Tank Watch: Assembling a better team

I was bored while watching the Stanley Cup game, and the girlfriend is out of town for the week. So I thought about how could Kansas City, who is admittedly tanking, could’ve built a team that was better, at a somewhat similar cost.

Below is the team I came up with, from readily available players in the world. For the sake of this exercise I defined “readily available” as any player over 27 years old, in the minor leagues, and under $2 million. I’m sure the owners of these guys wouldn’t demand too much in a trade.

I guarantee that this team would perform better than Kansas City

C: Keith Stockton – SAL – $327k
1B: Robert Damon – SYR – $327k
2B: Logan Bradley – CLE – $1.6 mil
3B: Dewayne Brooks – WAS – $725k
SS: Javy Lee – RIC – $327k
LF: Ronald Terrell – LA – $327k
CF: Michel Contreras – DET – $327k
RF: Chuck Simms – SEA – $360k

BSS: Ramiro Iglesias – TRE – $327k
BC: Gerrit O'Brien – BUF – $327k
PH: Esmailyn Lugo – TRE – $327k
PH: Ryan Redman – ATL – $343k
PH: Bernard Adcock – JAC – $327k

SP: Alfredo Santiago – JAX – $327k
SP: Phil Teahen – LR – $327k
SP: Roger Davis – JAC – $343k
SP: Jin Ho Koh – HAR – $327K
SP: Darryl Knapp – MIN – $327k

RP: Rafael Romero – SCO – $515k
RP: Jimmy Simon – HAR – $765k
RP: Andy Brooks – HON – $378k
RP: Marcus Ransom – BUF – $327k
RP: Douglas Ford – NY1 – $327k
RP: Wilt Rivers – AUS – $327k
RP: Fernando Lee – HON – $327k


Total Cost: $10.6 million


Tank Watch: Kansas City

I think a lot of us suspected Kansas City was in the start of blowing up his team and tanking for a couple of seasons. Only time will tell if that’s the ultimate direction, but holy hell does it sure look like it right now.

The worst rotation in the league by two points, the second worst bullpen, and the worst batters by a whopping five overall points. Yes, my overall rating is very subjective, but it’s based on solid overall statistical projections for batters.

No offense to Buffalo, but the Wings destroyed Kansas City 26- 7 during the opening series, and they didn’t exactly put up much of a fight against Tacoma. Their one win so far was more of a fluke than anything;Donn Christians got lucky while Harry Perez had some poor defense behind him.

Currently Kansas City has a total major league payroll of $13 million. Only three players make more than the major league minimum, and one (Dave Witte) just got designated for assignment despite being arguably the third best position player on the team to make way for a THE worst player in the majors (Charlie Callaway) at second base. I rate Callaway as a -1.6 WAR player over the course of 600 PAs, and that’s if he hits his projections of a .503 OPS and a .243 wOBA. At least the guy can play a lick of defense. Yes, I did say Callaway is the worst player in the majors right now by my measures, right behind Huston Kielty. Sidenote: Kietly’s WARs the last four seasons: .056, .022, .446, and -1.32.

This is even before we get to players like Tom Dalrymple, Victor Pastornicky, Vic Borbon, Damaso Marquez, and David Crow holding down everyday starting jobs in the field. Out of those five guys only one, Crow, I predict will have a positive WAR come the end of the season.

Let’s get into pitching.

There are currently, as of tonight’s PM2 cycle, 161 pitchers listed as starters. Guess who has three of the worst 10?

Obviously the answer is Kansas City.

This is how I rank the KC starters:

Rico Manzanillo: 133
Quinton Slowey: 147
Paulie Buford: 152
Donn Christians: 160
Alving Juarez: 161

Remember the five “tiers” I outlined with the pitching ranks? All five KC starters are in that last tier, which I defined as marginal major leaguers/life time AAA.

I’m not even going to bother talking about relievers, because what’s the point?

It’s obvious he’s tanking.

