 0.46 PIT PITCH  
2018 +020+ 5.86 HOU PITCH  
2019 +002+ 9.64 HOU PITCH  
2020 +018+ 2.96 NYA PITCH  
TOTAL XXXXX 27.62      

Show Minors

Show WAR Records

Cole had 3 ranked full seasons when he signed his contract with the Yankees.  His 2020 season trajectory shows he was on the rise when the season ended.  

Does Trevor Bauer deserve an elite contract based on a very good shortened 2020 seaso and a single top ten appearance two years ago?  Pitchers can be funny in that some years they’re brilliant while terrible the next year.  Even Cy Young had a bad season.  Cole has high upside and high downside potential.

This model only reflect the past results.  Long term contracts are always a gamble.  Estimating future results is all anyone can do.  Based upon the past 5 years, Bauer is far from the best pitcher in baseball.  

Update 12/20/2020

This is a test of the new server hosting this site as well as baseball-handbook.com. Since this is technically a log book soon there will be posts documenting some new developments on that web site as well as the iteration 3 of Tier Combo simulation.

There will not be any more game by game analysis here. There is still a lot to do on the baseball-handbook site and notes on that development should be documented. All of that is forthcoming. Until then ….

Cubs White Sox Matchup

Apparently the Cubs play the White Sox in their final 3 games of this 2020 exhibition season. In past seasons there would be a lot of copy/pasting of tables but now we can just copy/paste links.

Click here for team status.

Not as concise but you can see the Cubs struggling in the BAT category and CHA with good BAT and very good PITCH. Lineups align with BAT for both teams. White Sox have better relief than Cubs who are around league average.

Cubs starting one of the best pitchers in MLB this season, Yu Darvish, who is currently ranked #6. Dylan Cease, former Cubs prospect traded in the Quintana acquisition is unranked but above average.

All this boils down into Tier Combos used in simulation giving White Sox a 58% chance of winning today despite Darvish on the mound. Cubs lineup is very underwater at tier -1.58. The new tier combo table shows a color coded comparison between the two teams.

Vegas has Cubs heavily favored at 63.6% making CHA a definite betting opportunity. White Sox are on a 5 game losing streak which may factor into the Vegas line.

Right now White Sox are receiving normal home field advantage which is baked into simulation and cannot be removed for many reasons; the best being this is a one off season and removing it causes a lot of complication in the code base. It is unclear whether or not there is home field advantage with no fans in the stands and with players from both teams sleeping in their home city.

This model favored CHA against Cleveland these last three days going against Vegas and was wrong each game. Losing streaks happen and right now this data model doesn’t correct for them. The results from TC Sim and the Tier Combo table should be considered advisory understanding that this data model compiles probabilities based upon historical data. If you flip a coin heads 4 times in a row the probability of the next flip being heads is the same as the first flip.

That is all for now. Game starts in 20 minutes. Despite what this model says, Go Cubs! Until then ….

Cubs Clinch

This blog has been offline for awhile while working on the baseball-handbook site which is starting to take shape. The purpose of this public log book was to ferret out table formats and test the code that produces them from data sources. All tables produced by this code had to be manually copied and pasted into these WordPress posts. All this code was reused to quickly put together the clickable site that provides player, team, and handicapping information for any team, any player, any game since 1900 in a (hopefully) easy to use format.

Ironically the Cubs clinch a playoff spot almost the same time in current year 2020 as they did in 1984. This year there was little to no fanfare.

Last night in 1984 when the Cubs beat the Pirates 4-1 clinching NL East Cubs fans celebrated as intensely as they did in 2016 after winning a World Series. Unlike in 2016 however, Cubs had to play another game the next day on September 25.

Cubs lost that game 7-1 with all their regular players nursing hangovers or something. Reggie Patterson who previously pitched 1 inning in 1984 started and Cubs lineup went from a typical tier 4.00 to a tier -1.97 today.

Lineups are dynamic from game to game so that would be reflected in the handicapping. With only one inning pitched, Patterson would disqualify simulation for this game and handicapping would be a discard. One of the problems with simulation is it only takes into account data model factors and not other influences like most players not playing with their normal competitive mindset. Factors like this would be difficult if not impossible to model mathematically.

Cubs were cruising to the playoffs after our matchup post over a month ago so it was only a matter of time before it became official. Memories of the 1969 season lingered but collapses like that are unusual and considered anomalies with low probability of occurrence.

Dredging up 1984 was in response to no baseball this year. Since then MLB has concocted an exhibition season which is coming to a close in a couple of days. Cubs and White Sox are in post season and both teams have interesting profiles.

By calendar days, if this were a normal year, we would be at the beginning of June. A normal baseball season is a marathon enveloping summer. This year it is a sprint. This data model right now has just enough data to start handicapping and the season is almost over.

We’ll cover both 2020 and 1984 playoffs with commentary and links into baseball-handbook data which are already up for 1984 playoffs.

The days of posting Cubs matchups and status here are over as that is all done automatically with more colorful tables for any team you choose. This log book will still stay active for various coding rants as the handbook site develops and becomes an app for that. There’s also an issue with WAR and 1969 Ernie Banks which is rather peculiar. Until then ….