Reflecting on Raul

Throughout the offseason I wrote three separate posts here discussing the idea of the Phillies signing Raul Ibanez to man leftfield everyday. My feelings were not ambiguous in the least: as both a Phillies fan and an analyst, I did not support the move for several reasons. Ibanez was essentially just as poor as Pat Burrell on the defensive front, did not produce enough offensively to overcome these defensive shortcomings, and would begin his Phillies tenure at 36 years old. On top of that, the contractual terms of three years at a dollar figure in excess of $30 mil just seemed like way too much of a commitment.

This April, Ibanez hit .359/.433/.718, with seven dingers and a .487 wOBA. Defensively, he has a +2.5 UZR rating in 20 games out in leftfield. All told, Ibanez produced +1.5 wins, over 60 percent of the +2.3 wins he recorded last season. Despite his sheer awesomeness in the opening month of the season, my stance has not changed and I once again feel compelled to reiterate the difference between disliking a player and disliking a transaction or acquisition.

I have no issues with Raul Ibanez as a person. He seems like a good guy for this type of Phillies team and his numbers this month have instilled confidence in just about every Phillies fan. At the time of the signing, my pessimistic sentiments stemmed more from the contractual terms and the process of the move as opposed to the player brought in. Though the severity of the depressed free agent economy could not necessarily have been predicted, the beginning of the offseason did have a different feel and several analysts suggested that the commitments both monetarily and with roster space would not be as vast as years past.

Ibanez is not going to keep up this pace for the entire season. Dave Cameron got to watch him intently over the last several seasons and aptly summed the experience up by saying Ibanez will go on stretches during which he hits like Babe Ruth and performs average offensively in between these spurts. His defense also is not very likely to stay in the positive given his true talent level in this regard. It could, but a betting man would be wise to stick to the most probable outcome.

Overall, Ibanez has been incredible for the Phillies so far, but solely evaluating the product of a move and not the process is in no way the best analytical route to take. A combination of the two is really the most accurate since the product cannot be ignored but the process is at least equally important. Signing Ibanez to this deal when other similar players signed for very low-risk contracts was not wise from a financial standpoint.

He is not a bad player and I still root for him throughout each plate appearance, but while Ibanez has instilled confidence in fans thus far, GM Ruben Amaro did not instill the same confidence in at least this Phillies fan at the time of the signing.




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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.


52 Responses to “Reflecting on Raul”

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  1. mark says:

    I wonder what the fastest time is for a jersey shirt to be bought and thrown out?

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  2. I agree with a lot of what you’ve written here, particularly where you criticize the manner in which Amaro went about signing Ibanez. That said, couldn’t you write “will go on stretches during which he hits like Babe Ruth and performs average offensively in between these spurts.” about a lot of very good players?

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Sure, but what I was telling Eric (and what he’s saying here) is that it’s not like he hasn’t done this flip out for a month thing every year prior to this one. This isn’t new. He always has one month where he just goes bananas.

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      • don says:

        This is probably the least statistically grounded argument that’s ever been posted by one of the column writers on this site. Additionally, it’s one of the chief arguments that people made against Pat the Bat (seriously, look up his first and second half splits over the last few years, he’s incredibly streaky).

        Raul is probably playing over his head. He’s not getting more pitches to hit than he was last year (the zone % is the same) but he is swinging much, much less (coaching?) which is part of why he’s walking more. His eye is decent, and always has been – he swings much less at outside pitches, and his contact percentage and power are respectable as well. There’s the overall opposition quality – Pat going to the AL, and Raul going to the NL. There’s also the park size – but CBP doesn’t play as much as a hitter’s park as people like to think.

        As for defense… well, Raul’s certainly faster. Someone should clue Burrell in to the fact that sprinters run on the fronts of their feet, not their heels. I always thought that Burrell took decent lines and wasn’t as bad as his speed would otherwise suggest. He must have been one of the 5-10 slowest non-DH non-catcher players in MLB, but I thought he took decent routes to the ball. Still, after watching a few games at the beginning of the season it’s mind boggling to think that statistics rate them as equal fielders.

