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View Full Version : See what Baseballanalysts has to say about Edwin Encarnacion



dougdirt
02-28-2006, 03:45 PM
Today they had a list of their top 20 Sophomores for 2006. Edwin made it in at #7. Here is what they said:


7. Edwin Encarnacion - 3B - Cincinnati Reds

After using just two third baseman from 1996-2003 (Willie Greene, Aaron Boone), the Reds hoped Brandon Larson might take the job in 2004. When it became apparent that Larson was a bust, Edwin Encarnacion started to be hyped. For years, I thought he was undeserving of so much praise, a future solid player with limited upside. However, in each year, Encarnacion has improved, and he played very well in a Major League stint last season. While Andy Marte still is perceived to have more upside than Edwin, the gap has closed, and Encarnacion is on the cusp of providing the Reds with another long-term solution (and the best one of the group) at the hot corner.

www.baseballanalysts.com for the entire list.

paulrichjr
02-28-2006, 05:05 PM
Today they had a list of their top 20 Sophomores for 2006. Edwin made it in at #7. Here is what they said:


www.baseballanalysts.com for the entire list.


That is very interesting to me because as I have posted on here before I once spoke to a Brewers scout at a Lookouts game and asked him about EdE and his potential. He stated to me that he was one of his favorites and might be second in the league (of all players) behind only Marte. He stated that he wasn't that far behind him in his mind.

Red Heeler
02-28-2006, 05:22 PM
Aaron Boone is a good measuring stick for EdE. Both are more athletic than the average 3B. Both are free swingers with gap power. Both are rangey, but erratic fielders.

Edwin's ceiling is much higher than Aaron Boone, due to the fact that he is naturally more athletic than Boone. However, the Reds would do well if Encarnacion settles into Aaron Boone territory. The key, however, is to trade him when you can get maximum value rather than at a deep discount in a clearance sale.

dougdirt
02-28-2006, 05:51 PM
Thats all if you choose to trade him Red Heeler, you have to figure the Reds can control him for 5 or so more years. Hopefully by then we can be contending for something, and maybe we wont be in the position to trade him at that point in time becuase we will be contending for a playoff spot.

Red Heeler
02-28-2006, 06:01 PM
Thats all if you choose to trade him Red Heeler, you have to figure the Reds can control him for 5 or so more years. Hopefully by then we can be contending for something, and maybe we wont be in the position to trade him at that point in time becuase we will be contending for a playoff spot.

Oh, I certainly don't mean that they should trade him now unless bowled over. I was referring to Boone, who provided excellent value for the Reds so long as he was cheap. Once he got going on the arbitration train, he no longer had as much value on the field for the Reds as he did in trade. They did not recognize that until it was time to hold a liquidation sale.

Whether or not Brandon Claussen goes all Harang on the league this year, Boone should have fetched a better return if the Reds had dealt on their terms instead of someone elses.

dougdirt
02-28-2006, 06:08 PM
OK, I gotcha.

RedsManRick
02-28-2006, 06:10 PM
There was an interesting comment I read earlier, not sure where, about how awesome Ryan Howard was going to be. Interestingly, after raving about him, it said there's no way the Phillies should sign him long term after his arb period, for a number of reasons it went in to not the least of which is his likelihood to break down physically after ago 30 or so.

This is such an interesting point that is often over looked. Too many teams get tied in to guys like Aaron Boone after they've hit peak value, build around them, and completely miss the window to improve the overall value of the organization. Albert Pujols is worth 15 Million and unless you pay the man, he's gonna get it somewhere else. However, a team on a 60 million dollar budget can not field a roster full of players earning market value dollars. You don't want to pay market value to guys unless they are truly irreplacable in terms of talent. You can't just bring another Adam Dunn or get his production from a different position. Of course, maybe you do have that great player in the pipeline, in whch case you CAN trade Adam Dunn and reap the rewards (see Mulder, Mark).

Keep good, but not great talent on your roster so long as it's cheap, or at least sub market price. However, once the player becomes market level, you should trade him to somebody who is willing to pay market price for good talent. This is the mistake the Reds made with both Graves and Casey. Graves, in his decent form, was worth 6MM a year to the Mets or Yankees. But as the Reds closer, there's no way. You could pay a David Weathers 2MM in free agency for almost identical performance, even if he doesn't have that sliver of breakout potential you think Graves might have. You give Adam Dunn 13MM because you can't make up for his talent. But if you trade an Aaron Boone to a team that could use them upgrade, you can improve your system without significant performance dropoffs.

dougdirt
02-28-2006, 06:14 PM
But if you trade an Aaron Boone to a team that could use them upgrade, you can improve your system without significant performance dropoffs.

