Colvin and Boesch Going Forward

The accolades being handed out to baseball’s current rookie class have been impressive — the best rookie class ever, the Year of the Rookie, etc. For prospect mavens and scouts alike, the successes of Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heyward and Carlos Santana are validations that baseball’s future can be predicted to some degree. However, alongside that touted triumvirate of rookies are Tyler Colvin and Brennan Boesch, two smooth-swinging lefties currently batting a combined .310/.358/.586 in 387 plate appearances. Neither was ever a top 100 prospect. Colvin was a first-round pick that many (including myself) criticized; Boesch was a guy I undershot on the day of his debut.

It’s easy to say that these are two guys that we missed, but I’m also hoping we can learn something from it. What traits do they have, or did they show in the minors, that we can look for the next time around? After all, both are former highly regarded college guys, have some swing-and-miss in their pretty left-handed swings, and have body types that intrigue scouts. You trade a little Colvin speed for some more Boesch power, but we have some undeniable similarities as a jumping off point.

So my first question was this: is this player, the left-handed slugger pegged as a platoon player, something we have underrated before? My findings were very telling. I started with this query in the Baseball-Reference Play Index: what left-handed hitters not ranked in a Baseball America Top 100 have had a .200 ISO in their first chance at regular playing time (150 plate appearances)? Here are the findings from 1995-2009:

Chris Duncan – 2006
Garrett Jones – 2009
Matt Joyce – 2008
Jay Gibbons – 2001
Andy Tracy – 2000
Jody Gerut – 2003
Mike Jacobs – 2005-2006
Chris Davis – 2008
Brad Wilkerson – 2002
Eric Hinske – 2002
Luke Scott – 2006
Chris Richard – 2000
Brian Daubach – 1999
Erubiel Durazo – 1999
Jon Nunnally – 1995
Mark Johnson – 1995
Matt Luke – 1998
Armando Rios – 1999

Overall, we have 18 players, with their seasons covering a total of 6,290 plate appearances. Cumulatively, in their first chance at regular playing time, this left-handed group hit .274/.352/.512. Only Luke Scott had a better OPS+ than where Boesch stands currently, but seven players finished above where Colvin’s 127 OPS+ resides. Colvin isn’t far from the group average, and when both players see some second half regression, I’m sure they’ll fit cleanly in this group.

But with the 1.5 dozen players listed above, what they did as rookies is equally interesting to what they did the rest of their careers: .254/.335/.444. This is a 10% drop-off in OPS, and a 20% drop-off in ISO. Look at the list: these are not players that blossomed into stars after good rookie campaigns. Guys like Daubach, Wilkerson, Hinske and Gibbons would go on to fight for a spot between the starting lineup and the bench. Others like Nunnally, Luke, Tracy would barely have big league careers after. You could count the number of 500+ PA seasons this group achieved after their early career breakouts on two hands. Luke Scott is becoming the group’s best success story.

Part of me wonders if there is some market inefficiency to be found here — that left-handed minor league sluggers are geared for some immediate big league success before teams start to figure out their holes. Perhaps they are a group that peaks a little earlier than most. But that would be ignoring a group I’m sure is even larger than 18 — the left-handed sluggers given a shot in the big leagues that failed. Colvin and Boesch, two players that combined to hit .267/.311/.402 in 1,400 plate appearances in A-ball, are merely in a fraternity of guys that were unfazed in the Majors. In time, their weaknesses will be exposed, and while retaining some value going forward (as the bench/platoon players we pegged them for), it’s unlikely either will be a good bet for regular playing time.

Or, perhaps, I should just let this tried-and-true method speak for itself:

Name        PA   2B   3B   HR   BB   SO
Player A   229   15    3   12   16   44
Player B   239   14    2   14   17   40

Player A led the Eastern League with 28 home runs the year before he produced those counting stats in his Major League debut. Player B finished third in the Texas League with 29 home runs the year before he produced those counting stats in his Major League debut. Player A is Brennan Boesch. Player B is Chris Richard.

Boesch and Tyler Colvin have earned regular jobs for 2011, but those should come with tempered expectations. Their numbers are as good as they’re going to be.



