Saturday, April 12, 2008

Season's Young, but...

08 年的 Dodgers 在首週連下兩個 series (面對 Giants & Padres),之後立刻在 Chase Field 遭到 D'Backs 的 swept,雖然說球季連 1/10 都還不到,但是從 transaction 與 lineup 的安排上,個人對於 Joe Torre 的評價也正在一點一滴的往下掉。

◎ Offensive Slump

先看看 Dodgers 在前 9 場比賽裡打擊 (BWPA)、先發投手 (SWPA) 與後援投手 (RWPA) 的情況,我順便把 3 個項目的 BRAA 也都帶上,其中的差別在於 situational 與 context:

BWPA

B_BRAA

SWPA

S_BRAA

RWPA

R_BRAA

-0.96

-10.39

-0.26

0.76

0.75

5.51


以 10-run equals 1-win 的角度來看,Dodgers 之所以在前 9 場比賽打出 4W5L 的原因在於 bullpen 的 "clutchness",先發投手與打擊群受到 context 的影響頗有限,但不得不提的一點是在前 9 場比賽裡,所有的 RPs 已經累積了 27 場的出賽數 -- 平均每場比賽要上 3 個人次,且不論 Torre 是不是比較愛操 bullpen 或者是 over-managed,打擊群與先發投手沒能提供適切的支援恐怕也必須考慮,這一點需要持續的觀察。

然而在 Dodgers 目前的打擊群裡究竟誰是元兇?以 BWPA 來看,Andruw 以 -0.58 拔得頭籌,至於有必要做上半身移植的 Juan "garbage" Pierre 則以 -0.49 緊追在後,只是別忘了:Andruw 的 PA 幾乎是 Pierre 的兩倍 (34:18),全 MLB 恐怕也只有 Pierre 這種 a*s-hole 能在短短 18 個 PA 裡就耗掉 Dodgers 0.5-win abouve average (相當於 1GB),真是不可思議....



◎ Joe did not hit the right button!

坦白說,Joe Torre 在 opening day 時 dump Pierre 的做法讓個人驚訝,甚至是驚豔!至少單就 "Pierre 原本擁有 MLB 現役球員累積最多連續出場次數的頭銜 (somewhere around 434 games, I guess...)","而 Joe 在開幕戰時卻連代打或代跑 Pierre 都沒有" 一事看來,確實是很讓人過癮的!只是 Joe 此舉究竟是示威?亦或是老眼昏花加上 dugout 燈光不佳,讓 Joe 以為那是一件背號 "9" 的球衣晾在椅子上....這就不得而知了。

無論如何,Joe 在 opening day 捨 Pierre 就 Ethier 的真正理由雖然我們不清楚,但我們希望這個理由要 "夠充分"!如果只是因為 Ethier 比 Pierre 有個較好 spring training那麼 Joe 的腦袋是有問題的!正確答案應該是:Ethier is way too much better than Pierre, So does Matt Kemp!

顯然 Joe 在 Dodgers 的外野問題、或者說 "識人之明" 上 -- 至少現階段 -- 他的答案是錯的!



◎ Deja Vu?

話說回來,原本以為會 "無事可做" 的 Ethier 似乎得到了 Joe 的信任而成為 regular,但卻使得 Matt Kemp 溫了不少場的板凳!

Joe 在 08 年的第 2 場比賽就把 Kemp 從 starting lineup 中扯了下來,當時官網的 Ken Gurnick 說 Joe 是考慮到 Pierre 在對上 Giants 的 SP Matt Cain 時擁有比 Matt Kemp 好的 split stats。Well,Ken 所給的數字對不對個人也懶得去查証,因為 head-to-head 的 split stat -- 基於 small sample size -- 是完全沒有意義的!不過對於絕大多數 old school 的 managers 來說,split stats 卻是讓他們深信不疑的東西,這一點新生代的 fans 還必須多多忍耐!

也因此,個人對於 Joe 在面對 Matt Cain 時以 "head-to-head split stats 較好的 Pierre" 先發沒有太多的意見。

但接下來在 Petco Park 對上 Jake Peavy、Chase Field 對上 Dan Harren,甚至連 04/11 於自家再度面對 Peavy,Joe 也都讓 Kemp 坐了板凳,理由則是:Joe 認為 Kemp 正在 slumping,讓他面對較強悍的投手可能有損他的信心。

Joe 這個理由讓個人覺得似曾相識,所以我把某個 famous quote 給找出來給大家看看:

What I wonder is, if you give him too much left-handed pitching, do you mess up what he's doing against right-handed pitching?

