Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Who would you Build Around?
Well, you have been waiting for it! (OK, maybe you haven't, but if you have read the website as far back as December, you may remember it.) Back in December, I was at work one day, and a co-worker sent me something he called a Pairwise Assessment. What it was was an Excel spreadsheet with about 20 things on the left and the same 20 things at the top. What I was to do was to take a look at each square. For each, you looked at the 'thing' on the left in that row, and the 'thing' at the top, in that column. Looking at the two things, you had to pick which was more important to you.
Now using that format, I came up with a list of 26 hitters under the age of 30. Each name appeared on the left and at the top. I then asked the question, "Which Hitter under the age of 30 would you choose to start your team?" It is a pretty open-ended question. Each person can have a slightly different opinion of what they want from a player, and particularly what you want from a Franchise player. Why 26 players? Well, because that is how many letters there are in the alphabet. Not a great reason, but it made sense to me at that time. In other words, each participant had to compare each of the 26 players against each other. In this scenario, I used a criteria that the player had to have appeared in the major leagues for at least one at bat. In other words, prospects like Alex Gordon or Brandon Wood were not included. However, Delmon Young and Howie Kendrick were included.
Here is a quick look at the specific format:
|Joe Mauer - Twins||Brian McCann - Braves||Travis Hafner - Indians||Mark Teixeira - Rangers||Albert Pujols - Cardinals|
|A||Joe Mauer - Twins||-||-||-||-||-|
|B||Brian McCann - Braves||A||-||-||-||-|
|C||Travis Hafner - Indians||A||B||-||-||-|
|D||Mark Teixeira - Rangers||A||B||D||-||-|
|E||Albert Pujols - Cardinals||E||E||E||E||-|
With the hitters, this is difficult for several reasons. First, what is more important to you? Do you want a power-hitting Outfielder or 1B... or do you prefer a middle infielder who can do a little of everything? Do you take a 28 year old corner infielder or a 22 year old catcher? That is the reason that I think this type of analysis is very interesting.
So, who are the players that were analyzed? Who did I deem as the 26 hitters under 30 to be included? Here is the list (by position):
Joe Mauer - C - Minnesota Twins
Brian McCann - C - Atlanta Braves
Prince Fielder - 1B - Milwaukee Brewers
Travis Hafner - DH - Cleveland Indians
Ryan Howard - 1B - Philadelphia Phillies
Justin Morneau - 1B - Minnesota Twins
Albert Pujols - 1B - St. Louis Cardinals
Mark Teixeira - 1B - Texas Rangers
Robinson Cano - 2B - New York Yankees
Howie Kendrick - 2B - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Chase Utley - 2B - Philadelphia Phillies
Billy Hall - IF - Milwaukee Brewers
Hanley Ramirez - SS - Florida Marlins
Jose Reyes - SS - New York Mets
Garrett Atkins - 3B - Colorado Rockies
Miguel Cabrera - 3B - Florida Marlins
David Wright - 3B - New York Mets
Ryan Zimmerman - 3B - Washington Nationals
Jason Bay - OF - Pittsburgh Pirates
Carl Crawford - OF - Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Jeff Franceour - OF - Atlanta Braves
Matt Holliday - OF - Colorado Rockies
Andruw Jones - OF - Atlanta Braves
Grady Sizemore - OF - Cleveland Indians
Vernon Wells - OF - Toronto Blue Jays
Delmon Young - OF - Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Were there names missing? Of course. I am sure that you could all add another 5-10 players that should have been included. I have no question about that. But, this was for fun and just to see how it would work. And, these are the players that I am most interested in. I wanted to include players from each position, the best players.
Well, I didn't get as much participation as I had hoped. However, I am sure that I sent it to a lot of people who started it and then realized just how much work it was to fill this out for both the hitters and the pitchers. Ten people completed the form and sent it back to me. There were a couple of other bloggers. Others were just baseball fans. Jeff Peek, a baseball writer for the Traverse City (Michigan) Record-Eagle, is a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America who gets a Hall of Fame vote, and he was kind enough to participate as well. So, it was a relatively diverse group, and the responses were across the board.
Well, if you were to rank the above players just by moving them up and down until you felt comfortable with it, how would it look? Well, using our more detailed method, here are the results. Here are who we would "Build Around."
Ranking (with Average Points - Max 25)
Seth Avg Take Out Top/Btm Min Max Range Top Score Pujols, Albert 25 24.5 24.8 22 25 3 7 Howard, Ryan 16 21.7 22.1 15 25 10 1 Mauer, Joe 20 21.5 22.1 13 25 12 1 Cabrera, Miguel 21 21.1 21.3 18 23 5 0 Wright, David 22 19.9 20.3 13 24 11 0 Morneau, Justin 8 17.6 18.3 8 22 14 0 Hafner, Travis 8 17.1 17.5 8 23 15 0 Wells, Vernon 18 16.6 16.3 13 23 10 0 Sizemore, Grady 18 16.5 16.6 7 25 18 1 Teixeira, Mark 15 16.0 16.4 7 22 15 0 Reyes, Jose 23 14.2 14.8 1 23 22 0 Utley, Chase 14 13.4 13.5 8 18 10 0 Crawford, Carl 23 11.7 11.5 2 23 21 0 Bay, Jason 8 11.3 11.3 7 16 9 0 Jones, Andruw 0 10.6 10.5 0 22 22 0 Ramirez, Hanley 17 8.7 8.4 3 17 14 0 McCann, Brian 12 8.5 8.4 0 18 18 0 Cano, Robinson 3 8.4 8.4 1 16 15 0 Zimmerman, Ryan 14 8.4 8.3 3 15 12 0 Holliday, Matt 3 7.6 7.4 3 14 11 0 Atkins, Garrett 5 6.6 6.3 0 16 16 0 Fielder, Prince 7 6.5 6.4 2 12 10 0 Young, Delmon 11 5.3 4.3 0 19 19 0 Francouer, Jeff 4 3.8 3.5 0 10 10 0 Hall, Billy 2 3.7 3.5 0 9 9 0 Kendrick, Howie 8 2.6 2.3 0 8 8 0
Let me briefly explain. The first column shows how the player scored when I did the analysis. The second column shows the average score that the player had on the ten surveys. The third column shows the average score if you were to take the top and bottom scores out. That becomes the secondary sort, or tiebreaker. Next you will see the minimum and maximum scores, followed by the range. Finally, I wanted to point out who had the top scores. I think each of these columns could tell us something interesting, so I wanted to include them all.