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James
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James
6 years 1 month ago

As a die hard White Sox fan, I internally nicknamed Tyler Colvin “The Mirage” a few weeks back (being in San Diego, I can’t find any Cubs fans to antagonize)… dare I say Corey Patterson is looking like he’s going to end up outWARing him this year.

dat cubfan daver
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6 years 1 month ago

Corey Patterson is about to lose playing time to Felix Pie, so he’s probably not going to outWAR Colvin. But thanks for sharing.

oompaloopma
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oompaloopma
6 years 1 month ago

If they both had 300 PA’s they would both rival Jason Heyward’s 2.0.

spindoctor
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spindoctor
6 years 1 month ago

I was wondering when you would show up ;)

oompaloopma
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oompaloopma
6 years 1 month ago

lol, That’s a good point with his Corey Patterson comparison crap. I will admit it took a minute to find something that rivaled his comment. Another question, does position play into WAR as in CF gets a +.5 and RF get a -.5 I read that for the mathematical formula but that was over 162 games so is it figured now or later?

oompaloopma
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oompaloopma
6 years 1 month ago

Another point, which I cannot believe I have not seen mentioned is that Colvin is playing in the best possible pitching match ups being the 4th outfielder. His numbers will obviously go down against facing the regular lefties.

spindoctor
Member
spindoctor
6 years 1 month ago

Just for you oompa :)

since he (Colvin) started getting more playing time at the beginning of last montn, he’s hitting just .235 with three walks in 81 at-bats. The power has been awfully nice, but his OBP will likely continue to decline.

oompaloopma
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oompaloopma
6 years 1 month ago

Thanks I will take some pills to recover from my depression. ;) I still have hope after the Castro fallout it wont happen to both of them, it might, lol.

spindoctor
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spindoctor
6 years 1 month ago

Starlin is just a kid, and he’s more than holding his own. You’re basically looking at Elvis Andrus-lite from his rookie season.

Brett
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Brett
6 years 1 month ago

Starlin Castro is Elvis Andrus without the glove. So they really aren’t compamparable except for age

spindoctor
Member
spindoctor
6 years 1 month ago

Give me a break….I know that Andrus has the better glove, but that doesn’t make Castro a chump in the field. He’s not as advanced, but he’s rangy and if he can cut down on the mental errors, he’s not THAT far behind. And I’m a Cards fan, so it hurt to say that ;)

Jilly
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Jilly
6 years 1 month ago

Not to be nitpicky(okay yeah I guess it is), but Colvin was a top 100 prospect before. He was #75 on BA’s list in the 07/08 offseason.

Jilly
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Jilly
6 years 1 month ago

Still though, good article.

h.villanueva
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h.villanueva
6 years 1 month ago

I don’t find it nit picky at all. The entire article and all the comps were based on that. I think it would change things just a smidge if you searched players rated 75 or lower by BA with ISOs over .200 in their first 150 PAs.

Future GM
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Future GM
6 years 1 month ago

As a junior in high school, Boesch was a top 25 prospect according to Baseball America.

Oh, and player C:

179 PA, 14-2B, 2-3B, 11-HR, 11-BB, 37-K

…Ryan Braun’s first half numbers of his ROY campaign. Right in line with Boesch and Richard’s. I understand that everyone was supposed to know Braun was going to be good. But to me, it’s not like Boesch came out of nowhere.

J.S.
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J.S.
6 years 1 month ago

While Colvin’s performance may be a bit out of line with his minor league numbers, it’s not wholly unaccounted for. There was a variable change over the offseason, he put on 25 pounds with an intensive lifting regimine. He was always decent at making contact, but lacked on-base skills. That hasn’t changed much. I’m not saying he won’t regress, but the change didn’t occur in a vacuum.

Matt
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Matt
6 years 1 month ago

You may have something here, but it sure looks like a selection bias problem in your sample.

RPS
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RPS
6 years 1 month ago

Seriously, did Boesch kill all of your dogs or something? I like the cherry picking of A-ball stats. If only there were other levels. A double-A league or something, if you will. A 23 year old was organizational fodder. The same guy, at 24, moved up a level and hit very well. He spent the first little bit of his year-25 season at the next level destroying everyone. Then he came to the majors and destroyed everyone for two-plus months. Is he an All-Star going forward? Probably not. He doesn’t walk much, pops up a lot, hits few line drives, and currently has an obscenely high BABIP. But things like “merely unfazed by the majors” and “In time, their weaknesses will be exposed” are a little too black-and-white to be intellectually honest.