        I think in two years Raul won’t be worth what he’s being paid, but if Burrell had made $15M in arbitration this year he probably wouldn’t be worth it either.

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    • Brian says:

      Interesting point…I’ve heard a fantasy columnist on an unnamed site say “sluggers do 75% of their damage in 25% of their games”. Would be interesting to see if this was statistically accurate…do sluggers produce 75% of their output in 25% of their games (IE the first month for Raul) or is this simply a “stat” thrown out there based on conjection vs. reality.

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      • James K. says:

        They must have meant nonconsecutive games. Raul for example did about eighty percent of his damage last year in his top forty games but only about forty percent in his best forty game stretch, so yes, I can see this holding relatively true across most of baseball.

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  3. DavidCEisen says:

    What effect does going from being the best hitter on a team, and thus the main focus of opposing pitchers, to essentially the third or forth best hitter on a team have on his performance? It seems to stand to reason that pitchers are less worried about him than they are Utley and Howard–and Victorino, Werth, and (eventually) Rollins also get respect from pitchers–so he is likely to get pitched to more often. Now I certainly doubt that he is going to continue to hold down a ridiculous .487 wOBA and a positive UZR over the long run, and the sample size is still relatively small, but I’m interested in seeing how this year continues for him. The updated ZIPS does, however, have him out performing Burrell for the season.

    I was also very, very down on this move in the off season, and thought it would backfire (which it still might, if not this year maybe next), but I’ll be more than happy to admit to being wrong. They overpaid, for sure, but their roster probably only have about 3 years worth of world series level play left, so they might as well discount their future for now.

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  4. CaR says:

    Ibanez has, essentially, been a very nasty thorn in the side of Dave Cameron’s credibility for the last 5 years. Whiffed so badly on “old player skills” so as to toss the “theory” out.

    What he is (Ibanez), is the most under paid arb eligible player of the last 5 years. He sucks in the field, at the least important, (and I love when you grasp at the big dimensions of his home park, what a croc) position on the field. Happy to see Mr. Seidman at least nod to results, while giving the standard smartest guy in the room line about “process”.

    Something like 25 mil. in salary since 04 for Raul, something like 2.5 times that in the same time span for…. Ichiro

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    • Josh S says:

      Ibanez has, essentially, been a very nasty thorn in the side of Dave Cameron’s credibility for the last 5 years. Whiffed so badly on “old player skills” so as to toss the “theory” out.

      I’d have to disagree. Dave’s credibility has only been increasing over the several years. You are lucky enough to read what he and this staff at Fangraphs writes for free, it is some of the best stuff out there.

      Eric said that he had more disdain for the the process than anything else. Don’t forget that the Phillies lost a draft pick on this one. I don’t see how that is justifiable in some situations (certainly not all) in today’s baseball structure.

      While Raul’s 2009 numbers are certainly inflated by his park and offense, he was born four years prior to the in house option (the one who wouldn’t have cost them a pick.

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      • CaR says:

        Josh, as this is not Cameron’s bit, I will only state that while I can acknowledge my “luckiness” for the information, Dave has staked many theories credibility based upon how much he hated having Ibanez on the M’s. And since he makes the claim of never being wrong,(yeah he does) it gives me a certain sense of satisfaction in pointing out when he is wrong. Like he has been, for 5 years, on Ibanez.

        That said, I think the Phillies probably shouldn’t have gone as deep with his contract as they did, and of course he will trip at some point. The fact that he didn’t at age 30 as was guaranteed some years ago is what I was reminding some of.

