FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. “From 1950-2010, there were 92 players fitting the above criteria who also managed to play at least two more seasons”

    How many players fit the criteria but didn’t play two more seasons? You might have a case of survivorship bias.

    Comment by Fred — March 19, 2012 @ 9:24 am

  2. Has a good glove, no hit SS like Escobar ever gotten anywhere near $9-12M in arbitration? That seems like an absurdly high estimate of what he could expect to make through arb.

    Comment by maguro — March 19, 2012 @ 9:39 am

  3. Escobar’s bat is too limp for him to perform up to expectations throughout the duration of this extension. I’m not sure his glove is slick enough to fit his puny bat.

    Comment by Uli440 — March 19, 2012 @ 9:40 am

  4. There is definitely a selection/survivorship bias here, but I felt it was appropriate to factor that in since it seems he’ll be around for the next couple of years.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — March 19, 2012 @ 9:43 am

  5. Could be high — but what’s the floor, $6 mil? I think the main point of that still applies in that the Royals gave him either full value or slightly more than what he would have gotten in arb so they could potentially underpay him relative to his potential market value as an FA.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — March 19, 2012 @ 9:45 am

  6. The interesting thing about this kid is how his monthly wOBA and BABIP break down
    .250BABIP .229wOBA 36wRC+
    .240BABIP .218wOBA 29wRC+
    .337BABIP .357wOBA 124wRC+
    .273BABIP .278wOBA 70wRC+
    .258BABIP .257wOBA 53wRC+
    .373BABIP .372wOBA 134wRC+

    Also interesting is his Home/Road split of
    Home .265BABIP .250wOBA 51wRC+
    Road .303BABIP .312wOBA .93wRC+

    If he can raise his BABIP up around the .300-.325mark you would expect from a player with plus speed he could go from being a black hole in the Royals lineup to being an asset on both sides of the ball.

    Comment by Psst — March 19, 2012 @ 9:46 am

  7. “…sometimes, poor-hitting shortstops like, say, Yuniesky Betancourt, can look better than they actually are due to a high contact rate.”

    I would argue that making contact is indeed a skill- what do you mean by this sentence?

    Comment by steven — March 19, 2012 @ 9:48 am

  8. also that from June through th end of the season he had a .286/.323/.411 that while not great if he puts up a number like that for all of 2012 he could easily be on his way to doubling or tripling the value of those team options

    Comment by Psst — March 19, 2012 @ 9:49 am

  9. Considering that Jamey Carroll is getting 6.75 guaranteed for his age 38-40 season, Jerry Hairston JR is getting 6 million for his age 36-37 seasons you have to assume that a guy 12-15 years younger would beat that.

    Comment by Psst — March 19, 2012 @ 10:00 am

  10. Not if the contact results in weakly hit balls that do not go for hits.

    Comment by John — March 19, 2012 @ 10:07 am

  11. Carroll also had a league average bat or better the past two years with a solid glove. That kind of production is rewarded with more money than a guy who is 30-40% below league average with the bat while being a gold glove calibre defender.

    So Carroll isn’t a good comp here.

    Comment by Mark — March 19, 2012 @ 10:41 am

  12. He may not be a good comp but he didn’t make the show untill he was 30 and he is 38 years old.

    Current starting SS salaries are important, so if you would prefer to say look at what Clint Barmes is making that would also help

    Comment by Psst — March 19, 2012 @ 10:45 am

  13. It’s not really a shocker that a guy with no power and a poor BB rate would have a lousy wOBA when he has a below average BABIP.

    Overall he had a 285 BABIP last season, so how much better can we expect him to be? He hits a lot of ground balls which should lead to a higher BABIP, but the counter argument to that is they’re not hard hit ground balls.

    As for his triple slash from June through September, that’s because of his excellent June/September which were due to his high BABIP. It’s not like he was good in July/August offensively.

    I just don’t think there’s that much upside here. He’s not that young, as he’ll be 25 this year.

    Comment by Mark — March 19, 2012 @ 10:48 am

  14. It’s irrelevant when Carroll made the jump to the majors. You pay for expected production. Carroll is a fantastic hitter for a middle infielder given that he can hit slightly above league average. Escobar can’t even come CLOSE to that. A 73 wRC+ means he’s one of the worst hitting options you can use. Players like that don’t get rewarded in arbitration (with one exception below) or free agency for doing that.

    As for Barmes – last year he was nearly a league average hitter. So again, I would expect him to be rewarded much higher than I would expect Escobar to have been. Teams don’t pay for defence. Barmes combination of above average (or slightly above average) defence plus a league average bat (even if it’s just for one year) means he’d get paid more than Escobar.

    I would be inclined to agree with the Barmes example via wRC+. Except for the fact that Barmes hit a lot of home runs in 2009 (23 HR, 76 RBI) which is really the only reason his arbitration salary went up from 1.6 to 3.3. And then he got paid as a free agent around 5M per year because he was coming off a year with strong D and a nearly league average bat.

