Which Pablo Sandoval Did the Red Sox Buy

If you focus on his age and overall production so far, the reported near-$100 million that the Red Sox are handing Pablo Sandoval for his next five years are reasonable. He’s a young man with an established bat at a scarce position. But if you focus instead on some of the aspects of his production, things look a little different. They look a little scarier.

First, read Dave Cameron on why even a sixth year wouldn’t have been crazy, given the right salary numbers. Basically, as the number of years go up, average annual value goes down. The sixth year might be the premium that gets the signature, but it’s not a sixth year at the same price as year one. Given that the salary pretty much exactly follows the breakdown that Cameron showed, this isn’t a terrible contract if you call Pablo Sandoval a 3.5-win 28-year-old third baseman. Even if it’s a little more than the median five-year $80 million contract the crowd wanted to give him.

But what if you call him other things?

Pablo Sandoval is a large baseball player.
It’s three years old, but Jeff Zimmerman once developed an aging curve for heavy players. He put players in bins based on Body Mass Index, or roughly weight divided by height. Then he looked at the average change, year-to-year, in his runs produced (measured by fielding, offense, and positional runs). The change in runs is on the y-axis, and the player’s age on the x-axis.

HeavyPlayerCurve2

Sandoval is already in his decline phase — that’s usually true of free agents. But if you cite his age as a reason that he should be closer to his peak, then this graph is scary. Because the heavy player aging curve is shifted, and Pablo might age like a 30 year-old svelte player next year.

Pablo Sandoval is a large third baseman.
Really, this is just tied into the aging curve above, and maybe it’s not a real issue for the Red Sox, who don’t have a great long-term solution at first base anyway. But players as large as Sandoval don’t usually stay at third base. In fact, of the 68 players that have played at a listed weight over 240 pounds since 2002 (Sandoval is currently listed at 245 here), only two were third baseman for any amount of time: Scott Rolen and Joel Guzman. Guzman was seven inches taller and played 87 innings at third base. Rolen was five inches taller and is a stretch as a comp. Even Juan Uribe, not in the sample, is an inch taller, ten pounds lighter, and started as a shortstop.

It looks like Sandoval may be destined for another position before the life of this contract is up. In the end, that will sap value from his overall worth, even if the team can get value out of him at first base or designated hitter.

Pablo Sandoval is a large oft-injured third baseman.
Some might quibble with the label. The two biggest chunks of time that Sandoval has missed have been due to breaking the left and right hamate bones (possibly due to knob-grabbing), and he has no more hamate bones to break (“I got no more bones in there man,” as he put it to me last year). But that understates the case. Since 2012, he’s missed 59 days (including spring training) due to left foot and thigh strains among other things.

Another thing. Research that has looked at the fact that past injuries predict future injuries is agnostic of the specifics. And that research has found that there is such a thing as injury prone. Rob Arthur even created a regression equation that can help us predict how many days Sandoval will miss in 2015: 16.

That’s not that bad of course. But Sandoval’s body type has something to say about his chances of winding up on the disabled list. Thanks to Jeff Zimmerman’s DL database, we know that players over 240 pounds averaged 1.5 trips to the disabled list between 2002 and 2012. They averaged 66 days on the DL. Players under 240 pounds averaged .47 trips to the DL per year. They averaged 53 days on the DL. The sample size isn’t huge (that same 68 players), but the results are stark.

Pablo Sandoval is large oft-injured third baseman that makes his living on making contact on pitches outside the zone.
Over the last two years, Sandoval has been top-ten in making contact on pitches outside the zone. He’s legendary for swinging at anything from his teeth to his toes, but so far he’s made a living making contact on those pitches. At his age, you might think this could continue. Dunno about that. Check out the aging curve for hitter components, via Bill Petti and Jeff Zimmerman:

AgingCurves_Hitters_Discipline_All

See that dark green line that plummets in the middle of the graph? That’s contact on pitches outside the zone. It begins to fall off precipitously at… 28 years old.

You could say that he’s falling from a nice peak in o-contact, but then there’s the fact that he has swung at nearly 46% of the pitches he’s seen outside the zone over his career (that number is about 50% worse than league average). He’s going to keep swinging at pitches that make you go ‘wut.’ But soon he’ll start missing them more.

Pablo Sandoval is large oft-injured third baseman that makes his living on making contact on pitches outside the zone and has a reputation for playing well in October.

I looked at Sandoval in the postseason, and if you ignore power results — and you should, because power becomes stable only in really large samples — there’s no difference between Regular Season Pablo and Postseason Pablo. Maybe he swings at a few more fastballs. But really you should probably bet on Pablo to be more like his 3533 regular season plate appearances than his 167 postseason ones.

——

Because the biggest, broadest definition of Pablo Sandoval is that of a three-to-four win third baseman, the deal probably makes sense. That isn’t to say that he isn’t without risk. And yes, most free agent deals come with risk, but this one seems to come with more than most. His size, his position, his skills at the plate, and his reputation — all of these things bring with them hefty asterisks.



