Saturday, February 28, 2009

Websoulsurfers Padres Projections for 2009

Saturday February 28, 2009

Websoulsurfer's San Diego Padres projections for 2009

I know there are going to be questions about methodology and I am not going to go into detail on that. I will say that I base my projections not only on the individual players past statistics but also on statistical models of the historical improvement and decline of players based on age and ML level playing time as well as adjusted for the parks they will be playing in. (Not just Petco, all the parks).

These are a few of the Padres players in which I see the biggest changes over 2008 for the positions they play.


Young 30 starts/172 IP – 13 -11 3.38 era 1.12 whip .211 baa
Young is reaching both the age and the number of years of ML playing time at which the number of starts peaks. He is coming off 3 straights seasons in which he pitched 30-31 starts and one season in which he made 17 starts but missed an additional 17 because of a non-functional injury (line drive to face, not a shoulder or elbow injury). He should rebound well in 2009 and nearly double his win production from 2008.

Eckstein 140 starts/550 pa - .278/.350/.354/.704 7 SB
Eckstein moves from SS to his natural position of 2B so his defense should see an improvement, or at least not additional decline. His batting average and OBP should not decline as he is a line drive, not a power hitter, in a park with huge alleys. The only question mark is his age. He turns 34 in January. That kind of production is a huge improvement for the Padres and should add 3+ wins over replacement at 2B (SS would actually be less).

Kevin Kouzmanoff 152 starts/652 PA - .284/.334/.487/.821 24 HR/92 RBI/36 BB/112 SO
Of any season, the third FULL year at the ML level sees the greatest increase in production. Kouzmanoff is 27, and turns 28 in July. That is the prime age for seeing a career year as well. After a season of playing daily and seeing a dramatic improvement in defense, 2009 is the season I see a great upturn at the plate.

Chase Headley 142 starts/558 PA - .281/.371/.485/.856 16 HR/71 RBI/56 BB/139 SO
Headley is a player that has shown a consistent ability to adjust to higher levels of talent with the bat. 2008 was the first season as an amateur or professional that Headley had been asked to play LF. The simultaneous adjustments he had to make both in the field and to a higher level of play showed in his overall production. I see an improvement coming in every aspect of his game with the biggest being in his obp and slugging.

With both Eckstein (127 in 8 seasons) and Kouzmanoff (25 in 2 seasons) on the squad, the Padres should easily lead the league in HBP.


Closer –
1st year closers average a 70.2% save percentage. Bell’s overall statistics at the ML level are very close to those of the average first year closer. If Bell turns out to be an average first year closer that will mean 6 fewer saves and 5 fewer wins for the Padres in his relief appearances if the Padres repeat the 34 save situations they presented the closer in 2008. I believe that we will see a 25% increase in save opportunities to 42 – 43 in 2009. While that means about 29-30 saves, it also means 11-12 BS and 7+ more losses than in 2008.

Shortstop –
While we can look for a huge increase in batting average over Greene’s 2008 and career #’s, especially in RISP, 2 strike, and 2 out situations, we will also see a marked decline in defense and a decline in power over Greene’s career numbers regardless of who is manning the position.

Yes I know that Greene's UZR in 2008 was 4 runs lower than Rodriguez's(-2.4 to -6.3), but I do believe that Greene was the better defensive player overall. I don’t believe that Luis Rodriguez will be an everyday starter all season. In fact I only project him to get 320 PA. If Cabrera makes the team as the backup SS, I believe that he will hit near .200 with little if any power.

Injuries -
The Padres had an MLB record of 1244 Player days on the DL in 2008, breaking their own record of 1100+ in 2002. The ML average was 458 last season.

The Padres also tied a team and MLB record for number of players used in a season.

2008 – 1244 DL days - 32 pitchers, 27 position players = 59 players used
2003 – 1057 DL days - 27 pitchers, 25 position players = 52 players used
2002 – 1108 DL days - 37 pitchers, 22 position players = 59 players used

Do you notice any correlation between the years in which the Padres had MLB records for injuries and the win-loss records?

There are some that say the number of DL days should not include players that were on the DL for the entire season, (TJ/Shoulder Surgery, injury in ST. etc…) but if they were on the 40 man roster and expected to contribute I included them in these numbers.

Team Projections

As the lineup and rotation begin to take shape I am seeing a definite trend towards an overall improvement in both offensive production and pitching.

Young players like Kouzmanoff and Headley improving, consistent gamers like Eckstein being added and a team that is getting younger overall and less injury prone.

With the addition of Cliff Floyd off the Bench and Henry Blanco to the catching corp, the Padres have a stronger bench than the one they started the 2008 season with.