Also, a grouping based on 150 PAs is now career-defining? Small sample size much? I bet you could set any statistical parameters you want about first 150 PAs and create a list of 90% washouts. That’s how this sport works.

By all means, criticize Boesch. It’s likely this show doesn’t last. But please don’t resort to weaksauce analysis to do it.

Patrick M
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Patrick M
6 years 1 month ago

Sorry to nitpick, but the dual analysis of these players is quite weak. While they profile the same way – left-handed, not top prospects – they are achieving their success in very different ways.
Boesch’s success seems to be very BABIP and RBI driven. While prone to strikeouts, his K% is actually less than Joey Votto – of course the lack of walks are also an issue. But a ~17% HR/FB ratio isn’t that unrealistic for a slugging outfielder.
Colvin on the other hand is striking out a David Wright pace (>30%), but his BABIP actual seems to be rather normal. However, his power numbers are staggering with a ~26% HR/FB ratio that makes Ryan Howard look weak.
While both players have a similar background and may fall into the same career path, they are achieving success in very different ways at the big league level right now.

Stu
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Stu
6 years 1 month ago

agree with everything you just stated

Andrew Stein
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Andrew Stein
6 years 1 month ago

Can the “looking at numbers but not bothering to talk to scouts about what Boesch may or may not have done to improve his hitting” crowd just admit that they don’t have a clear idea how Boesch will perform next season as opposed to just dubbing him the next Jeff Francouer?

These continue to be straw man arguments. “Boesch is probably not an MVP hitter going forward.” Yeah, we know. We all know. What we don’t know is where he will land. The numbers community seems pretty convinced that he’s Kevin Maas. And while I don’t believe that he’s Vlad Guerrero I’m not going to be convinced that he’s Kevin Maas until you guys start looking at the whole picture.

PJ
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6 years 1 month ago

You mean players make adjustments when they get promoted from league to league? Too bad there isn’t a stat for that.

Don
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Don
6 years 1 month ago

Wow, it’s officially Piss on Brennan Boesch Week here at Fangraphs, but I really don’t think this methodology is anywhere near as sophisticated as it purports to be. You can take ANY slice of players you want – right hand hitting 3rd basemen from SEC schools drafted in rounds 2 through 5 who had an ISO over .200 in the first 150 MLB ABs – and you’ll come up with a list of mostly washouts because most players who come up don’t stick as regular MLB players. This article is about as scientific as saying “90% of minor leaguers who come up to the big leagues wash out within 2 years, therefore, boesch and colvin will probably wash out too.”

Is it likely that boesch and colvin blossom into perennial all stars? No, it’s not LIKELY that anyone becomes a regular allstar. If you want to compare boesch to richard, fine, but to stick boesch and colvin on this list of 18 essentially random guys, say that those guys suck and therefore boesch and colvin will suck, that just seems like lazy, incomplete analysis.

spindoctor
Member
spindoctor
6 years 1 month ago

I don’t think the selection is as random as you claim it to be. It is specifically LH hitters since 1995 who have had strong debuts in the power department (.200 ISO or better in 150+ PA’s) and how their careers have been since their debuts.

The author then goes on to examine the cumulative “first chance at regular playing time” for this group (which worked out to a 274/.352/.512 triple-slash line. And then what they have done since at the MLB level (which cumulatively worked out to a .254/.335/.444 line).

The author concludes saying he believes we should temper expectations for these two players after seeing what they have done in their first taste of big league action.

I for one am not pulling against either of these players – I’m indifferent. The homers on these boards tend to show up for these articles and rip the authors for belittling one of their teams prospects, and that type of bickering doesn’t add to the conversation.

I for one would be happy to stand corrected if either or both of these guys exceed my expectations (I consider both to have long-term above above replacement level value, for the record) and produce anything like the solid clips shown in the early going, but I definitely don’t expect it to happen.

I will say this — there’s nothing wrong with being a .254, .335, .444 player. And that is the average of the group mentioned above after their first season — there’s no reason that either or both of Boesch/Colvin can’t exceed such a line going forward.

Daniel Andrews
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Daniel Andrews
6 years 1 month ago

Spot on Don!

