Category Archives: Player Ranking

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      

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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      

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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.  

1984 All Star Picks Part 3

Pitchers are picked by managers although they could have been voted on in 1984. Below are sorts of top starters and relievers as of July 6 according to  this data model. Color coded red are All Star picks for AL, blue for NL.

Starters

Rank WAA Name TeamID Pos
+001+ 6.13 Phil_Niekro NYA SP
+004+ 4.28 Dave_Stieb TOR SP
+013+ 3.59 Richard_Dotson CHA SP
+014+ 3.44 Nolan_Ryan HOU SP
+018+ 3.36 Geoff_Zahn ANA SP
+020+ 3.28 Bruce_Hurst BOS SP
+023+ 3.21 Storm_Davis BAL SP
+022+ 3.21 Joaquin_Andujar SLN SP
+025+ 3.15 Ricky_Mahler ATL SP
+033+ 3.02 Joe_Niekro HOU SP
+035+ 2.96 Charlie_Lea WAS SP
+034+ 2.96 Ricky_Horton SLN SP
+036+ 2.94 Ray_Burris OAK SP
+039+ 2.81 Alejandro_Pena LAN SP
+042+ 2.77 Mike_Boddicker BAL SP
+043+ 2.75 Dwight_Gooden NYN SP

Dave Stieb gets picked to start for AL ( highlighted in red ) and Charlie_Lea for NL  Not much difference in WAA value between Nolan Ryan who didn’t get chosen as primary starter and Charlie Lea.  Nolan Ryan and Gooden get picked as reserve.  Houston Astros (HOU) is a National League team.

Who is Charlie Lea?

Charlie_Lea

Year Rank WAA TeamID Pos
1980 XXXXX 0.29 WAS PITCH
1981 -083- -1.62 WAS PITCH
1982 +103+ 2.54 WAS PITCH
1983 +056+ 3.63 WAS PITCH
1984 +023+ 5.08 WAS PITCH
1987 XXXXX -0.73 WAS PITCH
1988 -022- -3.23 MIN PITCH
TOTAL X 5.96   PITCH

1984 will be Lea’s best year of his career.  Arm and shoulder injuries keep  him from pitching the next two years and after that — not so well.   In 1984 WAS was the Montreal Expos.

Phil Niekro had a tremendous start to this season yet finishes 1984 ranked #61 losing almost 3 WAA in value from today.  Ironically his fortunes will be opposite of his team (NYA) who go from -9 WAA as of today to +12 WAA by season end making Yankees best team in MLB if the commissioner allowed for first half mulligans.  

The baseball-handbook.com site will allow simple drill down into this Yankee roster and see player seasonal and team WAA trend lines as well as other oddities that may arise from these reports.

Relievers

Rank WAA Name TeamID Pos
+005+ 4.09 Doug_Sisk NYN RP
+028+ 3.09 Dan_Quisenberry KCA RP
+032+ 3.02 Bruce_Sutter SLN RP
+046+ 2.58 Willie_Hernandez DET RP
+051+ 2.48 Craig_Lefferts SDN RP
+056+ 2.37 Dave_Righetti NYA RP
+060+ 2.23 Luis_Sanchez ANA RP
+064+ 2.14 Jesse_Orosco NYN RP
+070+ 1.97 Ernie_Camacho CLE RP
+076+ 1.93 Tom_Tellmann MIL RP
+075+ 1.93 Tom_Niedenfuer LAN RP
+083+ 1.85 Bill_Dawley HOU RP
+082+ 1.85 Bill_Caudill OAK RP
+092+ 1.78 Jeff_Reardon WAS RP
+095+ 1.68 Mike_Jeffcoat CLE RP

Orosco and Sutter get picked for NL,   Quisenberry, Harnandez, and Claudill for AL.  Doug Sisk had a very good first half season.  His second half doesn’t go so well as he drops from being ranked #5 to #72 by season end.

Sutter pitches even better second half making him the first and only reliever ( probably forever and ever ) to be the top ranked pitcher by end of year according to this data model.  1984 will be the best year of his career — and he played for the Cardinals!

Since there were 24 teams of 25 players in 1984, top 80 ranks would be comparable to top 100 in a 30 team league of 25 players.  The cutoff for rank eligibility is 160 in 1984.

There are 11 relievers above ranked in the top 80 which holds steady all season.  By the end of 2019 this model ranked 11 relievers in the top 100 so very similar.  In 2019 only one reliever cracked the WAR top 100, Liam Hendricks of Oakland with a WAR=3.5 ranked #95.

Cubs wrap up their west coast trip tomorrow by taking 3 out of 4 from the hapless Giants and then it’s All Star vacation until July 12 when the west coast teams come to Wrigley Field starting with the Dodgers.  Until then ….