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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.


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jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Great breakdown of why I couldn’t understand his market and don’t like the signing (except I hate the Red Sox, so YAY! GOOD SIGNING!). My only quibble would be with the description in your last paragraph, as it’s presumably more accurate to think of Sandoval as a two-to-three win third baseman than a “three-to-four” one. I realize that Steamer has him at 3.6, but that’s while projecting a .171 ISO he has reached only twice in his career and not since 2011.

everdiso
Member
everdiso
1 year 6 months ago

yeah, 2.6, 2.3, and 3.0 the last 3 years (& 2.9/150gms) would support a “two-to-three win third baseman” label, obviously.

calling him a three-to-four win 3B would indicate assumed improvement for him next year, which is kind of odd given that the article lists a bunch of reasons for why even maintaining recent production will be a challenge for him, with it declining being even more likely.

Walter
Guest
Walter
1 year 6 months ago

Its not just the ISO even. His baserunning is also expected to be above his average rate per game (would be -2.7 rather than 2, so not much I know). Also his defensive value is above that of his three-year average weighted for playing time (would be 1.66 rather than 3.1).

I have to think its a little odd that Steamer seems to be bullish on just about everything about Sandoval being better than his three year average. If you add it all up, it seems to me the low side of 2-3 WAR is more likely than the high side.

pitnick
Guest
pitnick
1 year 6 months ago

The only thing that jumps out at me about the Steamer projection is the jump in ISO, which it thinks will bounce back to his career average rate. The three-year rates are a good starting point, but you do have to factor in those two monster years he had earlier.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 6 months ago

Factor them in to some extent, ok, but a career average weights them equal to his more recent seasons.

Walter
Guest
Walter
1 year 6 months ago

what jdbolick said.

What is the weighting factor for each year for steamer?

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 6 months ago

In general, I prefer median over mean anyway.

Patrick Newman
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

“Because the biggest, broadest definition of Pablo Sandoval”

:)

The Foils
Member
The Foils
1 year 6 months ago

“all of these things bring with them hefty asterisks.”

Eminor3rd
Guest
Eminor3rd
1 year 6 months ago

*astrices

KCDaveInLA
Guest
KCDaveInLA
1 year 6 months ago

Big, fat astrices.

DrBGiantsfan
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

If this is a finalized deal, I am glad it’s the Red Sox on the hook for 5 years and not the Giants, although Pablo will be difficult to replace in the short term. He went into the 2014 season 30 lbs lighter and said his brother had become his personal chef and was cooking healthy for him. By the end of the season, he had gained back 20 lbs and was noticeably bigger than when the season started. Historically there is an inverse relationship between his weight and performance on the field.

Despite the difficulties his leaving causes in the short term, every time I thought about a 5 year contract I got visions of him coming to spring training an additional 30 lbs heavier and the outlook for the final 2-3 years of the contract was downright frightening.

So, if the cost of keeping Pablo was a 5 or 6 year contract, I am glad it’s not the Giants, assuming of course that this is a done deal.

ConfirmedConfirmationBias
Guest
ConfirmedConfirmationBias
1 year 6 months ago

I wouldn’t share non-fangraphs links ordinarily, but Alex Speier is fantastic and this article presents some great counterpoints to the aging/weight concerns:

http://www.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/alex-speier/2014/11/03/pandas-aging-curve-what-does-history-say-about

tomemos
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tomemos
1 year 6 months ago

“I wouldn’t share non-fangraphs links ordinarily”

Why on earth not?

Avattoir
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Avattoir
1 year 6 months ago

“Pablo will be difficult to replace in the short term”

Short Term Pablo, I’d raise that to “difficult” to ‘impossible’; but replacing Long Term Pablo is a snap, and replacing Medium Term Pablo is within the Giants’ power.

glib
Guest
glib
1 year 6 months ago

I am probably the only one who is moderately optimistic. I see

a) Posey consistently play below his level in the playoffs, probably due to exhaustion
b) Susac as the real deal out of the G minor leagues, and a future player better than the celebrated Panik
c) a heavily left handed lineup

and I say that both Susac and Posey should start taking grounders at third, both being starters. Ideally, Posey starts no more than 100 games behind the plate next year, and he is our 3b the rest of the time. Use the money on pitching. Even Bumgarner can only carry 3 #5 pitchers on his shoulders.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 6 months ago

Seriously. People can talk all they want about how Panda’s “quick twitch athleticism” means his weight isn’t an issue, but carrying that much around is not good for your joints. That guy is going to have serious knee problems sooner rather than later, just from wear and tear.

Walter
Guest
Walter
1 year 6 months ago

Its not good for a lot of reasons. When was the last time this guy’s blood sugar or free fatty acids were tested?

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 6 months ago

Predictable.

Spa City
Member
Member
Spa City
1 year 6 months ago

I suspect the Red Sox have been looking at Panda’s spray charts and projecting how he would fare at Fenway. I also suspect Panda will hit substantially more more Home Runs and Doubles at Fenway. He seems like an excellent fit for Fenway.