The way I look at it, Colvin and Boesch have as much if not more scouting reports on them as Jayson Heyward, Desmond, or Santana. Much of how you hit is about who bats in front and behind you and who’s on base, because you should be pitched to differently. Much of Paul Konerko’s ressurgance this year has to do with not hitting with other base path slugs in front or behind him. Attribute Boesch’s upswing to hitting with Miggy in the lineup, making it highly likely he sustains his pace. Heyward’s been abyssmal since his move up the lineup card, pitchers aren’t grooving fastballs to him anymore like they did when he hit in the 7 hole. The anomoly is Colvin, he’s not protected in the cubs lineup and batting leadoff 60-70% of the time he starts, he gets a little more than 1 at bat hitting leadoff in an inning per game because of it, meaning he’s going to see more balls thrown in the strikezone to go with his average to above-average z-contact rate. There is no reason to believe you can’t see a line drive power hitter like Colvin improving on his current stats slightly because of this. Fan Graphs expects him to decrease his wiff rate over the second half, but not improve his stats batting leadoff. I say he raises his average to .290 or so, hits less home runs and produce more doubles as a leadoff hitter because of it. Personally, I think the cubs should be batting Castro leadoff with Byrd and Colvin interchangable at 2nd and 3rd and Soriano 4th much the same way I feel the Pirates should be batting McCutch leadoff, Walker 2nd, Doumit 3rd, and Jones 4th.

spindoctor
Member
spindoctor
6 years 1 month ago

“Attribute Boesch’s upswing to hitting with Miggy in the lineup, making it highly likely he sustains his pace.”

If you truly believe this, let me know what odds you’ll give me in a bet that Boesch does not maintain a .332, .380, .602 (.421 wOBA) pace. I’ll happily lay down large on such a bet.

Daniel Andrews
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Daniel Andrews
6 years 1 month ago

I already put my money where my mouth is on my fantasy team trading Jayson Werth benching Gardner, and dropping Marlon Byrd to put Corey Hart, Boesch, and Colvin in my outfield believing they will produce.

Daniel Andrews
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Daniel Andrews
6 years 1 month ago

The staggering thought occurred to me that Boesch might finish .315/360/.580 which would be good enough for you, because he’s not Heyward or Stanton. However, he’s not going to see many out of strike zone pitches if at all with men on base so unless you see that changing with Ordonez and Miggy in front of him or behind on occasion and I truly don’t expect his wOBA to suffer much because he can hit the crap out of a fastball. So only those pitchers who can paint the corners real well or really good breaking ball pitchers aren’t going to let him make good contact.

oompaloopma
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oompaloopma
6 years 1 month ago

The protection theory is based on the fact if you have a guy who is not that good of a hitter follow your best hitter, then they odds of walking your best hitter increase. The problem in proving the theory is you almost never have a Pujols followed by a 8th hitter. I am pretty sure Pujol’s BB rate would increase if followed by the typical 8 spot guy. Runner(s)on first and/or second, do you walk pujols to face Molina, I do everytime. I think of protection as in protecting my hitter from getting walked in abnormal situations like runner on first and molina up next.

Daniel Andrews
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Daniel Andrews
6 years 1 month ago

very well Bryan we will agree to disagree. I think it has more to do with how batters are pitched to and their response to being pitched to differently with guys on base and the number of outs in an inning. Situational hitting means a lot and I think Colvin and Boesch are better than Stanton and Heyward at it and have adjusted to it better in the Majors.

As I said, in front and behind matter in protection and probably in front more so. Fielding arrangements become different as does pitch selection and delivery mechanics if someone reaches base. I attribute a lot of minor vs major league variance to guys learning how to hit in various situations at the minor league level as opposed to just hitting how they are used to. Hitting home runs on guys learning how to throw their 3-2 curveball or change up out pitch compared to guys throwing those pitches because those guys know they can throw it is a lot different.

spindoctor
Member
spindoctor
6 years 1 month ago

“there’s no evidence to support the protection theory. It has been studied many times, and there’s been no link found between the performance of a batter and quality of the player hitting behind him. It’s a theory based on speculation, not on data, which should always make you take pause.”

I’m not going to disagree on the situational hitting piece without looking into it, other than to say that Heyward has been playing hurt which sapped his ability at the plate for more than a month before finally hitting the DL, and Stanton’s K’s at this stage of his career have been well documented.