Sadly though with that, is that the Reds thought there would be no dropoff with Brandon Larson at third.... The organization needs a lot more infield depth, and really has for a while.

RedsManRick
02-28-2006, 06:35 PM
Sadly though with that, is that the Reds thought there would be no dropoff with Brandon Larson at third.... The organization needs a lot more infield depth, and really has for a while.

One of the ways you get that depth is by trading your Aaron Boone's. Not trading those types of players when they have trade value is part of the cycle of a poor minor league system. It's hard to explain to a mediocre at best team that the best way to get better is by trading their mediocre players.

In the short term you might be worse, but if you do it well, you suddenly find yourself in the spot that the Twins and Indians are in where they have enough high quality talent in the minors to actually supplant the mediocre guys as well as produce some guys worth keeping long term. You trade your AJ Pierzynski and go with Henry Blanco & Matt Lecroy for a year.

The real point though is that there's no reason to give Sean Casey 8MM per when you can get Kevin Millar for half that. Instead you trade Casey when he only costs 4 or 5MM to a team who thinks Casey would get 7-8MM on the open market, but who wants to have him for sure right now or is in desperate need of a 1B for the stretch run. Granted, if Casey performed at 1999/2004 levels, he'd be worth it 8MM, but he simply hadn't shown the consistency to merit one of those precious few "franchise player" contracts. But the point remains, average talent at fair market value is the worst spent money in baseball.

dougdirt
02-28-2006, 06:40 PM
Rick, in no way do I disagree with you. I think everything you said was spot on target. I just hate Brandon Larson with a passion....and anytime I can talk bad about him, i seem to even though I probably shouldnt.

RedsManRick
02-28-2006, 06:41 PM
Rick, in no way do I disagree with you. I think everything you said was spot on target. I just hate Brandon Larson with a passion....and anytime I can talk bad about him, i seem to even though I probably shouldnt.

Larson is proof positive that steroids don't help you hit a curveball.

dougdirt
03-01-2006, 03:23 AM
Or any other pitch for that matter.....or help you feild the ball, or throw it....

M2
03-01-2006, 10:15 AM
But the point remains, average talent at fair market value is the worst spent money in baseball.

Actually I don't have a problem with that. It's always been my view that you pay for what you need inside of what you can afford.

For instance, people have made that argument with Jason LaRue. Why pay $3.9M for him when you could save a bunch of money at that position by switching to a Geico catcher?

The answer is because a consistently average or better catcher in MLB is hard to find and worth a little money (or some good prospects in trade). Saving money isn't the point. If you're building a team right you'll always have some cheap production to go along with the production you pay for.

Plus, average players can help you win a championship. The White Sox are almost wholly comprised of average players. It's important to remember that statistically average players are actually in the top 25-30% at their position.

The worst spent money in baseball is on guys who are below average. Take a look at Jack Wilson's latest contract. Or, as mentioned by others in this thread, the Eric Milton deal. I'll add in Paul Wilson and Ramon Ortiz. That was a threesome that had no realistic shot of improving to average and the Reds will have paid close to $40M for them when all is said and done.

lollipopcurve
03-01-2006, 10:27 AM
It's important to remember that statistically average players are actually in the top 25-30% at their position.

This is an incredibly important point, I think, and sheds light on how insane it is to think you have to have good -- or even average-- offensive players at every position, especially when some of these players could be replaced by far better defenders. (In my view, Krivsky may have a harder time revamping the Reds defense than bringing the pitching up to league average.)

RedsManRick
03-01-2006, 10:43 AM
Actually I don't have a problem with that. It's always been my view that you pay for what you need inside of what you can afford.

For instance, people have made that argument with Jason LaRue. Why pay $3.9M for him when you could save a bunch of money at that position by switching to a Geico catcher?

The answer is because a consistently average or better catcher in MLB is hard to find and worth a little money (or some good prospects in trade). Saving money isn't the point. If you're building a team right you'll always have some cheap production to go along with the production you pay for.

Plus, average players can help you win a championship. The White Sox are almost wholly comprised of average players. It's important to remember that statistically average players are actually in the top 25-30% at their position.

The worst spent money in baseball is on guys who are below average. Take a look at Jack Wilson's latest contract. Or, as mentioned by others in this thread, the Eric Milton deal. I'll add in Paul Wilson and Ramon Ortiz. That was a threesome that had no realistic shot of improving to average and the Reds will have paid close to $40M for them when all is said and done.