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    • Top2124 says:

      Since ’04, CaR, Ichiro has been worth about $92 million dollars to the Mariners… in that time Ibanez was worth around $47 million. Not sure what point your arguing bringing Ichiro into this, he’s vastly the better professional baseball player and worth the bigger paycheck. Now he’s working for a back loaded 3 year deal and at age 36, he’s not getting any younger.

      The point being made here is Ibanez isn’t doing much differently than before, besides playing defense. If that continues, he’ll be a great pickup for the Phillies if he can maintain that production for 3 years. That’s a lot of “if’s”.

      Ichiro is a superstar and finally got a superstar’s contract, and one could argue he may have been the most underpaid player in baseball until bringing the big contract home last year. He’s vastly outplayed his paycheck each year in the league, won a couple awards (regardless of if they mean much), and been the best player on his team (which included Ibanez) for his career.

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      • CaR says:

        Compare GPA between the two since 04, compare the salaries, doesn’t add up Top. Unless you want to count defense for 50 mil. its not going to work. Ibanez hit at a very comparable rate in that time span.

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      • q says:

        You know, there are ways to quantify the value of defense in terms of $, and on this very site… and yes, you can count defense and positional adjustment for $50m given the wide disparity between the two.

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      • Dave M. says:

        $41 million difference in fair market defensive value in favor of Ichiro from 2004 to 2008 according to Fan Graphs. GPA also ignores Ichiro’s sizeable baserunning advantage which EQBRR thinks comes out to about $13 million.

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      • Top2124 says:

        Yes, it took me all of 15 seconds searching, couple seconds opening calculator.exe, couple seconds adding, and a couple more checking my work to find that Ichiro is much more valuable than Ibanez. Ichiro has been paid a little bit more, but he deserves it.

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  5. Brian says:

    Not to rehash a tired argument, but this CW that Ibanez was just some fungible guy, and that the Phils should have sorted through the remainder pile in February to get the same production at half the price doesn’t make sense. Would the Phillies have liked to get Ibanez for 10 cents on the dollar? Of course. The big question is: Was that going to happen? I’m not sure that anyone can sit there and say that the Phils were way over the market for him, because we have no way of knowing what other teams were willing to pay for him. Maybe that was his market, and if you wanted him, that was the price.

    Yes, the Phillies went over the broader market for available left fielders, but they didn’t want any of those other guys. Better players still take a premium, even in this economy. I don’t get the logic that says that if a handful of suboptimal players at a particular position had to sign below market deals, then the good players at the position should be expected to sign the same kind of deal. Sure, it’s an interesting negotiating tactic, but you’d better hope the other owners are as cheap as you, or you’re going to be rummaging through the remainder bin in January, hoping to get lucky. You know who overpaid even more extravagently for their left fielder, considering the bear market? The Dodgers. They’re not complaining.

    The Phils got the upgrade from Burrell they wanted, and he’s performing and winning games for them. So far, so good. Win win.

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    • q says:

      Ex ante, Burrell was a better player than Ibanez last year. Ex ante, the Rays paid less for Burrell than the Phillies paid for Ibanez, in both years and dollar/year. Ex ante, it was a bad decision.

      Ex post, it’s worked out so far for the Phillies. But one should definitely be concerned about a process that makes an ex ante bad decision, because averaging over many transactions, ex ante bad decisions turn into ex post bad decisions.

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      • Brian says:

        Good thing the Phillies didn’t see it that way. Maybe their numbers (and certainly their eyes) didn’t rate Burrell as highly. Ibanez fits the Phillies needs much better, and cost them at least $5 million a year less than Burrell – you do realize that the Bat made something like $14 million for the Phillies last year, right? So in Ibanez they get a player they liked more, a player that they can reasonably expect to outperform Burrell, and they banked a couple million to spend on other needs. This gets framed as some sort of blunder on their part? Tough crowd. Most people make a deal like that, they get a pat on the back.

