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2007 Lessons on Player Evaluation
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Infielders and DHs

Starting Pitchers

 

Who did we overrate – lesson to be learned?:

Harden – with elbow and back injuries in ’06, should have known shoulder was next?

A. Sanchez – when a 22 year old jumps from 136 innings to 200: RED FLAG!

Bonderman – 20 post season innings = 45 more innings than previous high at age 23?

Clemens – pitchers in their 40s are time bombs?

Rogers – expect D.L. time from 42 year olds, unluckily Rogers’ missed most of the year?

F. Garcia – who knew? 6 straight years of 200+ innings, then his arm seized

C. Lee – how do you predict an abdominal strain? sorry, no clues

D. Bush – ’06 career highs in Innings and in K & BB rates led to a tired arm?

Loaiza – most unpredictable pitcher in MLB – was even worse than ERA showed.

Millwood – history of minor injuries led to hamstring issues led to less control? bad luck, too

Matsuzaka – disappointment only compared to his hype; adjusting to MLB rotations?

Igawa – Japanese starters have more difficulty adjusting to Major League Baseball?

Mussina – all Yankees had hamstring problems; Mussina hit the wall at 38?

Hughes – hamstrings halved his expected inning total; very young or very old = high risk?

Adam Miller – already earned the “injury prone” label?

Sowers, Slowey, & Howell – need another trial or two before sticking?

Haeger – takes many years to master consistency with a knuckleball?

P. Martinez – shoulder surgery: “miss 3 or 4 months” is usually very optimistic?

Colon – rushed his return from rotator cuff surgery messing up his elbow and tricep?

 

Underrate:

Carmona – mid 5.00 ERAs disguise what by other stats indicated a rapidly improving SP?

Guthrie – somebody was bound to improve getting supervised by Leo Mazzone?

Bannister – in this case, minor league pitching stats trumped tepid scouting reports?

McGowan – high K & scouting reports finally paying off on 3rd MLB try?

Beckett – needs a year to adjust to a new league & climate as when he was a rookie?

Sabathia – rising K totals mean more than rising BB totals?

Lackey durable and still improving?

Meche – rising Ks, improved health, new team = new improved pitcher?

Marcum – adjusted to MLB on third trial?

Greinke – whatever his problem was, he is getting over it?

 

Relief Pitchers

 

Who did we overrate – lesson to be learned?:

Ryan – read reports about a pitcher’s delivery before you decide he is injury proof?

M. Rivera – he was 38, but really only suffered from an abnormally high BA/BiP?

J. Rincon – fell apart because I was cocky enough to protect him as a 2nd reliever?

Zumaya –21 year old rookie pitched 83 Ings. in 62 G; lucky it was just a worn finger?

Duchscherer – minor elbow injuries lead to hip or worse problems later?

Calero – A’s haven’t changed trainers, is it fair to blame them for sudden rush of injuries?

MacDougal – do not expect injury prone pitchers to suddenly become injury resistant?

Farnsworth –there is no Saberhagen Syndrome (every other year of excellence)?

Otsuka –rumor; Japanese relievers have shorter careers; he pitched well for 3 (was 35).

T. Gordon –shoulder problem at end of ’06 , then rotator cuff expiration in ’07 at age 39?

Ray – does being over-rated in the first place lead to elbow troubles?

Rodney – injury prone, but was coming off a healthy year in the spotlight?

 

Underrate:

Guerrier – unexpected improvement multiplied by lucky BA/BiP?

Betancourt – when fine relievers get lucky with BA/BiP, their ERAs vanish?

Okajima – Japanese relievers have an easier time adjusting? no .251 BA/BiP helps, too?

Papelbon – don’t believe rumors about moves to the rotation?

Riske – evidently back problems subsided?

Benoit – steadily improving towards potential?

Accardo – Blue Jays have one of the best pitching coaches in Arnsberg?

R. Perez – fine minor league pitcher who didn’t show well his first MLB stint in ’06?

Downs – another GB inducing Blue Jay taking advantage of McDonald & Hill?

CJ Wilson – foolish new contract – after a low BA/BiP and low HR/9 due to 68 Ing.?

Seay – anybody can have an outstanding “year” in just 46 innings?

 

 

Pitcher Summary:

 

In 2007 We Over-rated:

Pitchers with elbow, shoulder, or bicep problems lead to other problems?

Stay away from pitchers with a long history of injuries?

Pitchers over 38 get D.L.ed more and can lose their effectiveness suddenly?

Relievers can just break down for no apparent reason?

