• THT/James: Posada Not To Match ’09 In ’10

    Posted by on November 20th, 2009 · Comments (6)

    The following was sent to me via email yesterday by the folks at ACTA Sports –

    What are the odds that a player will do better than he did the previous year? In the recently-released Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010, baseball guru Bill James explains his new “Strong Seasons Leading Index,” a methodology that tries to round up as many indicators as possible and produce a list of hitters who are most likely—and least likely—to improve on their 2009 seasons.

    “Age is the most obvious indicator of likely movement,” James says in his article. “We also know that players tend to move back to their historical norms, so we look at last year’s On-base Plus Slugging percentage compared to his career OPS. We also factor in a player’s batting average on balls in play, his strikeout-to-walk ratio, and his speed before distilling all this into a single number that indicates how likely a player is to have a strong season in the coming year.”

    The article in its entirety is available here. James scores each player out of a possible 38 points. A score of 24 or higher indicates a better-than 50% chance the player will sustain or improve the following season; 23 points or less makes it increasingly unlikely the player will top last year’s numbers.

    Here are the top 10 players most likely to sustain or improve in 2010, along with their Strong Seasons Leading Index score:

    Player  	2010 Team  		Score  
    Dioner Navarro  Tampa Bay Rays  	26  
    Chris B. Young  Arizona Diamondbacks    25  
    J.J. Hardy  	Minnesota Twins  	25  
    Russell Martin  Los Angeles Dodgers  	24  
    Grady Sizemore  Cleveland Indians  	24  
    Dustin Pedroia  Boston Red Sox  	23  
    James Loney  	Los Angeles Dodgers  	23  
    Ian Kinsler  	Texas Rangers  		23  
    B.J. Upton  	Tampa Bay Rays  	23  
    Nate McLouth  	Atlanta Braves  	23  

    Here are the 10 players least likely to sustain or improve in 2010, along with their Strong Seasons Leading Index score:

    Player  	2010 Team  		Score  
    Jorge Posada  	New York Yankees  	8  
    Matt Diaz  	Atlanta Braves  	9  
    Craig Counsell  Free Agent  		9  
    Russell Branyan Free Agent  		11  
    Jason Bartlett  Tampa Bay Rays  	11  
    Scott Podsednik Free Agent  		11  
    Derrek Lee  	Chicago Cubs  		11  
    Kendry Morales  LA Angels of Anaheim  	11  
    Ichiro Suzuki   Seattle Mariners  	11  
    Rajai Davis  	Oakland Athletics  	12  

    I’m reading The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010 now and will have a review on it soon. But, in the interim, this is an interesting study. And, as a tease, I’ll also have a study coming out within the next few days on Posada and his future with the Yankees.

    Comments on THT/James: Posada Not To Match ’09 In ’10

    1. MJ
      November 20th, 2009 | 10:18 am

      I’m very curious to see how close to the mark James’s predictions are. I’m also curious to know what constitutes “sustain[abillity] and improvement” in 2010 for guys like Chris B. Young and B.J. Upton. How valuable a statistic is this when he predicts that Young and Upton might sustain their horrific numbers in 2010? I mean, do we need a stat to tell us that both will continue to disappoint in 2010?

      I’m all for advanced metrics but I think this particular stat is just noise. Chris B. Young has raw skill but generally sucks at baseball because he can’t figure out how to hit anything but a fastball. Having James tell us that he thinks Young is the 2nd most likely batter to sustain his level of ineptitude isn’t really adding much to the statistical record.

    2. MJ
      November 20th, 2009 | 10:21 am

      Follow up point to the above: saying that someone will “improve” is sufficiently vague. James’s 2010 prediction for Young is .245/.326/.463, up from .212/.311/.400. An OPS of .711 going up to .745 and Chris Young still sucks.

    3. 77yankees
      November 20th, 2009 | 8:49 pm

      There’s no doubt in my mind Cervelli has to catch 50 games in 2010 as ol’ Jug Ears continues to show his age. And he should be preparing to step to the background for 2011 for Cervelli/Montero/Romine or the extreme long shot in Joe Mauer.

    4. Evan3457
      November 22nd, 2009 | 2:32 am

      THT/James is right. Of the four “core”, the one least likely to sustain their strong years of 2009 is Posada, followed by Petttitte.

      The leading indicator on Posada, aside from his position/age, is that his K/BB ratio started to deteriorate last year, a sign that he was cheating more to catch up with the FB, in my opinion.

    5. November 28th, 2009 | 2:11 pm

      […] Bill James “Strong Season Leading Index” – which you can learn more about by clicking here. […]

    6. November 29th, 2009 | 12:17 pm

      […] Two more years of Jorge Posada catching 100+ games a season is not going to help the Yankees – and it may just offset the value of his bat in those seasons too. […]

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