If Jason LaRue was a free agent, he'd be making 6-7MM a year. We have him at below market price.

The Sox also had a payroll in the 80's, not the 60's.

Could you clarify the "statistically average players are actually in the top 25-30% at their position." There seems to be an obvious failure of logic there, but I'm sure there's a reasonable point behind it.

IslandRed
03-01-2006, 11:39 AM
Could you clarify the "statistically average players are actually in the top 25-30% at their position." There seems to be an obvious failure of logic there, but I'm sure there's a reasonable point behind it.

If a guy is "average" for a starter at his position, he's better than half the other starters (if you'll allow me the shortcut of equating average and median in this circumstance) and most if not all of the backups. So compared to the total pool of alternatives, he's actually better than just average.

It goes back to the concept of replacement level -- there's significant positive value to a team for a guy to be league average, because you can't just pick up a guy like that any time you want.

M2
03-01-2006, 11:56 AM
Could you clarify the "statistically average players are actually in the top 25-30% at their position." There seems to be an obvious failure of logic there, but I'm sure there's a reasonable point behind it.

The statistical average is brought up by the best players because they play the most. For instance, Alex Rodriguez gets 700+ plate appearances as a 3B in a given season while a guy who struggles at the plate finds himself on the bench sooner rather than later. So a 15th or 16th best 3B (going by VORP that would a guy like Freddy Sanchez) actually grades out below the positional averages. So do guys who ranked just ahead of him like Hank Blalock and Brandon Inge. If you're looking for the average 3B in 2005, it was a guy like Eric Chavez or Bill Mueller, both of whom came out just a tick ahead of average. Those two rank #9 and #10 for the season on most lists.

Someone who grades out as "average" at his position is likely top dozen or top 10 in all of MLB. Even a guy who's a little below his positional average can fit quite comfortably into the top 20. Bill James addressed this with Win Shares. It was his main reason for creating that model, because linear weights often tell you that a player who has value is hurting you. In general, because of the top heavy nature of the calculations, the statistical average falls around the 70th percentile.

RedsManRick
03-01-2006, 12:18 PM
Fair enough IR, I understand that premise. However, that's completely missing the point. The basis for this observation is evident when you look at a stat like VORP. If you take 2 average players at market value, combined they give you the same salary and VORP as 1 superstar. However, when you have the superstar, you have that 2nd position to fill still. You could sign a veteran who is basically replacement level (0 VORP) for next to nothing and still come out even production wise with the 2 average players. However, it also gives you the opportunity to fill that spot with a young player who has not reached his market value cost, but who potentially provides above replacement level production.

A team full of average players having average seasons at average market value prices will, on average, win 81 games and cost you about 70MM. Now M2, I agree generally speaking with your assessment that the White Sox had a lot of average players. However, most of those average players had above average years, particularly pitchers. You can (shouldn't?) build an average team and pray for a perfect storm like the Sox had.

The reason average talent at average cost is the worst deal is because of the fact that 99% of the time your best case scenario is that everybody earns their average paycheck and you have an average year. There aren't too many guys who sign in FA or to fair market post arb deals (like Sean Casey or Paul Wilson) who go out and out-earn them. However, by focusing your payroll in a group of strongly above average players, you have more room for success.

A guy like Clemens or Manny Ramirez may cost you 15MM, but they are virtually guarenteed to give you that much in performance, and in some cases more. However, you also then have more room on the roster for those players who are sub-market cost but add run production. If you fill your 25 man with average, there's virtually no room for major success. Even the "average" White Sox only succeeded because they got above value performances from Mark Buehrle, Scott Podsednik, Aaron Rowand, Bobby Jenks, and Jon Garland while virtually every single one of their "average" guys like Freddy Garcia earned the money they were paid or better.

I guess the missing variable here is the roster spot variable. Money, talent, and finite roster spots all should be considered. However, the real cost of paying Sean Casey 8MM is not that he isn't worth it. It's that when you have a team comprised of average players, you are costing yourself the opportunity to get higher value through less proven, but high potential talent. because you need every one of those average guys producing at peak just to get your money's worth and have fewer opportunity for those sub-market value guys to add value. This has historically been Jim Bowden's problem. He builds teams around a whole bunch of average guys, which requires all of them to produce at above average levels to be successful (playoffs). He did not get enough value from his regulars to allow sufficient opportunity for value to be added by pre-arb or arb level talent (completely ignoring the fact that the organization stunk at actually producing said talent generally speaking).

