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capuano follow-up

in yesterday's post, houstoncardinal suggested that chris capuano might have been a victim of the brewers' terrible defense last year. the numbers back him up. here's a table summarizing the fielding values of the milwaukee infielders in 2007 (as measured in runs above/below average). the metrics are zone rating plus (ie, the chris dial / chone smith method); pinto's probabilistic model of range; john dewan's +/- system, aka the Fielding Bible (FB); and, where available, UZR:

fielder 1b -10 -3 -11 -9
weeks 2b -10 -14 -12 n/a
hardy ss -5 0 +5 n/a
braun 3b -24 -21 -30 n/a

he'd be a lot better served by the cards' infield. they had gold glove-caliber players at both infield corners and an average defender at second; with ryan / izturis manning the shortstop position next year, they should be no worse than average there. a couple of caveats, though. first, capuano's not much of a groundball pitcher; his career ratio is about 1:1 (although he did have a slight groundball tendency last year). better infield defense surely won't hurt, but it won't help capuano as much as it would a more groundball-oriented pitcher; the cards' outfield defense is no better than the brewers' (and might be worse). second point: if scott rolen is part of the price to land capuano . . . . well, there goes one of the gold-glove defenders on which this line of thinking rests. but here are a couple of additional considerations: first, capuano's BABIP last year was a flukishly high .340, 34 points higher than his career average of .306; that number is likely to come down next year, bringing his run yield down along with it. and second, his strand rate last year was 68 percent, or 5 points lower than his career average (and on a par with anthony reyes'); if he reverts to the mean there, he ought to keep a few extra runs off the board. as HC pointed out, capuano's FIP last year was right in line w/ his FIPs from 2005-06, when he pitched very well; overall, there's a sound basis for the belief that this pitcher will bounce back next year.

he made $3.25m last year and is two years away from free agency. it'll be difficult to work out a deal with a division rival, and they probably won't succeed. but if he's the type of pitcher the cards are looking to trade for, i'm encouraged.

also re the trade front, heading into the winter meetings: don't forget about the giants. they are looking to deal, and they have arms to spare.

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Baseball Prospectus did a Q+A with new pittsburgh gm neal huntington, who worked with chris antonetti in the cleveland front office. couple of highlights:
We are building an environment in which we will utilize the subjective and objective information at our disposal and weigh it accordingly to create a complete evaluation of a given player. By subjective, we are basically talking about scouting reports, what our evaluators see, and what they can tell us about the progression or regression of individual players. In a perfect world, the data provides one perspective, and the evaluators provide another. We will balance and blend the perspectives to make an optimal assessment of value. I place a lot of value in numbers, but there are some things that can't be quantified, and there are times scouting reports are needed to understand the elements behind the numbers. . . . .

The quick fixes that have been taken in the past --- that you see happen around the league with some teams --- are not something we'll be interested in here. Free agent signings that make a small, incremental difference in on-field performance don't have much of an impact on wins. Those decisions are decisions we need to try and avoid, especially when they come at the expense of money that could have been better utilized in player acquisition and development. If the extra pieces added could lead to two or three wins being added and are the difference between making the playoffs or not, that's a different scenario and that short-term move has long-reaching positive impact. That would be progress, so the expense would be justifiable. But if you're talking about potentially 78 wins instead of potentially 76, it is difficult to justify.

refreshing views; music to the saberphile's ears. chris antonetti, who worked with huntington in the cleveland front office, would have brought both those principles to st louis. will mozeliak? the jury's still out, but unlike some observers, i've seen no evidence so far to suggest that he won't adhere to them; it remains to be proven whether he will. from what little we've seen so far, i am generally encouraged. i don't agree w/ every decision he's made, but i see the broad outlines (hope it's not just an illusion) of a strategy that makes sense: tighten up the defense; bulk up on innings; hope edmonds / rolen stay healthy and top .800 in ops; and above all, avoid short-sighted decisions that commit the team to mediocre (or worse) players beyond 2008. it ain't dynamic, but for a team that got outscored by 104 runs last year and has an injured ace, it's a defensible approach.


molina c
spiezio ut
wainwright rhp
is'hausen rhp
pujols 1b
schumaker of
looper rhp
franklin rhp
kennedy 2b
ryan if
pineiro rhp
springer rhp
rolen 3b
larue c
mulder lhp
flores lhp
izturis ss
ludwick of
reyes rhp
johnson lhp
duncan lf
miles if
carpenter rhp
wellemeyer rhp
edmonds cf
barden if
hawksworth rhp
thompson rhp
ankiel rf
encarnacion rf
parisi rhp
cavazos rhp