        Really don’t know what Burrell ever did to warrant the starry-eyed affection. He had some use, but the Ibanez sux crowd has built up Burrell into some tin baseball god. 30 teams in baseball had a chance to add THE BAT to their roster, and he had to take a nearly 50% pay cut in order to continue his career. He’s only 32. That’s like the opposite of a bidding war. How come MLB teams aren’t using these numbers that say he’s so good?

        Phillies turned a lot of supposedly ex ante bad decisions into a lot of ex post big fat diamond rings last year, so I’m pretty sure they’re comfortable with their decisionmaking process, even if other people aren’t.

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      • CaR says:

        Watch out! q is flashing some Latin legalese. If your system tells you that defense counted 50 mil. difference because it can be found here, then your system is broken. Process matters where there is no accountability, the rest of us count on results.

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      • q says:

        Brian:

        I think it’s quite clear the Phillies valued Ibanez more than they did Burrell. Whether they used numbers, their eyes, their heart, whatever, it doesn’t matter. Eric’s point is that whatever process they used to value Ibanez, it clearly was in disagreement with all known modern methods of forecasting. Maybe the Phillies are using better methods; or maybe they’re getting lucky. Which one seems more likely? Especially given what we know about Phillies’ management willingness to accept new methods?

        CaR:

        “ex post” and “ex ante” are common terms when discussing forecasting, especially in business or financial matters. Don’t be so angry for learning something new.

        Also, the difference between Ichiro and Ibanez’s defense was like 70 runs from 2004-2008. That’s most definitely worth $50 million. If you have a better way of quantifying the difference (which any rational person will concede exists), I’m all ears.

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      • q says:

        Moreover, it defensive evaluation doesn’t matter much when comparing Burrell and Ibanez, as they both were pretty horrid in the field.

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      • CaR says:

        And here I thought you were just trying to sound smart while stating something unsmart. Apologies q

        I dispute the 70 run gap, and am quite sure that its based in some way on total bases etc. where the actual event is not taken into consideration. In other words, its made up, hypothetical nonsense designed to prop up replacement level talent. No one has ever been signed to a $50 mil contract because you think they catch fly balls better than Ibanez , Burrell, or Ichiro. Its a little maddening to know that a player affects a game more with his bat, than his glove in most instances yet you guys give equal value to offense and defense in your analysis, sure doesn’t make sense to me.

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      • Wallace says:

        I don’t think it’s unfathomable that Ichiro was on average 14 runs better per year defensively than Ibanez in the given time frame (though Fan Graphs says 21). I can assure you that it’s not made up.

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      • Top2124 says:

        CaR,
        Do you read any posts on this site, or do you just post to disagree with Dave Cameron. If you’ve looked at anything on here in the last 1-2 years, you’ll know what most believe is the best way to value defense. Yes, even the creators of these statistics know they’re flawed, and can be affected by noise, but it’s undoubtedly probably the best we have. Seeing you don’t have a link tied to your name where you’ve done something better, I’m going to have to side more with the Fangraphs guys and Litchman here. Until you can show why the difference between Ichiro and Ibanez’s defense isn’t worth that much with analysis rather than just saying “I see” and “I think”, you’re not going to get many thumbs up on your posts from around here.

        You can walk into a college professor’s room and dispute his teachings if you use sound logic and real proof of your ideas, but you can’t just walk in and say this is right because I say so and not look a little silly. Put together something a little tangible, read up on some of the defensive metrics, even make up your own and you can construct a better argument. Until then I’ll blindly follow the guys who’ve put years of knowledge into these numbers, graphs, and this great website.

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    • Eric Seidman says:

      Brian, with all due respect, you seem to be exactly the type of person this post was written for. I made it explicitly clear that I like Ibanez and root for him, and I’m not angered over losing Burrell in his stead, but what bothered me was the entire process of the signing given that by all appropriate measures, he fell into that glut of corner outfielders who eventually signed for much less money. My posts back then dealt with disliking a deal, not disliking a player. It isn’t as if I’m going to be upset if the Phillies win but Ibanez is awesome, suggesting the numbers were wrong. I’ll be ecstatic as a fan because winning is of course great. However, I am merely stating that I hope this signing isn’t a foreshadowing of things to come for Amaro.