1984 All Star Picks Part 2

The All Star game on July 10 is fast approaching so let’s continue with our picks for Catcher and outfield. Starting and relief pitching will be covered in Part 3.

Catchers

Rank WAA Name TeamID Pos
+020+ 3.15 Jody_Davis CHN CR
+062+ 2.08 Lance_Parrish DET CR-DH
+068+ 1.99 Ozzie_Virgil PHI CR
+077+ 1.81 Gary_Carter WAS CR
+110+ 1.47 Dave_Engle MIN CR-DH
+132+ 1.3 Bob_Brenly SFN CR-1B
+134+ 1.26 Chris_Bando CLE CR
XXXXX 1.07 Darrell_Porter SLN CR
XXXXX 0.86 Alex_Trevino TOT CR
XXXXX 0.71 Jerry_Willard CLE CR
XXXXX 0.65 Floyd_Rayford BAL CR-3B

The people pick Lance Parrish for AL, Gary Carter for NL.   The WAS franchise played baseball as the Montreal Expos in 1984.  This was Carter’s last season with Expos before the Mets (NYN) acquire him in 1985.

Jody Davis and Bob Brenly make the reserves.

Left Field

Rank WAA Name TeamID Pos
+007+ 3.84 Jim_Rice BOS LF
+037+ 2.77 Ron_Kittle CHA LF
+043+ 2.56 Rickey_Henderson OAK LF
+045+ 2.5 Gary_Matthews CHN LF
+058+ 2.16 Jose_Cruz HOU LF
+073+ 1.87 Mel_Hall TOT LF
+102+ 1.55 Mike_Marshall LAN LF-1B
+121+ 1.39 Duane_Walker CIN LF-CF
+127+ 1.34 Cesar_Cedeno CIN LF-1B-RF-CF
XXXXX 0.94 Ruppert_Jones DET LF-CF

I think voters pick 3 outfielders and top three make the starters cut.  Can’t remember how it was done in 1984 but the Wikipedia site lists LF, CF, and RF separately so we’ll do that here as well.

Tony Gwynn gets the nod for NL,  Dave Winfield for AL.  This model has Gwynn and Winfield playing primarily right field, whatever.

Jim Rice and Ricky Henderson make the reserves.

Center Field

Rank WAA Name TeamID Pos
+012+ 3.59 Tony_Armas BOS CF-DH
+029+ 2.94 Chet_Lemon DET CF
+028+ 2.94 Lloyd_Moseby TOR CF
+031+ 2.9 Dwayne_Murphy OAK CF
+035+ 2.79 Dale_Murphy ATL CF
+115+ 1.45 Jerry_Mumphrey HOU CF
XXXXX 1.11 Bob_Dernier CHN CF
XXXXX 1.11 Kevin_McReynolds SDN CF
XXXXX 1.09 Chili_Davis SFN CF-RF
XXXXX 0.94 Dan_Gladden SFN CF

The people pick Chet Lemon for AL, Dale Murphy for NL, both of whom actually play center field primarily.  Tony Armas makes the reserves.

Right Field

Rank WAA Name TeamID Pos
+013+ 3.51 Dave_Winfield NYA RF-CF
+023+ 3.02 Kirk_Gibson DET RF
+039+ 2.75 Dwight_Evans BOS RF
+044+ 2.54 Larry_Parrish TEX RF-DH-3B
+050+ 2.42 Jack_Clark SFN RF
+052+ 2.35 Claudell_Washington ATL RF
+072+ 1.89 Carmelo_Castillo CLE RF
+090+ 1.7 Dave_Parker CIN RF
+096+ 1.62 Jesse_Barfield TOR RF
+100+ 1.55 Rusty_Kuntz DET RF-CF-LF-DH

Reggie Jackson is the AL pick and Darryl Starwberry for NL.  Jackson is ranked #113 at this point of the season and on the tail end of a fantastic career.  Winfield was chosen for left field.

Right now Darryl Strawberry is unranked with a WAA=0.13 or about completely average.  He’s coming off a great 1983 rookie season and the Mets are playing well and have a lot of fans who vote. Strawberry has a stellar second half of this season finishing 1984 ranked #43 which will be his career season until 1985 when he ranks even higher.

Starters and relievers coming in Part 3.  A bug that didn’t tag position correctly in the database affecting a few players  was discovered by making this post which is why we do this.   Gary Carter had to be inserted manually but I think he’s the only top guy affected.  

The clickable baseball-handbook.com website will allow viewing these kind of sorts for any day, any year so it’s important the database it draws from is clean.

Cubs finish their west coast trip with a series against the Giants starting 7/5.  Until then ….

Dennis Eckersley

Today is Sunday July 1, 1984 and the Cubs finish off a 4 game series with Dodgers in LA. Normally we just handicap the first game of each series but since Dennis Eckersley starts today it will be interesting to focus on him.

