Showing posts with label Ian Desmond. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ian Desmond. Show all posts

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

2014 Nationals Fielding Review #4

Here is an update to last time's fielding numbers. My source for this is Fangraphs, which includes all the main metrics that interest me except for Michael Humphreys' Defensive Regression Analysis.* From Fangraphs, I've used Mitchel Lichtman's Ultimate Zone Rating, my personal first choice of the 'converted-to-runs-play-by-play' metrics, and my preferred measure of RZR. The last is Revised Zone Rating, which is like a fielding average but counts balls hit into a zone, rather than those the fielder actually reached. I have included the MLB positional averages for RZR, to help give the players' numbers some context. DRA is added to these two, while I have dropped Dewan's Defensive Runs Saved. Note that catchers do not have a Zone Rating. Instead, I have used the runs saved by framing, supplied by StatCorner.com

Player              UZR    Change    RZR   Change    LgAverage      DRA    Change   PFr
Lobaton (C)         n/a      --      n/a     ---         n/a        6.6     +0.3   -1.7
Ramos (C)           n/a      --      n/a     ---         n/a        2.5     -0.2   -0.6
Span (CF)          -3.4     -2.0    .925    -.004       .923      - 3.9     -0.3    n/a
Espinosa (2B)       0.1     +0.1    .790    +.011       .784        1.1     -1.2    n/a
LaRoche (1B)       -1.4     +0.9    .807    -.065       .812      - 5.8     -4.7    n/a
McLouth (LF)       -0.7     +0.3    .880     ---        .873      - 1.3     -0.5    n/a
Harper (LF)        -1.6     +0.1    .875     ---        .873      - 2.9     -0.3    n/a
Desmond (SS)       -3.9     +0.7    .799    +.004       .793      - 8.7     +2.0    n/a
Werth (RF)         -2.3     -1.0    .933    +.001       .900      - 4.0     -3.2    n/a
Rendon (3B)         0.5     +1.5    .713    +.006       .706        0.4     -0.6    n/a
Zimmerman (LF)      0.7      --     .971     ---        .873        2.2      --     n/a
minimum 160 innings

Let's start by looking at where the systems agree. UZR, RZR and DRA all think that Denard Span's fielding declined, with UZR seeing the decline as quite sharp. All three are also of the opinion that Ian Desmond's fielding has improved, with DRA seeing a substantial improvement. All other indicators are mixed, but RZR and DRA think Adam LaRoche's fielding has suffered in the past couple of weeks. DRA and UZR think Jayson Werth's fielding has declined. The interesting thing here is that in the last review DRA thought these same two players improved. I am of the opinion that this might well reflect the influence of Werth's counterparts on other teams pushing the league averages up. LaRoche's sharp RZR decline makes me think the falls in UZR and DRA are more meaningful.

Looking at overall sums, UZR sees a slight improvement of +0.6, which might have been a lot better except for the bad scores from Werth and Span. DRA, by contrast, sees a -8.7-run decline, which is almost an entire win. RZR sees all the regulars performing around league average, with the exceptions of Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. Owing to family issues, I haven't been able to follow the games over this time, so I can't comment about which I think better matches my impressions.

Both catchers saw their pitch-framing runs saved decline by 0.3.
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* These are available at the Baseball Gauge of Seamheads.com. Humphreys wrote the excellent Wizardry, which is a way of looking at fielding using only the traditional statistics, and not the newfangled play-by-play metrics.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

2014 Nationals Fielding Review #3

Here is an update to last time's fielding numbers. My source for this is Fangraphs, which includes all the main metrics that interest me except for Michael Humphreys' Defensive Regression Analysis.* From Fangraphs, I've used Mitchel Lichtman's Ultimate Zone Rating, my personal first choice of the 'converted-to-runs-play-by-play' metrics, and my preferred measure of RZR. The last is Revised Zone Rating, which is like a fielding average but counts balls hit into a zone, rather than those the fielder actually reached. I have included the MLB positional averages for RZR, to help give the players' numbers some context. DRA is added to these two, while I have dropped Dewan's Defensive Runs Saved. Note that catchers do not have a Zone Rating. Instead, I have used the runs saved by framing, supplied by StatCorner.com