If we’re going to get back into comparing Boesch and Colvin to better prospects like Heyward and Stanton, let us not forget we are talking about a 25 and 24 year old vs. two 20 year olds. It isn’t all that surprising that older players would be better suited initially at the MLB level over kids receiving their first taste of action.

Long-term, I’ll take Heyward & Stanton in my corners over Boesch & Colvin any day of the week. Short term, I’ll take Boesch or Colvin over Stanton — but I’d take Heyward over both still, if not for the injury.

Anyways, this article has been drawn off topic enough :)

Mike in MN
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Mike in MN
6 years 1 month ago

“you didn’t say a player on my favorite team was the greatest player EVAR, so you must hate him”…..why do people like that come to a site that is about analyzing statistics? I’m really not trying to be mean here, but I really don’t get it.

oompaloopma
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oompaloopma
6 years 1 month ago

I am happy someone finally wrote an article on the two, especially Colvin. I get the premise, and I hope he is statistically very wrong, lol. I heard something about “girls and bikinis” and “numbers dont tell the whole story” I dont know my brain turned off after I heard bikini. Joking aside, you could make this case for several rookies who have a monster first year and crash and burn the next. They do not have a term Sophomore jinx for no reason.

The Real Neal
Guest
6 years 1 month ago

It should be pointed out that Colvin, in addition to putting on the weight during the off-season, had TJ surgery prior to the 2009 campaign correcting an injury he suffered his first year in the Cubs organization. Since he’s returned to form following the injury he’s had a strong ISO in AA last season and was one of the handful of best hitters in the Cactus league, prior to the start of the 2010 season.

18 player sample size that doesn’t even agree with the results is totally useless to draw any meaningful conclusion from.

mscharer
Member
mscharer
6 years 1 month ago

Am a Tigers follower, so can speak to all the defensiveness regarding Boesch and his expected fall back to earth. Most articles have started with the premise, Boesch will fail, here is why. That automatically puts the fans in an antagonistic position.

I like this article, it attempts to find some objective comparisons, then conclusions from it. I don’t necessarily agree with the parameters used, maybe because I don’t like the results, maybe because I don’t think they paint a true picture.

I wonder how many useful (both good and bad) comps could be derived from… Age 25 and under debut, LH bat, 200 AB debut with .200+ISO (or higher if too many players), and maybe taller than 6’1 or something. That would seem to cover more of the contemporaries of Colvin and Boesch.

That is my issue here, the 18 players seem to have fairly wide ranging ages and professional experience when they come up. That is too much of a confounding issue for me to take much from it. The outside the top 100 prospect aspect throws out too many potential comparisons as well. Scouts overlook players all the time.

Chris in Dallas
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Chris in Dallas
6 years 1 month ago

I can understand why articles like this would rub Tigers/Cubs fans the wrong way. No one likes to hear that 2 of the best performers on their respective teams are likely going to fall to earth. The simple fact that it was written, however, means that both guys are on a tear enough to have gotten recognition (this is like the 5th Boesch article I’ve read this week). That’s cool, I think.

RPS
Guest
RPS
6 years 1 month ago

I’m a Tigers guy. I think Boesch is probably an average-to-good OF going forward. And I may be hugely misreading things. But it seems like the premise of the article was “These two guys are outperforming my, and general consensus, expectations. I wonder why, and if it’s sustainable?” Which is good. But then the analysis in the article uses selective statistics and an interesting but statistically meaningless list in such a way that the only possible conclusion that was ever going to come out of it was that everyone was right and these guys do suck. I just hate when the conclusion comes prior to the analysis, and I think that’s what happened here. If the title of this was something along the lines of “Why you should temper your expectations for Boesch and Colvin”, that would have been great. No problems. An interesting read. The title and the tenor of the writing, however, were without any ambiguity. It was written with “Will”s instead of “Might”s. When I see “Will”, I expect to see more solid analysis. My problem is with bad science, not with being mean to the Tigers or whatever.

Mark
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Mark
6 years 1 month ago

Huh? You would find the article more objective and openminded about its hypothesis if it were titled “Why you should temper your expectations for Boesch and Colvin” than its current one (“Colvin and Boesch Going Forward”)???

Don’t you have that backwards?