Don’t believe those overly optimistic injury recovery timetables?

Young pitchers really shouldn’t increase their MLB by more than about 35 Innings?

Japanese starters have more difficulty adjusting to the Majors than relievers?

The good year bad year Saberhagen Syndrome is not reliable?

 

In 2007 We Underrated:

Do your homework, do not just look at the ERA to see how well a pitcher is pitching?

Even very good pitching prospects need a 2nd or 3rd shot in the Majors before sticking?

Rising strikeout totals may foretell a pitcher’s improvement the following year?

Relievers are more subject to wild seasonal fluctuations in effectiveness?

Try to draft pitchers relievers on teams with the best pitching coaches? (Bos., Tor., Det., Min., Cle., and perhaps still L.A. in roughly that order of American League teams. K.C., Sea. and Tex. are much improved.)

 

In General:

Finishing the season with a strong August and September is meaningless.

 

Shortstops

 

Who did we overrate – lesson to be learned?:

M. Young – lesser defensive late blooming players age sooner?

Tejada – easing off the ‘roids?

Peralta – ’05 was an aberration?

Uribe – shortstops can have career years as 22 and 25? Shooting your help can be a drag?

Bo. Crosby – despite only 26, getting worse and getting hurt – run away?

Lugo – either you adjust well to Fenway or you adjust badly?

A. Berroa – overlook that he should be in his prime & notice he is steadily getting worse?

Zobrist – 183 AB and .573 O+S does not establish a player?

Wood – prospect with too many strikeouts per walk?

 

Underrate:

H. Ramirez – except when he was held back in AA, he is still rapidly improving?

C. Guillen – we should wipe out his Mariners era, and believe his higher BA/BIP rates?

O. Cabrera – better defensive players with low strikeout rates worth hanging onto?

Renteria – better defensive players during their 2nd year with a team a good bet?

B. Harris – just because he was traded for a player to be named later doesn’t mean we

                should ignore a heck of a season the previous year in AAA?

 

Secondbasemen

 

Who did we overrate – lesson to be learned?:

Barfield – high K, low BB regressed as a 24 year old and dominated by A.L. pitchers?

J. Lopez – high K, low BB regressed as a 23 year old & returned to normal low BA/BIP?

Kendrick – can’t overcome impatience in majors?

 

Underrate:

A. Cabrera – a 20 year old in AAA should not be sniffed at no matter how overmatched?

Polanco – one among many overachieving Tigers? hmmm

Br. Roberts – mentioned in the Mitchell report? hmmm

Ellis – as Roberts, a slick fielding injury recovered 29 year old having health & productivity

Grudzielanek – another good defensive player surpassing his hitting expectations?

 

Thirdbasemen

 

Who did we overrate – lesson to be learned?:

Chavez – stay away from players with tendonitis?

Crede – stay further away from players with bad backs?

Hillenbrand – bad fielders with bad attitudes don’t get breaks?

A. Marte – low BB high K guy downhill from his AA and AAA seasons at 20 & 21?

A. Gordon – sometimes rookies need an adjustment season?

Teahen – what was that about owning a skill? Never mind?

Inge – too many Ks per BB for a fourth good season in a row at 30?

 

Underrate:

A. Rodriguez – superstars keep finding ways to keep super?

Figgins – players with speed skills really do age better or just a lucky BA/BiP season?

Lowell – ideal for Fenway or just a BA/BiP freak in ’07?

 

Firstbasemen

 

Who did we overrate – lesson to be learned?:

Sexson – BA/BiP dropped completely out of sight to this 32 year old 1B. Rebound it wasn’t.

Overbay – huge drop in ’07 BA/BiP – that happens even to slick fielding 30 year old 1Bs?

Garciaparra – sudden drop in productivity from mid-season of ’06 just carried through?

Shelton – some managers don’t give a 2nd chance no matter how great a player’s spring?

 

Underrate:

C. Pena – minor league stats do mean something even after nearly 1700 AL ABs?

Kotchman – well, minor league stats must mean something after only 350 AL ABs?

Garko – the Indians have a great hitting coach?

 

Designated Hitters

 

Who did we overrate – lesson to be learned?:

Hafner – should hush about his wrists? should continue to bat in front of Victor?

Giambi – injuries (heel, foot), age (36), and lack of ‘roids having their affect?

Piazza – did not adjust to the AL? and at 39 the downhill speed has picked up?

Sweeney – back, elbow, wrist, oblique, and age (33) have taken their toll?

Gomes – after injury or being “solved”, wait till signs of life before re-investing?

