by Jan Stransky | @janstransky | firstname.lastname@example.org |
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
1B Albert Pujols: $254 million over 10 years
RHP C.J. Wilson: $77.5 million over 5 years
Let’s start with the Angels. Undoubtedly, their most recent signing instantly pushes the franchise into title contention. However, is Albert Pujols worth the approximately $25 million per year that the Angels are paying him? His career average is .328. He averages 123 R, 600 AB, 42 HR, 126 RBI, an OBP of .420, and .617 SLG. It doesn’t take much explaining to understand that Pujols, and his career stats over 11 years, make him one of the greatest players to date. However, when considering the contracts of other high-caliber players, the Angels overspent on Pujols, and are taking a considerable risk.
I like to talk. I like to talk a lot. Most of the time, I have things worth saying. Sometimes, it just flies right over people’s heads. Regardless of what I’m saying, how I’m saying it never comes out quite perfect. Doesn’t matter whether I’m talking baseball or chatting with a babe from the SU Volleyball team (which, come on folks, it’s clear there isn’t much of a difference for me at this point), the chances I exactly what I want to say are not high.
However, this is not the case with statistics.
Elite Defenders is one of many projects already underway at FoI that allows statistics to speak for both us and speak up for themselves. I’ve sat down with my buddy Tom Barrile countless times this semester, arguing for hours on end whether or not baseball is the superior sport over football (obviously, as everyone deep-down knows, it is). What we CAN’T ARGUE is the number of television viewers that watch the MLB postseason compared to the NFL playoffs.
In September of 2006, PROTRADE.com (a ‘sports stock market’ website) released an article on their picks for the Gold Glove winners that season. In the article, the PROTRADE staff wrote that “traditional fielding statistics don’t measure range, perhaps the most important trait of a solid glove man. Errors tell us how a player does when they get to the ball — but what about when he doesn’t?”
PROTRADE used a system that measured the direction and distance of every hit so as to compare every fielder’s performance with the historical averages at that ballpark. Their statistic was (ironically enough, given the name Moneyball Fielding Runs (or MBF).
Five years later, the baseball community has two stats PROTRADE could not work with: Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved. According to our friends at FanGraphs.com, UZR puts “a run value to defense, attempting to quantify how many runs a player saved or gave up through their fielding prowess” while DRS “captures a player’s total defensive value … comparable to UZR.”