    I just don’t think you can expect Escobar to put up the kind of numbers that arbitrators would look for that would give him the kind of salary a similar player like Barmes got in arbitration. And since I don’t expect his offence to improve that much, I don’t think they’re saving money in the free agent years so the whole contract becomes a poor investment.

    Comment by Mark — March 19, 2012 @ 10:57 am

  15. Right, Barmes is a decent comp and he got 2/$11M. So it looks like the Royals assumed the risk of Escobar collapsing or getting injured during his arb years in exchange for the right to pay him at roughly market rate in 2016-17.

    Comment by maguro — March 19, 2012 @ 11:00 am

  16. Roughly the 2012 market rate, considering how big the jump has been for middle IF over the last two years I wouldn’t bet that 2/11 is the market rate 2016/17 and as for Jamey Carroll being a fantastic hitting MIF that has been true but he is still old enough to be Alcide’s dad aging risk is accounted for in contracts too.

    Comment by Psst — March 19, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  17. So Escobar posted a .332/.362/.440 in AA as a 21yo with a .380BABIP and a .298/.339/.409 as a 22yo in AAA with a .330 BABIP in his quick rise throught the minors he never posted a sub-300BABIP.

    Can he be Jose Reyes? Almost zero chance of that happening can he develop into a Vizquel/Kennedy typ bat of course he can.

    Comment by Psst — March 19, 2012 @ 11:30 am

  18. Escobar hit like crap as a teen in the low minors, but from ages 20-22 he did hit .300+ with adequate walk rates and ISO. This seems a bit like the Royce Clayton story to me, more than the Rey Ordonez impression he’s given in 2+ years, which makes the downside of the Royals deal acceptable.

    And he just turned 25, so there is an upside around the Vizquel level. That makes the Royals deal a good one.

    Comment by tz — March 19, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

  19. “$10.5 million over the next [] years.” I think that’s supposed to be four?

    Comment by Lex Logan — March 19, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

  20. Fixed thanks.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — March 19, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

  21. I don’t think that’s right — just because the Royals will be paying him for several years does not mean he is guaranteed to be comparable to only those who survived. Suppose half those whose first three years were comparable to Escobar failed to play two more years — was that because teams picked the best of the lot (and hopefully the Royals have done the same) or was it more random? I suspect it’s some of both and so the prospects for Escobar are bleaker than your analysis suggests.

    Comment by Lex Logan — March 19, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

  22. Yes, he will be around for at least the next couple of years because of the contract. However, if in an alternate scenario Christian Colon were to be ready (to be a .335 wOBA guy) a year and a half from now I think the Royals might wish they had the option of nontendering Escobar. I don’t think it makes sense to tie up $10 million at this point, when we know the FA market doesn’t value glove-only players the way WAR does. And arbitration is even more archaic in how it values players. Therefore, it seems silly to me to throw away flexibility now on the hope that Escobar is significantly better offensively 3-6 years from now.

    Comment by Dan — March 19, 2012 @ 8:11 pm

  23. But why do the deal now? What’s Escobar’s best case scenario next year– a Babip fueled .320 wOBA? This guys is currently a significantly worse offensive player than Juan Pierre–let that sink in for a minute. Why on earth would you tie up $10 million when you could go year-to-year and have the option of cutting him loose after paying .5 million? The downside of the contract is that you could be paying Escobar 3 million a year in years 3 and 4 to sit on the bench (or maybe his couch) because they were able to develop another SS who can be only 10% worse than league average with the bat.

    Comment by Dan — March 19, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

  24. Whose WAR is higher in 2012, Alcides Escobar or Brandon Crawford?

    Comment by fergie348 — March 19, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

  25. Brendan Ryan seems like a good comp for Escobar. He is guaranteed $2.75 million in his arb1 and arb2 years, with incentives that could take the 2 year total to $3.9 million. Therefore, there is approximately zero chance Escobar takes home $10 million over his 3 arb years without significant growth offensively.

    Comment by Dan — March 19, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

  26. Brendan Ryan is a much better comp than Jamey Carroll or Jerry Hairston. He is signed for $2.75 million over his arb 1 and arb 2 seasons (and incentives for PT that could take the total to $3.9 million). He has been a better offensive player but has been a lot less durable.

    The floor for Esobar over his three arb seasons is probably at or just below $6 million. But that floor assumes Escobar is a full time player over each of the next three seasons. Given his offensive output to date, I’d say that is not a safe assumption. I’d say $6 million is the most likely outcome for those three arb seasons given the possibility of him becoming a late inning defensive replacement at some point over the next 3 years.

    And personally, I think if you take the difference between $10 million the Royals are effectively paying him for his 3 arb seasons and the $6 million they likely would have paid, you’d get a higher expected return from buying $4 million of powerball tickets than those 2 options.

    Comment by Dan — March 19, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

  27. It strikes me as poor methodology not to control for age.

    Of all middle infielders who debuted before age 24, I’d bet my left foot that a plurality debuted during their age 23 year, probably even a majority. Escobar debuted at 21. Even if his 3rd-5th years follow the trend described in the article, he could still improve even further during his late 20′s/the Royals’ option years.

    Comment by Carl — March 19, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

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