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PEVA Player Ratings Boxscore
32.000 - Fantastic
(Cy Young, MVP Candidate)
20.000 - Great
15.000 - All Star Caliber
10.000 - Good

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PEVA Shuffle 2009
Preseason Batting Power Rankings

1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. New York Yankees
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. New York Mets
5. St. Louis Cardinals
6. Atlanta Braves
7. Chicago Cubs
8. Boston Red Sox
9. Minnesota Twins
10. Baltimore Orioles
11. Oakland A's
12. Tampa Bay Rays
13. Milwaukee Brewers
14. Houston Astros
15. Cleveland Indians
16. Texas Rangers
17. Detroit Tigers
18. San Diego Padres
19. Florida Marlins
20. Washington Nationals
21. Kansas City Royals
22. Toronto Blue Jays
23. Seattle Mariners
24. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
25. Chicago White Sox
26. San Francisco Giants
27. Pittsburgh Pirates
28. Arizona Diamondbacks
29. Colorado Rockies
30. Cincinnati Reds

PEVA Shuffle 2009
Preseason Pitching Power Rankings

1. Boston Red Sox
2. New York Yankees
3. New York Mets
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Arizona Diamondbacks
6. Cleveland Indians
7. Philadelphia Phillies
8. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
9. Tampa Bay Rays
10. Chicago Cubs
11. San Francisco Giants
12. Chicago White Sox
13. Atlanta Braves
14. Kansas City Royals
15. Los Angeles Dodgers
16. Cincinnati Reds
17. Colorado Rockies
18. Houston Astros
19. Minnesota Twins
20. St. Louis Cardinals
21. Oakland A's
22. Milwaukee Brewers
23. Pittsburgh Pirates
24. Detroit Tigers
25. Washington Nationals
26. Seattle Mariners
27. Florida Marlins
28. San Diego Padres
29. Baltimore Orioles
30. Texas Rangers

Baseball Evaluation & Stat Geek Baseball

Article Blog 2009
Article Blog 2009
Curt Schilling Deserves the Hall of Fame

March 26, 2009 - While most people in the baseball community are debating the merits of whether recently retired pitcher Curt Schilling deserves induction in Cooperstown, with the concensus melding around the thought that he is a borderline candidate, let's make one thing clear from the Stat Geek Baseball point of view.  We think he deserves it!  With no hesitation.  With no statement that if Curt gets in, it's predominantly because of his stellar 11-2 record in the postseason and three World Series titles.  Yes, they are icing on the cake.  And of course, they deserve to be reasons why he should be in.  But let's get one thing straight.  He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, because for the majority of twenty seasons, and especially during a ten year stretch from 1997-2006, Curt Schilling was one of the best pitchers of all-time inside an era of great piching.  Yes, we've said it.  This steroid era of baseball with all those prodigious home run totals put up by the Maguires, Sosas, Bonds, and Brady Andersons of the world was not a great hitter era, it was dominated by seven pitchers (Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Mike Mussina, Kevin Brown), and Curt Schilling was one of them. And at the end of the day, after all the votes have been counted by the BBWA over their fifteen years of eligibility, don't be surprised if at least six of those seven are in the Hall of Fame, plus Mariano Rivera, too.

But let's focus on Schilling here, and the reasons why we think he's high on that list.  Curt Schilling has a total regular season Player Rating for his career of 282.056 (PEVA), #19 on the list of all-time career pitchers.  Every pitcher who is eligible for the Hall of Fame who has a higher rating already has a plaque in Cooperstown.  It's even above the 275 PEVA total that suggests first round ballot induction, although we think the fantastic year five years hence when Maddux, Mussina, and Schilling are all on the list together will be a fascinating vote.  Either Mussina and/or Schilling might not make it in on the first ballot because of that.  More about that career best list.  Every eligible pitcher above 212 PEVA Career Player Rating is already in, except Bert Blylevin, and he should be.  

Best Pitchers Ever - Career for the list.  You can download the full list of rankings for all pitchers in history there (pdf format).

And if you don't like to use counting career numbers, but are more focused on a per year basis, Curt Schilling is #34 (this list includes current pitchers with a total career PEVA over 100 whose Per Year Rating will likely fall toward the end of their careers) with a 14.103 PEVA Per Year Player Rating. Every HOF eligible pitcher with that level PEVA Per and above, except Tommy Bond, is already in the Hall of Fame as well.  And Tommy Bond is only on the outside looking in because his career was only ten years long.

See Best Pitchers Ever - Career Per Year for the complete PEVA per year list.

Then there's the Postseason data that most point to as the major reason why Schilling should be in.  Oh, and that's so good, it should tip the balance even if you don't think the above is quite good enough.  Curt's 11-2 record in five postseasons and 133.3 Innings Pitched to the tune of a 2.23 ERA and three rings gave him the #4 ranking of Career Postseason pitchers with 12.443 Post PEVA Player Rating.  (Post PEVA is @10% multiple of regular season totals for those unfamiliar with Post PEVA)  But of course, that seems unfair, since unlike the regular season, pitchers have an uneven chance of participating.  For all pitchers who have pitched in at least three postseasons, Schilling has the #5 best Per Postseason PEVA rating at 2.489.  Who's above him.  Try Bob Gibson, Josh Beckett, George Earnshaw, and Christy Mathewson.  Rounding out the Top Ten with Curt, and you see other pretty famous folks; Carl Hubbell, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Sandy Koufax, Orel Hershiser, and Herb Pennock.

Still not convinced Schiling should be in.  Take a look at the Best Pitching Seasons of All-Time.  How does Curt stack up there?  Well, he had two years in the Top 100.  And how does that compare to his pitching peers?  Greg Maddux 6, Randy Johnson 3, Pedro Martinez 4, Tom Glavine 0, Mike Mussina 0, Kevin Brown 2.  See
Best Pitcher Years Ever.

