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Free Agency Project


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23 replies to this topic

#1 hansman1982

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 11:33 AM

Ok, as described in the Women in Baseball thread (which presently does not care that women exist), I need some help (or a lot of help...).

I have gone back to the 2007 (not 2006 as stated elsewhere) free agent class (ahhh, the wonder and majesty of the Soriano contract), and pulled the year-by-year WAR of the top-30 (by total contract dollars) free agents from each class and I am going to figure out how much was spent, per WAR.

2 problems:

1. How in the hell do I calculate cost per WAR for negative WAR players?
2. From 2007-2011, any contract years not yet completed, I extrapolated their 2012 WAR. Up to 30, it remained the same; after 30, I decreased it by .5 WAR per year. Then there is Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, Cliff Lee, Adrian Beltre and the 2012 class (which, literally, you could have vomitted on a list of the FA names and got a positive WAR (with 2 RP exceptions)). For these guys, it's a lot of data that I am potentially just creating out of thin air. Do I simply leave them with their actual data or continue with my extrapolation?

#2 Brett

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 12:07 PM

On number 1, can you just say it's zero?

#3 hansman1982

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 12:41 PM

On number 1, can you just say it's zero?


How in the heck did I leave out cost. I'm looking to figure dollars per WAR.

I've thought about using 0 WAR and then using the total dollar amount of the contract, but then someone like Scott Linebrink (who was paid $19M by the White Sox and provided .1 WAR over his contract (that's $190M per WAR)), who actually provided some value cost more than a negative WAR player.

Or am I doing the fractional WAR guys wrong?

Edit: Just so my first line doesn't appear bitchy, I edited my initial posting. It used to say:

"How in the hell do I calculate per WAR for negative WAR players?"

#4 Cerambam

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 01:57 PM

Just commenting to get an update/motification when you finish it

#5 OCCubFan

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 01:59 PM

On #1, if the cumulative WAR is negative, then the result should be "not meaningful" or more explicitly "negative WAR".

#6 OCCubFan

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 02:03 PM

For #2, I suggest either include only players with at least 2 (3?) years of service under the contract or those who have completed at least half their contract.

By the way, I wish you well and look forward to seeing any results.

#7 King Jeff

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 03:55 PM

Joe, I think you are biting off a huge project here. Hopefully your hamburglar skills help with the chewing. Here's a couple of fangraphs articles that you might want to consider:
http://www.fangraphs...agent-signings/

http://www.fangraphs...price-of-a-win/

The second article brings up some interesting questions, like how much do you consider draft pick compensation when figuring out the cost of acquisition, and is there a difference in what a player's value would be for the team he plays for now, as opposed to moving to a new team? Like I said, there is a lot to consider here, good luck.

#8 hansman1982

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 04:19 PM

These will be great articles. I will have to dig more into the top one, one thing that has been bugging me is how many of these signings were just dumb (i.e. Milton Bradley) or just bizzaro (Carl Crawford).

For #2, I suggest either include only players with at least 2 (3?) years of service under the contract or those who have completed at least half their contract.

By the way, I wish you well and look forward to seeing any results.


I am also looking at how these signings look over the life of the deals. If you have a top-5 free agent, how often do they put up more than 1.0 in year 1, 2, 3, 4, etc...

If only I had this database (top-100 free agent contracts back to the dawn of time) accessible and didn't have to build it (took 4 hours to get 5 years worth of WAR data entered and now I am contemplating putting each players career WAR in from before they signed the contract (and what does that look like with the same guy showing up multiple times on the spreadsheet))


It's a much bigger task than I thought it would be to start with. The early results are interesting.

#9 King Jeff

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 04:30 PM

I'll be very interested to see the results on this. Just from taking a quick glance, it doesn't look like free agency is the place to shop for wins.

For the foreseeable future, I’d expect free agency to be the place you buy a short term fix rather than a long term superstar," suggests Dave Cameron of FanGraphs, who thinks the recent Red Sox offseason is what free agency is moving toward.

#10 hansman1982

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 04:45 PM

I'll be very interested to see the results on this. Just from taking a quick glance, it doesn't look like free agency is the place to shop for wins.

For the foreseeable future, I’d expect free agency to be the place you buy a short term fix rather than a long term superstar," suggests Dave Cameron of FanGraphs, who thinks the recent Red Sox offseason is what free agency is moving toward.


That's what I am gathering so far as well.

I may publish my first draft later tonight/tomorrow so I can start getting some feedback on it. Now, if I only had more knowledge of Stats 101.

#11 hansman1982

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 05:42 PM

Working draft is available for anyone who wants to pour into it. Email me at joseph (period)(stop) hansman (at)(stop) gmail (if you don't know the rest then may God have mercy on your soul)(stop).

I would appreciate some peer reviews and hamburgers.

#12 CubChymyst

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 07:53 AM

If WAR is negative you could add extra cost to the contract, because the team actually paid someone to make them worse.

#13 hansman1982

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 10:28 AM

If WAR is negative you could add extra cost to the contract, because the team actually paid someone to make them worse.


I thought about calculating the cost per WAR for all of the other contracts in baseball and using the total contract plus that amount. Now that I am typing that out it makes more sense than when I first thought of it. That should encapsulate the additional cost required to get a useful player, on average.

What I don't like about that, though, is how it benefits the guy who got -.1 WAR vs. .1 WAR. While both of them equal, roughly, the same amount of wasted money, the .1 WAR guy is going to negatively impact the overal calculation more.

Example:

The Braves signed Kenshin Kawakami to a 3/$23M contract in 2009. He proceeded to give them -.2 WAR over his contract. At the same time, the Cubs signed Milton Bradley to a 3/$30M deal and gave them (sans Carlos Silva) .2 WAR.

Now the calculation would put Bradley at $150M per WAR (which would be correct, you'd have to sign 5 Milton Bradleys (which might actually be hilarious) to achieve 1 WAR. However, the "best" way to calculate Kawakami's cost/WAR would put him at $33M to achieve 1 WAR (which would be technically impossible no matter how many of him you sign). Now, Bradley was .4 WAR more productive than Kawakami but cost ~$120M more? This also applies to the handful of guys that achieved replacement level.

I could take the worst deal possible and add it to the contract cost. (The worst deal ever, so far, was Kei Igawa. 5/$20 and provided .1 WAR - $200M per WAR.)

#14 Coldneck

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 11:09 AM

What is your objective with this project?

#15 hansman1982

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 11:47 AM

What is your objective with this project?


I probably should have answered that earlier.

I am trying to verify Theo's statement that FA is the worst way to spend money and to verify the $5M per WAR that get's tossed out as the cost/WAR. Ideally, eventually, I would like to know that if player X is in line for a Y contract (typically this should indicate player talent/value) we should know that it has a Z% chance of actually working for the team.

Right now, I'm not, necissarily, trying to solve these items, just that the data I have and the methods to getting to that solution are fair.

If this makes sense.




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