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        Signing players that end up being really good at above market rates on a team that is structured to win now?

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      • Brian says:

        Thanks for the response, Eric. My only point of contention with what you wrote was this notion that Ibanez was part of ‘the glut of corner outfielders’ available this Fall. In a literal sense that was true, but in terms of talent, I don’t think the Phillies ever looked at that glut and put Ibanez in the same league as the rest of them. They wanted Ibanez, specifically, so there was no need to get cute and wait out the market. I think they saw the situation much differently from people who think Ibanez’s baseball skills are a mix of pretty good and simply terrible. The Phillies didn’t expect him to be sitting around unsigned in January, looking to catch on somewhere for some cut-rate, screw job deal, and they weren’t interested in any of the guys who were likely to be in that group.

        I don’t think that you can look at what happened with players like Dunn, Burrell, and Abreu and assume that Ibanez would have been treated like he was part of that same group. How do we know that if the Phillies had sat back and said, “Let’s see what happens with this market…” that they could have had Ibanez for a much better deal? The market was the market, but each player got treated differently, and talent still needed to get paid. When people argue that the Phillies wasted money on an above-market deal, it seems predicated on assuming that the actual market for Ibanez was going to be a few million less. But we have no way of knowing if that was true.

        As for process, Amaro’s MO has clearly been to fetishize cost certainty, and jumping on Ibanez early, so that he knew how much he had left for other things, was part of that. There’s all sorts of risk in that kind of philosophy, but it does make other parts of his job easier.

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  6. Kevin S. says:

    Ex post, Raul Ibanez has a BAbip .030 above his career norm. Ex post, Raul Ibanez has a 27% HR/FB ratio. Ex post, Raul Ibanez’s good start is a fluke. Ex post post, Phillies fans will be pining for Pat the Bat when he goes on his own hot streak.

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  7. fanOFdefenseAGAIN says:

    This is not the correct venue, but, while we are the subject of terrible processes, what the hell is the matter with the Houston Astros?

    Why would they send Felipe Paulino to the bullpen to make room for Russ Ortiz? Paulino throws hard, has a solid k/bb ratio (admittedly small sample size), and induces gb at nearly a 50% rate (also sample size).

    Please write a post about this. I consider this one of the worst decisions of recent memory. I am shocked.

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  8. DavidCEisen says:

    A wise man once said:
    “People have begun to lean on “small sample size” like a crutch that helps them defend their original position in the face of evidence that should convince them that they might not be correct. The evidence might not be overwhelming, but as it begins to pile up, remaining wedded to your preseason thoughts is just as ignorant as overreacting to the performance.”

    It’s almost like some people pick an choose which small sample sizes are ‘significant’ and which are ‘lucky’ arbitrarily. Zips has him hitting .290/.355/.490 for the rest of year, which is 23 point raise in OPS! Use all the data available, right?

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    • Eric Seidman says:

      David, here is how it works. A player has a true talent level derived from the prior three years of his career, weighted, with age factored in. When new data enters the pool, IE, Raul’s 2009 season, that becomes the most recent and starts to carry the most weight. So when ZIPS or other projection systems, like Sal Baxamusa’s In_Season Marcel updater, alter projections, they are using 2009 data to date in conjunction with the prior 3 years to show what the player is expected to do the rest of the way. The larger the new sample gets, the more stable it gets.

      Last year, CC had his terrible start and his pre-season ERA projection of 3.28 rose to 3.46, or something along those lines. The jump wasn’t insanely high given how poor he pitched but did show that his poor beginning altered his true talent level.

      Nobody on this site picks and chooses which samples are more meaningful. At the very least, Dave and I share the sentiment that all small samples are meaningful in one way or another but not worthy of being treated as the gospel.