#76 - Schilling Curt 2001 ARI NL 22-6 W-L, 256.7 IP, 2.98 ERA
38.613 PEVA
#91 - Schilling Curt 2002 ARI NL 23 7 W-L, 259.3 IP, 3.23 ERA
37.153 PEVA

But how do you refute the buts?
Q - But he only had 216 wins over 20 seasons, that's pretty far away from 300.
A - Schilling pitched in an era that devalued wins, particularly in the second half of his career, with the ascendency in the role of relief pitcher thus pushing down win totals.  But even with that, he compares well with HOF pitchers such as Jim Bunning (224 wins), Don Drysdale (209), Hal Newhouser (207), Dazzy Vance (197) and Whitey Ford (236).

Q - But that ERA's too high at 3.46.  I don't want a pitcher in the HOF with an ERA approaching 3.50.
A - How would you have liked to face those steroid batters and the increase in Run Production during his period of pitching?  How do you think some of the pitchers of the past would have fared.  Plus pitchers like Robin Roberts (3.41 ERA), Phil Niekro (3.35), Early Wynn (3.54), and Dennis Eckersley (3.50) are pitchers already enshrined with an ERA in the same territory.

Q - But he didn't get going quick enough, so it's valid to say his counting stats not being higher is not just because of era, it's because he wasn't very good at the beginning of his career.
A - Curt Schilling had 14 wins with a 2.35 ERA over 236.3 innings when he was 26 years old and followed that up with 16 wins the next year.  He lost out on those counting stats predominantly during the two year stretch after that when injury and the strike years cost him wins.  But even with that, Schilling won 20 games three times during his career, had a PEVA Player Rating over 10.000 thirteen times, over 20.000 six times, and over 30.000 four times.  And in those years, he was dominant, both in victories, strikeouts, postseason performance, and just look at his strikeout to walk ratios during those years, they were truly amazing for a pitcher with his power style profile.

Curt Schilling belongs in the Hall of Fame and we'd vote for him on the first ballot.  We think he might miss out on that first year, but within the first five years, think the Baseball Writers will see him with merits and vote him in.  And he's going to have a lot of pitching company in those years, plus Frank Thomas from the hitter's side.  It'll be interesting to follow the election process five years from now.  Interesting to see when, not if, Schilling, will be in.  Here's one outsider's vote for Curt.
Cleaning Up Spring

March 20, 2009 - Well, since it seems like Spring Training is really muddling along right now, we thought we'd enter the muddle as well and clean up some of the mud in this really long spring training odyssey that, we guess, is moving toward opening day.  Must be what a World Baseball Classic brings, but does it seem to anyone else that the real purpose of spring training, to get pitchers, catchers, and position players ready for the April to October season and figure out your roster seems to be getting lost in the mix.  Well, at least the classic has moved into the final rounds and will be over soon.  Can't be over soon enough for us.  I mean, the real tournament, NCAA College Basketball and March Madness, started yesterday, and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers is really a much better story than the Netherlands to most sports fans in the USA.

Okay, back to baseball.  One minor signing has been running through the treadmill and should be completed after the physical, and what impact it will have on the race for the National League Central is truly unknown, but might be significant.  Ivan Rodriguez will likely sign with the Houston Astroes soon and solidify the southern Texas team's catching.  Now Ivan is not the Ivan of old.  He's going to be 38 this year and his best days are behind him, but that does not mean he would not be a good add.  While Rodriguez didn't add much to the New York Yankees after his trade in the middle of the year, his stint before that with a bad Detroit team was productive, hitting 0.295 with 32 RBI.  If Houston can get that kind of production for a $1.5 million guaranteed contract, they'll be happy.  And apparently they need something to jumpstart this squad.  I know it's only spring training, but losing 19 straight games, even in Little League, is pretty bad and says something, we're not sure what, about your team.  We think Houston's an okay squad this year, a middle of the pack team in a bad division.  We don't think they're a bad team in a middle of the pack division, and that's what they're pretending to be right now.  But things could change once the World Baseball Classic is over.  This team certainly needs Roy Oswalt as a stud pitcher to be competitive, and a positive contribution by fellow USA team member Latroy Hawkins in the bullpen is gonna be important, too.

Team Predictions 2009

Check out the Full Article on Team Predictions 2009
by Baseball Evaluation and Stat Geek Baseball on the predictions page @

Team Predictions 2009 - NL

Team Predictions 2009 - AL
PEVA Shuffle Index - Batting Power Rankings

March 6, 2009 - Somebody woke up Manny.  That's good for Dodger fans for sure.  With his addition to the blue mix, they've risen to the #3 spot in the PEVA shuffle for preseason 2009 in both their offseason movement, as well as the Batting Power Rankings as we head through spring training and into the regular season.  But the biggest splash in the roster manipulation pool for batters amongst the 30 baseball clubs, not counting those World Baseball Classic rosters, was not the Los Angeles Dodgers and Manny, or even the big power clubs in New York City, it was two smaller market, down on their luck clubs trying to make waves in the regular season waters in 2009.  How big a wave?  Well, that'll depend on a whole lot of things, but they certainly are moving in the right direction as far as their offense goes.

Who has done the best in the PEVA Shuffle for batters here in the beginning days of March.

Top Five
1.  Oakland A's - Known mostly for their trade deadline moves away from contention and veteran high-salary players, the A's took a decidedly un-Beane like move toward contention in the AL West by adding a bunch of sluggers and well-known names to their batting lineup.  Matt Holliday, Jason Giambi, Orlando Cabrera, Nomar Garciaparra.  Now some of these players are no longer MVP caliber, but others, such as Holliday and Cabrera are prime career players bound to help a struggling offense.  How Holliday will do outside the confines of Coors will be interesting to watch.  And whether he'll stay through the whole year another question, but until then, the Oakland A's have moved up the PEVA Shuffle Index for Batting by 27.731 rating points.  Now let's not talk about the player sale on the pitching front here, which could discount these moves considerably, but even with that, the A's could be looking for 3 additional wins (+13 Batting, -10 Pitching) in 2009.

2.  Washington Nationals - With so much attention being focused on the election of Barack Obama and the economic troubles, you'd think the Nationals would be content with moving under the radar in the nation's capitol.  Well, that's certainly been their modis operandi the last two years, but not in 2009.  With the addition of Adam Dunn, plus a lesser cohort in Josh Willingham, the run scoring potential of the Nationals is on the rise.  Don't be too shocked if this 20.794 shuffle increase in batting PEVA doesn't see Washington in a battle to move out of the National League East cellar.