Player              UZR    Change    RZR   Change    MLBaverage     DRA    Change   PFr
Lobaton (C)         n/a      --      n/a     ---         n/a        6.3     +0.2   -1.2
Ramos (C)           n/a      --      n/a     ---         n/a        2.7     --     -0.3
Span (CF)          -1.4     +1.2    .929    -.003       .914      - 3.6     +0.4    n/a
Espinosa (2B)       0.0     +0.3    .779    +.013       .789        2.3     -2.2    n/a
LaRoche (1B)       -2.3     -2.1    .868    +.022       .812      - 1.1     +2.9    n/a
McLouth (LF)       -1.0      --     .880     ---        .872      - 0.8     --      n/a
Harper (LF)        -1.7     -0.2    .875     ---        .872      - 2.6     +0.8    n/a
Desmond (SS)       -4.6     -0.1    .795    +.033       .775      -10.7     +0.8    n/a
Werth (RF)         -1.3     -3.5    .932    -.023       .895      - 0.8     +2.0    n/a
Rendon (3B)        -1.2     +2.8    .707    +.009       .709        1.0     +1.5    n/a
minimum 130 innings

The abysmal Nationals' fielding of the early season now seems to have done a little bit of 'regression to the mean, no matter what particular statistic one looks at. We see some extreme results, with DRA, the method using traditional fielding statistics, seeing improvement from Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth, while UZR takes a remarkably opposed view. RZR splits the difference, with one up and one down. Interestingly, RZR now sees Ian Desmond as an above-average shortstop, while DRA and RZR think he is improved but still the worst regular on the team. Anthony Rendon has improved quite dramatically with more time at third base.

If one sums the UZR changes, the Nationals' regulars have deteriorated by about -1.6 runs, and locates the problem on the right side of the field, with Werth and LaRoche dampening the improvement elsewhere. DRA sees a 6.1-run improvement, which is half a win. The Nationals are winning more, too. Once again, my own impression aligns more with DRA.

As a side note, the pitch-framing data for the catchers shows some improvement for Lobaton, who scored -2.1 last time.
____
* These are available at the Baseball Gauge of Seamheads.com. Humphreys wrote the excellent Wizardry, which is a way of looking at fielding using only the traditional statistics, and not the newfangled play-by-play metrics.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Nationals 2014 Game 51: virtutus non semper est praemium

Tanner Roark pitched like an elite pitcher yesterday, and was rewarded with an 'L' in the box score. The relievers held up their end, too. No Marlins hitter reached on an error. So, if we blame anyone for the loss, it has to be the hitters. Either Santangelo or Carpenter was saying at one point in the game that the Nationals needed to get on base. Perhaps they do, but I count them going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. Ian Desmond has been hitting well of late, but yesterday he struck out twice with a runner in scoring position. My abiding image of the game, however, will be his third and final K, when he was absolutely fooled by the kind of swing-back action from a Steve Cishek pitch that would fool an All-Star.

Highest Leverage PA:     3.3, PA#66, W Ramos fly-out vs Cishek, Nationals 9th. 
Highest LI Win Value:    .234, PA#13, LaRoche HR vs Eovaldi, Nationals 6th.
QMAX rating:             (2,2) for Roark (Elite Square).
Bullpen Award:           None.
Batters' Aggregate LI Win Values:
LaRoche        0.167
Frandsen      -0.015
McLouth       -0.030
Roark         -0.032
Ramos         -0.041
Espinosa      -0.045
Rendon        -0.050
Werth         -0.070
Moore         -0.070
Span          -0.136
Desmond       -0.176