ElJimador
Guest
ElJimador
1 year 6 months ago

This. Really hoping we’ll see Tony Blengino weigh in w/ one of his granular batted ball and park effects analysis like he did with Cuddyer to the Mets.

Spit Ball
Member
Spit Ball
1 year 6 months ago

Their is some truth that his batted ball profile will be helped by Fenway if the spray charts of his batted ball profiles hold up. However, he needs to stay on the field to take advantage of it.

Dirck
Guest
Dirck
1 year 6 months ago

I was thinking along those lines also . His past performance has been largely in difficult parks for hitters and his future is going to be spent largely in much more favorable ballparks for hitters . might that not largely mitigate or even completely cancel out those negative trends at least for the first several years ?

Postseason Sceptic
Guest
Postseason Sceptic
1 year 6 months ago

Oddly enough, he’s actually performed better at AT&T Park than on the road. He’s got a career 107 WRC+ on the road against 138 at home, and while some might attribute this to the effects of the other ballparks in his division, these effects aren’t really that significant.

Dodger Stadium deflates triples considerably for both righties and lefties, but Sandoval hits few enough triples (career total of 19) that the slight inflation of HRs for lefties (104 park factor) would compensate for it. Singles and doubles are just below 100.

Chase Field gives a slight boost to lefty doubles and HR. 3B are inflated significantly but, again, that doesn’t affect Sandoval much. Singles are an even 100.

PETCO Park, despite its reputation as a pitchers’ park, is close to league-average for lefty hitters. It deflates singles, doubles, and triples by a 2, 2, and 4 points, but actually inflates HR by lefties by 3.

And then there’s Coors Field, which inflates everything on offense. Slight boosts to 1B and 2B, a large one to HR. If Sandoval could run, that 130 3B factor for lefties would’ve been worth many a 3-bagger over the years.

Like others here, I want Tony Blengino to give us one of those spray-chart-filled posts so we can have a better idea of how Panda might do at Fenway. But he’s only been well above-average at AT&T park, so who knows if his performance will improve by virtue of leaving for another ballpark. Almost everyone hits better at Fenway, but the effect may not be as pronounced as some expect.

pitnick
Guest
pitnick
1 year 6 months ago

Might be less about park factors and more of a mental thing. He’s a very enthusiastic player and clearly gets a charge out of playing in front of fans at home. I wouldn’t know how to try to quantify that effect though.

Rob
Guest
Rob
1 year 6 months ago

I tried to do this myself, but my skills are nowhere near as good as Blengino’s. You can at least look at the charts I collected and make the decision for yourself: http://www.faketeams.com/2014/11/22/7251613/the-panda-in-beantown-pablo-sandoval-in-boston

Joshua Duncan
Guest
Joshua Duncan
1 year 6 months ago

I agree with all that was said except this:postseason performance matters. Thats why the sox got him. They are always trying to win a championship every season. It is a big deal if a hitter performs the same in the postseason as in the regular season. Teams would wish that more of their hitters were like that. The sox now have two above average proven performers in the postseason. Most teams dont even have one. Long live panda!

Jason
Guest
Jason
1 year 6 months ago

That is one of the best quotes I read from a player that was considering great in the postseason. When asked how he elevated his game he said “I don’t elevate, I stay exactly the same, everyone else just gets worse because of nerves or trying to elevate their game, thus my game looks better.”

Exactly your point.

Postseason Sceptic
Guest
Postseason Sceptic
1 year 6 months ago

It’s true that, due to the improved quality of the pitching batters will face in the postseason (a product of most clubs with bad pitchers not making it), performing the same in October as in the regular season is nice.

However, 40 games isn’t a great sample size. I personally have little confidence that this performance is the result of any repeatable skill.

That .370 BABIP in the postseason has to give you pause-I can’t see a player with Sandoval’s (lack of) foot speed sustaining that BABIP. I can’t see many players sustaining a .370 BABIP, period. Ted Williams did it the year he hit .400, and had a few years in the high .360’s, but it was uncommon even for him. That BABIP will come down by a lot, and soon. In short, there’s no good reason to allow Sandoval’s postseason performance to eclipse 6.5 regular seasons’ worth of data.

As a Red Sox fan, I’m optimistic about the Ramirez signing, but bearish on this one. Steamer expects him to put up 3.6 WAR, more than he’s done since 2011. 3.0 seems more realistic, and if we apply a steeper than usual aging curve to Sandoval (say, 0.7 wins/year) that puts his value over the life of the contract at around 8 wins. Decent production, but a terrible contract (circa 12.5 million $/WAR). That final season, essentially at replacement level, and with a backloaded salary of around 15 million, will be ugly.

Even if we assume 3.6 WAR next year and apply the standard aging curve, he’s worth 13 wins over the life of the contract, or about 7.7 million $/WAR. This is assuming he keeps his weight under control, stays healthy, keeps making contact with pitches outside the zone, and remains at 3rd over the life of the contract.