Norton – yes, a career year at 33 (’06) is only that?

 

Underrate:

Cust – five organization discard finally got a shot; grab those AAAA players once they do?

D. Ortiz – God’s favorite player? Despite a high ’06 BA/BiP, Big Papi did even better in ’07.

 

Catchers

 

Who did we overrate – lesson to be learned?:

Mauer – catchers get banged up, so don’t count on consistent huge success from them?

R. Hernandez – overused and under-inspired?

Kendall – old (33-34), worn out (7 straight seasons of 143 G) and already headed downhill?

LaRue – apparently still not recovered from knee problem which dimmed his ’06 season?

 

Underrate:

Posada – his BA/BiP jumped 80 points at age 35-36! His LD% increased, but not by that.

 

Outfielders

 

Who did we overrate – lesson to be learned?:

V. Wells –193 O+S drop! overly secure new contract, torn labrum,  or -48 points BA/BiP?

Sizemore – in 3rd MLB year at 24, the pitchers catch up as the improvements slow down?

Damon – playing hurt takes its toll? 33 year old defensively below avg. CFs get moved?

Matthews –was lucky and in Arlington in ‘06’s? plus new contract = no syringes?

Baldelli – bad hamstring can wipe out an entire season!?

DeJesus – no lesson here, he just had a very unlucky year with his 40+ point drop in BA/BiP?

Crisp – fingers not the same since broken? leaving Cleveland’s hitting coach is bad?

Kotsay – bad backs can lead to spring training surgery wiping out two-thirds of the season?

Abreu – going downhill, but we didn’t notice in ’06 due to an inflated BA/BiP?

JD. Drew – all his injuries have left their toll?

Dye – .48 rise in BA/BiP at age 32 = unrealistic expectations at 33?

Gibbons – used HGH, then coasted back to uselessness over the last 2 seasons?

Nixon – keep it simple: just don’t draft guys with bad backs until the very end of the draft?

Dellucci – slow healer is code for doesn’t take steroids? - lost job due to hamstring surgery

Wilkerson – bad shoulder made him worse in ‘05 at age 27/28, then continued downhill?

N. Cruz – avoid these guys with high K:BB after they reach the majors?

Re. Johnson – dirty shirt types get herniated disks more often? 50 point inflated ’06 BA/BiP?

Monroe – Ks increased by over 30% in ’06 – was that an omen for his ‘07 .150 drop in O+S?

Kielty – takes 7 mo. to fully recover from his torn meniscus surgery? came alive in W.S.

Lind – if a job doesn’t open for a prospect, does it kill motivation or indicate he’s not ready?

R. Sweeney – rapid ascension reversed at 22: a bit of many reasons: luck, talent, W:K, org.?

B. Anderson – has not improved since he was 23 in 2005 due to small W:K?

 

Underrate:

M. Ordonez – magic Tiger cream or a 68 point BA/BiP rise? ‘07/’08 Ordonez = ‘06/’07 Dye?

Granderson – at 26, still improving? - particularly in power; a high BA/BiP also helped?

B.J. Upton – with a .399 BA/BiP, he wasn’t this good, but heed the wisdom of the scouts?

Suzuki – at 33 no sign of decline, yet – plus, he just had one of his luckier years?

M. Byrd – each 1st year in a league, he is really good? (lucky, too?) the opposite of Drew.

Lofton – speedy guys in great shape just don’t lose their skills, even at 40!?

T. Buck – good to by ranked high by TPA, MLB.com, Prjt. Prspt., BA, and Sickels? Injury mess?

F. Gutierrez – Indians not afraid to play younger superior player over older declining ones?

Willits – CFs who hit .448 OBA in the PCL and .411 in his 45 ABs in the AL get the first shots?

D. Murphy – 3 years in New England minors, this Texan rode high in the Rangers’ saddle?

Raburn – AAAA 2B can become an outstanding 5th OF on the Tigers w/ .376 BA/BiP?

T. Perez – only 90 ABs, but even this Tiger hit way over his head – by over .400 O+S! -

                 Buy all Tigers!?

 

Position Player Summary:

 

In 2007 We Over-rated:

players with chronic injuries especially bad backs and possibly hamstring problems, too

players with low BB:K

players coming off career BA/BiP

older players on their way downhill

former steroid users

borderline starters without much promise

overused catchers

 

In 2007 We Underrated:

players who take great physical care of themselves – especially speedy ones?

good defensive players

good AAA hitters

highly hyped struggling young MLB players

Detroit Tigers - and Cleveland Indians, too, in their first year as a starter

John Carter