Ben Hall
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Ben Hall
6 years 1 month ago

Hey Bryan–

I was enjoying the Futures game previews. Are you going to do the World team pitchers and US hitters?

lincolndude
Guest
6 years 1 month ago

There is a really huge selection problem here. Regression to the mean.

“Part of me wonders if there is some market inefficiency to be found here — that left-handed minor league sluggers are geared for some immediate big league success before teams start to figure out their holes. Perhaps they are a group that peaks a little earlier than most. But that would be ignoring a group I’m sure is even larger than 18 — the left-handed sluggers given a shot in the big leagues that failed.”

This is the key passage to your article. You wonder whether there’s some inefficiency to be exploited, but then acknowledge that because you ignored the ones that didn’t do well, there’s no way to identify them until after the fact.

lincolndude
Guest
6 years 1 month ago

There’s another problem with this article: unheralded minor leaguers can come up and become quality major leaguers. The odds are much longer, but it happens all the time.

The fact that these two are left-handed guys who had an ISO over .200 in their first 150 PAs doesn’t make them less likely to succeed, but in fact probably makes it more likely that they’ll succeed (because now we have a little more positive information about them we do about some random long-shot minor leaguer).

Daniel Andrews
Guest
Daniel Andrews
6 years 1 month ago

The problem is looking at absurd HR/FB rates and deducting the obvious of a regression to the mean in that stat results in a deduction of regression to mean across the board at the same rate. Which is not necessarily true, to include iso power. The question should be, can doubles production be increased with a drop in HR/FB rates? With Boesch this seems highly likely with around a 36% extra base hit rate while with Colvin the question can only be answered with more at bats. Comparing Colvin to Garret Jones is probably the best comparison through the same point in their careers. If Colvin turns into Jones as of right now is it a complete disaster? I think not.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Member
6 years 1 month ago

I’m still looking for an explanation of Matt Weiters’ results the past two seasons. He was pretty much considered the top prospect by most in all of baseball in 2009, at minimum the top position player.

Shouldn’t that put a huge question mark on the abilities of people to project prospects? He was pretty much unquestioned as a prospect, yet he has been struggling for most of his time in the majors.

spindoctor
Member
spindoctor
6 years 1 month ago

You’d need to look at more than just 1 player in a bubble to support that question you are posing.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Member
6 years 1 month ago

First, let me say that I am not saying that there is no value to the rankings. I would still read and devour such information.

Rather, I just wanted to prick the bubble that most people inflate regarding prospects, many people talk like they are guaranteed to be or do something, and while we can get good insight to what they might be when they reach the majors, there is no guarantee. Yet people insist that this GM or that GM is an idiot for signing a vet when they have this particular prospect available instead and insist that the prospect is ready for the majors.

That’s what people have been saying about Sabean regarding Posey. However, if you look at his MLE for April, it was in the low 700’s while Molina had 900+ then. Posey didn’t figure out hitting until May. He needed that time without the pressure of hurting the MLB club at the same time, or worrying about handling a MLB staff, which could have lengthen the time it took him to figure it out.

And with the trade, the Giants spent around $2.5M for Molina to keep the seat warm for Posey until he figured things out, got Chris Ray, who appears to be a useful relievers so far, and basically bought Michael Main for $2M, which seems like a huge bargain to me.

Meanwhile, if anything, Weiters has regressed offensively this season over last season.

And to your point about just 1 player, it is not just one player, it was the consensus #1 position player in all of baseball. You would think such a player would be a gimme, wouldn’t it, if all these people are arguing for the firing of a GM just because he had the temerity to think that the prospect needed more seasoning in the minors. And if the #1 is not a gimme, then I don’t see where people get off on saying that someone should be fired for not agreeing with their assessment of a Top 10 player like Posey.

ToddM
Guest
ToddM
6 years 1 month ago

Here’s a different fan perspective for you:

I’m a big sim baseball guy, playing a game that uses previous year performance to make current year cards (for use in a cards & dice game). Every year, players that perform well but were not expected to perform well drop in the draft in favor of “true” prospects. This is because our league has complete retention of players, and no one wants to invest a top pick in a guy that’s only got one year worth of real value.

In our 2010 draft (mostly 2009 MLB rookies), last year’s big “WTF was that all about” guys went typically late (24 team league):

Garrett Jones, 27th pick in the draft
Casey McGehee, 34th pick

All of the top prospects you would expect went much earlier.