An 85th-percentile-of-possibilities performance by Sandoval makes this a decent FA contract, with just a slight overpay. Anything less means a bad contract. The 50th percentile projection is scary.

BRH
Guest
BRH
1 year 6 months ago

So the Sox are banking on Hanley Ramirez putting his own interests aside for the good of the team and Pablo Sandoval losing weight. What could possibly go wrong?

Dan
Guest
Dan
1 year 6 months ago

No reason at all to be worried about Hanley’s attitude. Hanley wanted to come to Boston; he’s often spoken about his desire to play with Ortiz again, and it was he who reached out to the Red Sox and offered to play left field, and he clearly took a discount in terms of years. If you’re basing your remark on reports of his apathetic play in Miami 5 years ago, well… that was 5 years ago. He was a lot younger, and the Marlins were terrible. By all accounts he’s matured a lot since then, and I’ve never heard anything about him being a problem for the Dodgers.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
1 year 6 months ago

Yes, the Red Sox overpaid for Panda and Hanley. But adding those 2 players to what they already have creates a very, very scary offense.

James
Guest
James
1 year 6 months ago

So what is your opinion on how he will do over the period of this contract?

You seem worried but I noticed a tendency to hide behind numbers chosen to validate an opinion. The numbers say things but I’m not so sure you have.

Also since you discounted power numbers in the postseason (reasonable) how were those at bats compensated for? They didn’t just not happen and they certainly weren’t losses. I hope you accounted for them in a way that serves to represent the AB’s success while not focusing on the power aspects because of sample size issues.

Position should have little negative impact on his value for the Red Sox, any warm corpse laid out near the left side of the infield is an improvement at 3rd base. A few years at 3rd and the remainder played 1B/DH sounds like a dream for the Sox. Perfect in fact. At some point in the next 3-4 years the Red Sox will have some viable option at 3rd be it a prospect or a big money transaction. The sox need time, what they don’t have is a 3rd baseman right now.

Also, on an idealistic note its worth mentioning the penchant Sox hitters have for taking pitches and the ideology behind it. OBP, long at-bats, and indifferent first pitches have identified the sox since Theo and his Greek God of Walks were around. It’s impossible to say whether Pedroia and the organization will rub off on him but it’s something to think about.

Don’t want to sound overly critical.

Love the breakdown but I think its very focused on one point of view, miraculously without ever voicing it.

Eno Sarris
Guest
Eno Sarris
1 year 6 months ago

The park effects make me wonder how different Pablo will look in Boston, but I thought it was fairly obvious that I was saying that Pablo is likely to age worse than typical aging patters, making this deal more likely to be bad than good.

As for the first base thing, that’s fine for the team, as I said, but in terms of ‘value to all teams’, Pablo has less value at first than third, which would make the return on investment lower in general terms.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 6 months ago

Pitch selection is a talent. Pablo isn’t good at it. When he tries to be patient, you get the first half of this year.

Joshua
Guest
Joshua
1 year 6 months ago

The giants just gave up there chance for a fourth championship. Who else was as good as pablo sandoval on the giants roster IN THE POSTSEASON? The fact is this: the giants are the best tournament team in baseball. When they get in they win the whole thing. I would find it hard to find another good defender, hitter and teammate IN THE POSTSEASON. If the red sox are willing and understand that postseason performance matters, why didnt the giants? In the end, teams care about winning championships. The giants could have paid him the money.

DrBGiantsfan
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

The Giants won a championship in 2010 with Pablo sitting on the bench because he had eaten himself out of the lineup.

glib
Guest
glib
1 year 6 months ago

The G survived a rotation which included Vogelsong, Peavy, Hudson and Cain/lincecum this year. None of these should be trusted with a postseason start. We have seen it all. I do hope this deal opens up a job for Susac as a regular.

Shankbone
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Reports are sketchy, with national beat writers saying its a deal done and Pablo’s agents denying that claim, but it appears the Giants matched or wanted the opportunity to match the offer. It takes two to tango though, and there might be some jockeying on both sides. I’d believe the Giants over the agent though…

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10688680/pablo-sandoval-agent-named-lawsuit-alleging-fraud

ElJimador
Guest
ElJimador
1 year 6 months ago

If the Giants were serious about wanting to keep Sandoval they wouldn’t have made that 3/40 offer to him in the spring and they wouldn’t have spent this offseason hanging back and only reacting while the Red Sox led the charge for him. I don’t mind at all that they wanted to go a different direction. To me though it looked entirely by design that they were a step behind all the way through this.

Lynn Walker
Guest
Lynn Walker
1 year 6 months ago

It actually appears that (this is from Bobby Evans) they offered Sandoval 4 years with options for a 5th for $80 million this spring and the infamous 3-years for $40 million never happened. How much disinformation did Sandoval’s agent spread?

dmgetz
Member
Member
dmgetz
1 year 6 months ago

“Who else was as good as pablo sandoval on the giants roster IN THE POSTSEASON?”