Season 23 – Batting

Just like the pitching rankings, here is the batter rankings. This is just based on a team’s average hitting ability, with no fielding ratings taken into account because of the effect actual position played has on whether a player is a good fielder or not. It’s one thing to have 80/80/80/80 at SS, but entirely different to have that player at 3b.

Vin Scully Season 23 Batters


Minnesota and Washington should fall back to the pack once they fill out their rosters.

I forgot which formula I based the overall number off of, whether it was OBP, SLG, or OPS, but knowing my mindset when I created it last year, it’s probably OPS.

So now we know the relative strengths of each team’s starting rotation, bullpen, and hitters, which leads me into me next blog post…

Vin Scully Season 23 Pitching

Like last year, I’ve got the opening day ratings for both starting rotations and bullpens as way to kind of develop the preseason power rankings, if you will.

The first picture is the starting rotation rankings for season 23. It goes: Team Acronym; Total WAR projection; # of Pitchers; Average WAR Rating for Staff; Average Overall Rating for Staff.

Vin Scully Season 23 Starting Pitchers

The average overall rating is essentially out of 100. I have a fairly reliable rating weight system. I take each rating, multiply it by the weight, and then divide by the maximum score to get a number out of 100. The WAR rating is similar, but made up of aggregate projections for innings pitched, strikeouts, homeruns and walks, and as such isn’t as reliable in my opinion than the straight up overall.

I have five “tiers” of pitchers based on the overall number:

  • 100-78 I would consider an “elite” starter, of which there are 11 in the league right now.
  • 77-75 are solid, borderline elites, of which there are 14. These guys would be #2’s on playoff teams, or aces on non-competing teams.
  • 74-71 are your 2-3 starters. I see 38 total.
  • 71-68 are your 3-4 guys. There are 34.
  • 67 and under are back of the rotation pitchers/AAA guys. Playoff teams won’t have these guys typically. 63 total.

Yes, by my rating scheme there aren’t enough pitchers 65 and higher for every team to fill out a five man rotation. How I came up with these is I dumped something like 2000 starting pitchers from a number of different worlds into a spreadsheet, applied the formula to them and took the four quartiles to what came out (or something like that, it’s been like two years since I did this, so the memory is a little fuzzy. I believe the top two tiers were split up at one point, which is why there are five total tiers).

For what it’s worth, there is one ace at AA, one tier two pitcher at AAA, three tier three pitchers at AAA, and 19 tier three/four pitchers at AAA. As far as free agents go, they are pretty well picked over at this point, but anyone looking to say, I don’t know, not tank, there are three tier four guys out there.

The relief rankings follow pretty much the same formula as the starters.

Vin Scully Season 23 Bullpen

The WAR numbers are going to be a off just because it’s based on the number of innings pitched, and with relievers it’s a crapshoot for how other managers handle their bullpen settings.

So draw your own conclusions from this data. I already know what I’m thinking.

Season 23 – Free Agency Part Two

I see my predictions that Les Buchanan would sign soon were fairly accurate as he signed with Hartford the next cycle. Hartford also signed Lonny Allen and Benji Diaz to one year deals.

Still no Torrealba sighting, but there is no more “bidding” to be done, as multiple teams have max contracts out to him, so it’s all a crapshoot at this point.

Surprisingly New York has yet to make a free agent signing this year as he’s about $8 or $9 million from his cap right now.

After getting called out on the world chat, Chase Fassero signs the next cycle for Colorado.

Julio Sosa will call Baltimore home for the next three years.

I picked up Albert Sojo on a two year deal to cover my long relief role, and provide some extra starting pitcher depth if a guy in my rotation goes down. I probably could’ve waited a couple more cycles and got him cheaper, though I did have him as the 8th best SP this FA cycle.

Former Timberwolf Brant Wulf moves to Little Rock after a very productive season in Richmond.

