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Category Archives: ZV. November 2014

The WAR Room: Performance-based rankings, the introduction (11.30.14)

Over the past three months, IBI has rolled out the year-end rankings for every minor league affiliate in the Cleveland system. Next up, we will be running down the top-100 performers based on those WAR rankings, albeit with a slight twist.

Simply ranking each player based on the raw numbers would have some value, but not nearly as much as when the stats are adjusted for how old the prospect was compared to his minor league level. For example, older prospects like Anthony Gallas, who did well at 26 years old in High-A and Double-A, are downgraded, while younger prospects like Francisco Lindor, who did well at 20 years old Double-A and Triple-A, are upgraded (as if Lindor needed anymore help).

Naturally, if Gallas — or anyone else in his situation — continues to hit like he did in 2014, it will not matter that he was old for his level, and vice versa for young prospects. But overall, accounting for a player’s age relative to level is critically important for judging a prospect’s performance.

Before moving on to the honorable mentions of The WAR Room’s performance-based rankings, first some reminders on what these numbers are, their uses, and their limitations:

It is always important to keep context in mind, just like with scouting. A pitcher who is old for his level using that experience to succeed against young, inexperienced hitters must be taken with a grain of salt; the same goes when looking at these WAR totals.

But it is a useful tool to put each player’s performance into context and look at where they sit in regard to the rest of the league.

For reference on how I computed WAR, a reminder on the problems inherent in the stats, and everything else you need to know, click here. For a refresher on WAR and what it is, click here.

As a reminder, a 0.0 WAR per 162 games is replacement level — otherwise known as the kind of performance an average player from the level below could offer — a 2.0 WAR per 162 games is average, and a 5.0 WAR per 162 games is All-Star level.

Also, the lack of good defensive metrics for the minor leagues means we have to adjust for a range of defensive abilities. To account for this, I will give you each player’s WAR with a qualifier: either poor-defense WAR for a poor defender (-10 runs below-average per 162 games), average-defense WAR for an average defender (0 runs per 162 games), or great-defense WAR for a great defender (10 runs above-average per 162 games).

Additionally, note that pitchers have FIP-based WAR — which is based on peripherals like strikeouts, walks, home runs, etc. — and RA-based WAR — which is based on runs allowed.

One more thing, all “+” stats are averaged at 100. Anything over 100, like 110, is higher and means that player is 10 percent better than the league average. Anything under 100, like 90, is lower and means that player is 10 percent worse than the league average. In the case of any “-” stats — when lower is better, like with ERA — a 90 ERA- means that player is 10 percent better than the league average.

The 2014 year-end season in review for every affiliate is listed below:

Honorable Mentions

Before moving on to the top-100 next week, first I want to go over the honorable mentions and why they did not make it. As a reminder, these performance-based rankings are just that; only based on what happened on the field in 2014 and not taking future projection into account.

With that in mind, here are the honorable mentions and why they did not make the cut: Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, November 30, 2014

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Posted by on December 6, 2014 in ZV. November 2014

 

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Around the Farm: November 27, 2014 (11.28.14)

Around the Farm (ATF) takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Indians prospects throughout the system. This is a special fall and winter ball version of ATF that recaps all the offseason action by Indians players in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) and the Caribbean Leagues. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.

Here is the rundown of what Cleveland players in winter ball did yesterday:

Mexican Winter League

  • Tim Fedroff (RF, Mayos de Navojoa): 1-for-5, 1 SO. Fedroff’s time in the Mexican League has not gone particularly well through his first six games — with the 27-year-old posting a .451 OPS and 8:2 SO:BB — and while it is early, this is a continuation of his struggles stateside over the past two seasons. Following a .316/.394/.485 line in 123 games between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012, Fedroff dropped off to a .240/.341/.308 line in 235 games from 2013 to 2014 while also seeing himself sent back to Akron this past July. But while Fedroff’s ascent to the major leagues seems stalled at this point, the outfielder is still hanging around and is the type of grinder that is putting in the time down in Mexico this offseason. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, November 28, 2014

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2014 in ZV. November 2014

 

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Analyzing Cleveland’s draft history: Success, then failure in 2002 (11.27.14)

An often repeated phrase surrounding Cleveland baseball over the past two decades regards how poor the organization has fared in the draft.

But exactly how bad has Cleveland been? And how do they stack up against the rest of baseball?

Those are the questions this series will seek to answer. Using a combination of Baseball-Reference and Baseball America’s respective draft databases, I compiled the total WAR of each draft pick and compared it to the expected value of the respective pick (as calculated using Sky Andrecheck’s 2009 findings). There is a difference between picking first and picking 30th, which is represented in this analysis (Andrecheck gives different formulas for high school and college draft picks as well as pitchers and hitters, but for our purposes, we will just be looking at the average value). We will be also only judging teams based on the picks they signed since those are the ones who actually entered the system.

We started this series in 2004, since 10 years gives us a decent sample to judge the players in that draft class by. Here are links to the previous articles in this series:

Now, we move on to the 2002 draft:

Over the course of these draft analyses, a recurring theme has been you really only need to hit on one pick to make the draft relatively successful. Such is the case with Cleveland in 2002, with Jeremy Guthrie — essentially on his own — doing enough to bring the organization all the way up to slightly below average.

