In Sports on December 17, 2014 at 10:40 am
By: Brian Mangan
The Mets, and General Manager Sandy Alderson, have simply not done enough to make sure that the 2015 team, which is close, can make a serious run at the playoffs. Given the strong state of the franchise, the strong minor league system, and the team’s favorable position with regard to existing player contracts, to essentially stand pat isn’t acceptable.
As a fan, I am conflicted. On one hand, I believe that the Mets were a little better than their record last year, and that they didn’t need to do very much this offseason in order to improve themselves to the point where they might hang around the fringes of the playoff race. I also believe that it is better to stand pat than make a stupid signing or lose big in a trade simply to make one. However, it is very frustrating as a fan to feel like the organization is “on the cusp,” in Sandy’s words, yet be either unwilling or unable to make a move to make the team into something great.
The “window” of contention in MLB can be a small and capricious thing. Sometimes a team thinks that it is set up to contend for a decade, only to take a step back the next season — just look at the 2013 Washington Nationals. Sure, the Nationals returned to the playoffs in 2014, but you can’t just bank on things working out in the future. Therefore, when an opportunity presents itself, a team must be cautiously aggressive but must pursue it.
In Sports on December 11, 2014 at 10:36 am
By: Brian Mangan
Let’s play the Player A, Player B game for a moment.
- Player A, last 3 seasons: .265/.311/.341, 652 OPS, 85 OPS+
- Player B, last 3 seasons: .255/.318/.348, 667 OPS, 84 OPS+
- Player A: 26 years, 233 days old, 1st year arb-eligible.
- Player B: 29 years, 200 days old, 2nd year arb-eligible.
Not too much of a difference.
- Player A, 162 game average: 64 SB, 19 CS, 77% success.
- Player B, 162 game average: 44 SB, 11 CS , 80% success.
Okay, last thing.
- Player A has 1,244 innings at second base, -3.0 UZR, -3.1 UZR/150.
- Player B has 2,336 innings in the outfield, +5.2 UZR, +3.1 UZR/150 and also has time at second base, where in 368.1 innings he is a positive defender, +0.7 UZR, +1.8 UZR/150.
In Sports on December 9, 2014 at 11:24 am
By: Brian Mangan
In saber circles, it has long been common knowledge that relievers, especially closers, are overpaid. Closers pitch around 70 to 80 innings a year, but can recieve starter-level money on the market. How can a pitcher that throws around 1/3 the innings of a starter — and so many of them in low-leverage, three-run lead situations — possibly be as valuable as a pitcher that takes the ball every fifth day and ends the year with 210 or more innings?
The truth is, a closer would generally have to be much, much more valuable on a per-inning basis to justify getting paid a lot, and for many years, the known market inefficiency was that closers were overpaid.
But here’s the thing with markets: they are cyclical. Things that are overvalued get identified, and their value tends to drop. Things that are undervalued get identified — like the market inefficiency of on-base percentage, explained in Moneyball — and their value rises. Indeed, studies have shown that on-base percentage went from undervalued to properly valued, if not overvalued relative to other skills.