There is so little movement in the Hot Stove and yet, so much to talk about, so here goes:
TOP FARM SYSTEMS
Someone here a few days ago opined that they wanted Logan White back as the GM. Of course, Logan was never GM for the Dodgers before – he was Director of Amateur Scouting, and while I love Logan White, I cannot remember when the Dodgers Farm system was ever this good.Keith Law of ESPN just came out with his 2019 Farm System Rankings and he has the Dodgers solidly at #5!
The rest of the TOP 10 are comprised of teams that have either tanked or just started a selloff of stars for prospects, yet the Dodgers are in the TOP 5 after winning the NL West 6 years in a row and getting to the World Series in the past two years. That is just crazy – teams don’t build their MLB team and build their farm system. It has to be one or the other. No one else has ever done this… until now! The Red Sox are at #24 and the Cubs are at #29, while the Nats are at #23 and the Brewers are at #25.
So right about now, you are saying that I am just an Andrew Friedman Homer and you are DAMN RIGHT, I AM and if you are not, well, you are a few fries short of a Happy Meal, my friend! I mean, what does he have to do to get any credit? No one, and I mean NO ONE does that kind of stuff! So while the Farmer Trade made no sense to you, it did toKeith Lawwho said:
The Dodgers just boosted their system in the trade that sent Alex Wood, Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp‘s contract to the Reds, bringing back two prospects who were high draft picks in the past two years and have performed well since signing, adding to a system that saw upticks from several prospects already in-house, including Will Smith and Tony Gonsolin. They didn’t sign first-rounder J.T. Ginn, but may have unearthed gems in a couple of later rounds who will make up for what they lost.
The MLB team is loaded. Most stat services have them at 92-94 wins this year, which is the best in the NL and they are not done. Maybe they will add some player(s) soon or at the trade deadline, but regardless they are strapped.
MLB.com ranked the Dodgers at positions as follows:
- Catcher – Not ranked (they let the #3 Catcher walk)
- 1B – Max Muncy #4
- 2B – Chris Taylor #5 (I don’t see him at 2B, but who knows? Not me!)
- SS – Not rated yet, but Seager has to be there
- 3B – Justin Turner #2
- LF – Not ranked
- CF – Cody Bellinger #2 and AJ Pollock #7
- RF – Not ranked
- Starting Pitchers – Clayton Kershaw #7
MLB.Comsays this about whether the Dodgers need a catcher:
Is it unfinished business if the club does not acknowledge it as unfinished business? If the asking price for Realmuto is Verdugo, the Dodgers seem willing to walk on down the road and open the season with Austin Barnes and Russell Martin behind the plate while keeping an eye on 20-year-old Keibert Ruiz — who’s No. 36 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects List — in the Minors. Because the Dodgers have won six straight division championships and been to the World Series two years in a row, we tend to think they know what they’re doing.
Yeah, I think they do! Next…
WAR – WHAT GOOD IS IT?
It seems that people either love it or hate it. WAR or “Wins Over Replacement” is a concept most people don’t really understand.Anthony Castrovince of MLB.comexpalins it this way:
If you are unfamiliar (or need a refresher), the concept behind WAR is this: If you formed a team of freely available Minor Leaguers (aka “replacement-level talent”), it wouldn’t win many games. In fact, estimates used for WAR peg that number at 48 (roughly a .300 winning percentage). So if you took Player A from that club and replaced him with Free Agent X, and the club won 54 games, that means that Free Agent X is worth 6 WAR, since the team improved by 6 games with him on the roster.
Thanks to its inherent appeal as a distillation of various contributing factors into a single number, WAR has served as a sort of gateway drug for folks just setting foot into sabermetrics. Thanks to its application across eras, WAR has heightened the Hall of Fame discussion. And thanks to the embrace it has received over time from the writers and TV broadcasters covering MLB, WAR has become, for better or worse, an almost de facto decider in the comparison of position players for the annual Most Valuable Player Award votes.
Some fans don’t like WAR, but WAR doesn’t lie. In the article, he goes on to say this:
You can protest WAR, and many have. Complex thinkers have derided it as too simple, and simple thinkers have derided it as too complex.
At this point, though, every team in baseball is employing some sort of WAR calculation. WAR is even, in all likelihood, a contributor to the slow-moving free-agent markets we’ve witnessed the last two winters. Because if teams have a statistical model telling them a player can reasonably be counted on for X contribution to the season win total, they’re likely not going to bid much beyond the dollar value they place on X. And a more intuitive understanding of how to calculate a player’s expected regression makes teams more cautious in handing out long-term deals (so far this winter, only one contract has exceeded four years, and that’s Patrick Corbin‘s six-year pact with the Nationals).
“I think, more and more,” Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro said, “organizations are starting to value on similar criteria, or at least in a similar way.”
There are many formulas for WAR and each team may have their own methods of defining and valuing WAR. The public WAR data involves only surface-level statistics, however, many teams have the option of involving their in-house scouting grades which combines the objective with the subjective. The next great discovery might be the quantification of player makeup and medical data for utilization in the WAR inputs. Someone is going to figure that out… maybe Friedman already has.
No matter how you slice it, Matt Kemp was a 1.1 WAR Player. He was a feelgood story in 2018 and not much else. He had to go. Alex Wood was a 1.0 WAR player – great guy, but 1.0 WAR players grow on trees. Yasiel Puig was a 2.7 WAR player, but his issues were of another variety. So, the Dodger lost 4.8 WAR while freeing up salary and building up the farm system.
They got rid of malcontents and potential malcontents and freed up salary, which they spent on AJ Pollock and others to be determined. They created a space for Alex Verdugo and CT3. Now I fully acknowledge that Yasiel Puig could be the NL MVP In 2019… but it wasn’t happening in LA. He could also crash and burn – he’s capable of either. I will watch and enjoy him in Cincy. He’s fun to watch, but the Dodgers are better without him.
By the Way
MLB.com rated Bryce Harper the #1 RF in baseball, which is evidently why he is seeking suck a big contract. WHAT? WAIT! He was rated #5? But he wants to be paid like the #1? OK, I get it! Do you?
Tonight we go and see my wife’s favorite player as the LA Stephenson’s play the Indiana Pacers at The Fieldhouse. I’ll try and wave to you…