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Play a Hard 9 is moving

January 9, 2011

Since starting PAH9 back years ago, I never really imagined some of the doors it would open for me as a blogger.  Not saying I really “went places”, but I went further than I had expected. And to be able to add great co-writers like Steve and Andy has been great. The ability and love of baseball these two have brought to the table has been tremendous, I’m honored to have had them on board. Both have become friends of mine.

Anyway, I do apologize for the sparseness of posts lately, but I’m here to tell you that PAH9 is moving on up to Gas House Graphs. Same great analysis but  just in some new digs and soon, some new features Steve will be introducing in the coming days.  Please update your RSS readers, bookmarks, et al.

Thanks for reading, we hope to amp up on the content in the coming days, especially as the season rolls around.


Want to write at PAH9?

January 3, 2011

We at PAH9 are looking for some new contributors. As no surprise to anyone that reads this blog on a regular basis it’s going to help your cause if you come at things from a sabermetric/analytic perspective. That said, don’t worry if you’re not a saber guru, as long as you try to answer questions with an open/analytical mind you’ll fit right in.

If you want to be considered send a sample of your work to steve dot sommer05 at gmail dot com. The sample can be an existing post somewhere or something new you’ve come up with. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Average Pujolsian Seasons

January 2, 2011

Joe Posnanski tweeted a remarkable statistic that helps encapsulate the greatness of Albert Pujols:

A Christmas baseball thought: Albert Pujols has averaged .331, 43 doubles, 41 homers, 119 runs, 123 RBIs his first 10 years.

He then went on to explain:

Here’s the thing: Only nine players in baseball history have pulled off that Pujols average season even once in their careers.

Being on twitter, you get inundated with a bunch of crazy baseball stats, but this one about Pujols has really stuck with me.  Maybe it’s because he’s a hometown player.  Or maybe it’s because he might not be in STL after this year and stats like these might propel him into free agency where he’d have a decent shot at becoming the highest paid player in the history of the game (either by average annual value, length of contract, or both).  Regardless, STL fans have been fortunate to witness one of the more transcendent 10-year-performances in baseball history.

Sure, there’s been other stats to show it.  Jayson Stark declared Pujols the MVP of the “Double Zeros” after hitting for the decade triple crown (leading in AVG, HRs, and RBIs) in the aughts.  Stark noted that Pujols also led in the more telling stat OPS+ over that time frame.  To Derrick Goold’s credit, he was following the story before it even happened, but I couldn’t find any updates since Pujols had actually accomplished the feat (though I’m sure he wrote something).

In October, Disciples of Uecker‘s Jack Moore wrote an article at FanGraphs comparing the implications of Pujols’ upcoming free agency to the hoopla that surrounded LeBron James in the NBA.  Jack included a graph that illustrates just how well Pujols measures up against some of the all-time greats (Ruth, Aaron, and Bonds).  While Ruth is clearly superior, Pujols compares favorably to Bonds and has an age-WAR-path that’s almost identical to Hank Aaron.

This all brings us to Posnanski’s tweet about Pujols’ average season and how only nine players (including Pujols) have matched those numbers in any ONE season.   Then contemplate how only twelve player-seasons in the history of the game have matched the offensive qualifications set by an average of Pujols’ first ten years in the league.  Sit with that.  The graph below illustrates each season with bars representing AVG, OBP, SLG, and wOBA.

Some observations/musings:  Out of the twelve player-seasons, six belong to Babe Ruth, Todd Helton (!), and Albert Pujols himself.  Three of these performances were by players employed within a pre-humidor Coors Field.  Five of the seasons occurred within the live-ball era of the 1920’s.

How good was Babe Ruth?  The only of the bunch to post an OPS above 1.300.  Actually, only two players have ever posted an OPS greater than 1.300 with at least 500 PA:  Ruth (1920, 1921, and 1923) and Bonds (2001, 2002, and 2004).  Each did so three times.  For reference, Pujols’ highest OPS to date has been 1.114 in 2008.

Sure, some of the stats mentioned by Posnanski are “traditional” ones (e.g. Runs and RBI’s) which can be distorted by the context in which a player is placed (e.g. lineup). But this doesn’t ruin it for me.  In a league that features thirty teams with twenty-five man rosters, the 2011 MLB season will begin with 750 active players.   Using Baseball-Reference‘s play index, there have only been 222 seasons that compare at or above Pujols’ career lows (32 HR’s, 33 2B’s, 99 R’s, and 103 RBI’s).  And that’s not even including his career low .312 AVG which would eliminate seven of the first twenty-five results.  Whether he wants to be or not, Pujols is “El Hombre” as far as Saint Louis is concerned.

Some Christmas Eve links

December 24, 2010

The guys over at Bullpen Banter had Daniel Descalso as their #10 2nd base prospect.

On a related prospect note, Future Redbirds is doing some cool draft retrospective stuff. Check is out. Here is an example.

JT at Triple Alley takes us under the hood of the Marcel forecasting system. It’s a good read, especially with a lot of the projection systems rolling out now. If I were to create my own projections, I’d start with Marcel and make tweaks from there.

This fanpost at VEB lays out the Brewers vs. the Cards in light of the Greinke deal. Erik has a google doc that he tweeted about last week too….

The Graphical Player 2011

December 24, 2010

If anyone plays fantasy baseball and plans on purchasing a book/magazine for guidance next season, consider The Graphical Player 2011. Player summaries for Cardinals’ pitchers and hitters were written by me… but don’t let that discourage you!

This book is loaded with content for every single player (more than 1,050 ballplayers in all) that includes 2011 forecasts, comparable hitters/pitchers, 2010 minor league numbers, 2007-2010 major league numbers, chief competitors for playing time, ten-year trends (SLG, OBP, & BA), and insights from, “24 of the web’s savviest baseball writers.”

Click the Buster Posey book cover below to learn more about the contents of this guide and find out how it can help you get a head start on your fantasy competition in 2011.  Enjoy an 18-page PDF sample.  Word on the street is that an e-book version of GP11 may be dropping in the new year.  Stay tuned….

Cardinals 2011 Zips – Hitters

December 23, 2010

Somehow I missed on Monday that Dan at Baseball Think Factory posted his Cardinals Zips projections.  Here are the projections converted to wOBA first for the MLBers (all calculations use the PAs in Zips and a 0.335 league average for RAA calcs)

Player wOBA RAA
Albert Pujols 0.434 55
Matt Holliday 0.376 23
Lance Berkman 0.368 14
Colby Rasmus 0.344 5
Allen Craig 0.337 1
Jon Jay 0.326 -5
David Freese 0.318 -6
Yadier Molina 0.315 -9
Skip Schumaker 0.311 -11
Tyler Greene 0.297 -17
Ryan Theriot 0.294 -23
Gerald Laird 0.284 -16

and then for the MiLBers

Player wOBA RAA
Nick Stavinoha 0.315 -7
Daniel Descalso 0.317 -10
Mark Hamilton 0.320 -5
Matt Carpenter 0.318 -8
Bryan Anderson 0.311 -7
Aaron Luna 0.306 -11
Andrew Brown 0.300 -13
Daryl Jones 0.297 -17
Thomas Pham 0.301 -14
Adron Chambers 0.291 -18
Steve Hill 0.292 -17
Tony Cruz 0.291 -18
Pete Kozma 0.285 -28
Donovan Solano 0.276 -25


These tables highlight the folly of the Brendan Ryan for Ryan Theriot swap. Theriot projects to only hit slightly better than Pete Kozma. Let that sink in for a while.  They also show the extreme lack of middle infield options, with Descalso posting the best wOBA projection.


The projection for Berkman is alright, but it is likely not good enough to overcome the defensive deficiencies.  On the whole the offensive projections do not inspire a whole lot of optimism.


On the positive side, the projection thinks that if David Freese were to get injured again, Matt Carpenter could step right in and be a suitable replacement.  As I’ve mentioned previously, that’s a sentiment I share.  Bryan Anderson would be a suitable backup with that line, with some potential to be more.  With the versatility of some of the bench options (Greene, Craig if he can backup at 3rd) would it be worth it to carry 3 catchers?  Probably not, but it’s something to think about.

The Year in Cardinal Baseball UCB Style

December 14, 2010

This year the United Cardinal Bloggers created its first collaborative document in the form of a year end review. A good cross section of writers across the UCB wrote articles. Yours truly penned an article about Albert Pujols. Take a look here for the publication.  The introductory post is here at the UCB site.