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17 Nov 2020 17:19:42
Cool to see run-of-the-mill GM Rick Hahn finish 2nd in MLB's Executive of the Year award, only behind LA's Andrew Freidman and right in front of Tampa's Erik Neander.

Very nice recognition to back up Sporting News' choice that had him #1.

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18 Nov 2020 17:30:18
The White Sox:

Second best in their own division (the worst division mind you)
Second best baseball team in their own city.

I guess, if you're a White Sox fan, it's fun to be second place! At least you're aware of where your team stands.

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18 Nov 2020 18:04:02
So we have:

1. "Second best in their own division" - Maybe, but that's because the Twins are a solid team and the Indians are very, very well ran, especially given their budget constraints. The White Sox will be the betting favorite in 2021 in the AL central.

2. " (the worst division mind you) " - If you think the AL central is worse than the AL West, NL Central or NL East, you simply do not know baseball. Even the NL West only has 2 good teams - The AL central has 3 good teams and 2 other with promising futures. The NL West has the Giants, DBacks, and Rockies - woof.

3. "Second best baseball team in their own city. " - In no way are the current White Sox worse than the current Cubs. It's just a moronic statement at this point.

LOL -- wrong, wrong, wrong.

Why wasn't Zaidi ahead of Hahn, or even nominated, in any of these awards?!?!?

OMG, HAVE THEY NOT HEARD ABOUT DARIN RUF!?!?!?!?!?!

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30 Nov 2020 18:19:15
Man, you're really bothered by Darin Ruf's success aren't you? Could you imagine how much BETTER the White Sox would have been if their GM was smart enough to bring in under-valued veterans on MiLB contracts to help contribute?

Instead, Rick Hahn GAVE UP a decent prospect and paid 5.5M to an outfielder they very likely won't even tender a contract to come Wednesday.

Darin Ruf outperformed two starters in Chicago last season. Those two starters cost Rick Hahn 17M. Combined, they produced -0.1 WAR. That's cost the White Sox NEGATIVE 19M in value, not including the value of Steele Walker.

Ruf cost the Giants the league minimum, and produced an adjusted 1.9 WAR. As a backup. In just 100 PAs. That's 14.6M in value, or almost 34M in value more than TWO White Sox starters.

Read that: Starters. People Rick Hahn felt were good enough to get a combined 330 PAs (almost 900 in a full season) on his team last season.

Darin Ruf was a BENCH player (read: he wasn't even good enough to unseat the existing starter) who objectively outperformed two White Sox starters by 1900% in just 30% of their total PAs.

Imagine if Darin Ruf took the place of Edwin Encarnacion or Nomar Mazara. Maybe, just MAYBE, Rick Hahn would have won 2 playoff games instead of just one.

The truth is, Bill, Rick Hahn would commit any sort of federal crime to get the kind of value that he could out of players like Darin Ruf, even if just off the bench. But as we both know, he's not astute enough to do so.

Maybe you can find a way to blame his lack of Darin Rufs on Jerry Reinsdorf?

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01 Dec 2020 06:47:17
Hahn found James McCann, who only had the highest WAR/ 600 of literally any player in baseball 2020. So yeah, Hahn's found a Darin Ruf.

The difference is Hahn also built the best young core in baseball. Zaidi has not. Be a man and give respect where respect is due.

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01 Dec 2020 14:55:49
It took Rick Hahn literally eight years to build a core, and it took him that exact amount of time to win ONE playoff game. Eight years. Don't bring that "3 years" nonsense. He has been the GM for 8 years. We're not discounting 5 years of Hahn's failures simply because they aren't convenient to your argument.

Zaidi came into San Francisco inheriting a really bad baseball team. They were really bad because it turns out, winning THREE World Series in a decade is really hard on a franchise's future. Heck, even winning just one is tough. Ask the Astros, Cubs, or Red Sox. The Giants went through that process three times.

Then they had a GM who handed out tons of prospects for aging or bad players. Evans traded Luis Castillo for Casey McGehee. Yeah, even the Giants had their Shields-for-Tatis trade. Only difference is the Giants knew to fire their GM for it. He traded Bryan Reynolds for Andrew McCutchen.