Not to diminish his contributions or anything, but when people look back on this season, the guy they point to as the one who lead the Giants to victory isn’t going to be Sandoval.

Brad
Guest
Brad
1 year 6 months ago

Well, sure it’ll be Bumgarner. To Giants fans like myself, I didn’t overlook Pence and Sandoval both tearing it up offensively, but that’s going to be forgotten really soon.

KJ
Guest
KJ
1 year 6 months ago

Get 1-3 productive years at 3B then to DH when Papi retires/washes up. That’s how I see it shaking out (and making sense)

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 6 months ago

A DH who will be a few years out from a 111 wRC+? As a Yankees fan, I hope you’re right.

troybruno
Member
Member
troybruno
1 year 6 months ago

This. If Pablo has been 110-120 wRC+ over the past 3 seasons and is in his decline phase, he is gonna be an average DH at best. The average DH over the past 14 years has been at 110 wRC+ and the past 3yrs the league average has been 106, 110 and 113.

If BOS is thinking DH at all, this is already a failed signing.

Matt
Guest
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

The bought a player they didn’t need. After the HanRam signing here is what they Red Sox looked like using Steamer projections.

C- Vasquez -1.9 WAR
1B-Napoli- 2.6 WAR
2B-Pedroia- 4.6 WAR
SS- Boegarts- 1.8 WAR
3B-HanRam – 3.8 WAR
LF-Betts- 2.7 WAR
CF-Castillo- 2.5 WAR
RF-Victorino/Nava- 2.7 WAR
DH- Ortiz- 2.3 WAR

At total of 24.9 WAR. Now lets move HanRam to LF, Sandoval to 3B ,Betts to RF, and bench Victorino/Nava. Sandoval is worth 3.6 WAR at 3B. You seemingly gain 1 WAR, but the positional adjustment hurts Hanley, so the real upgrade is probably less than 1 WAR. So for 2015, you essentially paid $20M for less than 1 WAR marginal upgrade.

Now if you spent that on pitching, you are replacing a replacement level pitcher.So you are maximizing the margin. If you sign James Shields to a $100M contract, he is providing 3 WAR over the “replacement level”, paying $7.5M/WAR upgrade or 2 WAR more. Essentially get $13M more value in that first year.

Richie
Guest
Richie
1 year 6 months ago

Yeah, I don’t like the contract in isolation. In conjunction with the Hanley contract, it’s just awful. Terrible.

ConfirmedConfirmationBias
Guest
ConfirmedConfirmationBias
1 year 6 months ago

This assumes no more moves will be made, it’s still November. The goal is to build a great team not necessarily maximize the total projected WAR from the opening day starting lineup. If the Red Sox package some combo of Cespedes/Napoli/Nava/Craig/Victorino, etc. in a deal or two for a starting pitcher(s) the team would be committing money to seemingly safer position players than the older pitcher, which is a much more volatile position.

Plus, some type of 1B Nava/Craig/Francisco/3B Sandoval/LF Hanley situation is safer and more appealing than 1B/Napoli/3B Hanley/RF VIctorino/Nava, and that’s ignoring the potential asset return for Napoli.

Matt
Guest
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

I acknowledge that. But I doubt Napoli will be moved and disagree that a platoon situation at 1st is more appealing. . I already assumed Cespedes was gone and Craig was either gone or benched.

I just disagree with selling low on Victorino and Nava. I think Steamer is pretty conservative with both of them and quite bullish on Sandoval as well. Realistically, you’ll get someone to pay Victorino in trade. That is probably it. Even if he is moved, you paid $7M for that extra 1 WAR when you should be profiting at the beginning of the contract instead of paying market value.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

“possibly due to knob-grabbing”
“I got no more bones in there man”

CONTEXT

jcxy
Guest
jcxy
1 year 6 months ago

PHRASING

jose
Guest
jose
1 year 6 months ago

“Normal guys”

Thank god for no SJW’s in baseball.

nerf
Guest
nerf
1 year 6 months ago

ugh

Eric M. Van
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Just because O-Contact declines precipitously after age 28 does not mean that hitters with high O-Contact through age 27 decline as hitters. I looked into the correlation of plate discipline metrics to aging, and found either a null result or the opposite conclusion.

The possible conclusion, based on tendencies that fall short of significance:

Players with low SwStr% age better, which makes obvious sense, because a low SwStr% reflects both high contact rates and low swing rates, i.e., selectivity. Given a certain SwStr% …

1) Players with lower Z-Contact and lower O-Contact age better. Note that these are not actually about Contact rates, since SwStr% has captured those. Rather, they reflect fewer pitches in the zone (in order to have the same SwStr%).

2) Players with a higher O-Swing age better. If you can manage the same percentage of swings and misses while swinging at more pitches out of the zone and fewer in the zone, then you have especially good bat-to-ball skills.