3.  Los Angeles Dodgers - There you go, Manny.  Thanks for making the caveats a whole lot easier.  
 Add the 19.930 in the PEVA Shuffle, mostly due to Ramirez, although the nice addition of Orlando Hudson to the starting lineup and the backups of Ausmus and Loretta will have good impact, too.

4.  New York Yankees - Well, you knew with the addition of Mark Teixeira they'd have to be in here somewhere.  And they are.  But just when have you seen the Yankees rank behind the A's and Nationals in anything.  Additional 15.755 in the PEVA Shuffle.

5.  Tampa Bay Rays - It probably won't be enough to hold off the Yankees again for a playoff spot, but who knows.  With the addition of Pat Burrell, an increase in the PEVA Batting shuffle comes in at 12.281.  But we all know the fortunes of the Rays has a lot more to do with the progression of their young players like Longoria and Upton, plus pitchers Kazmir, Shields, Garza, Price, and Sonnanstine.

Bottom Five
26.  Florida Marlins - There's a lot of deletion here in south Florida, and although it's rarely had the impact that other clubs have seen due to the play of young players brought in, we've got a sneaking suspiciion this might be the year it doesn't work.  Downgrade the PEVA batting Shuffle by -17.370.
27.  Colorado Rockies - Loss of Holliday has to hurt.  Down -17.440 in PEVA Batting Shuffle.  But they still have the humidor.
28.  Texas Rangers - A negative 20.575 for those Rangers.  In a hitter's park where they think Padilla and Millwood are aces, you should be compensating somewhere.  We think this is another tough year in Arlington.
29.  Chicago White Sox - Although this weak division will see the White Sox in contention despite the PEVA batting shuffle moving down 23.511 points, it'll be increasingly hard to beat back the Twins or Indians.  Plus don't look now, but we could have a Royal resurgence sooner than you'd think.
30.  Pittsburgh PIrates - Long gone are the days of Parker, Stargell, and Sanguillen.  Geez, even gone are the days of Jason Bay, who now may be one of the best Red Sox players.  Yes, they still have Nate McLouth, but if this franchise doesn't start to win more soon, the chances of keeping him long term are not great.  Down 26.320 in the PEVA Batting Shuffle.

PEVA Shuffle Index - Pitching Power Rankings

March 4, 2009 - The off-season moves are winding down, and spring training games are under way.  Now somebody go to Sleepy Hollow or Chavez Ravine or Delusion Fields and tell Manny that baseball games are being played and that there's a recession going on.  Translate if you must.  But just who has made the biggest splash in roster manipulation, the ripples in the waters that will extend far into the regular season, that based on last year's performance, will auger well for 2009.  Has moving the deck chairs of these players really mattered and just how does it look from here, for now, before even one World Baseball Classic game has been played and bored the rest of the USA?

There have been a lot of changes and more than a few teams have made their case for better pitching staffs.  The ups and downs of the PEVA Shuffle Index show just where the table will start to be set once the real games begin.  This index is not a projection, folks, but it is based on the only thing we know for now.  If the year 2009 has player performance like 2008, where do we stand today.

Who has done the best in the PEVA Shuffle for pitchers, here on 3.4.2009.

Top Five
1.  New York Yankees - No surprise here.  If you spend two hundred and fifty million dollars on two pitchers, one spectacular, the other good and overpaid, you're bound to see a pretty good bump.  And the Yankees pitching staff will be better, barring injury of course, with the addition of Sabathia to the rotation.  Burnett we're not too sure of.  But going into the season, the additions of Sabathia, Burnett, and others have added 24.598 PEVA 2008 player rating points to the pitching staff, and that's certainly good.  How good?  Think an extra 12 wins.

2. New York Mets - Just go across the city to the other new ballpark and there's no surprise that the increase in revenue has allowed the Mets to parlay the cash into additional free agent pitchers.  For them, most of the focus has been on the bullpen with Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz.  But the Mets have added a ton of pitchers beyond them, too, through trades of consequential and seemingly inconsequential metal, through free agency.  Some will purely add depth.  Some will provide a few nice surprises.  Has Tim Redding been brought if for a few Phils games since he has shown a masterly proficiency against the boys from Philly?  Will a Dessens or Garcia recapture some past magic?  All in all a PEVA Shuffle increase of 21.195.

3.  Atlanta Braves - Somebody must have told the folks down south that their trip down the standings was not going to stop if the flow of free agents kept leaving town without anyone to take their place.  But quietly the Braves have added a few good folks to the pitching mix that may mitigate the losses at hand.  Derek Lowe may not have been the top name on the free agent pile, but he's not that far behind.  With Lowe and Javier Vazquez, the Bravos have picked up a lot of potential innings while the staff around them jells.  Upgade of 20.609 PEVA.

4.  Boston Red Sox - Even though they seemed to be taking a big back seat to their rivals to the south, don't be too surprised if the better pitching staff doesn't reside in Beantown.  And if John Smoltz comes back to something near his form, look out.  13.003 PEVA Shuffle plus not too shabby.

5.  San Francisco Giants - Big ballpark.  Big pitcher.  Randy Johnson may be old, but the combination of those two factors, if he can retain any amount of good health, will help San Francisco jump back into the mix in the NL West, particularly if the Manny sweepstakes hits a lottery bump for the Dodgers.  But he's not the only reason.  Think Affeldt, Howry, and Justin Miller, too.  Upgrade of 12.770 PEVA, good for an additional 6 wins of so.

