Offseason Notes: Houston Gets Its Nerd On


Ladies and gentleman, the Astros front office.

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Offseason Notes.

1. Lone Headline: Houston Gets Its Nerd On
2. Projecting: ZiPS for Milwaukee
3. Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Houston Television

Lone Headline
Houston Gets Its Nerd On
The Houston Astros hired Sig Mejdal for the newly created position of Director of Decision Sciences, reports (recent FanGraphs Audio guest) Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle. Eric Seidman reminds me that Mejdal was Sam Walker’s right-hand nerd in the latter’s (excellent) book Fantasyland. Mejdal worked most recently with the St. Louis Cardinals, from which organization new GM Jeff Luhnow has also recently arrived. Per Levine (per Luhnow) Mejdal’s most immediate concern will be consolidating, for easier access and more effective decision-making, much of the information that the club has, but that “you have to go look up in various different pieces.” (Thanks to Mike Axisa for note on this.)

Projections: ZiPS for Milwaukee
Dan Szymborski has published his ZiPS projections for the Milwaukee Brewers. Below are some of the notable ones. (All numbers assume major league competition. OPS+ and ERA+ are park-adjusted.)

Mat Gamel, 1B, 26: .264/.341/.433, 107 OPS+
Following the departure of Prince Fielder to free agency — and, presumably, at some point, another team — Gamel is currently slated to be the everyday first baseman for the Brewers. That slash line gives him a wOBA of about .340 — i.e. almost precisely what first baseman averaged in 2011. It also projects to about 11 or 12 weighted runs above average (wRAA) over 600 plate appearances — i.e. about what an average first baseman would have.

Norichika Aoki, CF, 30: .289/.338/.393, 97 OPS+
Nyjer Morgan, CF, 31: .266/.324/.353, 83 OPS+
Carlos Gomez, CF, 26: .243/.296/.374, 80 OPS+

Working for most of the season in a platoon, Gomez and Morgan combined for 6.0 WAR in 687 plate appearances this past season. About two of those wins (ca. 20 runs) came from fielding alone. Aoki is the Japanese player with whom the Brewers are currently negotiating after winning the right to bid with him. Over 600 plate appearances, these ZiPS projections would place Aoki at about four runs above average, Morgan at about seven or eight under, and Gomez at 12 under.

Wily Peralta, RHP, 23: 135.0 IP, 105 K, 68 BB, 14 HR, 87 ERA+
Barring injury, Milwaukee will start the season with precisely the same starting rotation as they featured in 2012. Peralta is certainly a candidate to get some innings, however, should injuries occur. Both his velocity (mid-90s) and the line from his 31.0 Triple-A innings in 2012 (31.0 IP, 40 K, 11 BB, 50.0% GB) are impressive.

Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: Houston Television
This offseason, FanGraphs is asking readers to rate the broadcast teams for all 30 major-league clubs. (Click here for more on this project.)

Rate other teams: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago (AL) / Chicago (NL) / Cincinnati / Cleveland / Colorado / Detroit / Miami.



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