In fact Edgar Gonzalez may not even make the team if Cabrera has a good showing in spring training. It is interesting to note that Travis Denker, a career 2B in the minor leagues, has only played at 3B in spring training so far and that Headley has not played 3B at all.

As of today, I project the Padres will see a 13 game improvement in wins to a 76-86 record.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Padres Contract Projections Redux - Part Deux

Padres Contract Projections Redux - Part Deux
Sunday February 8, 2009

2009 Padres Payroll Projections Redux

Some Free Agent signings have happened and all the arbitration eligible players have been signed so I thought I should update this post again.

When its all said and done the Padres will still be very near that much discussed $40 million budget for payroll in 2009.

San Diego Padres 2009 Contract Projections

Players with Guaranteed Salaries for 2009

Jake Peavy – $11.0 million
Chris Young – $4.5 million
Adrian Gonzalez – $3.0 million
Brian Giles - $9.0 million

Total $ Guaranteed - $27.5 million

Arbitration Eligible Players
Jody Gerut $0.700m (2008) - 2009 Est - $1.5 - $2.5 m (Signed for $1.775m)
Scott Hairston $.406m (2008) - 2009 Est - $.750 - $1.5 m (Signed $1.250m)
Heath Bell $0.420m (2008) - 2009 Est - $2.0 - $2.5 m (Signed for $1.225m)
Luis Rodriguez $0.4025m (2008) 2009 Est - $0.410 - $.600m (Signed $0.675m)

Total Arbitration Eligible 2008 salaries - $1.9825 million Est 2009 Salaries - $7.1 million worst case ($4.925 Actual

Free Agents signed after Original December 15, 2008 Article

David Eckstein - $0.850m (Signed 1/15/09)
Henry Blanco - $0.750m (Signed 1/21/09)
Cliff Floyd - $0.750m (Signed 2/5/09)

Total for Free Agent Signings - $2.350m

Total for 11 Signed Players = $34.775m

On Roster & Under Team Control - 2008 Salaries Listed
Kevin Kouzmanoff - $0.410m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Edgar Gonzalez - $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Chase Headley - $0.410m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Nick Hundley - $0.410m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Travis Denker - $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Cha Seung Baek - $0.3925m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Josh Geer - $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Wade LeBlanc - $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Justin Hampson - $0.4025m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Cla Meredith - $0.415m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Scott Patterson - $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Joe Thatcher - $0.393m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Mike Ekstrom - $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Mark Worrell - $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Total if all 14 slots are filled at 2008 salary or major league minimum of $0.400m - $6.4475m

Total Current & Projected Player 2009 Salaries - $41.225m (Updated 2/5/09)

Some of those players won't be on the 2009 Roster opening day roster and other minor league signees and major league minimum type of players will be on the 2009 roster.

These Padres Minor League signings are not on that list:
Mark Prior (will make $1.0m if he makes ML roster),
Kevin Correia (will make $0.750m if he makes ML roster)
Chris Burke (will make $0.650m if he makes ML roster)
Chris Britton (will make $0.400 if he makes the ML roster)

If Prior, Correia and Burke make the roster, the 2009 Payroll will be $42.425m (as of 2/5/09)

Others that were on 2008 Roster at some point and their 2008 salary:
Matt Antonelli - $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Will Venable - $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Drew Macias - $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)

Most salary figures are thanks to Cots Baseball Contracts - the best resource I have found on baseball contracts.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

What if Peavy IS traded?

February 7, 2009

If Peavy IS traded, then here is the next trade I would like to see the Padres make.

Kevin Kouzmanoff and Travis Denker for Dan Uggla and a pitching prospect like Ryan Tucker or Jose Ceda (who originally was in the Padres farm system).

For the Marlins, this trade gives Jorge Cantu a chance to move to 1B where he is not a defensive liability, gets rid of the soon to be very expensive Uggla and his mediocre defense and adds a good young ML 3B and a good young 2B prospect in case Bonifacio can’t get the job done.

For the Padres, this trade adds a legitimate 30 HR right handed bat to the middle of the lineup to protect Adrian Gonzalez and a power pitching prospect who could move into the bullpen immediately.

I have had my say. Now what do you think?

Trade Possibilities for the Padres

February 7, 2009

Trade Possibilities

Now that it is a pretty sure bet that Jake Peavy will at least be starting the 2009 season in a Padres uniform, we can turn to what other trade possibilities the Padres have to make the 2009 squad stronger.

The 1st one that comes to mind for me is a trade of Kevin Kouzmanoff for a starting pitcher.

The Padres have tremendous depth at 3B with Chase Headley at the major league level and alot of good bats in the farm system.

Kouzmanoff is a young player who will be under team control for 4 more seasons and is emerging as both a very good offensive and defensive player for the Padres.