The regression formula shows Sandoval to age well.

The full analysis.

Walter
Guest
Walter
1 year 6 months ago

Sounds like you want to test an interaction term between O-swing and SwStr. See what happens if you add in something like (O-swing)*(1/SwStr).

Eno Sarris
Guest
Eno Sarris
1 year 6 months ago

I did more research after this post and found some interesting things. Thanks!

GMH
Guest
GMH
1 year 6 months ago

First off, you are relying on data (O-Swing %, etc.) that has only been recorded by Baseball Info Solutions since 2002, and by Pitchf/X since 2007. So your sample of players is small.

More importantly, you need to be wary of the effects of a survivor bias. Players who chase pitches out of the zone and fail to produce do not play Major League Baseball for very long. A large percentage of your type of hitter will be eliminated from your data set altogether because they aren’t playing MLB into their 30s. And any aging curve that ends before the age of 30 isn’t really an aging curve.

Sure, there’s Vladimir Guerrero, the poster child for your theory. And I agree that Vlad continued to be a productive hitter past the age of 30. But he was finished at the age of 36. Jeff Francoeur appears to be done at the age of 30. Delmon Young is 29 and is almost at the end of the line. Chris Johnson is 30, and if he has a couple of more seasons like he had in 2014, the Braves will be forced to Dan Uggla him. Brennan Boesch is 29 and is struggling to make a 40-man roster. Josh Hamilton is 33 and certainly does not appear to be aging well. Aside from his out-of-the-blue 2012 season, A.J. Pierzynski has been a below average hitter every year since 2003, so I wouldn’t point to him as an example of a hitter who ages well. He’s never been much of a hitter; his longevity is due to the position he plays.

If you eliminate back-up catchers from your criteria – who pretty much defy aging curves anyway – and reserves like Reed Johnson, I suspect you will see a remarkably small pool of hitters past the age of 30 who even fit your criteria. They are going to be outnumbered by more patient hitters.

And all of the hitters I’ve mentioned swing or swung at a smaller percentage of pitches out of the zone than Pablo Sandoval. All of the hitters I mentioned were not grotesquely overweight, nor had the extent of the wrist injuries Sandoval has had, let alone the history of other injuries.

So I am not persuaded by an correlation between hacking at everything at aging well. Hitting a baseball is difficult enough. When a hitter’s bat speed and eyesight declines – which is an inevitable effect of aging – a hitter who routinely chases balls out of the zone is going to make his job even harder.

However, since Sandoval will be 32 or 33 when this contract runs out, I’m not sure that an aging curve really matters as much. I think the bigger concern has to be Sandoval’s body.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 6 months ago

Not to mention that Vlad had a lot more power to lose than Sandoval does.

andrew l
Guest
andrew l
1 year 6 months ago

Prado averages last 3 seasons
Games: 151
Slash: .289/.338/.423
OPS: .760
HR: 12
RBI: 71
wRC: 108
WAR: 3.6

Panda averages last 3 seasons
Games: 135
Slash: .280/.336/.427
OPS: .763
HR: 14
RBI: 72
wRC: 115
WAR: 2.6

Prado is in the middle of a 4/40 deal, Headley is predicted to get something like 3 or 4 years at 13 mil per. How is Sandoval getting so much more with his body type? Do playoffs really make him that much more money?

BaseballGuy
Guest
BaseballGuy
1 year 6 months ago

Age

andrew l
Guest
andrew l
1 year 6 months ago

True but Eno’s article would suggest he should be treated like he’s 30 because of his weight

Giants Dynasty
Guest
Giants Dynasty
1 year 6 months ago

Giants dodged a bullet. Now how about we pick up Headley on the cheap (less than 60 mil).

Joe McMahon
Guest
Joe McMahon
1 year 6 months ago

That won’t happen. The Yankees will give him more than that.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 6 months ago

Yeah, Headley likes NYC, and there’s no way they let Headley leave.

Giants Dynasty
Guest
Giants Dynasty
1 year 6 months ago

Yah and Sandoal “liked” the Giants but left for Boston for a extra 5 mil.
Who says the Yankees will outbid the Giants?
Giants have so much payroll space and world series $$
Yankees have too many areas of need (3B, SS, SP, RP), and is near the luxury tax level.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 6 months ago

The Yankees are way past the luxury tax level, and they don’t give a fuck. Headley is the best 3B/SS left on the market, and he’s proven to be a good fit in New York. They’ve been reported to be “aggressively” pursuing him.

The Giants don’t really stand a chance unless they give him a really, really stupid contract.

Shankbone
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Looking at this again today, the Giants dragged their heels, didn’t go for the kill. They did it because they didn’t want to overbid. Maybe that’s the disrespect that is getting banded about. Giants didn’t go all out to woo Pablo back. Might have taken a 6th year, and that would not have been a smart baseball gamble.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 6 months ago

Yeah, I love Pablo as a player, but there’s no way in hell I would have ever given him more than 3 years.