Friday, 4 April 2014

2014 Game 2: Gio's Day

Highest Leverage PA:     2.1, PA#62 Duda K vs Clippard, Mets 8th.
Highest LI Win Value:    .148, PA #31, Desmond HR vs Colon, Nationals 5th.
QMAX rating:             (2,3) for Gonzalez (Success Square zone).
Bullpen Award:           None.
Batters' Aggregate LI Win Values:
Desmond        0.108
Werth          0.088
Gonzalez       0.033
Rendon         0.025
LaRoche        0.021
McLouth       -0.005
Lobaton       -0.028
Span          -0.070
Zimmerman     -0.071
Harper        -0.094
There's a higher-leveraged incident than Lucas Duda's PA, which is an event that occurred in the Mets' fifth: Ruben Tejada was thrown out by Bryce Harper at home, trying to score off Juan Lagares' double. That was worth .120 of a win, which compensated for Harper's negative batting performance.

The Highest Leverage PA is low, reflecting the fact that the Nationals took charge of this game with Ian Desmond's home run in the fifth. (How much is he worth now?)

I did not watch the game, following on the radio as is most common for me, but the numbers suggest that Gio Gonzalez was the key to winning this game.

After Tyler Clippard walked Tejada (funny how the name of such an apparently disappointing player appears twice in this report), I was worried that he wasn't quite the Clippard I came to appreciate so deeply in seasons past, but he bounced back quite strongly. But none of the reliever's performances really warranted a Hero's Palm. I have decided retrospectively, however, to award one to Aaron Barrett for his Game #1 outing.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Is Ian Desmond Worth $90 Million?

So it has been leaked that Ian Desmond may have been offered a deal at least in the vicinity of $90 million over seven years. That's an average annual value of $12.8 million. What should that buy a ball-club in today's market?

According to Dave Cameron at Fangraphs.com last November, the value of a projected Win Above Replacement (WAR) based on early contracts is around $6 million, so this seven-year contract is projecting Ian Desmond to be a 2-WAR player for the next seven years. According to his Baseball-Reference page, Desmond has beaten that level the past two seasons, being worth 3.4 WAR in 2012 and 3.7 WAR in 2013.

Now, this blog is strictly 'old-fashioned' sabermetrics, so I don't have a super-sophisticated projection model like ZiPS or Steamer. I do, however, have a Brock2 spreadsheet, based on a system that Bill James devised about thirty years ago. This lets me work out a basic Runs Created value for each of Desmond's seasons, as follows:
Season      WAR     RC
2010        1.1     63
2011        1.5     62
2012        3.4     87
2013        3.7     89
It looks like one needs an offense worth at least 70 runs created to be in the vicinity of 2 WAR, based on Desmond's baserunning and defence. How does Brock2 forecast the next seven years of Ian Desmond?
Season     RC
2014       80
2015       86
2016       84
2017       78
2018       72
2019       69
2020       65
The answer is that based on his previous performance, there is a good chance that Ian Desmond would be worth most of the value of his contract over the next four or five years, and the remaining two or three are the now traditional overpay for a club stalwart. Except I haven't yet taken into account the fact of wage inflation in major-league baseball. The value of a single Win Above Replacement been escalating over the past few years by around ten per cent a year. Let's assume a slight slowing, and say it will in fact be around eight per cent. What does that mean for the value of an offer to Ian Desmond (data in millions of dollars)?

2014 $12.8
2015 $13.8
2016 $14.9
2017 $16
2018 $17.3
2019 $18.7
2020 $20.2

If the Nationals seriously think that Ian Desmond will be worth an average of 2 WAR per season over the next seven years, which may be a little optimistic, then assuming that wage inflation will continue, one is looking at a contract value of around $110-115 million. Realistically, I think it is fair to the club that the last couple of years should allow for a decline phase, so let's hold it at 17.3 for the final three years. That's $109.4 million. It looks like the Nationals might be about $20 million short. How much would you pay for seven more years of one of the last Expos?