The Giants could DFA someone and know, almost 100%, that they would be able to keep that player. This was what Zaidi inherited.

He inherited a farm system that had Joey Bart, Marco Luciano, and Heliot Ramos and STILL was a bottom 5 farm system. They are expected, by almost every prospect outlet, to be considered a top 10, some will even rank them in the top 5. And Zaidi has barely added anything.

From bottom 5 to the top 5 in farm systems in 3 seasons. Remarkable improvement at every level. The Giants are, by every indication, a better team in 2021 than they were in 2019. And to think, aside from Bart's probably-too-early promotion in 2020, he still hasn't gotten to add in his core of young talent yet. This is only year three.

How was Rick Hahn's team in his third year? They finished with 76 games, despite having made trades for Samardzija, signing David Robertson, Zach Duke and Melky Cabrera. They were TRYING to win games in his third year, and still didn't.

It took him realizing they weren't actually going to win many ball games to bail on his failed strategy and start selling off pieces left and right. Good for him, I guess. (Don't blame Reinsdorf. Hahn had a pretty good roster and still couldn't win games. )

Who was Zaidi going to trade? Bumgarner? Nope. No one wanted him. Smith? Maybe. He got all of Melancon's contract off the books, got Dubon for Pomeranz, and a load of organizational depth for Sam Dyson.

So, instead, what Zaidi did (and is doing) is finding huge value in guys on dirt cheap contracts. Yastrzemski, Ruf, Solano, Dickerson. Jason Vosler looks like he could be a fit right now.

It took Hahn several years to even start the rebuild. He traded players he was developing and utilizing since 2013 and '14, respectively. Now, EIGHT seasons later, it's finally paying off for him. Bully for him.

Meanwhile, you're asking Zaidi to do in 3-4 years what it took Hahn to do in eight.

Hahn, by every objective standard came into his role in Chicago with the White Sox in a better spot than where Zaidi came into San Francisco. The White Sox came off an 85 win season when Rick Hahn took over. Zaidi inherited a 73-win Giants team (64 wins the season prior) .

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01 Dec 2020 20:19:52
"How was Rick Hahn's team in his third year? They finished with 76 games, despite having made trades for Samardzija, signing David Robertson, Zach Duke and Melky Cabrera. "

Yeah it's truly amazing that the team only won 76 games after the tremendous headlining acquisitions of superstars Melky Cabrera and Zach Duke. That's my point.

Although, 76 wins is a good current 2021 projection for Zaidi's Giants. So he may be right on track for a playoff berth in 2027.

I'm not criticizing what Zaidi has done given what he has to work with. You just refuse to give credit to Hahn because I'm the one defending him. He's built a core that every GM strives to build and has the team is a great spot financially. To say Zaidi isn't trying to do exactly what Hahn has done over the past 4 years is just idiotic. But you continue to die on this hill for some reason.

The fact of the matter is, Hahn has done it. Zaidi, through no fault of his own, has yet to do it because he hasn't had enough time. If you don't understand/ believe that Hahn's all-along plan started when they traded Sale in Dec. 2016 - when he and Rinesdorf have blatantly said so, then that's your own cognitive dissonance and I really don't care.

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01 Dec 2020 21:11:31
No, I refuse to give credit to Rick Hahn because he has done literally nothing remarkable or noteworthy.

So he traded away a couple of good players for some really good prospects? WOW. NO GM HAS EVER DONE THAT.

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01 Dec 2020 21:20:48
And speaking of cognitive dissonance, acting like Rick Hahn's efforts and plan started in 2016/ 17 is patently ridiculous.

There were layers of groundwork he had laid prior to that offseason. Scouting, player development, coaching, R&D, etc., all of which he had in place PRIOR to December 2016 in Chicago.

It's not like he woke up one morning in November 2016 and said, "alright, enough jacking around, let's operate our plan now. " The legwork was being done well before then. For several seasons. While Hahn may not have been "allowed" to make the moves he wanted (I think you're making a pathetic excuse, but whatevs), he still had things going. In fact, every foundational piece he needed for the rebuild (minor league staff, instructional staff, etc. ) was in existence prior to the Sale trade.