Bottom Five
26.  San Diego Padres - And if they got their way, they'd delete Jake Peavy, too.  PEVA Shuffle downgrade of -17.081.
27.  Oakland A's - Kinda like the swallows coming home to Capistrano.  This is a seasonal right seeing the A's sell off pitching and going with youth.  And it works, a bit, but is a heck of a way to try and compete.  Downgrade PEVA - 20.737.
28.  Florida Marlins - See Oakland above, but they have a tendency to play well young.  Trouble is, ... look at the rest of this division.  For some reason, we think Florida is in trouble this year.  PEVA Shuffle - 21.473.
29.  Los Angeles Dodgers - What would happen if you base your entire off-season of courting one player and that one player doesn't show, or doesn't show up and play as well as he did the last two months of last season.  Well, still not sure if we'll get the chance to find out, but the Dodgers lost a lot of pitching in the off-season in Lowe, Penny, Saito, and others.  They've got youth, too.  The youth has to be ready to pitch.  -29.370 in the PEVA Shuffle index.
30.  Milwaukee Brewers - You lose the top two pitchers in your rotation; one which might have won the Cy Young if he hadn't moved from one league to the other in the center of the year.  The other, injured often, but when healthy, one of the better pitchers in the game.  This will be the year that the Brewer offense better come to play.  A loss of 46.396 in the PEVA Shuffle from the end of 2009 till today.

For a list of the PEVA Shuffle Index - Pitcher Power Rankings, see the left column.
Give the Money Back

February 19, 2009 - Anybody getting tired of this?  Another spring training where the biggest story is a steroid induced hero walking in front of the camera and playing sham wow with the media.  Oh, yes, some come across as more humble and truly sorry, such as Andy Pettite, while some as arrogant or self-serving, such as this year's poster boy for the enhanced era, Alex Rodriguez.  Now I don't really know who is telling what truth here.  None of us do.  We can only go with what we suspect and what they are saying. Was it done to rehab an injury?  Was it done for only those three years in Texas?  I don't know.  What I do know is that the penalties the fans and media keep talking about; the veracity of the record book, their reputation, or future induction into the Hall of Fame is not what is going to end this era. And fifty game suspensions or even one year will only go part way, too.  But one thing surely would!  Tell them to give the money back!

First things first.  Alex Rodriguez got his latest huge money contract with the New York Yankees based on several things.  One, that he was pursuing the records of Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and that other guy, and that this pursuit was worth so much more to the Yankees than just a regular top of the shelf All-Star level player for the sake of promotion and merchandise.  Well, that's certainly gone now.  Nobody is going to be making a whole lot of money off a chase that's now tainted.  Two, some of the money was given to a player whose numbers included those steroid years.  So if he's going to be paid today, pay him as if those numbers were reduced to steroid light.  At least that 13.4% light quick math would get you.  See former blog articles such as "Alex Rodriguez, Steroids, and 103 More
."  You know, something like $3 to $ million dollar or so, just for a start.  But that is just the start, folks, because here's another plan to stop the madness.

Baseball should void his current contract with the New York Yankees, the one gotten on inaccurate information.  Now there's a penalty.  You think the current slugger who's thinking about taking growth hormone might think big head twice if his $180 miliion dollar deal could go up in smoke.  I'd also try to recover some of the Texas money.  It seems the owner there isn't too happy that he paid out good money, ridiculous money even at the time, for a tainted player.  But perhaps the more prudent thing to do, on this line of reasoning, is to reduce the ARod contract in half.  Yes, cut it in half.  And give that half to a program that helps society get off this performance enhancing train.  Now, the player shouldn't even have to be forced into doing this; he should do it on his own.  But since I don't think many of us believe that most will do that.  Geez, they can't come up with a good apology.  Then I think for the good of baseball, and society, that a penalty of $125 million dollars might just do the trick.

Let's see, you do steroids and get caught ... you lose your good name, reputation, your records, a chance for the Hall of Fame, and $125 million dollars.  Now that's even real money to a sports star.

PS - Now let's get back to the real beauty of the sports and discuss the games, the records, the comparisons.  Well, maybe next year.

Best Deal of the Bargain Bin So Far

February 14, 2009 - Spring training is among us, and the free agents still on the shelf are dribbling into major league contracts.  When will you sign Manny?  But the best value so far, by far, is a player we were not the most enamored with while a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.  We were even pretty glad to see him go.  But Bobby Abreu is just what the Anaheim, sorry, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, were looking for, and they've gotten themselves the best deal of this free agent season.  Bobby Abreu is a perennial hitter.  Yes, he is getting older.  Yes, he can be somewhere between brutal and disinterested in the field.  To be fair, it's more like disinterested.  But he is a professional hitter, every year, and he knows how to take a pitch.  One sneaky little truth about the Angels last year while they were winning all those games, ... most of their hitters don't take pitches, i.e. Torii Hunter or Vlad.  They don't walk. So there's not a whole lot of folks on base.  That will not be the case with Abreu.  You'll see Abreu trotting home with a boatload full of runs if they bat him in front of Vlad.

At $5,000,000 for a season, with incentives that could raise it above $6m, the Angels have jumped at a half price sale.  No, Bobby was not worth the three years and the $48m it is rumored he was looking for.  But he was worth north of $10 million per season for three or four years.  Look out Disneyland, this could be the final piece in the puzzle, as long as the pitching holds out, that could get the Angels a playoff series win.  And I wouldn't be too surprised if you didn't see Abreu playing in the mix at first base, as well as left field.  That would remove a lot of our trouble with Bobby in the field, where he often wasted his good speed with bad jumps and an over 50 softball player's affinity for going half speed.

Adam Dunn and the Nationals.  While his two year contract isn't the half price sale that Abreu's deal in California is, it is a significant signing by an organization who truly hasn't taken advantage of a new ballpark, but his is a step in the right direction.  In fact, it's a step that could push Washington closer to a season out of the basement.  If the Nationals pick up a player or two from the remaining free agent class, i.e. one of the Orlando's, or even take a flyer that Pedro has something left in the tank, there might be a run at the Marlins for fourth place.  Of course, the Marlins might pull one of their youth movement seasons together again and challenge for the pennant.  Or maybe not.  There's that other team in Florida that is more likely to play in that arena.

Alex Rodriguez, Steroids, and 103 More

February 11, 2009 - Now I want to know.  I want to know the names of the one hundred and three other players who were so stupid, that not only they took an illegal substance to cheat their way into the record books, or to a better contract, or just to the major leagues, and even though they knew that testing was coming, kept up with it.  That stupidity, if nothing else, negates their rights to privacy.  And we alll know, that right was breached the moment Balco and the federal investigation came into play. And I want to know, because I'm tired of the dribs and drabs of not knowing who was involved and the start of the next baseball season being tarred and feathered with a story about the steroid ball era.  Let's get this out in the light of day, take our final measure of the situation as far as what it meant to that tainted era of baseball, then move forward.  Oh, I know, the 103 more won't be a definitive list.  It will only contain those stupid ones; there were others who had done things before, and probably after, but had stopped before the test.  Yes, there probably were.  And that's why I'm proposing a final call and policy to account for this.

