Author Archives: mea

Spring Training Update

Since this is technically a log book I should be writing development notes here but have not kept up. The baseball-handbook.com site has now been running daily Spring Training updates. Cubs are playing well so far BTW. The site has also been upgraded to https from http using the help from the awsome Let’s Encrypt folks

All the current year code that processes source data had to be rewritten because everything runs off the database now. The current year database is very similar to the historical year databases. In past years current year data was stored in text files because that was easy and allowed for great flexibility in making changes. Since building the historical databases from 1900 – present the yearly organization and table schemas now work very well.

This season complete box scores as well as handicapping info will be easily accessible for every game just like they are in the historical dataset. This was made possible through developing the code base to manage the historical database during this off season.

This site will continue with Horse Race posts, Cubs Status reports, and various other musings like past seasons. In the past these reports were the only view into this data model. Now all this information can be retrieved for any team for any day.

Since the White Sox have gotten much better and look to be a real contender this season, they’ll be covered here as well with the Cubs.

Since my local bar won’t get Marquis network it appears I’ll be stuck watching White Sox games this season in a bar on the North Side of Chicago! Fortunately we can still follow the Cubbies on MLB gameday and AM radio still works around here. I like Steve Stone however. Cubs should have never gotten rid of him.

More to come this season. Until then ….

Tim Tebow Retires From Baseball

Determined to continue as a professional athlete, Tebow signed with the Mets in the fall of 2016. To Tebow’s credit, he reached the Triple-A level with the organization in 2019. However, he struggled to a .163/.240/.255 line with four home runs in 264 plate appearances there. Tebow ultimately put up a .223/.299/.338 line with 18 HRs in 1,048 trips to the plate in the minors.

Source: Tim Tebow Retires From Baseball – MLB Trade Rumors

This caught my eye because I had no idea Tim Tebow was playing prefessional baseball.  He didn’t show up on any MLB roster after a quick search using the career tab on baseball-handbook.com.  Entering his name into the minor league box produced some results.

Tim Tebow Minor and MLB Career

Year Rank WAA TeamID Pos Win% League Age
2017 XXXXX -0.27 NYN BAT 0.481 a 29
2017 XXXXX -0.08 NYN BAT 0.493 aplus 29
2018 XXXXX 0.06 NYN BAT 0.503 aa 30
2019 -057- -3.28 NYN BAT 0.286 aaa 31

If he played a single game in MLB that record would show up here.  In 2019 at age 31 he was ranked #57 in the bottom 200 at AAA level which is very bad.  He did OK at an almost completely average pace in 2017 and 2018.  Playing average at those levels does not bode well for a player expecting to make it onto an MLB team at some point.

Had there been normal baseball in 2020 with a minor league season he might have figured out triple-a but probably not.  Based on his 2019 numbers  the Mets don’t want to waste time on him.  He could have tried out in Japan or Korea, countries that played pro baseball in 2020, but he probably wouldn’t make those squads either based on his 2019 results.

Apparently there might be a normal baseball season this year.  Since the local bars around here are stuck with Comcast us north side Cubs fans will probably be stuck watching the White Sox with our $3 PBR pints.  Still can follow the Cubs on MLB gameday but that’s not as much fun.  White Sox look to have a good team this year so this blog will be covering them too.

The Baseball Handbook site will be undergoing a major reorg as I’m learning about canonical links and SEO.  Since there are so many crisscrossed  linked pages on that site there needs to be order to the madness.  Some D3.js player and team graphs are up as well as more accurate historical rosters.  Many database and coding errors were discovered in the process of generating these graphs.  This will make the the Tier Combo simulator more accurate as it relies on historical results to generate an expected probability.

Much more to come this year.  Until then ….

Twins To Sign Alex Colome

The Twins are signing free-agent reliever Alex Colome to a one-year deal, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. The contract includes a $5MM salary for 2021 and an option. In all, it’s a $6.25MM guarantee, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.

Source: Twins To Sign Alex Colome – MLB Trade Rumors

Interesting why White Sox didn’t sign him.  Here’s his career.

Alex Colome 2013-2020

Year Rank WAA TeamID Pos  
2013 XXXXX 0.61 TBA PITCH  
2014 XXXXX 0.59 TBA PITCH  
2015 XXXXX 0.00 TBA PITCH  
2016 +091+ 3.09 TBA PITCH  
2017 XXXXX 1.72 TBA PITCH  
2018 +195+ 0.00 TBA PITCH  
2018 +195+ 1.74 SEA PITCH  
2019 +131+ 2.56 CHA PITCH  
2020 +057+ 1.85 CHA PITCH  
TOTAL XXXXX 12.16      

Show Minors

Show WAR Records

His 2020 season was pretty good for a relief pitcher despite what WAR said.  $5M isn’t bad for a top tier reliever.  We’ll see how this acquisition pays off for the Twins as this season unfolds.

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 Minors

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 Minors

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 CY
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 Bauer 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.