Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Prince Fielder Comps

I don't have much new to add to the Prince Fielder hubbub, but I did crunch a bunch of numbers to average what his top 10 similar batters through the age of 27 did in the next nine years of their careers. The numbers reflect what everyone except Mike Ilitch expects: two or three more highly productive years followed by a sharp decline during the bulk of the insane nine year contract. I expect Fielder to outperform the average of his comps by a bithe has averaged 4.4 fWAR over the last five seasons, so it would be reasonable to expect similar production for the next couple of years, whereas his comps project just a 3.3 WAR in 2012 and '13. Fielder has been incredibly durable so far in his career, and his comps don't keep up with his playing time (of course, he probably won't be able to either). Still, I would hate to have the last five or six years of that contract looming over my team's future. The problem for the Royals of course is that Fielder's remaining productive years may overlap with what is the Royals hoped for window.

Here is the boring explanation of the below numbers: The top is Fielder's actual career to date, and the bottom is the average of his top 10 comps. To get the WAR numbers, I took the OBP & SLG of his comps and plugged them into this spreadsheet. I set the league average wOBA to .325, and rated Fielder at -5 UZR/150 at first base for each season (which is kind since he has been a -6.4 over his career and should only get worse). I also plugged the numbers in at DH, but it turned out WAR came out almost exactly the same for a -5 UZR/150 first baseman as for a DH. The last line totals the age 28-36 average seasons of his comps.

So nothing earth shattering here. Fielder joining the division is probably bad news for the Royals in the short term and good news in the long term.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Royals & A's Defense Independent Perfect Games

My main strength as a blogger is finding cool ideas from other people and applying them to the Royals. The latest such idea to tickle my fancy is defense independent perfect games (DIPG), as dreamed up by David Wishinsky. He defined a DIPG as a nine inning game with no walks or home runs allowed. As suggested by Tom Tango, zero hit-by-pitches should also probably be included, which I have for my lists below. I have also included eight inning complete DIPG, of which there have been six in Royals history. There is yet to be an extra inning DIPG by a Royals player. There have been 96 regular season DIPG by the Royals, or about 2.2 per season. They have gotten more rare as complete games have; In the 2000s, there have been nine DIPG, or only .75 per season. No Royals pitcher pulled the trick in 2010 or '11.

Zack Greinke's insane start in 2009 shows up with four DIPG between April 18 and May 26. He only had eight starts in that span.

Kevin Appier might be the best pitcher in team history, but he only had one DIPG, and it came in an eight inning loss. Bret Saberhagen pulled the trick an impressive 15 times in the regular season, plus once in a pretty memorable World Series game seven.

Most DIPG games:

16: Bret Saberhagen
10: Mark Gubicza
7: Dennis Leonard
7: Larry Gura
6: Al Fitzmorris
5: Dick Drago

The team's record in DIPG is 84-12. Saberhagen took four of the losses. 

Tom Tango also suggested making the definition stricter by requiring 13 strikeouts in an eight inning game and 15 K in a nine inning game (the reasoning behind those numbers being that the pitcher would have a 0.00 FIP for the game). No Royals player has reached that height. It has only happened 12 times since 1919 in all MLB. The most strikeouts a Royals pitcher has had in a DIPG is 10; Greinke did it twice, Mark Gubicza once and Rich Gale once.

The Royals have been on the wrong end of a DIPG 99 times; Catfish Hunter, Jimmy Key, and LaMarr Hoyt lead the way with three DIPG against the Royals each--except Hunter did it again in the '76 ALCS, the only pitcher to do it vs. the Royals in the playoffs.

The full list of Royals and KC A's DIPGs after the jump.

Monday, January 2, 2012

80-82: Some Early 2012 Projections

I've been having fun with a cool spreadsheet developed by Jeff Zimmerman that allows you to plug in expected playing time and performance for a full team and an expected win-loss record is spit out. Check out Jeff's post about it here. I've entered in my current guesses for the 2012 Royals (subject to change, but informed by past performance, Bill James projections, fan projections on Fangraphs, and my gut), and the magic spreadsheet says 80-82. As you can see, I'm not bullish on the pitching. Many of the hurlers have potential to put together better years than I've entered, but their track records don't inspire confidence. See any projections you think are way off?