However, if you build a team around 8 solidly above average to superstar level players (those in the top 8 or so positionally by VORP), you can equal the production of your all average team by filling the rest of those spots with replacement level talent but with much much greaters opportunity for value growth. That said, all of this is horribly mal-defended by evidence on my part. I'll try to dig up the article on Hardball Times which show the charts and numbers which suport the assertion.

I suppose I could summarize my point by comparing average players to small ball. If you play for 1 run, that's all you're likely to get. However, where in the game you have a finite number of outs, in roster construction you have a finite number of players.

M2
03-01-2006, 01:16 PM
RMR, I agree that you should pay for exceptional talent first, but I disagree with the notion of lumping average players in with replacement level players. At 1B the gap isn't as great (and that always was the best argument against signing Casey). Yet even there, a guy who can rank in the top 20 on VORP, RARP and WS year after year has a value well above the $1M mark.

You're right that the pitchers on the White Sox caught fire, but the hitters didn't. Aaron Rowand and Scott Podsednik came out below average at their positions. In fact Paul Konerko and Tadahito Iguchi were the only White Sox graded out as above average for both OB and SLG (and a park adjustment on Iguchi would probably lower him to dead average). Iguchi ranked 10th among all 2Bs in RARP last season. What's the 10th most productive 2B in baseball worth? The ChiSox only paid $2.3M for him, but if that club doesn't get the same pitching in 2006 can it afford to have any less? And if so, would a Taguchi be worth $6M-$7M or maybe even a little more to Chicago? I think the middle tier is where you're talking about specific value. You aren't going to go far with a team of highly paid stars and a cut rate support cast. You'll need something in the middle. How much you can pay for it and what you need vary from team to team. The problem the Reds have run into is the dearth of pitching makes all mid-tier offensive investments look foolish. They aren't and in a different context some of them would look quite sound.

Anyway, the point I'm driving at is that we (and by that I mean baseball fans in general) sometimes have a cock-eyed view of average, how easy it is to attain and what its actual worth is. It's generally better than it gets credit for, it's not all that easy to attain and its value varies (in fact sometimes it might even be worth overpaying for some average).

IslandRed
03-01-2006, 01:20 PM
Fair enough IR, I understand that premise. However, that's completely missing the point.

I was just attempting to answer the specific question you asked, not the entire scope of the discussion. Sorry.

RedsManRick
03-01-2006, 01:40 PM
That's a very fair point M2. Too often guys who are really in the bottom tier of starters are talked about as if they were average. If we have 30 starters and 30 backups, true average is that replacement level guy. However, what we mean by average is that #15 guy -- or higher as you point out due to the fact that the bottom tier of starters is really no better than many reserves.

My point really wasn't that you should build a team of 8 stars and 17 replacement level guys. Rather that a team on a fixed salary such as the Reds cannot afford to succeed by paying average level talent what they make in the free market, it simply adds up too quickly. That isn't to say those players aren't worth their 5-6MM on the White Sox or Mets, but when the Reds have only about 60 MM to play with, you're better off giving 12-14MM to a few guys who are worth 12-14MM than spending 6-7MM on twice as many guys worth 6-7MM.

In some circumstances, overpaying for average makes sense. Average is certainly better than replacement level and there is definitely a finite amount of talent to be had. The Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, etc. have the resources to fill a roster with average talent. But the Reds don't, and that's really my point.

Regarding the White Sox. Podsednik was only 700K last year, Rowand 2MM. They may have been below average, but they were paid accordingly.

As far as the Reds are concerned, only Casey was a bad offensive investment. As you point out, and this was the exact same arguement with Graves, the marginal performance difference at 1B and closer is not worth the cost difference to a mid-small market team. A Tad Iguchi at 3MM is great, but at 7MM, which might be fair market value, he simply wouldn't be worth it to a team with a 60MM payroll when you could have Todd Walker for 2.5MM. Why are you paying 8MM for Eric Milton and 5MM for Paul Wilson when 13MM could get you AJ Burnett and Matt Belisle. That's my real point.

RedsManRick
03-01-2006, 01:41 PM
I was just attempting to answer the specific question you asked, not the entire scope of the discussion. Sorry.

I got that. Sorry if I came across as harsh. My bad.

IslandRed
03-01-2006, 04:03 PM
I got that. Sorry if I came across as harsh. My bad.

No apology necessary, your post wasn't out of line. I wasn't having a great morning and I found a needle to poke myself with, I guess.