Steroid Admittance Plan - In concert with legal authorities, offer amnesty to all players, including the 103, Barry Bonds, Miguel Tejada, Roger Clemens, etc., that if they come clean to what they did and when they did it, we will not prosecute, if that comes up, and we will not penalize their careers in baseball in the future.  But why would they come forward if not already caught?  The penalty for not coming forward is possible prosecution, and if found out by baseball below a legal situation, they would be barred, not only from the Hall of Fame, but working in baseball ever again.

Once we know what, when, who, and what affect it likely had, then baseball can decide what to do about its records.  Baseball Writers can decide, with more complete information, whether any of these guys deserve induction into Cooperstown.  As for the records, at the minimum, if the suspicions for those involved hold up, the Home Run records revert back to Hank Aaron and Roger Maris.  I don't think that's too tough a deal to strike.  It's only fair, and right, and just.  No asterisk. They're gone, pushed off to the side.  Not unlike the World Record by Ben Johnson in the Olympic Games.  Not unlike a horse who wins a race, then is DQD for some infraction of his jockey.  Not unlike a high school who used an ineligible player, then had to forfeit the game.

Now to Alex Rodriguez.  He has now admitted that he did performance enhancing drugs, even if he didn't know what they were, for a period of time, ... he says 2001-3, so that he could justify his contract.  Well, there was no justifying that contract or his new one, for that matter.  And Mr. Hicks ought to ask for some of that money back, and so should the Yankees.  His stats, which they based the money on, weren't the real ones, after all.

Now whether we believe that he used performance enhancing drugs before or after his stint with the Texas Rangers or not is another story.  But he has no doubt now joined those on the list of admitted cheats, with more than a few on the think they did it, but have no proof.  And his chase of Hank Aaron's 755 home runs has been painted with a steroid brush, tainted forever.  But if we believe his timetable, just how much should he be docked, if at all, for that time period.

Totals for 3 Year Periods, Before, During, After

1998-2000  SEA  125 HR, 367 RBI, 68.542 PEVA Player Rating
2001-2003  TEX  156 HR, 395 RBI, 76.868 PEVA
1998-2000  NYA  119 HR, 357 RBI, 72.912 PEVA

During these three time frames, the park factors at SEA and NYA had an average of 98, while Texas averaged 107.3.  If you take these into account, a cursory study of, for example, the adjusted Home Run totals, would look somethiing like this.  SEA 127.55, TEX 145.39, NYA 121.43.  If you average the three years before and after, you can deduct, that Alex Rodriguez hit 20.9 more home runs during his admitted steroid years than he would have without them, or 13.4% more.  Now, a more detailed look would have to include age and other factors.  Rodriguez was 26-28 during those years in Texas, which most people consider the prime years for production.  But it's a start, folks.

We'll stop our rant here and won't hold our breath for the Steroid Admittance Plan we've proposed.  But I do want to know.  I want to know those 103 more names, and the names of all the others.  I want to know if I should really consider Greg Maddux for the top of the era's pitcher list, or whether Randy Johnson should jump ahead of Roger Clemens.  At least you can't cheat height.  Well, I don't think you can yet.  And maybe Jeff Bagwell is the best hitter of the era, not McGwire, Sosa, or Bonds.  ... Or maybe not.  It's time to clear up that question.

Update: Ben Sheets, Durability, and Why The BE Player Rating System Values It So Much

February 6, 2009 - Well, it surely didn't take too long.  Even before he could sign a contract, Ben Sheets has been put back on the shelf with an injury that looks like it could prevent Sheets from playing this season.  And that brings us to the topic of the day.  Why is durability important in shelling out a baseball contract and why should Major League general managers think of it more often, or highly, when they do?

Now any player can get injured.  It's a physical game, not up to the level of football or hockey, perhaps, but baseball is still a physical game.  But some players get injured more often.  And some players get injured enough that they don't play full seasons, even though the injuries are not up to the level of costing them season long trips to the injured reserve list.  And that's why some statistics, really popular ones by sabermetrics fans today such as OPS and OPS+ can't be used as a guru to value, at least without considering whether that value was attached to durability.

The PEVA player rating stat developed by uses durability as a highly measured factor.  In fact, one-third of the entire player rating is based on use, durabilty to us.  How do we measure durability or use and do we forgive a player who gets injured once?  We measure durability by grading each player on a scale between the maximum and average values of two categories.  For a pitcher, the first category is Games or Games Started, giving precedent in the factor to Games Started; the second category is Innings Pitched.  For a batter, the categories are Games Played and Plate Appearances.  These two factors provide a girth to the PEVA Player Grade and helps make it solid.  We think that's important.  The remainder of the factors that go into making the Player Rating comb the more sexy stuff for stat geeks; yes, ... OBP and SLG (OPS for your folks, although we count it even more highly than adding the two together), Run Production, etc.

It matters, folks, whether a player is on the field, because, in simple terms, he can't help his team win if he's sitting the pine, for whatever reason.  And you certainly don't want to give him a contract that could harm your club down the line if his history tells you there's a good probability he won't give you innings or at bats.  But yes, because the Player Rating system had at its core mission to mirror the way real baseball values its player, using Player Salaries as its constant, we do forgive some injuries in a way.  We do this by using two averages of the past several seasons, by reaching back to years when injuries didn't come into play.  But we do not forgive the injury in a single season by discounting that it happened; and that's what we're seeing in baseball contracts given out recently, albeit not in the case of Ben Sheets because the injury came up before he could sign the dotted line.
Bargain Basement Sale at Free Agent Roundup

February 4, 2009 - Step right up, MLB general managers.  With only two weeks to go until spring training, we might just be seeing a bargain basement sale at the free agent roundup this season.  And oh, we're not talking about the bottom of the barrel players, folks.  Some real juicy treats that will look real good in a uniform and could help a team toward making the playoffs.  We're talking the likes of Bobby Abreu, Ben Sheets, Orlando Hudson, and Albert Dunn, just to name a few.  Players who bat over .300, win gold gloves, smash 40 homers, and when healthy, are legitimate number one starters.  