      I like to marry the numbers and scouting info. If other Mariners fans confirm that Ibanez is known for going on insane spurts and then dying down a bit afterwards, then I am going to treat his great first month as one of those spurts until proven otherwise. I WANT it to continue, but the analyst in me does not see it happening. If he does, great, the products of this signing would be much higher than expected.. but that does not ignore the process, which is what I did not like.

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        I agree with that sentiment, and if that is what Dave believes you’ve explained his belief better than he did. However if Dave does believe “all small samples are meaningful in one way or another but not worthy of being treated as the gospel.” Then why did he state that Andruw Jones is back (based on 35 PA) and that Victor Martinez is better than everyone thought coming into the season (even not considering his use of the word significant)? The issue that I have, is that the reason for using small sample sizes in those two cases and not in Ibanez’s case is neither apparent or statistically driven, but instead driven entirely by personal observation (which Dave constantly discounts in other people).

        Anyway:

        Like I said, I highly doubt Ibanez is going to continue at this rate, but he does have a good chance of out pacing Burrell for the year. If so I’ll live with the result of losing a draft pick, because the Phillies window is closing. Also no one is addressing my question of how do you think (I’m honestly, truly interested in this answer) going from being the best hitter on a team to third or forth hitter on a team affects Ibanez’s numbers. I don’t necessarily want a quantitative answer, but at least a you’re an idiot response would be nice.

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      • Eric Seidman says:

        Hmm, must have glossed over that initial comment. My take on it is that it is the type of performance shift that makes intuitive sense but doesn’t hold a ton of water. It is also hard to test. One could look at the types of pitches he sees in different counts/situations but switching leagues and having just one month of such data makes meaningful differentiations tough.

        For instance, say Ibanez saw offspeed pitches in hitters counts in the AL 65% of the time as the primary power threat on his team, but on just 40% of the time as the 3rd or 4th threat, then yeah pitchers approach him differently. Isn’t impossible to quantify but it will take until at least the end of this year to know.

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        True, buy Ibanez is hardly the first good hitter to go from best hitter on a team to a more role player role during the off season (in season trades, like Jason Bay, suffer from sample size issues), so some sort of general comparison could be done. It might be also interesting to see if there is any difference in wOBA.

        Conversely it might be interesting to look at players who go from solid 3rd threats to being signed as the main threat in a new lineup. Looking at pitch percents here might be interesting as well.

        There are issues of age, progression, regression, and league switches, though.

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      • q says:

        David: Not all samples of size n are created equal, it depends entirely on your prior assumption. For every projection, there is also a range of possible performances around such a projection. We could say Ibanez’s current performance is within a reasonable range of possibilities (~.820 projection vs. 1.12 OPS now, I’m using fangraph’s projections), and so even if we’re going to update our prior, it won’t necessarily be by that much.

        For Andruw Jones, his current performance is way beyond any reasonable range of projected performances (~.750 vs. 1.25), so any update of our prior will have to be similarly drastic.

        For Victor Martinez, the difference between his projected and current OPS is similar to Ibanez’s (~.810 vs. 1.08). So Dave is wrong there, unless he was referring to what I’ll dub “espn.com analyst projection” which probably thought Martinez was done.

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    • DavidCEisen says:

      q, I agree with what you said generally, and was being a smart ass in my original post.

      However I disagree your assumption on Andruw Jones. I think the current sample size and the make up of that sample is not nearly large enough or diverse enough to make an update to his projection. I think at this point his .OPS could very well actually fall into the error margin of the original projection and there is no reason to update the projection. In that if that offseason projection was used to find what the range of probable outcomes Andruw Jones would have in 35 AB, I think the range would be incredibly large, so it should come as no surprise that he has a high .OPS at this point. It would be a surpise at the end of the season if he gets around 500 AB.