And if Hahn waited until he traded Chris Sale to actually become a decent GM, then he has serious character flaws, and I won't credit him for that. My guess is that's not true and you're just blowing smoke out of your you-know-where.

You're right, though, Zaidi hasn't had enough time. But in the limited time he's had, Zaidi has done tremendous work. It's quite evident—both by simple observation and your own acknowledgement—that Zaidi is working harder and accomplishing more in his first two seasons than Rick Hahn did in his.

Zaidi isn't trying to do what "Hahn" did. He's trying to do what every team does: build a core and win championships. Almost like what the Giants built that won them three in five years.

That's the problem here: you present Rick Hahn as some revolutionary and innovator. He's done literally nothing new or interesting. He has successfully built a core of young players. Congrats, he did what literally every GM to win a World Series in the past 10 seasons has done. Only difference is he hasn't won a WS, and I'd bet you dollars to donuts he doesn't win one at all. And you'll more than find a way to blame Reinsdorf.

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02 Dec 2020 01:40:59
"And speaking of cognitive dissonance, acting like Rick Hahn's efforts and plan started in 2016/ 17 is patently ridiculous. "

Buddy, this is not my theory. This is corroborated by *literally* Jerry Rinesdorf and Rick Hahn. Their own mouths. It's public knowledge. I'm telling you this for I think the 4th time. Slow down and read.

"There were layers of groundwork he had laid prior to that offseason. Scouting, player development, coaching, R&D, etc., all of which he had in place PRIOR to December 2016 in Chicago. " -- " In fact, every foundational piece he needed for the rebuild (minor league staff, instructional staff, etc. ) was in existence prior to the Sale trade.
"

Huh? Who exactly are you talking about? Why are you acting like you have in-depth knowledge of the White Sox R&D department pre-2016? What on earth are you talking about? Stop acting like you have any idea whatsoever about the foundational pieces of the White Sox minor league staffs. lol, there has been a complete turnover in pretty much every department you identified. Quit grasping at straws.

"No, I refuse to give credit to Rick Hahn because he has done literally nothing remarkable or noteworthy. "

Ask Mariner, Phillie, Angel and Ranger fans, for instance, if Rick Hahn hasn't anything "remarkable or noteworthy. " He's extended more pre-arb players than anyone I can ever remember and he really started that strategy. Now teams little by little will follow (as you've already seen), especially if this core goes on to achieve sustainable success. Zaidi would do the same thing. The only problem is the Giants don't have a single young MLB player that has proven worthy of an extension. Not a single player.

"So he traded away a couple of good players for some really good prospects? WOW. NO GM HAS EVER DONE THAT. "

For the 1 billionth time -- He signed/ drafted well, developed them well, extended them early, traded them at the peaks of their value, and secured top-end talent for them (them being Sale, Quintana, and Eaton) by not missing on a single big-trade once he was given the keys to the car. That's every GM's dream scenario, Nate -- Even christ himself, Farhan Zaidi.

"Zaidi isn't trying to do what "Hahn" did. He's trying to do what every team does: build a core and win championships. "

Really? Every team just magically builds elite cores and wins championships on the regular? Wow, who would have ever thought it would be that easy?

Zaidi is trying to do exactly what Hahn has done, or at least 75% of it (odds are the Giants core won't be nearly as good. ) You can't disagree with this. There is no other way around it. He wants to build a core as good as Rick Hahn did. He is tirelessly working to do what Rick Hahn did, and it's looking like he's pretty good at his job. But even as good as it looks so far, it doesn't matter until he puts a team on the field that's about as good of a team as you can build given your resources -- this is what Hahn has done. After this offseason, assuming they make some solid additions, Hahn can kick back, put his feet up, and rely on his All-Star, MVP, Batting title, gold glove, silver slugger, Cy young Candidate, rookie-of the-year candidate players to win ball games. It's all a GM can do at the end of the day.

In reality, no one cares about a rebuilding GM's first 2 seasons if their efforts don't culminate into playoff appearances and *hopefully* pennants and world series. You're in the stage with Zaidi where you're excited about the prospect of things working out, but there's no guarantee. But when you're a fan of a currently mediocre-at-best team, that's really all you can do -- be excited about the future and not things that are presently true. Don't worry, we've all been there.