Outside of Torrealba there aren’t too many “impact” bats left out there. Don’t get me wrong, there are some very productive guys left, but nothing game changing.

As far as pitchers go, Doug Stern, and Sal Veres are probably the best two left.

Also I might start a “Tanking Watch” section to the blog as Kansas City hasn’t signed a player other than to a minor league deal at this point.

Season 23 – Free Agency

I haven’t been as active on updating the blog this season, and for that I apologize.

Here’s a quick run down of the off season acquisitions so far.

Gabby Ducey comes over the the National League to join Little Rock on a 5yr/$73.9 million deal. I was in the bidding on him, but I was only willing to do 5yrs at $12.5 million per with a $8-9 million bonus this year. They also lock up perennial gold glove catcher D'Angelo Alberro for five years.

Both Alex Zhou and Maverick Buss are staying in Austin for the next couple of years. I’ve sang the praises of Zhou before, and I will continue to until he’s a HOF. The guy is far and away the league leader for career WAR.

Armando Melendez stays in the American League, but switches to the southern division as he joins San Juan. He’s probably no longer suited for duty behind the plate, but his bat is still potent.

Another Hartford loss as Alexi Balentien moves over to Scottsdale on a very reasonable 3yr/$15 million deal.

Baltimore, formerly Dover, holds onto Michael Myers.

Somehow Hartford gets Angel Wilfredo on a one year deal.

Jacksonville cuts lose Fritz Purcell allowing Syracuse to pick him up.

I signed Jerry Whitman to replace Benji Diaz at 1B. I also brought in Kazuo Lee to play CF, which his range should make him a good candidate for gold glove, though his arm probably isn’t up to snuff. Oh well, he’ll play a better CF than Jimmie Velazquez would’ve. Though all I want him to do is walk and get on base.

After an off year, Sean Shave moves to Jacksonville. Like Melendez, he’s probably not going to be even an average catcher anymore, but he’ll do in a pinch.

Jackson signed Greg Blake, probably to replace Shave. His bat isn’t as good as Shave’s, but he definitely a better fielder.

Our fearless commish signed Pablo Mateo for four years.

Switching over to starting pitchers real quick before I sign off for the night:

I’m happy that Willie Rooney is out of my division, as he’s playing in Salem now.

After being abused in Los Angeles last season, Melky Serra moves over to Jackson. They also pick up Matty Owen, and Miguel Ayala. If I had to guess who will have the most improved pitching staff without really looking too hard, my guess would have to be on Jackson.

Another Hartford loss, Kevin Lennon is now playing in Syracuse. Lennon looks oddly like Jody DuBose if you ask me.

Another pitcher out of my division, Pedro Mercedes is now playing in Sacramento, who is in the AL West.

Hartford is able to stem the loss of Lennon with Santos Henriquez on a one year deal.

Al Lee signs for New Orleans.

And that’s where I’ll leave it at. I’ll try to post something tomorrow.

Look for Ewell Torrealba, and Les Buchanan in future updates.

Career WAR

So in my downtime I’ve been slowly compiling historical stats for the world. I’ve got all 22 seasons of offensive and fielding data, and the first seven seasons for pitching data.

The spreadsheet with all the data I’ve got so far can be found here.

For the batters, the season count is how many times the player appears in the spreadsheet. If a player played on two teams in a given season, he’ll appear twice, so it’s not an exact representation of how many seasons they appeared in the majors.

The positional columns are the fielding statistic developed, including positional adjustments based on games played. If two fielders were close in a given season on the raw data, but one played more game, that guy will have a higher run data based on the adjustments. So just take that into account.

FRAA is just a sum of all the positional columns.

wRAA is exactly what is, weight runs above average based on wOBA.

wSB is just a gauge for how much a player contributes by stealing bases.

FRAA, wRAA and wSB is all expressed in runs.

Total WAR is expressed in wins.

The pitcher sheet is pretty self-explanatory.


I’ll update the pitcher sheet once I get more time.