Undoubtedly, guys like Colvin and Boesch will suffer the same fate in our next draft. The thing is, they may very well have more productive careers than many of the top guys that go before them. Jones has recovered somewhat from a slow start and posted a 904 OPS in June (784 overall). McGehee has a 804 OPS on the year and doesn’t look like he’s going to give his job up to the initially more highly regarded Gamel. Those two guys are pretty well established now — the same cannot be said for many earlier picks in our draft (including Porcello, Beckham, A. Escobar, E. Cabrera, Fowler, LaPorta, Blanks, Matusz, Tillman, Holland, and Reimold).

Boesch (991 OPS) and Colvin (848 OPS) probably aren’t going to hit this well going forward, Boesch in particular, but they’ve greatly increased their chances at being successful major leaguers. I’m a Tigers homer, there’s no doubt about it, but if you Soloman’d me into picking Boesch’s OPS over his first five seasons, based on what I’m seeing every day, I’m thinking 850 right about now. That’s a pretty good player.

Usually, the variables involved in changing from the minors to the majors make it tougher in the bigs. Occasionally, though, for players that fit certain profiles, it’s actually easier. The free swinger that centers all kinds of pitches well but chases a lot of bad stuff may be one of those types.

End of rant — I’ve clearly lost focus.

spindoctor
Member
spindoctor
6 years 1 month ago

I play Strato as well, in a 9 team league. Jones fell to 18th in our league. McGehee wasn’t even drafted. (note: I’m assuming you mean Strato, but it could be one of the other variations).

Keep in mind that such a game does put a good deal of value on defense, at least up the middle. McGehee hit well last season and is hitting well again this season, but if I’m remembering right, he’s a 2b-4, 3b-4 on a scale out of 5 in the game. Again, working from memory, that leaves him with errors to the 6, runner advancing grounders to the 10, and double plays don’t start until the 15 or 16. He also shifts to a 5 when holding a runner, and when positioned in, those runner advancing grounders become singles.

Jones was also received a poor defender rating at 1b and the COF positions.

For games like that, defense is taken into account. For fantasy purposes, the only thing that matters for defense is that a player can stick at the position (qualify) and we really just care about the bat.

Just putting some context into why players that do tend to come out of nowhere and produce drop in said drafts. If they were to come out of nowhere and pkg a solid defensive rating along with a solid offensive card, you’d see them go earlier even if perceived as potential one-off’s.

ToddM
Guest
ToddM
6 years 1 month ago

It’s actually not Stratomatic, although I played Strat in the very distant past. I’m not going to leave a link for fear of angering the FanGraphs powers that be, but if you’re truly curious about our (unbelievably awesome) league, do a web search for the IBL — Internet Baseball League.

We’ve been around since 1993, and used to use the Pursue the Pennant game. Since they went under, we’ve been making our own cards (“we” might be a little generous there — a good friend of mine does most of the work). If you’re into sim leagues, we’re always looking for owners (the league is all free except printing costs, no prizes, just pride).

oompaloopma
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oompaloopma
6 years 1 month ago

I wanna play, I played as a kid for a while then everyone quit. I use to matchup the current playoff teams and roll them out as the games were being played. 90 percent of the time accurate in the end for the series even though it was previous years roster.

ToddM
Guest
ToddM
6 years 1 month ago

All you gotta do is a little web search for our website and then drop an email to the Commish. If there isn’t an open team right now, it never takes too long. Keep in mind, however, that this is a serious hobby — during the game-playing season, probably 6-8 hours a week of effort, and during the off-season, as much time as you want to put into scouting the draft and GMing your franchise. We love it, but it’s not for the half-hearted.

There are a handful of owners that have been in the league for 15+ years, but there’s definitely some turnover. I played for eight or nine, then left for a few years when life got busy, but now I’m back with a different franchise. It adds to my enjoyment of the REAL baseball season immensely.

cam
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cam
6 years 1 month ago

One thing that this study didn’t take into account, is that most of those lefties had large platoon splits, while Boesch has had a huge reverse platoon split this season.

Future GM
Guest
Future GM
6 years 1 month ago

On May 17th there was an article about Boesch that said he had a .421 BABIP, and that when that fell, he would come back to Earth. His BABIP has dropped to .389 and he’s still mashing. This guy is a complete anomaly because no one knows where he came from or why he succeeds with such odd peripheral stats.