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02 Dec 2020 08:18:19
In full recap, here's why I don't buy what you're selling. You're the salesman that takes a good product and then tries to completely oversell it.

It's not enough that Rick Hahn has a good team. His team (which just started winning some games, mind you) are now on par with the World Champion Dodgers!

It's not enough that Rick Hahn developed a good team. He must be emulated by every aspiring General Manager if they want success!

It's not enough that the White Sox have an okay farm system. Nope, they can get highly valuable players for 40+ FV prospects! And of course, there's not a team in baseball that can match any trade the White Sox put forward!

Do you not see how maybe, just in a small way, you're totally overselling all of this?

Please be reminded, the White Sox just had their first winning season in nearly a decade. That's it. They didn't win a playoff series. They've done nothing in the way of having success fans will remember for ages.

So, in a way, you've become THAT fan on this site. You know who it is. It's the fan that gets all boisterous over the tiniest morsel of success, mostly because of all the pent up anxiety over your team being so putrid for so long. We get it, we've all been there.

As a fan who has seen his team have a run of success that may not be replicated for a long time: here's some advice. If you burn out all your baseball acquaintances now, it'll be less fun should your team actually win. Even the Dodger fans in my family were excited for me each of the three World Series. Mostly because I didn't act boisterous about the Giants' success, or try to belittle other teams in the process.

Temper your comparisons. Temper your expectations. And maybe then, you can get others around you to appreciate what is happening in Chicago with you.

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02 Dec 2020 16:30:46
It's hilarious, really. The White Sox have had ONE season in a decade with a winning record. And you're trying to tell a Giants fan, whose team has won THREE WORLD SERIES, in a span of five years, what it means and feels like to win a few games and have a great team.

Again, I get it, you're so used to seeing the White Sox be absolutely terrible, and used to watching the Giants do nothing but win World Series, that the moment the switch gets flipped, you were ready with your cute little arguments.

Now that your team isn't baseball's perennial punching bag, you're trying to run around and fight back. It's actually adorable.

But this is one got me all the lulz:

"that's really all you can do—be excited about the future and not things that are presently true. "

The truth is, Bernie, the White Sox haven't done a single thing in baseball. They didn't even win their division last year. Or win a playoff series. Not. One. Thing.

Literally, the ONLY thing White Sox fans have is an excitement about the near future. What present reality do they have? That they are a contending team?

Seriously. This is something you actually said. On a website. As a White Sox fan.

The White Sox have done nothing to date that is noteworthy or that will be remembered in baseball history. Literally zero things. ALL you have is future excitement. And worse, you have nothing to look back on and have profound memories of. So everything about your fandom hinges on this working. All of it.

10 years from now, no one, besides you probably, will remember or care if the White Sox finished first in their division, or if they got to the ALDS in 2021. And they certainly won't care that the White Sox built a great, young core. It all hinges on them winning World Series. Which they haven't done since 2005 (and even then, most people forget they won it then) .

Again, I get it. You're so used to seeing the Giants be successful. It probably bothers you. Your own GMs would do literally any. thing. to get even one of those titles, let alone three, in five years.

THAT'S what Rick Hahn is trying to re-create. He's emulating a Giants team that ran with a core of very good young players for several years and with a shoo-in HOF manager who was one of the best bullpen operators the game has ever seen.

Rick Hahn is trying to emulate Theo Epstein, who nailed almost every draft pick and got 99th percentile performance out of his entire team, almost all at once.

He's trying to emulate Andrew Friedman, who has developed a carousel of talent that is constantly bringing in new, young talent and replacing old talent.

The difference between those guys and Rick Hahn? You know what it is?

It's success.

Perhaps, let's see Rick Hahn taste that success before crowning him the king of baseball, shall we?

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02 Dec 2020 18:22:27
"What present reality do they have? That they are a contending team? "

Yes, precisely.

The White Sox were making history pretty much every week in 2020. Not only are they presently very good, they're one of the most exciting teams in baseball to watch and will likely be for the rest of this decade.

The thing is, you're correct in that Hahn is trying to do exactly what Theo and Friedman did in terms of winning it all. But you can't win it all before you do what Rick Hahn has done. You're acting like building an elite core is common place. It absolutely is not.

