Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Gone VORPin'

Well, it’s that time of year again – time to fire up the hot stove (man, I hate that expression) and get this here website heavily involved in both reporting and commenting on the moves that my favorite baseball team makes over the autumn/winter months ahead. There are already plenty of things to delve into including news on the shake up on the Phils coaching staff, comments directly from Pat Gillick on the future of the organization, and a whole boatload of rumors found in the daily papers concerning potential player movement. Expect to see comments on all of those topics and more in the coming days. For now, check out this here rundown of the 2006 Philadelphia Phillies using the simple (too simple?) statistical measure of value over replacement player.

Well, what is VORP anyway? This is the definition as given by Baseball Prospectus: Value Over Replacement Player. The number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same percentage of team plate appearances. VORP scores do not consider the quality of a player's defense. [Baseball Prospectus]

I bolded the part about defense since that is something that shouldn’t be forgotten when evaluating these numbers. Howard is just behind Pujols in VORP, but Pujols’ lead in WARP-1 (Wins Above Replacement Player, level 1. The number of wins this player contributed, above what a replacement level hitter, fielder, and pitcher would have done, with adjustments only for within the season.) is more substantial because his superior defensive performance is taken into account. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll just focus on VORP and call it a day (format is given below):

Player – Position: 2006 VORP (fun fact!)

Key Phillies in ’06

Ryan Howard – 1B: 81.3 (second in baseball to Pujols, closest to Travis Hafner)

Chase Utley – 2B: 65.0 (fifteenth in baseball, closest to Manny Ramirez)

Jimmy Rollins – SS: 45.1 (42nd in baseball, closest to Bill Hall, right behind Aramis Ramirez)

Brett Myers – SP: 40.8 (27th in baseball amongst pitchers)

Geoff Geary – RP: 27.6 (63rd in baseball amongst pitchers, five spots ahead of Billy Wagner)

Pat Burrell – OF: 27.4 (89th in baseball, sandwiched between Kenny Lofton and Esteban German)

Bobby Abreu – OF: 25.3 (full season VORP is actually 48.5 when you add in his numbers with New York…that would put him in the top 35 in baseball between Andruw Jones and Paul Konerko)

Cole Hamels – SP: 22.9 (somehow listed at 23.4 in the listing of rookie pitchers…not sure which figure is the correct one)

David Dellucci – OF: 17.6

Tom Gordon – RP: 17.1

Rheal Cormier – RP: 16.9 (shockingly high from where I stand)

Chris Coste – C: 16.4 (18th amongst rookie position players in baseball…wouldn’t it be a great story if somebody threw a Rookie of the Year award vote Coste’s way? Just one vote would be cool by me…)

Jon Lieber – SP: 14.0

Shane Victorino – OF: 12.0 (VORP is a counting stat, but as it turns out, Victorino and Rowand finished the year with a nearly identical number of plate appearances - in other words, Victorino’s superior numbers are no mirage…and this doesn’t factor in his better defense in CF)

Aaron Rowand – OF: 8.6

Mike Lieberthal – C: 7.0

Pat Gillick’s veteran acquisitions – luckily for the other fellas, Jamie Moyer was good enough for the whole lot of ‘em:

Jamie Moyer – SP: 9.4

Jeff Conine – OF: 0.3

Randall Simon – PH: -0.8

Jose Hernandez should also be in the discussion here, but because Blogger causes all of my other programs to freeze up, I can't check his VORP at the moment. No big loss, I suppose.

Rough Years

Ryan Madson – RP: -0.7 (Madson has had a weird start to his career: one phenomenal season, one slightly above average season, and now one horrible season…any guesses on what he does next year?)

Sal Fasano – C: -2.6

Gavin Floyd – SP: -10.9

Abraham Nunez – 3B: -18.3 (fourth to last in baseball, 1027th overall, only ahead of Yadier Molina, Tomas Perez, and Clint Barmes – also keep in mind that Christian Guzman, he of the -14.9 VORP last year, missed the ’06 season due to injury)

I had an discussion with a friend prior to the season about the relative value of Clint Barmes as a baseball player. The friend was a big Barmes fan and happily drafted him to be his shortstop on his fantasy baseball team. I did my best to dissuade him, but he was convinced that Barmes was capable of putting up numbers like he did in the first half of 2005 (.329/.371/.516) if he could only stay healthy in ’06. Well it turns out that Barmes was literally the worst hitter in baseball this season. How about that? Hate to say I told you so, buddy…

What a horrible, irrelevant, wholly self-promoting way to end this piece...oh well, I can't think of anything better so it'll have to do for now.


Anonymous malphie said...

Hot stove time! Sweet meat! Will the Phillies make a run at Matsuzaka?

10:14 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

Two months until the winter meetings. Not a very long time. It's always fun watching the offseason transactions. Johnny Estrada is on the outs in Arizona. Any chance he returns to Philly if the young guys aren't ready? What are the Phils top priority's in the offseason? Pitching, 3B? Will Delucci be resigned? Just wondering...

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey buddy long time no talk..Just so you know I do still occasionally check this site and shortly you will figure out who I am...bc I am the guy who drafted Barmes (whoops) and then dropped him within a couple of weeks. You were right on that one. But I did finish second, probably could have been first if all my top guys didn't get canned over the last 2 weeks...D. Lee, Beltran, Manny, and more

Quick question..I saw good 'ol Charlie has at least one more year, what are your thoughts beyond 2007 when it comes to the managerial position?

1:26 PM  
Blogger XXX said...

Hey don't take it too personally...in fact if it makes you feel any better, my story was actually a composite of both your experiences and those of my roommate last year - he also drafted Barmes for his squad despite my advice to the contrary. You obviously know your baseball and I absolutely should have gone on the record as saying, despite picking the single worst hitter in baseball in the draft, you still managed to finish ahead of me in the league we were in.

Quick comments on the other comments:

Matsuzaka: Odds of the Phillies getting involved...very low. Then again, you never know with Pat Gillick now in charge - Seattle had a strong presence in the Pacific Rim (though I'm not so sure he had all that much to do with it...). I'd personally take him over any starting pitcher on the market...by a large margin.

Estrada: I hope the Phillies don't even consider him...it would be a disaster.

Top Priority: 3B, figuring out the OF situation, and pitching, pitching, pitching.

Dellucci: He'll be moving on.

Phillies manager in 2007: My personal list of favorites includes Davey Johnson, Larry Dierker, Orel Hershieser, Terry Pendleton, and, the guy who I think will be the next manager of the Phillies, John Russell.

Good questons and comments all...this offseason should be a fun one.

10:11 PM  

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