Matt
Guest
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

It’s all good. When the contract becomes an unmovable albatross, Cherington will just unload it to whatever team is allowing Ned Colleti to run their ship.

Slosh in Murkphy
Guest
Slosh in Murkphy
1 year 6 months ago

This deal doesn’t make any sense for the Red Sox. Hanley at 3rd and Craig/Nava in LF (I’m assuming Cespedes gets traded) is a million times better than Panda at 3rd and Hanley in LF. Sox committed to $100 million over 5 years for no reason. And don’t give me that crap of “Oh! Panda is gonna move to first to replace Napoli” or “Panda is gonna replace Ortiz down the line.” DH and 1B replacements are easy to come by. Heck, I bet the Sox can resign Napoli for less than Panda, and Napoli is easily a superior player.

Sox could have taken that money and spent it toward Scherzer. Or Liriano and another starter. This just doesn’t make any sense. At the moment the best Boston lineup is this:

Betts (CF)
Pedroia (2B)
HanRam (3B)
Ortiz (DH)
Craig/Nava (whoever steps up or a platoon) (LF)
Napoli (1B)
Bogaerts (SS)
Castillo (RF)
Vazquez (C)

Sandoval doesn’t belong in there. Especially against lefties.

pitnick
Guest
pitnick
1 year 6 months ago

“Napoli is easily a superior player”

Easily?

Crawdads
Guest
Crawdads
1 year 6 months ago

None of these proposed Red Sox lineups includes Cespedes. Interesting.

Anyway, together the Hanley/Panda signings are stupid. $190M for two guys on the left side of the diamond past their primes. And Xander Bogaerts goes where? If Hanley is another OF in an already crowded OF, it was a huge overpay.

Stupid.

ElJimador
Guest
ElJimador
1 year 6 months ago

Not sure I see how any team that just gave 1300+ PAs combined to Brock Holt, Jackie Bradley Jr and Daniel Nava can possibly have too crowded of an outfield to find 600 PAs for Hanley Ramirez.

everdiso
Member
everdiso
1 year 6 months ago

interesting that somebody brought up nava and holt, who are pretty much out of jobs this year, and won’t have that much trade value either.

2014

nava 113gms, 2.6war (3.5war/150)
holt 106gms, 2.3war (3.3war/150)

hanley 128gms, 3.4war (4.0war/150)
panda 157gms, 3.0war (2.9war/150)

how much of an upgrade are the sox getting here exactly?

Slosh in Murkphy
Guest
Slosh in Murkphy
1 year 6 months ago

None of the projected lineups include Cespedes because the guy is terrible at hitting and is a clown in the outfield. Nava, Craig, and Victorino are all very risky; no one knows what to expect from them. But it’s pretty likely that at least one of those three will give the Red Sox their best case scenario,and the best case scenario of any of those three is better than Cespedes. In fact, the three quarters case scenario of any of those three is better than Cespedes. And there’s also an opportunity for a pretty potent platoon too, which would pretty easily smash Cespedes. Craig and Victorino against lefties and Nava against righties. Whoa baby.

Walter
Guest
Walter
1 year 6 months ago

Interesting opinion you have of a guy that’s averaged almost 3 WAR in the over the last three years…

He’s got his warts but none the options the BoSox now have are clearly better suited for LF. He might be the best guy to off load in trade to create a better overall team, but that doesn’t make anything you said true.

troybruno
Member
Member
troybruno
1 year 6 months ago

Cespedes has been >100 wRC+ (in-line to better for the league-average LF) as a hitter the past 2yrs and added positive value in LF.

I’m not sure what your objective measurements for “terrible” and “a clown” are, but they don’t seem to agree with the results… My guess is you were thinking this was a Patriots post?

bbtp187
Member
bbtp187
1 year 6 months ago

You do realize that the prime years for Baseball players are 26-33, right? The Panda’s contract expires when his prime does….

Paul
Guest
Paul
1 year 6 months ago

Fenway, Rogers Centre, Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards.

And people have a problem with this signing??

Adam S
Guest
Adam S
1 year 6 months ago

I don’t know how people look at this signing as anything other than bad or terrible.

Summarizing, if you believe Sandoval is a 3.5 WAR player in 2015 and will have an average aging curve losing .5 WAR/year, then the deal is about right. It’s a slight overpay from the $95M Dave Cameron projected but the Red Sox are in the right spot on the win curve to pay more than average per win.

But that projection is something like the 75th percentile of expectation. It’s hard to see 3.5 WAR despite the Steamer projection. If you think he’s a 3 WAR player who will age worse than average, you’ll get 8 or 9 wins for $100M.

The median is probably somewhere in between — a 3.5 WAR player who ages faster than normal or a 3 WAR player with a normal aging curve. Either way about 10 WAR and he seems more likely to be way under due to aging or inury than way over due to improved skills.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 6 months ago

When was the last time Sandoval was a 3.5 win player?

fergie348
Guest
fergie348
1 year 6 months ago

2011. If he stays on the field, he’s a 3.5 WAR player for the next two or three years. That’s a big if..

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 6 months ago

He played 157 games and was a 3 win player this year. What’s going to change going forward to give him an extra half win from 28-30, in the unlikely event he stays healthy? Is he going to stop declining offensively like he has every year since 2011? Is he going to improve on defense?

