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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

PLAYER REVIEW: ALFREDO AMEZAGA
So here we go. I plan to review each player on the team (and I apologize that Alfredo Amezaga is first, because honestly we all know everything there is to know about him as a player), so I'm gonna take some time on the first one to explain what all this nonsense is. So bear with me the first time; if you don't want to bear with me, just scroll on down to BACK TO PLAYER ANALYSIS. This is the format I'll be using for each offensive player:

       G   AB   H  2B  3B  HR  SO  BB  SB  CS  AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS+  EqA  ZR(SS)

2004 73 93 15 2 0 2 24 3 3 2 161 212 247 20 .168 .864(3)
Car. 122 211 44 7 2 4 48 12 6 4 209 264 318 55 .212 .856
Pro. 51 84 16 2 1 2 20 5 2 2 191 248 295 72
BORING EXPLANATION
Okay, what the hell is all that?

The top line is obviously the guy's numbers for 2004, the middle line are his career marks, and the bottom line is his projection for 2005. More on that later.

If you are familiar with OPS+ and EqA, skip this paragraph. OPS+ comes from Baseball-Reference, and denotes how high a player's on base and slugging were above league average. 100 is an average figure. With an OPS+ of 20 last year, Amezaga's OBP and SLG were 20% of league average. This figure is park-adjusted. EqA is Clay Davenport's Equivalent Average (maintained by Baseball Prospectus), and measures how many runs a player created per out, but is scaled so that .260 represents a league average offensive player.

In the Zone Rating column, I have the player's Zone Rating at his primary position, as reported on the player's ESPN card. The number in parantheses is where the player ranks or would rank among league qualifiers at that position. Amezaga did not qualify for AL shortstops last season, but if he had and performed the same, he would have ranked third. ESPN, for unknown reasons, does not list career ZR marks, so I weighted his ZRs by innings and to estimate the career mark.

Okay, the projections. What they really are a weighted average of the last four years. You multiply the most recent year by four, 2003 by three, 2002 by two, 2001 by one, sum those figures, and divide by ten (i.e. 4 + 3 + 2 + 1). Amezaga had only three years, so I adjusted that for three. I really should have an age adjustment, but I'm not that smart, and the weighting should incorporate any trends for better or worse. It's an estimate, I'm not trying to be Nostradamus here. Note that the numbers may not add up exactly because of rounding, and also because I keep track of HBP and stuff on the spreadsheet that I don't display here. As for OPS+ projections, I weight the park-adjusted league average OBP and SLG for each of the year's included by the player's plate appearances in that year, as reported by BB-ref.

I'll throw in a demo of a couple things at the very end of this entry for those that care.

BACK TO PLAYER ANALYSIS
Okay, let's start anew. In case you forgot, we're doing Alfredo Amezaga:

       G   AB   H  2B  3B  HR  SO  BB  SB  CS  AVG  OBP  SLG  OPS+  EqA  ZR(SS)

2004 73 93 15 2 0 2 24 3 3 2 161 212 247 20 .168 .864(3)
Car. 122 211 44 7 2 4 48 12 6 4 209 264 318 55 .212 .856
Pro. 51 84 16 2 1 2 20 5 2 2 191 248 295 45
After all that, all I can tell you about this is that Alfredo Amezaga is about as close to a useless ballplayer as you can get, which is something you already knew. He's a good defender at short, and his abilities get him by at second and third. But he can't hit, he's fast but can't steal bases (at least since he hit AAA), and he can't even bunt very well. He'll be 27 years old in 2005, and his window is closing fast. The Angels can't pretend that he's a viable middle infield option, and must realize that his starting games in the ALDS was an absolute last resort thrust upon us by disaster.

Is there any reason to believe Amezaga is a better hitter than his major league performance so far indicates?

A 25-year old Amezaga hit .347 in 75 games in his second stint at AAA in 2003. And that's about it for the high levels ... his career minor league line is about 287/350/388 in over 2000 at-bats (I don't have the HBP to include there), which is not fantastic. He probably is better than he's shown, but "better" just means he might hit .240 if he's lucky with no power and some walks. Basically, he'd still be worse than David Eckstein by a significant margin. I mean, Eckstein's been lousy the last two years but the worst he hits is .250, and he's got better secondary skills, too. (View Amezaga's minor league numbers for yourself, if you dare.)

If you've got space on your roster for a 25th man that can only field, Amezaga won't hurt you. But it's a problem if he ever sees a bat in his hands in a meaningful situation, grand slams against Joe Blanton notwithstanding.

APPENDIX FOR THE TECHNICAL-MINDED
So BB-ref figures OPS+ by this formula: (Player's OBP / Park-Adjusted League OBP) + (Player's SLG / Park-Adjusted League SLG) - 1. For Amezaga last year that's (.212/.337) + (.247/.432) - 1 = .201. They then put that on a scale of 100, so his OPS+ is 20.

Here are Amezaga's plate appearances and the park-adjusted OBPs for each year of his career:

2002   13  .328

2003 120 .324
2004 105 .337
So you can easily find the park-adjusted OBP for the league overall for those three years: ((13 x .328) + (120 x .324) + (105 x .337))/(13 + 120 + 105) = .330. Of course, in Amezaga's case we only have three years to go with, so we can just look at his page on BB-ref, but for players with longer careers it doesn't really work that way and you have to do the calculation yourself.

So, putting all that together, I project Amezaga to have a 45 OPS+ in 2005, which is of course awful beyond belief. You'll note that this is lower than his career 55 OPS+; this is because he had some hits in 2002 and had a silly OPS+ of 229. If he gets any sort of playing time at all, that will of course not happen in 2005.

This is the first time in my life I've done this. I really have no idea if it's gonna work or not, but I figured I'd give it a try, because the worst that will happen is I'll look like an idiot, which has already happened enough times that I don't care anymore. There are mitigating factors, such as age and ballpark and injuries, that I am not really considering.

Anyway, next up is Garret Anderson, so this is bound to get more interesting.

Comments:
A dying man needs to die, as a sleepy man needs to sleep, and there comes a time when it is wrong, as well as useless, to resist.
Stewart Alsop- Posters.
 
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