I don't think it comes as any surprise that Albert Pujols shows up at the top of this list. The only question with him is his age. I think many of us are still waiting for the news to come out that he is a couple of years older than we think. He is followed by a cluster that includes Ryan Howard, Joe Mauer and Miguel Cabrera. Position scarcity must not mean much. Six of the Top seven on this list are Corner Infielders.
I think that I ranked speed and middle infielders a bit higher than most of the others. Behind Pujols, I had Carl Crawford and Jose Reyes next in line. I think that this continues to show how under-rated guys like Matt Holliday and Billy Hall really are! To the surprise of Twins fans, I may have actually rated the two Twins players on this list too low!
It is really difficult to adequately summarize the results of this test. First, it would be good to have more than 10 participants, but even so, I think that the chart speaks for itself. The things that I find interesting, you may not. And there may be things that you read from the chart that I didn't even think of.
So, take a few minutes and just look at the chart. Just look at the numbers and then in the comments below, let us know what some of your thoughts are.
The Twins finally got a Spring Training win yesterday. They beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4-2. Down 2-1 going into the 9th inning, friend of SethSpeaks, Eli Tintor led off with an opposite field triple. He came in to tie the score on a Justin Morneau single. The highlight of the game probably was the three shutout innings that Carlos Silva worked. He gave up just one hit and struck out three. The negative would be that Matt Garza left the game after giving up a hit and a walk with a sore neck. He will get that checked out. Hopefully it isn't a problem. Kevin Slowey pitched a perfect inning. Jesse Crain and Pat Neshek (who got the win) also pitched shutout innings, allowing a hit each. Jason Miller got the Save with a perfect ninth inning.
Here is the daily Former Twins Update:
Against the Twins Tristan Crawford, Dustan Mohr hit a home run. Mohr was 1-3.
Three former Twins played for the Reds today. Javy Valentin caught and went 0-3. Chad Moeller replaced him and was 0-0 with a sacrifice bunt and a hit-by-pitch. Finally, Juan Castro went 0-1 while playing some 2B.
Michael Ryan went 1-3 with a double, a run and an RBI. He was the Pirates DH.
Chris Gomez played 2B and went 0-2 for the Orioles. Terry Tiffee played 3B and went 0-4.
Danny Ardoin got some time behind the plate for the Nationals and went 0-1 with a strikeout.
David Ortiz was 0-3 as Boston's DH.
Joe Beimel pitched an inning of relief for the Dodgers. He gave up a run on three hits and struck out one.
Ruben Sierra was 0-1 as a pinch hitter for the Mets.
Doug Mientkiewicz was 0-3 as the Yankees 1B.
AJ Pierzynski caught and went 1-3 for the White Sox.
Alex Romero played some left field for the Diamondbacks and went 0-2. Augie Ojeda went 0-2 with a run and an RBI and played SS.
Shannon Stewart batted second and played LF for the A's. He went 1-3.
Todd Walker was 1-3 as the Padres 2B. Rob Bowen went 0-3 and caught.
I was looking up information for yesterday's Top 10 Twins Hitters of the '70s article, and one of the players that was close to making the list was Mike Cubbage. Here is a funny story about him according to an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Here is a good story on Cooper Brannan, a veteran of the war in Iraq, who lost a finger to a grenade and is now a pitcher trying to make the Padres roster.
If you're looking for great blogs by newspaper writers covering the Twins, Ft. Myers News-Press writer David Dorsey has one of the best!
Rotoworld has come out with its Top 150 Prospects list. Seven Twins appear on the list starting with Matt Garza at #24. Chris Parmalee comes in at #64 followed quickly by Kevin Slowey at #72. Glen Perkins is #94, and Anthony Swarzak finishes out the Top 100 at #100. Matt Moses is #132, and Alexi Casilla is #138. They do a nice job of profiling each player, so please check out the list and see what you think.
Tommy Watkins is one of the Twins minor leaguers that you just can't help but root for. Here is a great article on the Ft. Myers native now in his 10th season with the Twins organization. He will be a great big league coach or manager, but wouldn't it be great if he would get a shot with the Twins.
In the worst-kept secret ever... your 2008 Minnesota Twins starting centerfielder... Denard Span.
Gardy says that he drives Johan Santana wherever he wants to go. Why? "Because I want him to really love us. And maybe thatíll outweigh some of the other things thatíll come firing at us eventually." Later in the article, we read that one agent wondered, "If [Barry] Zito got 18 [million dollars a season], what will he get? Thirty-six?'"
Have a great day! We will be back tomorrow!
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