這是 ex-manager Jim 'Dumbo' Tracy 對 Hee-Seop Choi 的形容,當時他以此為由不讓 Choi 做 regular,甚至以 OPS capability 不到 0.700 的 Jason Phillips 去 override 1B 的位置,進而導演了 Dodgers 在 05 年的大災難。相較之下,Joe 現在對於 Kemp 的處置藉口就很像是 Tracy 在 05 年之於 Choi 的翻版,如果大家都認定 Tracy 是笨蛋,那 Joe 在球員運用這個層面上也高明不了多少。

Dodgers 有很好的理由需要 Kemp,以 07 年來說,Dodgers 的 OFs 一整季只提供了 35 發 HRs 的輸出,在整個 NL 排名第 15,因此雖然 Kemp 有 plate discipline 的問題,卻是一個可以期待的 power 來源,要求 Kemp 一年貢獻 15 ~ 20 發或許不算太奢求,但這個數字對於 career 僅僅 12 發 HRs 的 Pierre 來說和要他的命是一樣的!Moreover,Kemp 所背負的是 Dodgers 的未來,Pierre 最容易達成的任務卻是如何致 Dodgers 於死地。

Kemp 的確需要一些時間再 develop,即使他處於 slumping 的狀態,也該給他機會去學著克服,而不是拿 Pierre 來濫竽充數!Joe 真的必須要瞭解到 Dodgers 不是 Yankees,不是那種把 A-Rod 放在第 8 棒都可以打進 playoff 的球隊,能犯錯的 margin 很小,如果繼續執迷不悟,08 年對 Dodgers 來說依舊是前途無亮的一年。



◎ The intriguing part of Andruw's status quo

Dodger Stadium 的 Dodger Fans 向來是相當溫和的一群,除了 Barry Bonds 和 umpires,很少可以聽到他們集體對著別隊的球員 "Boo ~",對於自己的球員更是不太可能,不過 Andruw 就有這個本事 -- 才不過披上 Dodgers 的 uniform 不滿兩星期,現在的他只要一出局,就可以兌換全場的噓聲一次。這也難怪,前面已經提到 Andruw 目前 "扯後腿" 的程度在 Dodgers 的野手群裡拔得頭籌,更不用提現階段不滿 .340 的 "OPS" -- 比 Blake DeWitt 的 "OBP" (.385) 還糟。除此之外,Andruw 目前的 11 次 SO 也是全隊最多,這些都是很容易讓大家不喜歡他的地方。Vin Scully 爺爺更是說 Andruw "swings at almost everything"。

我們來看件有趣的事:到 4 月 11 為止單一打席平均用掉對方投手球數最多 (P/PA) 的 Dodger。

在 P/PA 這項 category 裡,現階段 Dodgers 的狀元是 Russell Martin 的 4.67 -- 看起來像是為什麼 .15x 的 AVG 還能維持超過 .300 OBP 的原因;榜眼則是 Rafael Furcal 的 4.63 -- 毫無疑問,健康的 Furcal 基本上就是 NL 最好的 SS;至於探花...這個答案可能會 bring down the house -- Andruw Jones 的 4.45

要說的是,這些結果都因為球季才剛開始不久所以參考價值很低,但提到與投手纏鬥,Andruw 實在不像是這種 type 的球員。


◎ The story RBI tells me ...

我們持續 Andruw 的話題。

由於 Andruw 有一個很糟的 07 年,使得他在 offseason 所簽下的合約並不如預期來得長。或許 05、06 年 -- 分別交出 51、41 發 HRs -- 是 Andruw 的 "career years",然而事實是否真的是這樣?Andruw 究竟是不是一個稱職的中心打者?在這裡,個人不拿 Andruw 的 OBP 做文章,也不看 EQA、不看 OPS_Win,我們來看看 RBI -- 這個大家都再熟悉不過的東西。