There is talk that some of these players will be lucky to get one year deals, and deals in the neighborhood of $10 million dollars.  Now, that neighborhood sounds pretty good to most folks, but as the end of last season came around, you know that Dunn, Abreu, and Sheets were looking north of $15 miillion dollars for multi-year deals.  There's some talk that the $10 million dollar number may be the maximum out there, too.

But what are these players really worth, and will they truly be a bargain at the number they sign for.

Case One - Bobby Abreu.  Remarkably consistent player with the bat, but with a penchant to take time off in the field.  At 34 years of age, there's some dimunition of his ability, but not a whole lot, and the team that signs Abreu pretty much knows what they're going to get.  15-20 HR, 100 RBI, 0.280 to 0.300 BA with a good OBP.  In normal economic times, he'd be looking for a 4 year contract worth around $55 million.  And the Stat Geek Baseball SPRO model says that he's worth $12,978,000 for 2009.

PEVA 2008 - 13.952, PEVA 2007 - 13.538, PEVA 2006 - 21.124

Case Two - Adam Dunn.  Only 29 year old at the beginning of 2009, this OBP and HR machine can be an up and down ride during the season, but he's going to give you pop.  40 HR each year from 2005-8, between 92 and 106 RBI in that span.  He'd look pretty good in a Dodger, National, or any uniform.  He strikes out a ton and doesn't hit for average, but if you've already go a number #4 hitter in your lineup and need a #5 with power, Dunn is your man.  In normal economic times, he'd be getting a 4 year contract in the $45 million range.  And the Stat Geek Baseball SPRO model says that he's worth $10,776,000 for 2009.

PEVA 2008 - 12.781, PEVA 2007 - 13.734, PEVA 2006 - 10.621

Case Three - Orlando Hudson.  This slick fielding second sacker has been going a bit downhill for the last three years, but is still just over the 30 year old line.  If you've got a good lineup already and need steady play up the middle, you could be looking for Hudson.  For Arizona in 2008, he batted 0.305, but had trouble staying on the field.  If he rebounds with good health for an entire season, this could be a real bargain.  But, and it's a big but, will the trend continue with downhill production or will he rebound. In normal economic times, he'd still be worth a 2 year contract in the $8.7 million zip code.  And the Stat Geek Baseball SPRO model says that he's worth $4,285,000 for 2009.

PEVA 2008 - 3.358, PEVA 2007 - 6.270, PEVA 2006 - 8.981

Case Three - Ben Sheets The player in this group of four with the biggest upside.  He could win you a big playoff game with no problem, or like last year, and others years, too, be sitting on the sidelines due to injury. At 30 years old and with a pedigree like this, teams in the past would be chomping at the bit for a player like this.  But his PEVA numbers look like a roller coaster and to pay long term for the bottom of the ride is tough to do this year.  In normal economic times, somebody would ante up a risk reward contract of 5 years and $56 million.  Doubtful this year though. And the Stat Geek Baseball SPRO model says that he's worth $10,412,000 for 2009.   This number could be approached, as the SPRO model takes durability into the equation in a significant way, but is lower than most predicted he'd get before now.

PEVA 2008 - 18.905, PEVA 2007 - 7.640, PEVA 2006 - 6.354

Boy, it's too bad the Yankees have already spent all their money.  Well, of course, that's not true.  They're probably just waiting for that other free agent out there, the one who turns down $25 million dollars in a bad economic climate, to fall into their lap.

Ryan Howard and Salary Arbitration

January 28, 2009 - We're going to go out on a limb here, ... Ryan Howard is not going to win his arbitration case this year.  He's just not.  Why not?  You thought the same thing last year and he walked away with a record first year arbitration player figure of $10,000,000.  Well, here's why not?  Even at that figure last year, the SPRO model would forward a free agent salary (the salary if Howard were a free agent in 2008, to $22,222,000).  That is within the parameters of a high value contract, within the salary structure of Major League Baseball.  If Ryan Howard were to win $18,000,000 in his second year of arbitration, Howard would be setting a precedent that baseball could not sustain.  His SPRO projection, if he were a free agent player in 2009, would be $30,000,000.  But Ryan Howard is not a $30 million per year player.  Ony one player even approaches that figure in today's reality, one Alex Rodriguez, (and that was prior to the economic downtown, even if one existed for a Yankee) he of the Hall of Fame career and a Gold Glove pedigree.  And while Ryan Howard is a great player, with one fantastic season behind him, and two other pretty darn good ones, he is 29 years old and nowhere near the Hall of Fame at this point.  Not that he won't get there, but we would be jumping pretty far down the path to state that now.

I know it sounds as if we're being unduly critical of Howard, but we're not.  As a power hitting first baseman in his first four seasons, his counting stat power numbers are fantastic, but they greatly outpace his OBP and SLG numbers.  What does that mean?  Well, it means that some of his counting stat numbers are due to the two fantastic, League MVP caliber players who bat in front of him, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley.  How many RBI would Howard get if he played for Kansas City?  Well, you say, that isn't truly fair, didn't Babe Ruth have a few good players around him, too, and isn't that true for Albert Pujols.  For sure.  But with the Babe or Al, not only were his counting stats through the roof, but his OBP and SLG not only keeps pace, but supercedes those counting numbers.  And we won't even get into the fielding problems, which are certainly there, because for a player as productive as Ryan, Al, or the Babe, nobody really cares or values them on that capability.

Howard's arbitration win last year has forced the issue of increased arbitration values, and the Phils, perhaps with a lot of foresight that should be credited to new GM Ruben Amaro, have submitted an arbitration number of $14 million.  That number will force the arbitrator to side with them.  In fact, that number is even a bit out of line from past arbitration values.  Howard is worth about $11 million right now as a 2nd year arbitration player, using past data, and would be worth a large contract according to SPRO if he were to sign long term, somewhere in the range of 7 years and $123 million.  Remember, there are three arbitration years in that figure plus four years of free agency, so take that into account when you compare it to the Teixeira contract at $22.5 million per for pure free agent years.