KG
Guest
KG
1 year 6 months ago

Yeah. Is he going to keep saying the same thing again and again?

Avattoir
Guest
Avattoir
1 year 6 months ago

Highlight ‘tubes of bad-pitch shots
Golfed into McCovey’s moats
Netted from happy Giant boats:
That’s how it’s been for years.

But now he only blocks the Sun.
He huffs and puffs round everyone.
So many things he could have done,
But food got in the way.

We’ve looked at him from all sides now
Thru streaks and slumps, and still somehow,
It’s Panda’s inseam we recall
We really don’t know Sand
Oval.

And now he’s off to Fenway Park.
He thinks he’s just escaped the snark.
Turns out the Panda bit left a mark;
But just wait til Boston turns.

Now Giants fans aren’t feeling great;
They shake their heads, & curse their fate:
Their Panda’s gone … but so’s his freight –
Which, stop & think, ain’t bad.

We’ve looked at him from both sides now
Thru streaks and slumps, and still somehow,
It’s Panda’s inseam we recall;
We really don’t know Panda at all.

Yeah...
Guest
Yeah...
1 year 6 months ago

You try way too hard

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Nice article Eno!

I agree that the history don’t support giving Sandoval a huge contract. It appalls me that he’s getting a contract that rewards him for what he did in 2009 and 2011, and not congruent with what he did in 2012-2014. But sometimes the MLB FA market gets frothy and frenzied, and the market boils over. At least the Giants get a draft pick, but too bad Boston don’t lose one. Losing has its privileges.

What most fans don’t know is that Sandoval can only muster up interest in being the best that he can be when he has $ signs in his eyes.

In 2010, he got so fat during the off-season and in-season that Bochy eventually benched him DURING THE WORLD SERIES and Sabean threatened to send Pablo to AAA if he didn’t shape up in the presser afterward. He did and had a monster year in 2011, whereupon the Giants rewarded him with a $17.65M contract.

To thank the Giants for the great contract, he got fat again, resulting in poor defensive years in 2012 and 2013, and declining offensive production. In early 2013, when asked about him being fat (and still yet to be paid roughly $14M), Sandoval noted, selfishly, that he had two years to get into shape for free agency, forgetting that he needed to get in shape in one year in order to have a good free agent year. Someone close to him probably reminded him of that, as his brother took a chef’s course and became his personal chef near the end of that season, cooking him healthy food to help him get into better shape for 2014.

So now that he’s got the big contract, what will he do? Will the third time be the charm and he’ll work hard to keep the weight off?

Oh, I should mention too that after losing weight during the off-season, he started adding weight again during the 2014 season, so he couldn’t keep it up during his free agent season.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Oh, so, not only is 6 years crazy, 5 years probably is crazy as well, without some sort of incentive to make sure he keeps the weight off. Boston was rumored to be asking for some sort of weight bonuses, so it will be interesting to see how they structure the contract. I feel like the Giants dodged a huge bullet.

Shankbone
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

He does have some great intangibles though. I think there is a lot of truth in this statement that he found Boston appealing for the DH. That doesn’t bode well for his physical fitness goals.

The one that stuck with me was his quote to a reporter: “I’ll have two years to get into shape” – referencing free agency.

I’d say Pablo wants a smaller park, along with the other teams in the divisions park, it makes it easier, and “funner” to hit. I shudder to see his baserunning in a couple of years.

Boston does lose a pick. They lose two in fact due to signing Hanley. Their 1st/7th overall is protected, but they lose their 2nd rounder, and the B Supplemental they got from Oakland for the Lester trade. Maybe they keep going, lose the 3rd rounder next.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 6 months ago

Yup. He’s gonna be a DH in two years, and he’s starting at a 111 wRC+.

I’m really looking forward to it, as a Yankees fan.

(This is YEW, by the way).

Shankbone
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

The 111 wRC+ is my main point. Pablo is a 280/340/420 guy. I don’t know if Fenway will really help that. The Monster will yield singles, not helping the slugging. And he is a station to station guy. That part is a hidden drag on the lineup. You pay for power. And much as its mocked, the money is in the ribeyes. Boston fans don’t want to go look up Pablo’s RBI totals. Most of which were from the heart of the lineup opportunities.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 6 months ago

Yeah, the monster turns pop ups into doubles (Pedroia!) and doubles into singles.

Pablo doesn’t hit popups. He hits hard line drives. Those are singles in Fenway, especially for a guy with his “speed.”

troybruno
Member
Member
troybruno
1 year 6 months ago

This. The DH stuff is just baffling…

Gravy
Guest
Gravy
9 months 2 hours ago

bump

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