      I also agree that both Martinez and Ibanez probably fall within the margin of error right now as well. Which is, of course, the problem with small sample sizes.

      What has been constantly beaten around the bush over the past week here, has been whether or not we should be willing to make qualitative judgments on the way players will play the rest of the season based off of the small sample size, or if we should use the statistical projections made. Dave seems to be arguing that we use qualitative judgments here (he would disagree with this assessment). Eric seems to be arguing that we should combine the two. I, personally, have no idea.

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  9. Joe Trinsey says:

    There’s a couple issues I think are relevant here that are more of the unquantifiable aspects of sport that I usually tend to discount:

    1.) Motivation. All professionals are motivated to some extent, but don’t discount the fact that Ibanez appeared to take the criticism leveled at his fielding pretty personally. He seemed genuinely offended and, since he’s known as a hard worker, maybe he made it his mission in the off-season to improve his fielding. Is that alone going to give him the ability to become a +10 fielder this season? Dubious, but maybe it could have some positive benefit.

    2.) Coaching. Charlie Manuel is known as a mediocre strategist who is also a great hitting coach. If you look at the breakdown on Ibanez, he’s swinging at less pitches overall, especially out of the zone. Maybe this is something that Manuel is working with and it’s going to help his BB and K-rates this year, which would both be career bests if they stand up. Again, maybe it’s nothing, but maybe it’s a little extra.

    Looking at how he’s performed in the first month, I think it’s reasonable to think that his OBP could stay very high, even above .400. He might not be able to sustain .420+ over the course of the season, but his BABIP is only at .344 and it has been .325, .321 and .331 in years past. His LD% is down a bit, and his HR/FB is clearly unsustainable, even with the moderate boost from CBP. So, his BABIP should drop a bit, but even with that, it wouldn’t be a huge shock if he set a career high with an OBP in the neighborhood of .400, if he has changed his approach at the plate and become a little more patient.

    What’s almost certain to drop is his SLG. His HR/FB is in Ryan Howard-territory at 25.9% and there is no way that holds up over the course of the season. I think the best that can be realistically hoped for, even with the benefit of CBP is 16 or 17%. HIs batting average won’t stay at .350 for the year, but it’s unlikely he’ll finish much below .300 and, if his K% stays down, maybe even in the .310 range. He posted an ISO of .220 with the Mariners a few years ago, and I think that’s a good best-case scenario with the Phillies.

    .310/.400/.530 with below-average-but-not-atrocious fielding is a legit hope that a Phillies fan can have this year and that would go a long way toward combating the awful pitching staff.

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    • big baby says:

      career .348 OBP magically jumps .50+ points?

      When you are hot, you do not swing at bad pitches. It’s all part of the process of being hot. When players are in a slump, they swing at pitches out of the strike zone.

      or, maybe if you close your eyes realllllllllll tight and cross your fingers, raul ibanez will channel the ghost of barry bonds jr. (he’s dead right?) and become something he has never been.

      What’s more likely: Raul Ibanez stole a Vietnamese child and used him as a conduit to the spirit world to bring back the Ghost of Barry to imbue Raul with new powers, or the fact that he’s having a very hot month and will come back down to earth?

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        Well for his OBP to go back to his career average it would need to be around .338 the rest of the year, assuming 600 AB this season.

        No way that it will stay at or above .400 though.

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  10. big baby says:

    Raul’s slash stats so far: .354/.426/.695/1.121

    In August of 08: .396/.452/.703/1.154

    In August of 07: .374/.447/.682/1.129

    In June of 06: .326/.414/.695/1.109

    Wish in one hand and crap in the other and see which one fills up first.

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  11. brent in Korea says:

    What’s the record for highest WPA in a game by a hitter and pitcher??

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  12. Chuck says:

    Ibanez’s defense has been much better than advertised. Maybe the guy got pissed about reading how terrible he was and focused all offseason on training. Maybe CBP agrees with him. I’d be more interested in hearing Eric’s (or your) comments on his defense coming back to the average over the last 3 years.