Ryan Howard will not win his arbitration case this year, at least according to us.  Now we'll have to see just whether we're right this year or not.

Ryan Howard
Name, Year, Team, Lg, HR, RBI, AVE., Age, PEVA

Howard Ryan 2004 PHI NL 2 5 0.282 25 0.200
Howard Ryan 2005 PHI NL 22 63 0.288 26 3.695
Howard Ryan 2006 PHI NL 58 149 0.313 27 35.507
Howard Ryan 2007 PHI NL 47 136 0.268 28 16.923
Howard Ryan 2008 PHI NL 48 146 0.251 29 19.227
Howard Ryan Total 177 499 0.279 75.552

* Age at end of year

To Sign Long Term or Not to Sign Long Term,
That is the Question for Arbitration Eligible Players

January 20, 2009 - To sign or not to sign, that is always the question.  To know when to sign long term is an even bigger dilemma for baseball players and general managers.  As arbitration eligible players mull this question through exchange day next week, we've been seeing many of the players in this category make this decision, of course, not by themselves, but with a cadre of agents, wives, psychics, and baseball execs.  Oh, and don't discount the wives or the psychics.  This isn't exact science or outside the realm of "take the money now, what if you get hurt" whispers in ears during bedtime conversations.

Let's take the case of Cole Hamels, for one instance.  A stellar talent, who at 24 years of age, had a regular season much better than some experts were stating, mostly due to a lower win total, 14, than he should have gotten, if not for the fault of a very good Phils bullpen who seemed to only hiccup when pitching after Cole.  And when Hamels was determined eleigible for Super Two Arbitration Eligible status, the game of sign long term or not sign long term was in the minds of all involved.  As you recall, Hamels followed up that regular season with one of the best postseason pitching performances in history.  In fact, #11, (see Best Postseason Pitching Years) pitching 35 innings to a 1.80 ERA and four wins.  But he's a bit of a dilemma beyond the performance, mostly due to an injury history, particularly in high school and the minor leagues, but a confidence and savvy on the mound that at one time had minor league scouts stating something along the lines of he'll either never make the major leagues (due to injury) or be Sandy Koufax once he gets there.  Well, last year, he was better than Sandy ever was at 24 years of age.

But now, how do you value that, and how long do you value it for.  If Cole Hamels were to sign a full length long term contract at this time, he is worth, in SPRO terms, a 6 year, $81,515,000 contract, paying him for the four years of arbitration that Hamels would be eligible for and two years of free agency.  But there were other options; the Phils and Hamels could have gone the Ryan Howard route, and trotted into the arbitration table and taken the chance on the arbitrator's decision.  But that is a gamble either way; in fact, perhaps more so for the player who could be leaving lots of dough on the table if his next year is marred by poor performance or injury.  Or they could choose the compromise route, which is where this ended, at a contract for 3 years and $20,500,000, leaving Hamels still eligible for one year of arbitration after the contract ends, and allowing both sides to negotiate the longer contract then.  Will that be the best option in the end?  Nobody really knows.  But it is likely better than option two, the arbitration table, especially with that wife urging bedtime stories that might include "take the money now, stupid, what if you get hurt

Henderson Gets Company in Hall of Fame Vote

Jim Rice In, Blylevin Still Out

January 12, 2009 - No big surprises came through in the voting announced today for the Baseball Hall of Fame, with swift outfielder Rickey Henderson inducted on his first try, while Jim Rice, the Boston leftfielder, gaining induction on his last, with 76.4% of the vote.  But once again, Bert Blylevin was on the outside of Cooperstown, looking in, despite a stellar pitching career, albeit on average to poor teams for most of his career.

There was no doubt to the election of Henderson, the all-time leader in steals and runs scored.  His 25 year career accumulated 331.490 PEVA Player Grade points, #27 All-Time among position players, averaging 13.260 per year, #94 All Time (among players with completed careers).  Henderson had 3,055 hits and an OBP of 0.401.  Jim Rice waited a long time for his induction, partially due to the debate over the length of his career and the fact that his accumulation stats were just below some important numbers; he hit 382 HR, not 400; he got 2,452 H, not 2,500.  But the impressive part about Rice (224.084 PEVA, #93rd All-Time) was the fact that in his relatively short career, his per season averages were high (14.005 PEVA per year, #77 All-Time among player who have finished their careers).  This is where Rice stands above some other players on the list with similar accumulation stats, including Andre Dawson and Dale Murphy.  But Dawson, who's BBWAA percentage has now risen to 67.0, is a likely inductee in years to come.

Once again, however, the love for Bert fell short.  Blylevin, with 287 wins, 242 complete games, and 3,701 strikeouts, came up just short with 62.7% of the ballots cast.  Blylevin, in our opinion, should be in the Hall of Fame.  He is getting left behind due to his 250 losses, due mostly to the ability of the teams he played on.  With 271.050 Career PEVA Player Grade points, 21st among all pitchers, and a per year average of 12.320, there is no doubt, in the opinion of, that Blylevin should be in.  Will he?  We think so, ... perhaps, like Rice, in the final years of his eligibility, or even from the Veterans Committee.  Mark McGwire continues to languish, garnering few votes each year.  The controversial slugger, mired in the question of performance enhancing substances, will likely be on the outside looking in, at least for the years to come.  It is doubtful that he will see election on the writer's ballot.  And we're fine with that.  If performance enhancing substances were involved in McGwire's best seasons, it is doubtful that his statistics would elect him to the Hall of Fame.  And for now, that is our criteria on a subjective basis.  Without a pure objective basis to go on, that's the way we'd approach it.