This draft could have been much better for Cleveland, however. The organization had seven of the first 94 picks, yet the non-Guthrie selections of Matthew Whitney, Micah Schilling, Brian Slocum, Pat Osbourn, Jason Cooper, and Dan Cevette netted a grand total of -0.2 WAR. But it only takes one, with Guthrie’s long career as a decent pitcher to fill out a rotation made him a top-15 value in the entire draft. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, November 27, 2014

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2014 in ZV. November 2014

 

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Around the Farm: November 26, 2014 (11.27.14)

Around the Farm (ATF) takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Indians prospects throughout the system. This is a special fall and winter ball version of ATF that recaps all the offseason action by Indians players in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) and the Caribbean Leagues. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.

Here is the rundown of what Cleveland players in winter ball did yesterday:

Dominican Winter League

  • Jose Ramirez (SS, Toros del Este): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 SB. On the surface, Ramirez’s time in the Dominican has not gone all that well, with the infielder posting an uncharacteristically-low .245 batting average. Being a contact and speed guy, Ramirez not hitting well — and thus not getting on base at a good rate — would be a concern if the issue did not essentially boil down to bad BABIP luck. Ramirez’s .247 BABIP is well below his career mark (he does not have a full season below .290 and routinely posts marks above .300), meaning his poor showing through 22 games this offseason is probably just random variance, not anything meaningful and lasting. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, November 27, 2014

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2014 in ZV. November 2014

 

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The WAR Room: 2014 AZL hitters season in review (11.23.14)

The WAR Room is back again, bringing you the 2014 advanced stats for every Cleveland minor leaguer. With the minor league seasons at an end, we continue bringing you seasons in review, with today’s featuring the 2014 Arizona League hitters.

The list of previous season in reviews are below:

Of course, it is always important to keep context in mind, just like with scouting. A pitcher who is old for his level using that experience to succeed against young, inexperienced hitters must be taken with a grain of salt; the same goes when looking at these WAR totals.

But it is a useful tool to put each player’s performance into context and look at where they sit in regard to the rest of the league.

For reference on how I computed WAR, a reminder on the problems inherent in the stats, and everything else you need to know, click here. For a refresher on WAR and what it is, click here.

As a reminder, a 0.0 WAR per 162 games is replacement level — otherwise known as the kind of performance an average player from the level below could offer — a 2.0 WAR per 162 games is average, and a 5.0 WAR per 162 games is All-Star level.

Also, the lack of good defensive metrics for the minor leagues means we have to adjust for a range of defensive abilities. To account for this, I will give you each player’s WAR with a qualifier: either poor-defense WAR for a poor defender (-10 runs below-average per 162 games), average-defense WAR for an average defender (0 runs per 162 games), or great-defense WAR for a great defender (10 runs above-average per 162 games).

One more thing, all “+” stats are averaged at 100. Anything over 100, like 110, is higher and means that player is 10 percent better than the league average. Anything under 100, like 90, is lower and means that player is 10 percent worse than the league average. In the case of any “-” stats — when lower is better, like with ERA — a 90 ERA- means that player is 10 percent better than the league average.

Today we finish our look at the Arizona League team with the hitters. Keep in mind that for the short season leagues, the projection of each player features heavily into the equation, not just the raw stats. For the full stats, go ahead and click here.

Drafting away from the middle of the field is not typical behavior for Cleveland, yet making the exception for first baseman Bobby Bradley worked out tremendously so far. Bradley won the MVP award in his draft year thanks in large part to his .290 isolated power (281 ISO+) and 2.4 average-defense WAR in 39 games. Much like any player putting up an 8.0-WAR pace in essentially one-fourth of a season, Bradley was aided by a .425 BABIP (131 BABIP+), but his power and plate discipline (20.5 percent strikeout rate, 89 K%+; 9.1 percent walk rate, 99 BB%+) are for real. Being a first baseman already means Bradley will have to hit a ton at every level, but one year in, the 18-year-old has gotten off on the right foot. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, November 23, 2014

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2014 in ZV. November 2014

 

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Around the Farm: November 20, 2014 (11.21.14)

Around the Farm (ATF) takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Indians prospects throughout the system. This is a special fall and winter ball version of ATF that recaps all the offseason action by Indians players in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) and the Caribbean Leagues. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.

Here is the rundown of what Cleveland players in winter ball did yesterday:

Venezuelan Winter League

  • Jesus Aguilar (1B, Leones del Caracas): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI. Though he is not putting up MVP-type numbers in Venezuela this offseason, Aguilar’s .264/.327/.473 line in 23 games is still encouraging. The 24-year-old is showing some nice pop, posting a .209 isolated power, and should see his luck on balls in play falling for hits improve in time. Almost any performance in 2014 would feel like a letdown after Aguilar posted a 1.000 OPS in Venezuela last year, but what he is doing this year is still solid. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, November 21, 2014

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2014 in ZV. November 2014

 

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Around the Farm: November 19, 2014 (11.20.14)

Around the Farm (ATF) takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Indians prospects throughout the system. This is a special fall and winter ball version of ATF that recaps all the offseason action by Indians players in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) and the Caribbean Leagues. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game.

Here is the rundown of what Cleveland players in fall and winter ball did yesterday:

Dominican Winter League

  • Audy Ciriaco (3B, Estrellas de Oriente): 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SO. Ciriaco’s time in the Dominican had not gone well up to this point, but the recently-resigned 27-year-old got going in this game. Though Ciriaco is not a true major league option, his flexibility on defense and decent pop in his bat — as evidenced Wednesday — make him a valuable player to have stashed in Triple-A. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, November 20, 2014

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2014 in ZV. November 2014

 

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