FanPost

Season to Season Improvements and a Brief Personal Fantasy

So I actually began the research that inspired this article because I was thinking more about Justin Smoak. I’ve been a fan of old Smoakie since he was acquired in the well-remembered Cliff Lee deal, and now that he is actually succeeding I find my thoughts dwelling on his future more often.

And I don’t mean some kind of fantasy-future in which he and I are best buds who host poker nights together and take our wives out on double-dates every Friday night. That’s just weird. Who would do that? Although, I suppose it could be fun. Being from South Carolina, I bet Justin is a pretty mean BBQer. I love a good BBQ. I wonder if he would be impressed if I mentioned I made the Little League All-Star Team as a pitcher during my sixth grade season. I’m guessing he would. Perhaps I could get close enough to the field at next Monday’s game to invite him out for dinner sometime. Who could turn that down? It would be my treat! Oh, I’m so excited! This will be such a great time! I’ve always dreamed about having a true best friend! J-Smalls and the Smoak-Man. I could make t-shirts!

Best-friend-quotes_medium


Anyways, I was basically just remembering what a big stanky mess Smoak was at the plate last year and mentally remarking about what a vast improvement this season has been for him. And then I wondered…could his be the most dramatic 2012-2013 turnaround in all of Major League Baseball? Short answer - no. You can stop reading now if that's all you were wondering.


I know many of you would prefer to use wOBA or wRC+, but I’m much more comfortable with OPS+ and I think it does a fine job of describing offensive performance over even somewhat small sample sizes. You may beg and beg to differ, but it won’t matter, this article will have already been written by the time you are groveling and differing and there’s just no point to it. I’m going to use OPS+. And arbitrary though it may seem, I’m going to use a minimum of 200 plate appearances for both the fully completed 2012 season and the 59%-completed 2013 season. It’s my article, and I get to choose.


Let’s look at the Top 25 for OPS+ variance between 2012-2013!

Rk Name Age Tm 2012 PA 2013 PA 2012 OPS+ 2013 OPS+ +/-
1 Chris Davis 27 BAL 562 393 122 193 71
2 Nick Hundley 29 SDP 225 225 31 96 65
3 Josh Donaldson 27 OAK 294 391 90 151 61
4 Jason Bay 34 SEA 215 226 48 106 58
5 Brian McCann 29 ATL 487 206 87 145 58
6 James Loney 29 TBR 359 356 79 133 54
7 Jason Kipnis 26 CLE 672 374 102 154 52
8 Raul Ibanez 41 SEA 425 296 104 149 45
9 Justin Smoak 26 SEA 535 269 87 130 43
10 Troy Tulowitzki 28 COL 203 265 113 156 43
11 Michael Cuddyer 34 COL 394 317 102 144 42
12 Domonic Brown 25 PHI 212 384 90 130 40
13 Gaby Sanchez 29 PIT 326 213 70 110 40
14 Adam Lind 29 TOR 353 297 96 134 38
15 Everth Cabrera 26 SDP 449 363 84 121 37
16 Miguel Cabrera 30 DET 697 428 165 201 36
17 Colby Rasmus 26 TOR 625 346 85 119 34
18 Luke Scott 35 TBR 344 220 100 134 34
19 Paul Goldschmidt 25 ARI 587 406 125 158 33
20 Jhonny Peralta 31 DET 585 375 85 117 32
21 Drew Stubbs 28 CLE 544 313 61 93 32
22 Carlos Gomez 27 MIL 452 362 101 132 31
23 Jacoby Ellsbury 29 BOS 323 419 83 113 30
24 Kyle Seager 25 SEA 651 407 110 140 30
25 Michael Young 36 PHI 651 363 80 108 28

Observations:

1) There are four Mariners listed in the Top 25, with three of them ending up among the first nine players listed. Jason Bay has been often overlooked this year, and even though he hasn’t been spectacular during the 2013 season, he at least deserves some recognition from Mariner fans for increasing his OPS+ by 58 points from his disaster season last year. Meanwhile Raul "Ponce de León" Ibanez has improved his OPS+ from 104 to 149, and Dr. Smoak has increased his performance by 43 OPS+ points to 130! By the way, Seager is the youngest player on this Top 25 list – he’s awesome!


