2008 List of 12!

I ran the numbers and here is the List of 12 for 2008, along with how I see their value trending going into next season:

* Bedard, Erik (up)
Blanton, Joe (upupup!)
Bush, Dave (down)
Cabrera, Daniel (down)
Francis, Jeff (up)
* Greinke, Zack (up)
* Harden, Rich (flat)
* Hernandez, Felix (up)
Kazmir, Scott (up)
Lowry, Noah (flat)
* Patterson, John (down)
Redding, Tim (down)
* Santana, Ervin (down)
* Snell, Ian (up)
Wang, Chien-Ming (flat)
Young, Chris (up)

Those guys marked with asterisks didn’t make the original list, but I only came up with 10 and didn’t feel that was interesting, so I added a few more guys. Bedard wasn’t on the original list because he was on it in 2007, but this was actually the season where he crossed the 500 career IP barrier, and he still hasn’t pitched a full season, so I wanted to include him again. The other guys are actually all short of 500 IP, but I wanted to include them because a) injuries have kept them from getting to 500 IP, or b) they’ve been rotation regulars long enough that I feel they’re deserving of additional attention.

Once again, there are plenty of tasty names on the list, most of them obviously up-and-coming young stars (Bedard, King Felix, Kazmir, Young), but a couple that may be a little under the radar (Blaton, Francis, Snell). A few other guys worthy of discussion:

* Harden is obviously a very intriguing name on this list… everyone knows what he can do when healthy, and he’s at the point in his career where he should be breaking out if he can actually stay in the rotation. Ditto that for John Patterson, albeit to a somewhat lesser degree.

* Greinke’s road to the rotation has seen more ups and downs than Lindsay Lohan in rehab, but his outstanding finish in ’07 has definitely positioned him as a guy to watch in ’08.

* Wang’s rate stats look a lot like Noah Lowry’s, but who would you rather have on your roto team? Yeah, this is why we don’t chase wins.

* Guaranteed that Siano uses this list to once again tout his shameless mancrush on Ervin Santana. Get a room!

* Tim Redding? ***!?!?

Here’s an Excel spreadsheet with complete season-by-season and career minor league and MLB stats for all of the 2008 List of 12  guys. Looking forward to discussing these guys on upcoming shows… enjoy!

–CS

12 Comments

Nice, can i repost the spread sheet as well as the names on the fans site?

GP

Have fun!
–CS

Francis is a mystery to me.

Improving walk rate:

BB/9

2005 – 3.43

2006 – 3.12

2007 – 2.63

But his WHIP got worse in 2007:

2006 – 1.29

2007 – 1.38

Mostly due to BABIP:

2006 – .276

2007 – .321

What’s odd about this is that Colorado’s defense was supposed to have been historically oustanding in 2007. Highest fielding percentage in the majors and 8th in DER. If we park adjusted their DER I would expect it to be even higher.

So what gives? Wouldn’t we expect a great fielding team to shore up some of Francis’ BABIP troubles? Or is it just plain bad luck?

FWIW Francis’ H/IP rates the last few years, home vs. road:

2006:

Home = .93 (84 H / 90 IP)

Road = .94 (103 H / 109 IP)

2007:

Home = 1.16 (134 H / 115.6 IP)

Away= 1.00 (100 H / 99.6 IP)

Also, Cory, have you seen these?

http://baseball.bornbybits.com/plots/Jeff_Francis.html

Someone has plotted break/velocity/release point graphs, by pitch type, using your pitch FX system. Very cool.

Maybe you could give some air time to the following question (if you haven’t already): why is it that fastballs show a positive vertical break?

I think the “break” definition is based on this:

“Here, break represents how much the ball moved in a certain direction compared to a ball thrown without spin. Negative x is towards a right handed batter and negative z is down. ”

So does that mean a ball thrown without spin would fall a greater distance vertically than a fastball? And by referring to a ball thrown without spin, isn’t that a knuckleball?

Apparently not:

http://baseball.bornbybits.com/plots/Tim_Wakefield.html

So how do we conceptualize what kind of pitch it is that is “thrown without spin?” How can we interpret the pFX data for fastballs?

Thanks!

Do you know where I could find a pdf with hitting and pitching stats for 07. Would something like that be available some time in the near future?