What Hahn is trying to do is build a championship team that not only wins one, but can compete for rings for the better part of a decade. So, he's revolutionized the pre-arb extension idea and is trying to avoid what Theo Epstein (twice) couldn't do, and that's essentially bankrupting the franchise with bad deals that, once the core gets older and their arbitration prices get heftier, can't recover from - forcing major sell offs.

Theo did that in Boston, clearly didn't learn from it, and did the exact same thing on the North side.

The Giants over the last decade would be a fine example for Hahn in terms of what you can do with a great core. But even they sustained a top-10 payroll in all of those championship seasons, something that, depending on JR's willingness to spend, may not be a reality for the White Sox when they're at their peak.

No one is "crowning him the king of baseball". All I'm doing is making the case that Rick Hahn deserves a good amount of credit for his successes so far. Some how, I'm not allowed to commend Hahn for building a playoff team with an extremely bright future, but you're allowed to hold Zaidi to the highest esteem bc he turned the Darin Rufs and Dovovan Soloanos of the world into a .500 season.

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02 Dec 2020 19:50:08
Salvador, you're doing more than commending him. Commending him would be saying, "he built a great team and the future looks bright. " If that's all you said, I would have never disagreed.

Instead, it was things like "Zaidi aspires to be like Rick Hahn. " And "Zaidi will be lucky if he accomplishes half of what Rick Hahn did. " You think GMs are looking around baseball and saying, "man, that Rick Hahn! He found a way to win one playoff game! Let's replicate everything he's doing! " I have read literally every interview Farhan Zaidi has done with any of the major Giants beat writers. Many GM names have come up as "examples" or "inspiration". Not once has Zaidi publicly said a word about Rick Hahn. Trust me, he's interested in following the GM who fired a Manager of the Year candidate.

And no, Rick Hahn didn't "revolutionize" the pre-arb idea. That idea could not be any more false. Does he utilize it? Of course he does. So do other teams, but it was happening well before Hahn was even a GM.

2007- Matt Cain got a 4-year, $9M deal, buying out his arbitration years, before re-negotiating in 2010 to a 3-year, $27.25M deal, which was comically team-friendly.
2012- Pablo Sandoval got a 3-year, $17.15M deal to buy out his arbitration years.
2013- Giants bought out Bumgarner's arbitration years with a 5-year, $35M deal.

That's just a few examples, I'd imagine there are several dozen you can cite before Hahn even came onto the scene.

And this is the issue: you're not just commending Hahn. You're actually attributing something to him and acting like he was the one who began doing this. He didn't.

Is Rick Hahn doing this? Yes, and he does so more than most GMs. Is he doing it really well? To this point, yes. Was he the one to "revolutionize" this idea? Not at all.

He's building his team in a way that makes sense to the context he's in. Good for him. But he's not, in any way, shape, or form doing something no one has ever done before. And to this point, his team has not won a single game that matters. No one cares about them making "history pretty much every week" when they can't beat the Athletics in a 3-game series. Again, except you.

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02 Dec 2020 19:56:06
And lastly, Rick Hahn will be lucky to win a single championship. That's not an insult. It's incredibly difficult and it takes a lot of breaks to work in your favor to do so.

Look at the Tigers. They had a great core and spent significant capital—in terms of lengthy contracts and prospects—to try and win. They failed. The same is true of the Rangers.

Both of those teams are still dealing with the aftermaths of making attempts to win and not doing so.

Then, there's teams that DID win. The Cubs, Astros, Red Sox, Royals, Nationals, Giants. None of them are in envious spots right now. The Astros and Cubs have no money to work with. The Royals have a long way to go. The Nationals have no farm system. The Giants were left with bloated contracts on aging players. The Red Sox are a mess.

This is the cost of winning a championship. Remember, the Giants won THREE of them. So take the cost and multiply it by three, plus the other years (2016) where they tried to contend and failed to make it to the World Series.

If you're so lucky, you better hunker down and be prepared for some rough years ahead of you. Even if you don't win, it'll still be bleak once that window slams shut.

The good news for Chicago is, Rick Hahn knows what it's like to have his teams lose A LOT of baseball games. So at least he'll be in familiar territory.