Cubs acquired both Eckersley and Sutcliff mid season when both pitchers had very bad starts. Right now Eckersley is at his lowest point of the season and today he starts his climb out of negative territory. Let’s look at handicapping for the game today.

  WAA Vegas TC Sim EV L S R
CHN 8 X 0.518 X 4.00 -3.60 -0.87  
LAN 2 X 0.482 X -0.99 1.69 -1.23  

Tier Combo simulation have Cubs slightly favored today at around 52%.  They’re fielding a maxed out Tier 4.00 lineup which is over 2 complete standard deviations above league average for lineups as of today.  The Tier -3.60 Starter the Cubs have pitching today is Dennis Eckersely.

Starters

Rank WAA IP Name TeamId Rest Tier
-004- -3.59 106.3 Dennis_Eckersley CHN 5 -3.60
+083+ 1.76 127.3 Fernando_Valenzuela LAN 4 1.69

Dodgers are using their top pitchers on 4 day rest which, since we’re from the future, will wear them out because they don’t make the playoffs this year.  Eckersley is considered right now the fourth least valuable player in MLB this season.  Let’s see what happens.

Update: After looking up Alejandro Pena and Fernando’s 1984 record it appears I was wrong.   Both have a much better 2nd half than first so short rest was not a problem and may have helped.  Also, it is total coincidence that WAA=~Tier number.  These two variables are far from equal.

Line Scores

TeamID Linescore R TB H E
CHN 010200010 4 14 11 1
LAN 000010002 3 9 8 1

Eckersley gives up 1 run in 8 innings pitched which is considered “pitching a gem.”  Cubs’ sub average relief staff let’s up 2 in the ninth causing some nail biting for Cubs fans.

This is a pivotal game for Dennis Eckersley.  Let’s look at his progression through 1984.

Dennis_Eckersley PITCH

DateID Rank WAA
19840426 -004- -2.06
19840510 -011- -1.91
19840524 -017- -2.08
19840607 -061- -1.36
19840621 -006- -2.77
19840705 -006- -3.04
19840722 -023- -2.71
19840805 -070- -1.93
19840819 -149- -1.28
19840902 XXXXX -0.17
19840916 XXXXX 0.50
19840930 XXXXX 1.22

At the start of today’s game Eckersley was at his season low of -3.59 WAA.  By the end of this season he climbs to +1.22 WAA which is a +4.8 WAA difference.  July 1 is around the mid point of a baseball season.  

To put this in perspective, had Eckersley pitched the first half as well as the second he would be +9.6 WAA placing him #1 in MLB according to this data model.  Here are the top ten players in 1984.

End of 1984 Player Standings

Rank WAA Name TeamID Pos
+001+ 8.92 Tony_Armas BOS CF-DH
+002+ 7.83 Dave_Winfield NYA RF-CF
+003+ 7.22 Jim_Rice BOS LF
+004+ 7.08 Dwight_Evans BOS RF
+005+ 6.8 Mike_Schmidt PHI 3B
+006+ 6.61 Leon_Durham CHN 1B
+007+ 6.51 Don_Mattingly NYA 1B-LF
+008+ 6.51 Bruce_Sutter SLN PITCH
+009+ 6.4 Mike_Boddicker BAL PITCH
+010+ 6.26 Dwight_Gooden NYN PITCH

1984 was very unusual with the top 7 being hitters, the top pitcher being a reliever, and top WAA less than 9 ( it’s usually around 10 or above ).  This could be due to a bug but probably not.  Will update if it is.

Had Eckersley pitched even steven, completely average for the first half of the season he would have been ranked aournd #30 by the end of 1984 which is still very good. Bottom line: The WAA value generated by this model shows why Eckersley became an important part of Cubs’ 1984 season as we view it from our vantage point in the future.

New series with Padres in San Diego starting tomorrow as the Cubs continue their west coast trip.  Until then ….

2019 All Star Picks — Pitchers

Due to the strange voting for All Stars this season position players will probably be skipped and since starting pitchers are still being decided somehow let’s look at top  starters and relievers who could/should be in the All Star game this year according to both this data model and WAR.

There are quite a few major discrepancies between this model and WAR, so much so, I don’t feel like rehashing all of this again and again.  This model keeps track of WAR and will highlight the WAR value wherever WAA is displayed only because the discrepencies clearly demonstrate which value system is more accurate.

All Star games in all sports are meaningless exercises in fandom.  Fans vote for starters, managers pick the reserve and usually know the players who have contributed the most to helping their teams win — which in turn will align with this model.   A subsequent part to this series may be forthcoming when the entirety of each team fills out.

In the meantime let’s look at the top ten MLB starters according to this model and WAR.