The only thing that stands in the way of a possible trade is Kouzmanoff's shoulder. He has not returned to full activity after his off season surgery, but he is throwing and looks good so far.

Once Spring Training starts in 2 weeks, other teams will get to see how well he has rehabbed and how he is throwing in game situations.

Then he will be very attractive trade bait.

What are the Padres looking for in return?

The Padres have two areas of serious need and both involve pitching. The Padres are looking for a #2 or #3 starting pitcher and for help in the bullpen.

Behind a great 1-2 punch of Peavy and Chris Young, the Padres have a lot of unproven, mediocre or injury rehab projects vying for 3 starting positions.

Baek, Correia, Geer, LeBlanc, Roeneke, Prior and others will all be trying to lock down a spot in Spring Training. None of them are what would be considered a confidence inspiring starter.

Winning 2 of 5 games is not an option.

The bullpen is even more of a question mark with Bell taking over for Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman at the Closer position, Mike Adams is injured and not expected back until after the All Star break, and Cla Meredith and Justin Hampson are the only other Padres relievers with a full season at the ML level.

We have established what the Padres are offering and their needs.


Who stands in need of a Third Baseman?

- The Minnesota Twins are in dire need. They are so desperate they are looking at Joe Crede.

- The Detroit Tigers have Brandon Inge penciled in at 3B.

- The Toronto Blue Jays have the oft injured, but very expensive, Scott Rolen.

Even the Cardinals need a 3B with Troy Glaus' January shoulder surgery.

The next questions:

Are they looking to trade and who do they have to offer?

Let’s take this team by team starting with the ones I think are most probable.

Minnesota Twins
The Twins are hurting at 3B. Without a FA signing or a trade, the Twins will start the season with Brendan Harris or Brian Buscher at third. Ouch!

So YES they are looking to make a move.

Their options are so grey that they are talking seriously about bringing in Joe Crede, who hasn't started regularly since hurting his back in late 2006, and guaranteeing him more than $5 million per season plus incentives.

Now that we have established that they have the need,
What do they have to offer the Padres?

The Twins have a plethora of good young arms. Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins and Scott Baker are good young starters that are still 3-4 years away from FA.

Phillip Humber is another good starting prospect on their squad. Good enough that the Mets signed him to a 5 year/$4.2 million contract before he ever threw a pitch in the major leagues and he is out of options. He either stays on the 25 man roster of the Twins have to trade him or expose him to waivers.

Of the 6, Slowey and Baker are the control type pitchers the Padres seem to favor.

So what trades make sense for both teams?

How about the Padres send Kouzmanoff and Wade LeBlanc to the Twins for Slowey and Delmon Young? Leblanc competes for the #5 slot in Minnesota and Young takes over in LF for Headley.

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers have Brandon Inge penciled in as their starting 3B in 2009.
Inge, a career .237 batter, hit .205/.303/.369/.672 in 2008. Inge is a slightly above average fielder at 3B with a 1.1 UZR in 51 games at the position in 2008.

His only backup as of today is Mike Holliman. Who? Hollimon was a 26 year old rookie in 2008, who has exactly 2 games at 3B in his professional career (minors and majors). Both games happened in 2008.

I would guess that Cabrera could move back to 3B, but he was moved to 1B because, despite his incredible bat, he is a terrible fielder at 3B.

Now that we have established that they have the need,
What do they have to offer the Padres?

Like the Twins, the Tigers have a number of good young arms. In fact, before the February 4th signing of John Parrish, the Tigers had 7 starting pitchers on their staff to fill 5 slots. Lynn Henning of the Detroit News reported that the Tigers are looking to trade pitching to fill holes in their lineup.

Unlike the Twins, most of the Tigers starting pitchers have 5 or more years of major league service.

The exceptions being the recently added Edwin Jackson, Justin Verlander who is likely untouchable, and Armando Gallaraga.

Jackson has been a disappointment since coming up as a fireballing RH with the Dodgers at 20 yrs old. He has never really lived up to the expectations. Dave Cameron of Fangraphs absolutely hated the trade the Tigers made to get him.

Justin Verlander is another fireball RHP. Unlike Jackson he developed into the ace of the Tigers staff. In 2008 he had a rough year posting a 4.84 ERA and a 4.18 FIP.

Armando Gallaraga (27) is a late blooming starter who had a nice ERA in 2008 but whose FIP was well above league average at 4.88.

Of the 3, I would like to see Verlander in any trade for an everyday player like Kouzmanoff, but he is likely untouchable.

So what do I see as a possible trade?

Kouzmanoff for Jackson and a prospect like Casey Fien or Luis Marte.

Those two teams are the only ones I see as having both a real need right now and the type of pitching the Padres would like back in return for Kouzmanoff.

I have had my say. Now what do you think?