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22 Oct 2020 22:41:13
Free Agent Predictions

-J. T. Realmuto- Mets. 5/ 85M.
-Trevor Bauer- Angels, 1/ 23M.
-Marcell Ozuna- Braves, 6/ 144M
-George Springer- Astros, 7/ 165M
-Nick Castellanos (Opts Out) - Phillies, 5/ 100M
-Marcus Semien-Athletics, 3/ 36M
-DJ LeMahieu- Yankees, 3/ 45M
-Marcus Stroman- Yankees, 2/ 34M
-Didi Gregorius- Angels, 3/ 42M
-Masahiro Tanaka- Twins, 4/ 54M
-Liam Hendriks- Giants, 3/ 21M
-Jake Odorizzi- Cardials, 4/ 60M
-Shane Greene- Blue Jays, 2/ 16M
-Alex Colome- White Sox, 1/ 8M
-Blake Treinen- Astros, 2/ 15M
-Taijuan Walker- Phillies, 4/ 48M
-Jose Quintana- Marlins, 3/ 39M
-Nelson Cruz- Twins, 1/ 12.5M
-James Paxton- Blue Jays, 2/ 28M
-Michael Brantley- Indians, 3/ 39M.

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25 Oct 2020 03:47:16
So you think there won't be much financial effect on this years FA market? I sure hope so. My thoughts:

1. Someone will give Colome 2 years

2. I think 3 years to Brantley is a bad idea for who ever would do it

3. Tanaka ain't leaving NY imo

4. Bauer gets a lot more on a 1-year deal

5. Castellanos, who just put up a league average offensive 60 games, is definitely not opting out, and if he did, he's not getting close to 9 figures.

6. Ozuna is not getting a 24 million AAV over 6 years. He's largely a DH.

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25 Oct 2020 12:11:43
The Bauer deal is a tough one to pin down. If he’s truly unwilling to consider multi-year deals, he gives up a ton of leverage in negotiations.

Not to mention, his personality isn’t going to fly with a lot of managers, so he may be limited.

I personally think he’s not wise taking one year deals, but that’s the route he is choosing. I’m not convinced it’ll work out for him.

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25 Oct 2020 12:12:58
The point about the financial market is definitely a fair one. And one to be considered. How much affect? We won’t know, so I went with what I thought they’d get in normal years.

A few other thoughts:

I agree that 3 years for Brantley is bad. But someone will probably do it.

Tanaka will follow the money, which I don’t think will come from NY. They have a lot of money on the books and more owed soon. Locking down a 32-year-old pitcher for 4 seasons is unwise.

The other points are fair too. I disagree with some, but it’s whatevs.

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Sporting Fairytales Part 2: National Champions

31 Aug 2020 15:30:12
{Ed's Note - Ed001 has posted a new article entitled, Sporting Fairytales Part 2: National Champions

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11 Jul 2020 18:47:15
My All-MLB Team

Lineup

LF Acuña Jr.
CF Trout
RF Yelich
3B Arenado
1B Bellinger
DH Cruz
C Sanchez
SS Lindor
2B Altuve

Bench

C Realmuto
1B Freeman
3B/SS Bregman
IF/OF Báez
OF Betts

Rotation

deGrom
Cole
Scherzer
Verlander
Kershaw

Bullpen

Hader
Chapman
Jansen
Osuna
Betances
Hand
Britton

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19 Nov 2020 14:49:05
Sanchez over Realmuto? Never
Verlander? He didn't even play
How about Bauer?

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06 Feb 2020 21:13:09
... deleted

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20 Jan 2020 14:29:45
Yankees Extension Candidates

The Yankees have a lot of players that could be extension candidates before Spring Training rolls around. Not saying all or any of these happen but here is what I think some extensions might look like if they were to happen.