2009 BBWAA Hall of Fame Voting
(Name, Vote, Percentage)
Rickey Henderson, 511, 94.8%
Jim Rice, 412, 76.4%
Andre Dawson, 361, 67.0%
Bert Blylevin, 338, 62.7%
Lee Smith, 240, 44.5%
Jack Morris, 237, 44.0%
Tommy John, 171, 31.7%
Tim Raines, 122, 22.6%
Mark McGwire, 118, 21.9%
Alan Trammell, 94, 17.4%
Dave Parker, 81, 15.0%
Don Mattingly, 64, 11.9%
Dale Murphy, 62, 11.5%
Harold Baines, 32, 5.9%
Mark Grace, 22, 4.1%
David Cone, 21, 3.9%
Matt Williams, 7, 1.3%
Mo Vaughn, 6, 1.1%
Jay Bell, 2, 0.4%
Jesse Orosco, 1, 0.2%
Ron Gant/Dan Plesac/Greg Vaughn, 0
Note: 75% needed for election

Hall of Fame 2009 Candidates - Position Players
(Name, Career PEVA Player Grade, Rank)
Rickey Henderson, 331.490 PEVA, #27 All-Time Batters
(13.260 per)
Mark McGwire, 261.187 PEVA, #53 (13.364 per)
Andre Dawson, 230.234 PEVA, #84 (10.964 per)
Dale Murphy, 228.943 PEVA, #85 (12.719 per)
Tim Raines, 226.257 PEVA, #88 (9.837 per)
Jim Rice, 224.084 PEVA, #93 (14.005 per)
Dave Parker, 202.394 PEVA, #126
Don Mattingly, 193.054 PEVA, #141
Alan Trammell, 189.326, #151
Harold Baines, 188.522 PEVA, #157
Mark Grace, 156.827 PEVA, #246
Matt Williams, 149.951, #269
Jay Bell, 135.350 PEVA, #320
Mo Vaughn, 132.140 PEVA, #333
Ron Gant, 117.848 PEVA, #433
Greg Vaughn, 118.489, #429

Hall of Fame 2009 Candidates - Pitchers
Bert Blylevin,  271.050 PEVA, #21 All-Time Pitchers
(12.320 per)
Jack Morris, 194.913 PEVA, #46 (10.829 per)
David Cone, 185.152 PEVA, #52 (10.891 per)
Tommy John,  182.842 PEVA, #56 (7.036 per)
Lee Smith, 113.816 PEVA, #179
Jesse Orosco, 77.010 PEVA, #401
Dan Plesac, 64.797 PEVA, #503

Career Best Baseball Pitcher List
Career Best Baseball Player List
Shibe Park, Philadelphia,
Tale of Two Contracts

January 6, 2009 - After the two week lull of the holiday season when few contracts for free agents were announced, Monday saw an increase in activity as baseball teams sought to fill in the gaps in their rosters.  And it was two contracts, not two for the most coveted free agents on the market, not future Hall of Famer Manny Ramirez or even Adam Dunn, but two outfielders just below All-Star caliber that were close in ability in 2008 and far apart in so many other ways.

Pat Burrell, long-term left fielder for the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies was on borrowed time in the city he had called home for his entire career, even after commanding center stage at the parade down Broad Street.  He had been a fixture in the town, a solid, hardworking player who fans liked, albeit a player who had a habit of putting up very good numbers, think 30 HR and 90 RBI almost every year, but doing so in such a inconsistent basis within the year that his value dropped on the market.  Burrell was also, however, capable of carrying the team on his back for a month like the best in the game, see May/June of 2008 when he and Chase Utley overcame the poor start of Ryan Howard, and by the end of every season, had his 30/90, plus a great OBP and solid Player Grade (12.202 PEVA 2008).  But the writing on the wall became magic marker when Raul Ibanez was signed earlier in the offseason to a 3 year contract that Pat's days were done in Philly.  And yesterday he signed a 2 year $16 million contract with the World Series runnerups, the Tampa Bay Rays.  The contract was below what many thought his value, below the reported 2 year $22 million contract offered by Philadelphis in midseason.  And well below the 4 year $40.9 million contract the Stat Geek Baseball Salary Projection model thinks he is worth.  And by the end of those years, think he will prove he is worth.

Milton Bradley is somewhere between soup and nuts, but he is a baseball player with ability.  Unfortunately, it is ability wrapped in a package not too tightly wound, or too tightly wound, depending on your point of view.  But yesterday, the Chicago Cubs offered Bradley a 3 year contract for $30 million dollars.  This is a player who while playing in AA ball, got thrown out of a game while walking to the plate prior to the first pitch being thrown.  It takes a lot of soup and nuts to do that.  But in 2008, Bradley had his best year, with 22 HR and 77 RBI plus a 0.321 Batting Average, which calculated to a 13.810 PEVA Player Grade.  And he does have value, but just what is that value.  Bradley drives people crazy, has never put together two very good years in a row, and for the three seasons prior to last year, would not have been valuable to a team at all, beyond a reserve, don't count on me roll.  But the Cubs, desperate again, preferred Bradley over Burrell, as the entire baseball community did, paying him more.

Don't get us wrong, we still think Bradley is worth good money, $22,476 million over 3 years, not too far below what he got.  However, by the end of the next 2-3 years of these two contracts, we're thinking the more productive of the two players will be Burrell.  Yes, he's two years older, but a whole lot more consistent as a person and player from year to year.  Do we really think it's a coincidence that Bradley has now been a member of 7 different teams over his major league career while Burrell has been on one, which just won a World Series.  I don't think anyone thinks that, even the Cubs.

Pat Burrell, 32
2004 - 24 HR, 84 RBI, 0.257 BA, 6.837 PEVA
2005 - 32 HR, 117 RBI, 0.281 BA, 12.813 PEVA
2006 - 29 HR, 95 RBI, 0.258 BA, 11.542 PEVA
2007 - 30 HR, 97 RBI, 0.256 BA, 10.726 PEVA
2008 - 33 HR, 86 RBI, 0.250 BA, 12.202 PEVA

Milton Bradley, 30
2004 - 19 HR, 67 RBI, 0.267 BA, 8.542 PEVA
2005 - 13 HR, 38 RBI, 0.290 BA, 3.882 PEVA
2006 - 14 HR, 52 RBI, 0.276 BA, 4.350 PEVA
2007 - 2/11 13/30 0.292/0.313 (Split Season), 4.233 PEVA
2008 - 22 HR, 77 RBI, 0.321 BA, 13.810 PEVA

Article Blog 2008

Red Ruffing Pete Rose Leo Durocher Lefty Grove Ryan Howard

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