我們曉得球員 RBI 的多寡和他被安插在 lineup 裡的 spot 有很大的關係。一般來說,No.3 與 No.4 都是球隊最主要進帳分數的來源,同時基於 No.3 與 No.4 都是所謂的 "power slots",No.3 與 No.4 的 "RISP" (Runners In Scoring Position) 不應該只考慮 runners 在 2B 或 3B 的情況,而是只要 runners on,對 No.3 或 No.4 來說就可以算是 RISP。

在 Braves 的時代,Andruw 幾乎長時間的擔任 No.4 的位置,以 05 年來說,他一共打出 128 RBIs,扣除 51 發 HRs,這等於是有 77 位 ROB (Runners On Base) 被 Andruw 打回來,然而 Andruw 在 05 年整季的打席裡,壘上一共出現過 503 位 ROB。換句話說,Andruw 在 05 年把 15.3% (77/503) 的 runners 轉換為 runs。這個比例在 05 年 NL 所有滿 400 PAs 的打者裡排在第 39 名。

我們給一個 reference point:Jeff Kent 在 05 年打進了 76 位 ROB -- 僅僅比 Andruw 少了 1 位,但 Kent 只有 435 ROB,換句話說,Kent 將 17.4% (76/435) 的 runners 轉換為 runs,在 05 年 NL 所有滿 400 PAs 的打者裡排名第 8

想一想 NL 一共有幾隊?一隊又有幾位打者可以拿到這麼多的 ROB chances?Andruw 的表現 -- 即便有 51 發 HRs 的光環,算是個稱職的 clean-up hitter 嗎?

如果我們繼續看 06 年,Andruw 的 129 RBIs 裡扣除 41 發 HRs 等於是 88 runners 被轉換為 runs,而整季下來他一共有 503 次 ROB,轉換率是 17.5%;相較於 06 年被 LA local media 詬病在 ROB 時 approach 不佳的 J.D. Drew 也在 437 個 chances 裡順利轉換了 80 runs,18.3% 的轉換率仍然比 Andruw 為佳。

我不曉得這裡的 "轉換率" 是不是一個有預測能力的數字?至少這足以讓我們對 Andruw 擔任 cleanup hitter 的能力產生合理的懷疑,搞不好他只是 OF 版的 Adrian Beltre!?

果真如此,對於一個有 power 又過於積極出棒的 Andruw,個人以為:不妨把 Andruw 放在 No.2 試個幾場,多給他一些壓力較小的打擊機會,也許有助於 Andruw 發揮應有的水準也說不定。

11 comments:

Starberry said...

Hmmmmm.....

I love Frucal... but sorry.... not the best in NL even when healthy....

Would you really rather have him over Reyes (Mets) or Ramirez (Marlins)???

Cheers,

Wilson

Dorasaga said...

Hi,

Torre pinched-hit Kemp last night, replaced Pierre and fielded Left, and got 2 at-bats.

It's still way early to see what Torre wants to do w/his lineup.

Now, you said:

"能在短短 18 個 PA 裡就耗掉 Dodgers 0.5-win abouve average (相當於 1GB)"

Does "GB" mean gigabytes?

niceta said...

挑一個無關緊要的錯誤:
"不是那種把 A-Rod 放在第 8 棒都可以打進 playoff 的球隊"

其實Torre是在季後賽才把A-Rod排第八棒的 (逃)

Morikawa said...

Wilson,

How about this: Furcal is the best SS we can have now? He should have a big bounce back this year.

------

Dora,

Torre bats Kemp in a run-away situation. To me, it's not a big deal whatsoever. Moreover, if Torre wants to bat Pierre, he should bat him No.8 instead of No.2 -- the spot with 2nd most PAs in a game.

GB = Game Behind

In the scale of WPA, 0.5 WAA equals 1-game behind.

------

Niceta,

其實那是我想強調的:因為以 Yankees 來說,即便 A-Rod 真的在季賽打八棒,believe it or not,他們還是可以進 playoff。

Dorasaga said...

Ahhh, that's a good point. In a more "clutch" situation, Torre might not have Kemp up. But they were leading like 5 runs on 4/12, so it just won't matter.

You probably were on the right track, with the fact that Kemp pinched hit very last last nite, 4/13, w/ 0-1 behind, and Pierre was still on there...

About Bannister, he's really exciting to watch. Someone who can pitch 85-88 and still get people out? BABIP controlled to way below league avg.?