James Paxton- 4 years $80 million

Masahiro Tanaka- 3 years $45 million

D.J. LeMahieu- 3 years $60 million

Aaron Judge- 8 years $240 million

Gary Sanchez- 5 years $100 million

Gleyber Torres- 10 years $250 million

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05 Feb 2020 23:17:33
I can see the possibilities of these extensions but I think they will be more inclined to extend Judge, Torres, and Sanchez over Tanaka (injury prone) Paxton (injury prone) and LaMahieu (possible decline)

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09 Jan 2020 03:56:51
The Royals have stated they will only trade Merrifield if they receive some MLB ready players, and some top minor leaguers. I propose the Cubs trade Happ, Bote, and either Ethan Hearn or Ronnier Quentiro (any cathers not named Conteras, Caratini or Amaya) and either a pitcher like Oscar De La Cruz or James Norwood. The Royals get 2 MLB players, a excellent minor league catcher which they need, and a potential relief pitcher.

The other trade I suggest is the Cubs trade Chatwood and attach Decalso to him for a mid-level minor league player. The purpose of this trade is to dump salary. A team like Minnesota, or the Angels might be interested. There is no point for the Cubs to hang onto Chatwood this year, if he is bad they are done with him, if he is good they cannot afford to resign him. Better to give one of the you ng pitchers whether Azolay, Mills, Rea or whoever experience since they will be around long term. Decalso is just a waste of a roster spot and the Cubs should have never signed him, he never could hit. By not asking for a big return one of the teams that needs a starter may take Chatwood since is 13 mil salary is not that high. Granted Decalso is a waste, but they are not surrendering any decent prospects.

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09 Jan 2020 17:57:06
The Royals likely want guys who aren't a year away from arbitration, especially for their #1 trade piece.

Frankly, I think the Cubs would have to begin a package with Amaya, Hoerner, or Ademan to get Merrifield, and it might have be a combo of two of them. And even then, I think several teams would outbid Chicago for him.

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07 Jan 2020 16:18:35
I thought I'd look at 2019 overperformers, based on BABIP vs. xBABIP differences.

Now, a couple notes:

1) I used a calculation developed by Alex Chamberlain at Fangraphs. This calculator accounts for things like Line Drive %, IFFB, Hard Hit, Speed, Opposite-field hits. Ultimately, the kind of factors that often factor into likeliness for a hit.

2) Some players have unnaturally big xBABIP and BABIP splits. However, just because this is true doesn't mean that a player won't regress. If you disagree, and want to use this defense, you need to give me THREE years worth of data, at a minimum.

3) xBABIP, by nature, gives credit to players who changed their swing, approach, skills or physique. Those changes are already considered, and will manifest themselves in the stats.

4) Regression doesn't guarantee that a player will get worse. Certain changes in stats can change one's BABIP. But statistical trends DO suggest that negative regression is the norm for players who far exceed their xBABIP.

So here are the top 10 BABIP hitters from 2019 (minimum 300 PAs) and their xBABIP.

1. Fernando Tatis: 410 BABIP/.357 xBABIP. Difference: .053

2. Yoan Moncada: .406/.349 Diff: .057

3. Keston Hiura: .402/.357 Diff: .045

4. Tim Anderson: .399/.347 Diff: .052

5. Bryan Reynolds: .387/.357 Diff: .030

6. David Dahl: .386/.358 Diff: .028

7. Brandon Lowe: .377/.348 Diff: .029

8. Harold Castro: .367/.367 Diff: .000

9. Yordan Alvarez: .366/.354 Diff: .012

10. Jorge Alfaro: .364/.359 Diff: .005

A few observations:

1) As usual, the guys at the very top see pretty massive differences. Moncada, Tatis, and Anderson are all over 50 points higher, which is the first time in 5 seasons we've had three that exceed it that highly.

2) Jorge Alfaro's BABIP actually came down from 2018 (.406 BABIP). Since batted ball data was collected (2002), we still have not seen a player manufacture two consecutive .400 BABIP seasons (with 300 PAs). Alfaro had two in a row (.420 in 2017), but he only had 118 PAs, which is not substantive to give data.

3) Castro, Alvarez, and Alfaro were the only ones remotely close to their xBABIP (Castro was dead-on). The thing in common: True IFFB % (FB x IFFB). Castro had a 3.3% IFFB, but that's compared to just a 22.5% fly ball rate. Turns out that not hitting IFFB helps.

4) Moncada, Tatis, and Anderson's thing in common: speed. If there's a skill that will likely result in wider xBABIP vs. BABIP differences, speed is the more likely factor. Although, this isn't a guarantee. Adalberto Mondesi was 15th in BABIP and his xBABIP was only .014 off. Trevor Story's (ranked 11th) speed factor was higher than Anderson & Moncada, and only .004 off.