2) No other team has more than two players on this list.


3) The first two names couldn’t be much different – Chris Davis has been the story of the 2013 season, while Nick Hundley’s 65 point improvement is based mostly on his wretched 2012.


4) Somehow last year’s AL MVP has managed to make the 16th best offensive improvement in all of baseball this year. Crazy.


And now let’s look at the Bottom 25 for OPS+ variance between 2012-2013.

Rk Name Age Tm 2012 PA 2013 PA 2012 OPS+ 2013 OPS+ +/-
1 Jeff Keppinger 33 CHW 418 303 126 53 -73
2 Melky Cabrera 28 TOR 501 335 157 86 -71
3 Ike Davis 26 NYM 584 239 111 44 -67
4 Justin Ruggiano 31 MIA 320 299 144 85 -59
5 Matt Kemp 28 LAD 449 246 147 88 -59
6 Will Middlebrooks 24 BOS 286 216 120 63 -57
7 Andy Dirks 27 DET 344 303 130 75 -55
8 David Murphy 31 TEX 521 338 126 73 -53
9 B.J. Upton 28 ATL 633 318 108 55 -53
10 Brandon Moss 29 OAK 296 302 161 114 -47
11 Paul Konerko 37 CHW 598 280 129 82 -47
12 Josh Hamilton 32 LAA 636 375 140 94 -46
13 Chase Headley 29 SDP 699 355 144 98 -46
14 Alex Avila 26 DET 434 230 100 55 -45
15 Jonny Gomes 32 BOS 333 203 141 97 -44
16 Miguel Montero 29 ARI 573 352 122 79 -43
17 Josh Rutledge 24 COL 291 250 94 51 -43
18 Yoenis Cespedes 27 OAK 540 341 138 98 -40
19 Ruben Tejada 23 NYM 501 204 91 51 -40
20 Elvis Andrus 24 TEX 711 412 93 57 -36
21 Josh Willingham 34 MIN 615 298 143 107 -36
22 John Jaso 29 OAK 361 233 144 108 -36
23 Juan Pierre 35 MIA 439 286 95 61 -34
24 Giancarlo Stanton 23 MIA 501 224 158 124 -34
25 Alcides Escobar 26 KCR 648 382 98 66 -32

Observations:
1) There are no Mariners on this part of the list, although Ackley is close with a -28 and Saunders would have been if not for his recent week-long resurgence.


2) Josh Hamilton isn’t at the top! Although J-Ham’s struggles have probably been the most publicized around the League this year, that award goes to a scuffling Jeff Keppinger. Congrats Soxx!


3) It’s a good thing the Mariners didn’t pursue a post-HGH Melk-Man. That sure would have drawn the ire of the fans. Geez.


4) Even though I’m still not a fan of the Jaso-Morse swap, it kind of looks like 2012 might have been a career year for Mr. Hedgehog.


So…I guess there’s no real point to this post, and therefore no great way to conclude it.


No, I need something.


If I had to choose an overriding theme for this post it would be that sometimes the Mariners’ player evaluators make decisions that turn out to be good ones. Hmm…although not getting Hamilton wasn’t really a decision. Oh, and Mike Morse hasn’t really turned out well. Ok, that’s not the theme. The overarching theme that you should take away from this article is that baseball is weird, and sometimes good players improve and sometimes bad players improve and sometimes good players become much worse and then become good again and then sometimes you think bad players are going to get a lot better but then they just get tons worse. That’s the theme. And you can quote me.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Lookout Landing

You must be a member of Lookout Landing to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Lookout Landing. You should read them.

Join Lookout Landing

You must be a member of Lookout Landing to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Lookout Landing. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker