Saturday, November 1, 2008

More on the Jacobs-Nunez trade

As Mike Jacobs and Leo Nunez are the talk of baseball -- Baseball Think Factory and Boys of Summer are the latest to weigh in on the trade -- we'd like to present, via RoyalsRetro of Royals Review, Jacobs's and Nunez's ZIPS projections:

2009 ZiPS Projection - Mike Jacobs
2009 478 67 125 33 1 24 82 36 100 1 .262 .313 .485 106 -7
Opt. (15%) 544 84 152 40 2 30 101 44 104 1 .279 .334 .526 122 -5
Pes. (15%) 412 43 98 24 1 17 60 28 94 0 .238 .287 .425 84 -10
Top Offensive Comps: Rico Brogna, Gordy Coleman
2009 ZiPS Projection - Leo Nunez
2009 2 2 43 0 49 49 23 6 19 36 4.22 101
Opt. (15%) 4 2 47 0 56 50 20 5 18 45 3.21 133
Pes. (15%) 2 2 36 0 39 43 23 6 19 27 5.31 81
Top Comps: John Verhoeven, Joey McLaughlin

ZIPS is a system developed by Dan Szymborski to project individual performance. You can learn much more about it here (download-able RTF file).

In his post, RoyalsRetro takes a sarcastic tone and tosses out this bit of preemptive mockery: "He failed to factor in grit though. Is Jacobs gritty? He is white. He has played for a contender. He is a former catcher. The signs of grit are there." No one's called Jacobs "gritty" yet, as far as I can tell, but when someone does... joke's on you!

As for us here, we'd like to focus on the positives from the trade, several of which detailed in yesterday's post. Here're more:

  • As Boys of Summer points out, Jacobs's batting average on balls in play was an abnormal .260, which is about as low as Brian Bannister's BABIP was in 2007 (.262). The league average is around .300. When Bannister's BABIP strayed towards that mean this past season -- .310 -- it led to an increase of nearly two full earned runs allowed per nine innings (5.76 from 3.87). Why shouldn't we expect an equivalent jump in batting average -- let's say, oh, 20 points -- and whatever the equivalent of that would be in on-base percentage for Jacobs this year?

  • Jacobs's OPS was .114 lower at Dolphin Stadium than on the road in 2008, which makes sense because Miami is an awful place to play baseball. For his career there's a difference of 10 in OPS+ in his home/away splits, which is significant. (In the interest of fairness, we'd like to point out that Kauffman Stadium was statistically as much a pitcher's park as Dolphin Stadium last season, but about 30 times prettier.)

  • Have we mentioned Leo Nunez is a middle reliever who has a hard time staying healthy? Look, we all loved Nunez. The man has electric stuff, and he always gave maximum effort (though from a guy his size, that's kind of scary). But at the risk of besmirching his good name, this wasn't a big loss.

    Of course, if he turns into a dominant starter... but you didn't hear that here.

That's enough for now. Dayton's not done dealing though, so stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Some factors to take into account:

    1) This was a salary dump for the Marlins, Jacobs is eligible for arbitration next year. The Royals certainly did not give much up for him though.

    2) You have to look at who he will be replacing. That's mostly Shealy/Butler I think.

    Jacobs was a little unlucky in BABIP as you pointed out, although his HR/Fly was well over his career average. You'll have to decide if you think his power is for real or if it will regress. In his 3 seasons with the Marlins, his OBP was .325, .317, and .299 last season. How many baseruns would he provide over Butler/Shealy next year? I bet no higher than 5.

    3) The most important thing to me is his defense. The last three years he was ranked 30+ at 1B in the fielding bible. He's probably the worst defensive 1Bman in the game worse than Giambi, Howard, Delgado etc. In the 70% of the season he played this year, he was over 20 runs worse than the average 1Bman! Shealy grades out as average/slightly above. Butler might not even be as bad at Jacobs, and they refuse to play him much at 1st, so that's what I really don't get about the move.