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

2012 Game 45

Highest Leverage PA:      2.2, PA#35 Minor GDP vs Strasburg, Braves 4th.
Highest WPA/LI Value:     .255, PA #44, Uggla HR vs Strasburg, Braves 5th.
Highest WPA/LI Fldg Play: .068, PA#35 Minor GDP vs Strasburg, Braves 4th.
QMAX rating:             (5,5) for Strasburg.
Bullpen Award:           Hero's Palm for Gorzelanny.
Batters' WPA/LI Values:
Espinosa       0.156
Harper         0.114
Tracy          0.061
Ankiel         0.036
LaRoche        0.028
Nady           0.007
Strasburg     -0.004
Desmond       -0.011
Gorzelanny    -0.033
Zimmerman     -0.043
Moore         -0.050
Flores        -0.074
And this one also belongs to the Nationals' hitting. This looks like Strasburg's worst start of the season so far, but the bullpen did a better job of holding back the Braves than they did on Friday night. Espinosa's and Harper's home runs were supported by crucial extra-base hits from Desmond, Ankiel and Nady. A solid team effort with the bats.

Friday, 11 May 2012

2012 Game 30

Highest Leverage PA:         6.8, PA #63, Ankiel K vs Grilli, Nationals' 8th.
Highest Clutch Value:        .145, PA #70, Desmond 2B vs Hanrahan, Nats' 9th.
QMAX rating:                 Success square (4,2) for Detwiler.
Bullpen Award:               None.
Batters' Leveraged Win Values:
Desmond        0.144
Nady           0.123
LaRoche        0.052
Lombardozzi    0.029
Tracy         -0.012
Detwiler      -0.027
Ramos         -0.031
Moore         -0.056
Espinosa      -0.081
Zimmerman     -0.088
Harper        -0.212
Ankiel        -0.236
Ross Detwiler put in yet another quality quality start, although it was his worst outing since 15 April. Despite that, the Nationals' bats couldn't come through before Detwiler left the game. Indeed, this game was another example of the Nationals lineup being unable to create a league-average number of runs for a game. It might be easy to point a finger at Ian Desmond's brain-cramp in the Pirates' 3rd inning, as being at fault, but then where does that leave McCutchen's home run in the Pirates' 8th? Desmond, in fact, did sterling work with the bat. If I was to point an accusing finger anywhere, it would be at the disaster of the Nationals' 8th inning. Not a single run was scored then. Bad show, chaps.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

2012 Game 29

I lost this morning to migraine, so the batter numbers are still delayed.
Highest Leverage PA:         6.1, PA #69, Barajas HR vs Rodriguez, Pirates' 9th.
Highest Clutch Value:        .750, PA #69, Barajas HR vs Rodriguez, Pirates' 9th.
Lowest Opp Clutch Value:    -.157, PA #68, Navarro K vs Rodriguez, Pirates' 9th.
QMAX rating:                 Success square (3,2) for Jackson.
Bullpen Award:               Goat's Horns for Rodriguez.
Batters' Leveraged Win Values:
LaRoche        0.624
Zimmerman      0.083
Jackson        0.078
Ramos          0.074
Ankiel         0.027
Harper        -0.016
Lombardozzi   -0.051
Bernadina     -0.095
Espinosa      -0.120
Desmond       -0.250
Now here was a game that took me back to the 2009 season, when the bullpen seemed to be a Fountain of Misery, and the Bullpen Goat of the Day award was a bit of fun to relieve the anguish. This was when I started to keep track of win probability, as in comparing the chance of winning when the reliever came in, and subtracting that from the chance of winning when the reliever left the game. Last night, Henry Rodriguez managed to convert his total for the season from positive to negative territory, which was quite something since when he entered the game in the 9th his win probability contribution was .362 in games between 11 April and 4th May.

But it wasn't just Rodriguez. Tyler Clippard did fans no favours either, even after deducting the effects of Ian Desmond's misplay. Clippard's win probablity effect wasn't anywhere close to Rodriguez' disastrous number, but it was still in negative territory.