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    • DavidCEisen says:

      Well he still plays half his games on the road and 36 year old players don’t suddenly add a whole new skill set that.

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  13. DavidCEisen says:

    Still glad he’s a Phil after today!

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  14. dbuff says:

    I believe Ibanez is better than “not a bad player”. On a subjective level I did believe that Ibanez was “a good fit” in Philadelphia on more than 1 level. On an objective level there was no support for the common claim that Safeco field was such a pitcher’s park that it had penalized Ibanez. In the 5 years of 04-08 Ibanez hit 56 home runs in 1394 AB’s at Safeco and 57 in 1555 AB’s on the road. Additionally, his slugging % was higher at Safeco than on the road in 4 of the 5 years (although that year, ’07) was a significant exception.

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    • Top2124 says:

      Safeco plays very neutral to left hand hitters. It was built for Griffey, after all. Right handed hitters are where you see the park effects come in to play.

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  15. Joe Trinsey says:

    Another home run and some more solid defense against the Mets last night. Whether it’s a fluke or not… I’ll take it as long as it keeps up!

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  16. Bob says:

    Regarding his defense…I read something in the offseason about how Ibanez played effective defense on shallow balls, and inadequate defense on deep balls, with a positive out differential on shallow balls and a negative one on deep balls. Burrell was the opposite. It’s possible that CBP negates much of the poor defense stat effect of Raul due to it’s short left field porch.

    Similarly, while CBP is not as much of a hitter’s park as some make it out to be, it could be that it is a great hitter’s park for certain types of hitters. Raul could be that type. He doesn’t hit monster bombs, but he does hit a lot of deep fly balls. Point is, Ryan Howard will get his dingers anywhere. Raul may pick up 5 to 10 homers in CBP that would have been deep outs at Safeco.

    It could also be that the Phillies are using more sophisticated metrics than your typical Park effect analysis, instead looking at where outs are made and how different parks impact that. The best analysis today is undoubtedly being performed behind closed doors with different ballclubs. Perhaps not.

    I was opposed to the Ibanez signing then and still am now, though I love what I’ve seen as a phan. I mostly opposed it because the play with Burrell was to offer him arbitration. He accepts, you get him for one motivated year. He declines, you get 2 first rounders to fill a depleted farm system and can still sign Raul or any of the others. That was before the depressed market. After…well, the signing was awful. But maybe not as awful as it first appeared.

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  17. Kevin Herman says:

    Come on now Bob the signing was not “awful”. The Phillies are one of the elite clubs in baseball now and don’t need to make decisions based on 2-3 million here or there or an extra year hear or there. Burrell would have accepted arbitration and got more then Ibanez got for one year. They would have never seen those draft picks. The other so called bargains on the market were not players the Phillies wanted. Bobby Abreu they got rid of once and Adam Dunn/Ryan Howard would have been a whiff factory. The Phillies decided on a number they could live with and signed the guy they wanted.

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  18. Brian says:

    Just looked at the numbers and Ibanez is coming back to reality with BABIP (0.338 vs. career 0.311) and his LD%/FB%/GB% is inline with history. His IFFB% is WAY down and his HR/FB% is way up.

    I was thinking of selling this guy high in a fantasy league but I’m starting to wonder if the increase in HR/FB% might be due to the band box he plays in vs. some statistical anomily…any thoughts/thorough analysis?

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  19. F.uckTheS.PicMets says:

    You guys are all f.aggots. World F.u.cking Champions mother f.uckers. You s.pic loving Met fans.

    F.,uck off bi.tches

    Accept Satan as your Lord.

    -8 Vote -1 Vote +1

  20. Howie says:

    We miss you in Seattle Raul!!!! We are watching you kick ass in the National League. keep it up. You are awesome!!!!!!!

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