Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Modeling a deal for Pablo Sandoval

The Giants rotund third baseman is coming to the end of his contract. The Giants want to keep him for the right price, Sandoval wants to stay for the right price. The two parties opinion of that right price seems to be miles apart at the moment.

So I thought this presented a great opportunity to take a look what the market price might be for a free agent Pablo Sandoval.

Over at Bay Area Sports Guy, I ran all the numbers based on the free agent signings made over the winter, here is the conclusion that I came to:
Now there are a number of caveats that need to be made and missing information that is not taken into account with this model. The issues include: his age, weight, injury issues, positional scarcity at third base, the lack of internal options to replace him and his work ethic, many of these were covered by Steve in his post that he wrote on the contract situation. The potential big one that isn't included is what a qualifying offer might do to his value if he waits until next season to sign, we have seen this already really change the markets for middle tier free agents over the past two winters and Sandoval could end up in that camp if he underperforms or gets injured this season. 
With all of the above taken into account, I think if the Giants want to make a deal to keep Sandoval they will need to come a lot closer to the numbers that the model suggests. Giants management might not be comfortable with the dollar figures but if they want to keep their third baseman they will need to pay up.
Read the whole thing, I think it is worth your time.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tim Lincecum learns to pitch to contact

Tim Lincecum’s calling card has always been his elite strikeout ability. Since he broke into the majors he has never failed to strikeout at least 23% of the batters that he has faced. From 2007 to 2013 no other starting pitcher has a higher strikeout percentage. Only Justin Verlander has more strikeouts, but Verlander has an extra 13 starts and just a 30-strikeout lead.

Yet this spring the strikeouts have just about disappeared.
It is tough to read too much into spring stats, but the drop in strikeouts is very noticeable. With strikeout rate being one of the first pitching stats to stabilize, his change in approach is interesting and a stark departure from his career numbers or even his previous spring training stats.
For comparison I went back and calculated his strikeout rates from springs past:
2013: 21.1%
2012: 14.7%
2011: 28.0%
2010: 25.4%
2009: 23.3%
2008: 21.6%
2007: 23.3%
The only real departure was in 2012, when his strikeouts dipped below 20%. But he still managed a K/9 above six during that spring, more than twice what he has done this spring. In general he has produced a lower strikeout rate in the spring than the regular season, but never has it been close to this low.
Read the whole thing.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Giants Links for 3/14/14

It's Friday and that means it's time for some links. Here is the best of the best from around the web:

Giants Links:

Vogelsong scraps new mechanics and reaps benefits, Susac shines in tie with Rangers (BASG):

Vogelsong was apparently trying to copy a few things from Clayton Kershaw but the results just weren't there, so last night he reverted back to his old mechanics to much better results. A sample size of one won't tell us anything but it is a positive that the results were better last night. I sure hope that he bounces back to somewhere near his 2011-2012 form.

Searching for Impact Talent (You Gotta Love These Kids):

Impact talent in the minor leagues is not plentiful and it is heavily concentrated in the front part of the draft. Considering all of that the Giants are doing pretty well for themselves.

Brandon Belt talks about dealing with the crazy expectations of Giants fans and the crazy minority that always seem to be disappointed with him for some reason or another. 

Baseball Links:

A very cool, blue sky style imagining of what a baseball stadium might look like in the future.

This would be a nice blueprint for the Giants to follow. They have the money to go get the players that they really want but not quite enough to go crazy like say the Yankees or Dodgers. I think that Brian Sabean has done an underrated job of maximizing the assets that he has on hand and if the Giants are to continue to be successful that will need to continue. 

I know that this will come as a huge surprise but the Giants pitching depth is not the greatest, based on this they come in 21st place. The one wild card that isn't included would be if the Giants bypassed both Michael Kickham and Yusmeiro Petit and took a chance on the higher upside of Edwin Escobar even though he has less high minors/major league experience.

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