To Dave, we definte “break” as the absolute value… of course pitches don’t truly rise, so the “break” value we provide is simply the greatest distance between the actual trajectory of the pitch and the straight line path from the release point to the termination point.

I’ve seen some of the analysis people are doing with our pitch-f/x data, pretty interesting stuff.

–CS

Corey,

I’m not sure I like your explanation of adding guys because you wanted to make the list more “interesting.” If the theory is that it takes most pitchers about 500 IP to truly develop shouldn’t you just hold the list to guys who have objectively met that standard. By your own theory you are accepting that there are going to be guys that have been in rotations for a while but who are still going to be inconsistent. Otherwise, why not adjust the criteria of the list to x number of seasons in a rotation or x number of career starts or maybe a combination of all three.

I understand that you have warned us with the asterisk, but I guess I would like a further explanation from you as to why we should believe that the non-500 innings guys are likely to be immune from the inconsistencies that you were looking to avoid in young pitchers when you came up with the idea of the list in the first place. Is it just that these guys are really close to the innings mark and have other things going for them? Please elaborate if you don’t mind.

Thanks

Bryan

Bryan, the explanation is a simple one, as I noted in the first place… I wanted more guys to talk about. There’s barely any science involved here; 500 IP is an arbitrary cutoff I used as a proxy for the combination of experience without having “broken out.” We could set the bar at 490 innings or 510 innings or whatever, and it would still serve the same purpose. So I picked up these few extra guys to see what effect it would have if we did move the bar down a little bit. Maybe going forward the list of 12 will be based on 475 innings instead of 500?

–CS

I posted that before I listened to the podcast, so forgive me to the extent that you did already discuss it. Still, I have some questions.

I like your explanation that you wanted to see what the effect would be, although for a lot of us the List of 12 is less about experimentation of what works as it is a list that we think we can look to on draft day. That is to say, if we can identify what factors seems to have an impact, perhaps we could further refine the list of 12 so that it more accurately captures those that didn’t make the list but should have, or those that did make the list but are dead weight. It’d be nice to be able to look at the list and say “all these guys should go below value” as opposed to only trusting that half of them are headed in the right direction.

In order to better understand what factors effect that result, I thought you might explain more the thought process behind the specific guys you added that didn’t meet the innings threshold (and maybe how those factors apply to those who made the list with the innings). That way, we can see what other factors are common in the list of 12 guys that perform well and what factors are common in those that don’t.

My comment about making the list more “interesting” was only to say that I am assuming that you didn’t choose these particular players in a vacuum. In fact, we know you didn’t since you say it was part injuries and rotation experience. Just wanted more specifics on those and if there are any other factors.

Last point, bearing in mind that part of the purpose of the list is to get value guys, we also might look to compare the player’s actual results at the end of the year with his projected results to see which factors are likely to result in the most unexpected improvements. While Joe Blanton or Kazmir or Young might have the best overall year of all the guys on the list, it could be helpful to know that you could draft someone like Cabrara in the 20th Round and have him perform like a 15th Rounder. Or alternatively to know that he would be a guy past the tipping point and not to be drafted at all.

What’s compelling about the additional guys is that they were literally the next 5-6 guys on the list… I don’t believe I picked the subjectively, they were simply the ones that came next. So in this case it is compelling that the top 10 were a very mixed bag, but the next 5-6 are a lot more intriguing, suggesting that in this particular case, the meaningful cutoff might be a little lower than 500. Remember, this is an art, not a science…

CS

Wasn’t Bedard was on last year’s list? Maybe you guys just talked about him so much that I thought he was a List o’ 12 frontrunner. In any event, your praise of Bedard last spring got me to take notice and I picked him up in the 11th round of our 13 team mixed league. I don’t think he’ll be available when I start picking starting pitchers (I am a 411 disciple) so who is this year’s mid-round (10th or later) standout? Is it Blanton?

Yeah, Bedard was on the list last year even though he was a few IP short of 500, which is a precedent that allowed me to add the other guys this year. :-)

A lot of good ones on the list this year; I especially like Bedard (again), Blanton (depending on where he gets traded), Greinke, King Felix, Kazmir, Snell and Chris Young. The more good options there are, the longer you can wait during the draft…

–CS

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