Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fantasy and (Real) Awards: N.L. ROY

I don't talk about it much, but I belong to a blogging association called the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. They have a "fantasy" chapter, and we get to vote for awards.

I generally don't spend much time speculating about "real" awards, but this year I thought I'd look at this from a Rotisserie perspective as well as from a real perspective.

Tonight I'll start with the National League Rookie of the Year.

Players are listed sorted by Patton $ (5x5). VORP is from Baseball Prospectus and WAR is from Fangraphs.

Top 10 2010 N.L. Rookies, Sorted by Patton $


1Jason Heyward$223rd1st

2Gaby Sanchez$219th7th

3Ian Desmond$19

4Buster Posey$192nd2nd

5Jose Tabata

6John Axford$18

7Jaime Garcia

8Dan Hudson$171st

9Ike Davis$174th

10Neil Walker$175th9th

Other VORP Top 10: Chris Johnson 6th, Madison Bumgarner 7th, Jhoulys Chacin 8th, Johnny Venters 10th.
Other Fangraphs Top 10: Jhoulys Chacin 5th, Stephen Strasburg 6th, Chris Johnson 8th.

A $5 gap between Heyward and Walker isn't much, but the VORP/WAR rankings pretty quickly differentiate the players who add significant value to the real game to those like Desmond, Axford, and Tabata who are more valuable in our game. The differences in the two non-Roto valuation systems are more intriguing than the similarities. I don't know why Hudson is 1st in VORP but not in the Top 10 in WAR, nor why Davis is fourth in WAR and not in the Top 10 in VORP.

Heyward, Posey and Garcia quickly jump out as the front runners for the award. Let's look at their numbers:

Heyward: 609 PA, 81 R, 18 HR, 71 RBI, 10 SB, 278 BA, 394 OPS, 457 SLG, OPS+ 131
Posey: 426 PA, 56 R, 16 HR, 64 RBI, 0 SB, 311 BA, 364 OPS, 504 SLG, OPS+ 129
Garcia: 13-8, 2.70 ERA, 1.316 WHIP, 163 1/3 IP, 132 K, 64 BB, 9 HR, ERA+ 146

These are three pretty strong seasons to choose from. Sentiment right now seems to rest with Posey. However, for a player with 180 less plate appearances than Heyward, you would want a far more dominant line. Heyward noses out Posey in OPS+...and also in wOBA (376 to 371).

Comparing pitchers to hitters is obviously apples to oranges. But while I'm impressed with Garcia's ERA, his WHIP gives me pause. And Garcia's 3.42 FIP and 3.74 xFIP do indicate more than a little luck in his favor.

My vote would go Heyward, Posey, Garcia. In a close race, I give the edge to the player who played all year. Both Posey and Garcia didn't log a full season, and that gives Heyward the (slight) edge that makes him get my vote.


Toz said...

I agree with Mike on Heyward...he has a slight edge in my mind based primarily on the fact that he has been there most of the season and did some of that with a hand that could barely hold a bat.

I have a little different view with Garcia. The WHIP suggests luck, but when did that luck occur? Looking at LD%, GB%, BABIP, Average Against, swings out of the zone, etc., I see a lot of double plays, a lot of walks before the pitcher's slot, etc. I'll have to go back through and see if we can game log Garcia to see if these theories hold up.

Of interest, his team gave up 14 unearned runs, which amounts to 22% of the runs scored against him. Not sure where that fits into the equation yet, since I just noticed it, but thought it was worth mentioning.

Eugene Freedman said...

You may want much more as a hitter with fewer plate appearances if they played the same position. Posey is a catcher and Heyward a corner outfielder. One is the most or perhaps second most valuable defensive position. The other is the least valuable. For that reason it's a dead heat. I always side with catchers and shortstops above others for the defensive positional value. You can't just put anyone in those roles as you can with left and right field.

Mike Gianella said...

True Eugene...I should have been clearer about the positional difference. The WAR/WARP1 are close because of the positional difference; if Posey were an OF, we might not even be having this discussion.