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The 2015 Mets: From :/ to ? (A love/hate story that may or may not involve them making a trade.)

Newsflash: The 2015 Mets have been pretty awful the last 8 weeks.

Now, let me assert that it’s all about the offense. The offense is the reason that they’ve lost more games than they should have, and the offense will be the reason behind whatever happens from here through the end of the year.

Let’s get some context before digging through the sewage. (Note: These stats were gathered over the course of several days during this fourth week of June. As such, the individual OPS numbers may be off a little due to lag time between research, editing, and writing. They are also becoming more obsolete with every passing day, as we all are.)


Above is the National League average OPS from 2013-2015 split by batting order spot, with more weight given to 2015 and the least weight given to 2013. I’ve combined the #8 & #9 spots because of the now-known trend of batting the pitcher 8th sometimes. Only position player hitting is included here (Sorry, Thor). Then I just re-ordered the exact same list from most-productive spot in the lineup (the #3 hitter) to the least-productive spot.

Next, I’m going to present some numbers that will be fairly self-explanatory, though you can click here if you need a primer on ZiPS projections.

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Four Thoughts On Steroid Testing

Steroids in baseball and the possible changes to the current policy? Here’s what I think of the things sportswriters are proposing:

  • I don’t mind stiffer penalties but I don’t agree with banned for life on first offense. I mean it’s one thing if you’re a serial cheater like A-Rod, but what about a guy that stupidly screwed up what supplement he was taking? He deserves to be punished, yes, because it’s his responsibility to make sure he’s not screwing up, but taking his entire career away? I don’t agree with that and never will. So 1st offense, for me, can be anywhere from 50 to 162 games. I’m probably cool with a lifetime ban for a second offense.
  • Demanding increased testing in the offseason is kind of ignorant. I mean, it sounds good in theory but I don’t think it can actually be done if you stop to think about it. How are you going to collect players’ urine in 20 different countries? How can you trust a urine sample collected in one of the countries where players have been found to have forged birth certificates? How do you in good conscience send sample collectors to “The Kidnap Capital of Latin America” aka Venezuela?
  • I am against contract voiding and always will be. The owners are members of the wealthiest 1% of this country – a population littered with white-collar crooks of all types. I would never allow them the even remote possibility that if they wanted to shave money off their payrolls by targeting bad contracts (e.g. Ryan Howard) they could do something shady to make that happen.
  • Due process appeal rights need to remain intact as-is.

2013 Draft (#11 Overall)

Dominic Smith

06/15/1995 (17y11m) 6’0″ 195

“Mets select Smith with 11th overall pick” by Adam Rubin

“Mets stick with M.O., draft high school bat Smith” by Anthony DiComo

“A New Life for the Mets Prospect Dominic Smith” by Billy Witz

Phillies Hypocrisy, Part 743

What Moneyball Is (and Is Not)

I read an article recently by Andrew Wharton on MetsBlog that said the following:

… My initial reaction was to blame Sandy Alderson for not bringing in adequate talent that followed the Moneyball formula: high on-base (OBP) and slugging percentage (SLG), and low strikeout rates. But upon further inspection …

God, I hated that article for how much it fundamentally misunderstands “Moneyball.” I wrote him an e-mail (well, first I Tweeted at him and he asked me to e-mail him so it’s not like I just flew off the handle, everybody) and what follows below is most of what it said:


The “Moneyball Formula” was not about OBP and SLG. It was basically all about WAR vs. salary. In 2002, Scott Hatteberg put up a 2.9 WAR as a $900,000 free agent. That’s ~$310,000 per WAR. For comparison, here’s some 2002 players’ WAR & salary:
Tim Salmon: 3.1, $10,000,000 AAV = ~$3,225,000 per WAR
Mike Piazza: 3.7, $13,000,000 AAV = ~$3,500,000 per WAR
Johnny Damon: 4.0, $7,750,000 AAV = ~$1,937,500 per WAR
Gary Sheffield: 4.9, $10,166,667 AAV = ~$2,075,000 per WAR
Jason Giambi: 6.6, $17,142,857 AAV = ~$2,600,000 per WAR
The league average was ~$2,800,000 per WAR.

So Hatteberg represented an 80-90% discount on services rendered vs paid compensation. THAT’S what Moneyball was about. It was about finding something good that nobody could see was right in front of them and being able to get it for a bargain-basement price. That’s why Chad Bradford is a perfect Moneyball player. The guy produced excellent results in the White Sox system but he didn’t have velocity or strikeouts or physique or whatever else so Billy Beane was able to pick the Sox’ pocket for Bradford (the A’s didn’t even have to send the useless Miguel Olivo to Chicago until almost a week later) and he only had to be paid league-minimum.

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These Mets Are Terrible

They have the worst combined over/under of wRC+ and ERA- from 1973 to 2013.

Ruben Tejada is the worst-hitting SS the team has had from 1973 to 2013.

Ike Davis is the worst-hitting 1B the team has had from 1973 to 2013.

Davis is the worst hitting player the team has had from 1973 to 2013, and Tejada is the 3rd-worst.

Of the six worst FIP pitching seasons by SPs from 1973 to 2013, Jeremy Hefner is 3rd-worst, Dillon Gee is 5th-worst, and Jon Niese is 6th-worst.

This is …

(h/t to my buddy D.A. for kvetching during the game tonight to inspire the focus to put this misery into numbers.)

“The Mets 2013 Outfield” or “@CrashburnAlley Never Proved His Point”

Got into a Twitter debate with Bill Baer from Crashburn Alley. If you read through this thread, he never does acknowledge that he never statistically proved his conclusion. And for the record, Mark Simon of ESPN concluded, using the same ZiPS info that Baer was using, that the Mets’ OF in 2013 should produce the exact same OPS as in 2012, therefore making it neither better nor worse.

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Michael Bourn: 4y/$48M

The Michael Bourn Dilemma, as viewed through the Buster Olney Rule

So, like many other Mets fans recently, I’ve been contemplating the ramifications of the Mets (hypothetically) signing Michael Bourn to a $15M contract. Some pros and cons …

At first I was against it because he’s 30 and I was under the impression that speed guys age badly because guys age 30 or older are rarely ranked towards the top of stolen base leaders. However, I found evidence compiled by Jeff Zimmerman sayingthat the WAR of speed guys actually retains good value post-30: So I was thinking, “Maybe signing this guy isn’t that bad an idea.”

I made a full swing in favor of it after seeing that Fangraphs says he’s been worth ~$22M/yr for the last four years and even in the worst of those years (2010 & 2011) he was still worth over $18M.

However, I think I’ve finally settled on giving a thumbs-down to the possibility because of what I call the “Buster Olney Rule.” Last winter, while Olney was answering a mailbag question, I stumbled across this:

From the mailbag

Note: I wrote the other day that, generally speaking, spending 15 percent of your payroll on one player is probably something teams would shy away from.

Q: The 15% rule is a good one, Buster, but it’s not enough. The real rules are: no one player more than 15%; no two more than 25%, no three more than 33%, no four more than 40% and no six more than 50%. It’s how you go about constructing a roster.

Greg, L.A.

A: Greg: Generally speaking, I’d bet there are a whole lot of general managers who agree with you.

So let’s take a look at a hypothetical roster using math that conforms to ~$112M payroll, the average 2012 playoff payroll (via Cot’s): Read more…

2012 Draft (#12 Overall)

Gavin Cecchini

12/22/1993 (18y5m) 6’1″ 180

“Mets draft La. prep SS, Purdue catcher” by Adam Rubin

“Mets take Gavin Cecchini with 12th overall pick in MLB Draft” by Andy McCullough