I'm biased. I read his responses online, and read his stats, but his game was really fun to watch. Better than Webb, DiecK, Cueto, or even Zambrano's, I must claim.

He might not be Maddux or Glavine *yet*, but worth track on and expect he be the real thing.

Here's a good blog that talks Royal blue (and who's Banny):
http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/

Morikawa said...

Speaking of Banny, I figure Wang and Banny are similar in K/9, GB/FB. If you are talking about the anatomy of their pitching, I'm not qualified to deal with that! Moreover, Wang's K/9 in minor was not so bad, either.

Would you know that Want is a "2/3 Maddux". When Maddux was at Wang's age, their TTO were almost identical except K/9. Perhaps that's the reason why Wang is no Maddux. And with about 600 IPs, I think there's enough evidence to say Wang is "real". On the other hand, with only 1 season pitching stats, I cannot give more about Banny.

BTW, Glavine is the nemesis of all sabermetricians.

Dorasaga said...

morikawa,

First of all, i'm not impartial to Wang's performance. He's a good power pitcher. So far, he doesn't NEED to think his counts. Why worry when he can just blow that 93 mph 2-seamer past any batters and result to a groundout?

My bias favoring Banny is towards his "style." But as you mentioned, how about his effectiveness compared to Wang's? or even Maddux'? Let's review what they offer us so far.

In 39 games 2006-2008, Banny got us:
4.32 K9,
2.83 BB9,
0.75 HR9,
.262 BABIP.

Wang, 84 games (2005-2008):
3.86 K9,
2.41 BB9,
0.50 HR9,
.286 BABIP.

Maddux, first 3 career yrs, 70 games:
5.40 K9,*
3.43 BB9,*
0.68 HR9,*
.264 BABIP

*for Maddux, I rounded his IP into 435 for the first 3 yrs, to speed up the calculation but losing that 0.001 of precision.

Dorasaga said...

The Great Maddux striked out more than either Banny or Wang, but walked more as well. He didn't give up more homeruns either.

But mind the BABIP! With a limited but more than 3000 pitches of sample sizes, Maddux got a pretty low .26 while he closed his career with a .289 so far.

Banny is like Maddux here, and we expect the young man regress towards the mean but still under .290 in the next 2 years.

We consider Wang's K/BB extreme and not pretty at all, even among the 3. But there's room for improvement for him, so is Banny's K.

Don't miss something else. Their pitches.

Dorasaga said...

What really makes Wang distant from Maddux is the way he approaches the plate.

On fangraph, in 7863 pitches recorded so far, Wang got 77% fastball (guess 4000 pitches out of that would be 2-seam), 15% slider, and a measly other pitches.

Banny, in 3659 pitches (a good sample size), threw 56% fastball and 8-12% of 4 other pitches. We know that he started to use his 2-seam more this season.

Maddux, we don't know how he did it when he was younger. But with 68% fastball and all others changeup, it's safe to say that he relies heavily of his 2-seam as well.

This makes the 3 very different. Wang never really mixed his pitches. His slider is an OKAY, but never an above average backup pitch.

Talking about this mind-game which is pitching, the favor of doubt goes to Banny and Maddux.

Dorasaga said...

**And I forgot to mention that Maddux b/w 2002-2008 has a GB/FB ratio of 1.91.

Wang: 2.80 (extreme!)
Banny: 1.00 (balanced)

It seems that Banny is working his outs somewhere else, relying on both his infielders and outfield more than Mr. Wang. That makes sense, cuz Kauffman Stadium in Kansas really knocks down deep flyballs.

Contrarily, Maddux pitched in Wrigley (Chicago Cubs) and at Atlanta, which are hitter's parks. I see a need to get more groundouts than Banny.

Of course, I don't see Wang thinking that much still now. He might need to adjust his approach with a new stadium coming next season. We'll see.

In general, I must say that what distinguishes a great pitcher from the good ones is his approach, and how he manages his pitches and tweaks all these stats to his favor.

I'm watching Banny for that coming, not Wang.

Dorasaga said...

***And of course, I forgot something again. Maddux pitched in the mid-80s, entering the lows for the past 3 years. Banny: mid-80s.

That probably tells us why Wang with his devastating speedy sinker in low-90s (sometimes high-90s) has the advantage of blowing gas, instead of working around the plate.