In other words, speed helps offset it, but there's still underlying factors, and none which are consistent.

Based on that inconsistency, the top three most likely to regress in 2020: Fernando Tatis, Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson.

This doesn't mean they will be bad players. But if you're expecting them to take steps forward in 2020, you're betting against nearly 2 decades worth of data.

The most unlikely to regress: While the easy choice would be Harold Castro, I'm going to pick Yordan Alvarez. His 51% hard hit rate, and his moderate 37% fly ball rate has the makings of being highly sustainable.

Agree6 Disagree0

07 Jan 2020 16:58:37
I did the same with every team.

Top underperforming team via xBABIP: three way tie for the Angels, Dodgers, and Athletics at .047. Cardinals and Giants were one point below (.046).

Top OVERperforming team: White Sox. 2019 BABIP: .329. xBABIP: .329. Chicago's .329 BABIP put them #1 in baseball. The Rockies had .321 (thanks to a comical .348 home BABIP vs. 292 road) .

If you neutralize it based on xBABIP, the White Sox were 17th. So what happened? There are several factors, but the White Sox were the third worst team, per Fangraphs, in hard hit percentage (32.8%) . They were just barely above the Mariners (32.5) and Orioles (32.4). And a full percent behind the Padres (33.9).

The other element at play: they were #1 in opposite field hits (28.7%) . And the next highest team, Miami, wasn't all that close (26.9%) . xBABIP considers opposite field hits, but it weighs them less than any other factor. This is likely because hitting it opposite field is only controllable in a very minimal way. In other words, opposite field hits are likely the result of greater luck and not so much a sustainable factor.

The White Sox also had 2 of the top 10 BABIP guys, and 4 of the top 25 (McCanna and Leury Garcia) . That will obviously prop up their BABIP.

It'll be interesting to see how the White Sox do with the levels of xBABIP regression they face all around them.

Agree5 Disagree0

08 Jan 2020 22:04:00
Statbook, are you just trying to stir the pot with one individual?

Agree4 Disagree0

09 Jan 2020 00:53:32
If anyone gets triggered because of stats, that's their problem.

Agree0 Disagree0

12 Jan 2020 06:06:59
Moncada and Anderson definitely aren't going to hit .315 and .335 again, respectively. I think Moncada will benefit with continued plate discipline improvements and I'd bet Anderson to sit .285 - .300 for the next couple of seasons.

One point I will disagree with you on is opposite field hits. I think with expected stats in general, the guys who always underperform are the guys that are easily shifted against. If your offensive approach is one that allows you to hit balls all over the diamond, you're obviously going to be harder to defend against. These will be the guys who generally overperform their expected stats.

Barring injury, McCann and Garcia won't see regular ABs in 2020. Only Moncada, Anderson, Abreu, and Jimenez will be the returning regulars in the lineup, so there isn't really regression "all around them". The Jon Jays of the world are not back. Of those 4, their batted ball profiles, in terms of direction, show nothing to warrant extreme shifts. Only left handed Moncada sees a decent share.

The 2020 White Sox offense has the opportunity to be particularly potent after a really good offseason.

Agree2 Disagree2

12 Jan 2020 21:53:41
Regarding opposite field hits, there's a reason the formula considers them, and for the very reason you stated. But there's also good reason why it is given the lowest weight (for the reason I stated) : players can only control where the ball is hit to a very minimal degree. If players can control where the ball is hit, you would never see players get shifted against. So your retorts are already considered in the formula.

The White Sox have to be given credit for being active this winter. And there's probably as many bounce-back candidates as there are regression candidates next year.

The point of the exercise wasn't to throw shade at the White Sox, but it just turned out that the White Sox had a lot of guys (and their best offensive performers last year) who significantly over-performed and should see a massive decline in 2020.

The bigger point was actually to look at Tatis and throw some caution regarding people's expectations there. Padres fans seem to think the guy will hit 150 wRC+ next year, or higher. I didn't even realize that Moncada's BABIP was that comically high.

Agree0 Disagree0

 

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