Despite all the disappointment, though, it was a very good game to follow. So thanks to the players for battling hard, even if they came up short.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

2012 Game 27 NATITUDE Series

Highest Leverage PA:         2.6, PA #41, Harper F7 vs Worley, Nationals' 5th.
                             2.6, PA #42, Werth HR vs Worley, Nationals' 5th.
Highest Clutch Value:        .320, PA #42, Werth HR vs Worley, Nationals' 5th.
Lowest Opp Clutch Value:    -.047, PA #7, Galvis F6 vs Gonzalez, Phillies 2nd.
QMAX rating:                 Elite Square (2,2) for Gonzalez.
Bullpen Award:               None.
Batters' Leveraged Win Values:
Werth          0.245
Lombardozzi    0.189
Ankiel         0.161
Tracy          0.058
Gonzalez       0.056
Desmond       -0.031
Espinosa      -0.054
Ramos         -0.099
Harper        -0.129
Here's a game where the usefulness of the Leverage Index in assigning value is readily apparent. Jayson Werth's 5th inning home run boosted the Nationals' chances of winning by 64 per cent. Ian Desmond's and Chad Tracy's homers only by 5 per cent each. The difference is context. Werth's fence-clearer came with the Nationals down by a run in the 5th. The Nationals were up by three in the bottom of the 6th when Desmond's blast occurred. Tracy's came with the Nationals up by four in the 7th. Basically, leverage tells us that a home team with a three-run lead after six innings, is very likely to win the game already. There just aren't enough PAs left for the visitors to get the two or three rallies they need to make up the difference.

Monday, 7 May 2012

2012 Game 26 NATITUDE Series

A busy weekend got in the way of my being able to blog. By the time the Nationals play again, de civitate sabermetricarum will be caught up PLUS with the long-promised batting rankings in place.
Highest Leverage PA:         6.4, PA #91, Ramos 1B vs Schwimmer, Nationals' 11th.
Highest Clutch Value:        .357, PA #66, Flores 2B vs Qualls, Nationals' 8th.
Lowest Clutch Value:        -.096, PA #73, Galvez F7 vs Rodriguez, Phillies 9th.
QMAX rating:                 Success Square (2,3) for Strasburg.
Bullpen Award:               None.
Batters' Leveraged Win Values:
Ramos          0.333
Flores         0.236
Tracy          0.230
Ankiel         0.164
Bernadina      0.058
Nady           0.030
Harper         0.028
Strasburg     -0.016
Espinosa      -0.032
Lombardozzi   -0.044
Moore         -0.060
Werth         -0.172
Desmond       -0.354
ALL HAIL PINCH HITTERS! They earned a .421 Leveraged Win Value (a/k/a 'clutch hitting') for the Nationals in this game, with Ramos, Bernadina and Nady all contributing. A team only needs a .500 value to win a game, at least on paper, so the pinch hitters basically did it all themselves. It may come as a surprise that Flores' double in the sixth out-clutched Bernadina's game-winning blow in the 11th, but it goes back to what I was saying about how when the home team ties the game in late innings, it puts home-field advantage into play. The bullpen also played an important role, but no individual stood out. Poor Ian Desmond's recent surge was unceremoniously halted in a long game. Those fielder's choices in the 6th and 8th really hurt

Thursday, 3 May 2012

2012 Game 24

Highest Leverage PA:         5.2, PA #71, Desmond HR vs Putz, Nationals' 9th.
Highest Clutch Value:        .640, PA #71, Desmond HR vs Putz, Nationals' 9th.
QMAX rating:                 None (5,3) for Jackson.
Bullpen Award:               Hero's Palm for Stammen.
Batters' Leveraged Win Values:
Desmond        0.594
Harper         0.310
Werth          0.126
Lombardozzi    0.083
Ramos         -0.025
Jackson       -0.041
Moore         -0.068
Nady          -0.075
Espinosa      -0.133
Ankiel        -0.135
LaRoche       -0.197
Pity poor Ian Desmond, who has bust out of a slump. The last two days his Leveraged Win (or 'Clutch') Values with the bat have been in positive territory for the first time in a while. Yet all the headline attention has gone to Bryce Harper. Well, he's taking it for the team, I'm sure.

As you can see, the game was won by the bats for a change. The only thing I'd point out is that Stammen's fine two-inning stint produced a good chunk of value, too. So he gets a Hero's Palm.