2019 Top Ten Starters WAR

Rank WAR Name_TeamID
+002+ 5.2 Mike_Minor_TEX PITCH
+005+ 4.3 Max_Scherzer_WAS PITCH
+007+ 3.8 Justin_Verlander_HOU PITCH
+009+ 3.7 Hyun-Jin_Ryu_LAN PITCH
+014+ 3.2 Cole_Hamels_CHN PITCH
+017+ 3.1 Charlie_Morton_TBA PITCH
+017+ 3.1 Lucas_Giolito_CHA PITCH
+017+ 3.1 German_Marquez_COL PITCH
+025+ 3.0 Matthew_Boyd_DET PITCH
+025+ 3.0 Luis_Castillo_CIN PITCH

Ranks in all these tables everywhere in this model combine batters and pitchers as the value system is equal.  Pitchers are based upon Runs Against, batters on Runs Scored.  In every game the number of runs against always equals  runs scored for obvious reasons.

WAR is somewhat different in that hitters make up 60% of value, pitchers 40%.  This was explained briefly in this post but perhaps we need to do another post with more detail.  It was assumed that 20% gets added to hitters because WAR folds very dubious fielding stats into the mix which causes most of its error.

For simplicity purposes we do rankings for WAR the same for this data model; ranking hitters and pitchers together.  Since these tables only show pitchers rankings will skip.  They also skip when players are tied.

The above are the top ten Pitchers according to WAR with top two AL highlighted in tan, NL in blue.  Let’s look at the results from this data model.

2019 Top Ten Starters WAA

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+001+ 6.07 Hyun-Jin_Ryu_LAN PITCH
+002+ 5.40 Max_Scherzer_WAS PITCH
+004+ 5.35 Mike_Minor_TEX PITCH
+005+ 4.98 Luis_Castillo_CIN PITCH
+009+ 4.49 Charlie_Morton_TBA PITCH
+010+ 4.41 Mike_Soroka_ATL PITCH
+014+ 4.16 Justin_Verlander_HOU PITCH
+015+ 4.03 Lucas_Giolito_CHA PITCH
+016+ 4.01 Jose_Berrios_MIN PITCH
+022+ 3.65 Zack_Greinke_ARI PITCH

The difference between the WAR model and this model are negligible this season for starting pitchers.   This model shows Verlander below Morton but it’s so close either pitcher would be worthy of second starter.  Both systems favor Mike Minor.

2019 Top Ten Relievers WAR

Rank WAR Name_TeamID
+072+ 2.1 Josh_Hader_MIL PITCH
+087+ 1.9 Scott_Oberg_COL PITCH
+087+ 1.9 Brad_Hand_CLE PITCH
+108+ 1.7 Liam_Hendriks_OAK PITCH
+118+ 1.6 Adam_Ottavino_NYA PITCH
+130+ 1.5 Jesse_Chavez_TEX PITCH
+130+ 1.5 Ty_Buttrey_ANA PITCH
+130+ 1.5 Ryan_Pressly_HOU PITCH
+130+ 1.5 Amir_Garrett_CIN PITCH
+130+ 1.5 Kirby_Yates_SDN PITCH

WAR typically shuns relief with only 3 pitchers in the top 100.  Below are reliever rankings according to this data model.

2019 Top Ten Relievers WAA

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+038+ 3.09 Liam_Hendriks_OAK PITCH
+044+ 2.77 Shane_Greene_DET PITCH
+051+ 2.60 Adam_Ottavino_NYA PITCH
+055+ 2.56 Kirby_Yates_SDN PITCH
+059+ 2.48 Josh_Hader_MIL PITCH
+063+ 2.42 Ryan_Pressly_HOU PITCH
+065+ 2.37 Yoan_Lopez_ARI PITCH
+069+ 2.35 Amir_Garrett_CIN PITCH
+070+ 2.35 Aroldis_Chapman_NYA PITCH
+074+ 2.29 Brandon_Workman_BOS PITCH

All top ten relievers in this data model are ranked in the top 100. WAR and WAA kind of agree on Hader and Hendriks.   This model has Hand ranked #122, WAR has Greene ranked #151 which are the two disagreements in top two relief picks.  Both Greene and Hand have sub 1.0 WHIPs and each has 22 saves which WAR counts but this model does not.  Hand has 50 strikeouts compared to Greene’s 32 which WAR also values.  This model treats all outs equally because the MLB commissioner does not award wins to the team who pitches the most strikeouts or has the lowest WHIP.   Wins are awarded to the team that scores the most runs which is the foundation of this data model and its ranking.

That is all for now.  A Cubs status coming next.  Another All Star pick post might be written when we get the final team rosters.  Not sure though.  A minor league update might  be coming soon.  Until then ….