He walks, only 6.6% of the time and k’s 20%. He’s hitting line drives at a 17% clip. Normally, we’d look at a guy who is all or nothing and just assume he’s a free swinger. And that’s how most of us peg him. The guy out swings Vlad statistically — both in and out of the zone.

He sees the ball, he hits the ball. Pitchers have tried doing everything against him and nothing seems to work. I think more than anything he’s matured as a hitter. His intelligence seems to have grown into his skills and he’s learned how to be better. I think he’s reaching but not too far outside of the zone. He’s even figured out that pitchers know he grips and rips and is willing to take the trot for 90 feet.

That’s why we never heard of him. Because scouts can’t rate adjustments.

ToddM
Guest
ToddM
6 years 1 month ago

Or how about this…

In the 6’6″ lefty’s first 60+ PA against major league lefties…

…his OPS is 1317.

Whaaaat the heck!

dustin
Guest
dustin
6 years 1 month ago

ok these are all good points but just look at the all star game and see who is better Jason Heyward is a starter there while boesch and colvin aren’t even going and don’t give me that its a fan’s choice who goes crap the manager and players pick and they obviously did not have enough respect of thier colleagues while heyward has the respect of the entire league

Jeremy
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Jeremy
6 years 1 month ago

As a Tigers fan I know that I can’t be objective…However, I think the frustration with the Boesch bashing is reasonable. There is a smugness to excessively relying on statistical analysis to project a players career. Baseball players are human beings, not just collections of stats. No sane person expects him to be a .340/.400/.600 guy moving forward, but if you actually WATCH HIM PLAY there are many things that suggest he has the potential to be a .900 OPS guy.

1) He swing isn’t particularly long considering the bat speed he generates.
2) He uses the whole field.
3) He hasn’t demonstrated any weaknesses WITHIN the strikezone.
4) As teams stopped grooving the first pitch against him he has made adjustments and his walk rate has improved. He is extremely aggressive within the strikezone, but I have been surprised by his willingness to take pitches, especially after he seemed to swing at every first pitch the first couple of weeks.
5) His contact rate is fine for a guy with his power.
6) He hangs in great against lefties. In fact his numbers against LH’s have been sick, and admittedly unsustainable, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is one of those LH hitters who hits for a higher avg. against lefties because he looks to go the other way more often.

Some guys are late bloomers. I think he is a smart kid who has made good adjustments. I will be surprised if he doesn’t establish himself as an everyday player and no I am not the least bit objective.

I am not questioning the power of the analytical approach, but like players, statisticians are human too and are prone to stubbornness. If you are looking for reasons you have been taken by surprise you might find some answers by actually watching the guy play.

ToddM
Guest
ToddM
6 years 1 month ago

Well said. I hope neither one of us is delusional, because the Tigers could use this kid.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew
6 years 1 month ago

It’s a small sample size but in 70 July PA Boesch has only struck out 7 times and walked 8. His July OBP stands at .357.

Clearly pitchers are adjusting to him and early returns don’t seem to suggest that he’s flailing wildly as a result.

Chris
Guest
Chris
6 years 28 days ago

Score one for the statheads.

Boesch in July: .209/.311/.253

Average has dropped 60+ points in less than a month.
More alarming, no XBHs in 19 games.

Daniel Andrews
Guest
Daniel Andrews
6 years 27 days ago

Chris:

Since Boesch’s XBH’s weren’t the problem as his XBH rate was around 35%. I expect him to rebound nicely.

Chris
Guest
Chris
6 years 26 days ago

DA:

Not trying to be a jerk, but I’m not sure what you mean here. What problem are you talking about? I’m hoping the kid will rebound, and he doesn’t appear to have altered his approach, but he’s just not making solid contact anymore.

Jay Y.
Guest
Jay Y.
6 years 1 day ago

The article and comments were interesting to read as August ends and you can see Boesch’s stats for July and August and Colvin’s stats for August.

The next question is can either or both make adjustments to respond to the adjustments the leagues appear to have made against them? And, what will their stats look like once they are not quite as “lucky” and “unlucky” as they have each been during the months of 2010.

Whether the methodology was as good as it could have been or not, the point remains that neither player has performed as well as they did initially, which was the point of the article, it seemed to me.

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