Friday, 27 April 2012

2012 Game 19 Notes

Highest Leverage PA:         5.9, PA #57, Hundley's K vs Clippard, Padres' 7th.
                             (Also, Lowest Leveraged Win Value at -.159)
Highest Leveraged Win Value: .337, PA #64, Kotsay's 2B vs Clippard, Padres' 8th.
Nationals' Highest Lev Win:  .148, PA #49, Werth's HR vs Volquez, Nationals' 7th.
QMAX rating:                 Success Square (3,4) for Jackson.
Bullpen Award:               Goat's Horns for Clippard.
Batters' Leveraged Win Values:
LaRoche        0.048
Werth          0.030
Ramos          0.027
Bernadina     -0.018
Jackson       -0.055
Ankiel        -0.064
Nady          -0.064
Desmond       -0.104
Tracy         -0.109
Espinosa      -0.147
It is easy to point the finger at poor Tyler Clippard, who saved the day in the 7th inning, for blowing the game in the 8th. But, seriously, as the Batting Leveraged Win Values show, my Finger of Blame for yesterday's loss points squarely at the Nationals' hitters. The top of the order in particular—Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and Chad Tracy—had a very poor game, as the numbers show. The bullpen's job is to hold a lead, even one as slim as one run, but a couple of years of messing about with Win Probability has taught me that to expect the bullpen to hold such slim leads game after game is a recipe for a .500 season.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

It's the Lineup?!?!

After handing out a Hero award, I didn't have to wait long at all to hand out a Goat one. Jesse English claimed it, in spite of Tyler Walker making a late run at it.

Why not Batista, who got the loss?

The reality is that the real goat yesterday was the lineup. (You could also argue that Mike Pelfrey, whom I thought pitched very well yesterday, won this game.) Batista gave up one run. The lineup had two chances to get that back. In the top of the fifth, the heart of the lineup went meekly 1-2-3. In the top of the sixth, we had Willingham on third with one out, and neither Pudge nor Desmond could score him.

In the end it made no difference, because Bergmann and English gave up two hits that increased the Mets' lead to two runs, then Walker came out with a flamethrower and an entire P-O-L dump to put the game out of sight.

I'm looking at the Nationals' lineup with some concern now. It's not really working, and it doesn't help that Kennedy is in a funk. This was supposed to be our strongest piece, and it's just not helping.

Friday, 13 November 2009

What's the Shortstop's Name?

Well, Jim Riggleman was named manager. When Mr Acta was on the rack, I fretted because I didn't think replacing him with Riggleman would make much difference. I'll get round to looking at whether I was right later in this off-season. For now, I wish Mr Riggleman all the luck in the world, and hope that he's not thrown to the wolves at some later date.

However, with Hot Stove Season now in full swing, I look at MLB Trade Rumors to start my day, and I find the Nationals are in the news. A couple of Fox bloggers refer to 'a major-league source' saying that the Nationals are interested in a slick-fielding shortstop. Well, that's much too vague, and Rosenthal was wrong about Mr Acta getting fired in Tampa Bay. I can't be bothered to go look if 'major-league sources' were involved in that one.

Meanwhile, straight from Mr Riggleman, Bill Ladson of MLB.com tells us that Desmond is the front runner for the job. Well, why not? If you have two shortstops, play 'em both!

Except that, Mr Riggleman has this to say: 'I was probably the last one to see that [moving Guzmán to second] was a move we need to make.' Now, what does that mean? I guess it could mean simply what it says. But could it also mean that Mr Riggleman had to be convinced? That maybe he is concerned about the ability of Guzmán to turn the pivot or something?

Being a humble blogger, at the end I always have to confess that 'I don't know'. If Guzmán can no longer make a throw from shortstop that'll reach Dunn in time to beat the runner, well he's got to be moved. But if you have two shortstops, maybe trading one for a secondbaseman is a better answer than trying to make an old guy, who wasn't all that great in the field, learn a new position. Or, you could sign a second baseman. Would Orlando Hudson take a two-year deal?