Raul Ibanez' Age-42 Contract

If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman

.

I took a walk around the world
To ease my troubled mind
I left my body lying somewhere
In the sands of time
But I watched the world float
To the dark side of the moon

I feel there is nothing I can do, yeah

I watched the world float
To the dark side of the moon
After all I knew it had to be
Something to do with you
I really don’t mind what happens now and then
As long as you’ll be my friend at the end

............

This one is in the free area at Bill James Online, the last 30 days' worth of Hey Bills:

...........

Supposing Raul Ibanez finished the season, hitting about the way he is now -- .250/.300/.550, or even anywhere in that vicinity. The Red Sox needed an outfielder and asked you for a projection for Raul for 2014. How would you approach such a problem, since there is so little precedent? How do you organize your thinking?
Asked by: jemanji
Answered: 7/13/2013
Aging accelerates as players age, but one assumes the same principles apply.    There is a normal relationship between what a player does ages 33-35 and what he will do at 36.   There is a normal relationship between what a player does at 34-36 and what he does at 37.   Being a year or two older than normal doesn't destroy the normal relationships.  
...........

That input comes as a pleasant surprise.  There are two basic paradigms here, each one of which has several variations:

  1. At age 40+ you can't hit, and if somebody does, you treat it as a fluke.
  2. You plot the age-arc curve normally, more or less, no matter what age a player is.

The thing that makes you lean towards (1) above is that --- > Rauullll physically looks 100.00% as quick as he did at age 41. ... some sabermetricians will not care about that, but do you think the Seattle Mariners' decision-making process includes their scouts' assessments of batspeed?

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So When Do We Start the Schuss

After age 36, 37, you plot the age-arc decline down fairly steeply.  But Raul's age-arc plot hasn't even started down!  His OPS+ right now is 147; his previous high was 132, the World Series year with Philadelphia.

We remember having this conversation with James, back when Nolan Ryan was 40, 41, 42.  James would point out exactly that:  "Everybody is skiing down a slope.  Ryan has not started down yet."  Of course, Ryan was still a great pitcher at 42-44, still a star at 45.

.

If That's Selling Out, Gimme a Pen

Raul has reinvented himself at age 41; his EYE ratio used to be 0.50 and now it's 0.30.  His ISO used to be 170-200; now it's 300.  As Gordon noticed several weeks ago, Ibanez has a strong understanding of what he can do and what he can't.  He has evidently decided that what he can do, is stalk his pitch and do damage to it.  He has apparently chosen to move into a Gorman Thomas mode -- guess curve, get curve, and then when you get it, put an extra biscuit into the swing.  

Chad Young, who followed on Gordon's insight, called this "selling out for power."  For SURE a hitter can choose to dial up the PWR tool at the expense of the HIT tool, and vice versa.

But the 0.30 EYE does not imply, in his case, that his batspeed is down.  His EYE was 0.31 two years ago, with the Phillies, and you would have thought that was it.  But last year, his EYE bounced back up to 0.52 with the Yankees.

More compelling than the up-and-down EYE lately, is Rauuulll's splits this year vs left hand pitchers.  Do you have any idea what Rauuull's SLG is against lefties?  It's .603.  It is precisely in the LH-vs-LH (not RH-vs RH as much) that you see batspeed the most ... 

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Dr's Prognosis

Raul is year to year, obviously.  But if he has a strong second half, then in 2014 he is worth more than the $2.75M he made this year.

Assuming that he doesn't hit the end of the line here in 2H 2013, then --- > in my book he's an ideal #25 roster player for 2014.  After which point he'd probably wind up batting fourth again...

Cheers,

Dr D

Blog: 

Comments

Wound up looking at it, after this was up :- ) ... nice to see we're all on the same sheet of music as usual ...

Have all y'all been liking Grant's Shout Box digest?

1

Thanks for calling attention to the reality that there was a shout box digest, Doc. I didn't see it on the page until you made me look around intently for it. Those tabs at the top are the smallest visual features on the page so I rarely notice they're there.

Now that I know this is available, though, I'll make use of it when I want to go back and view a conversation or refer to an older conversation. Thanks for the klat team's efforts!

As for Rauuuuuuuul, statistically speaking, there are really only two things that have changed about Ibanez' game. His K rate is up a bit (and his BB rate is down a bit)...and that is partially because they're pitching around him more and, given the make-up of the team, he has been unwilling to let them get away with that (we wants to do damage because someone in the line-up has to do it and only he, Seager and Morales have proven they can consistently). The pitch-around trend has halted since he moved to the three-hole, however, and as a result, his batting average is now climbing (because he's getting more to hit).

And the second thing that's changed...his flyball rate. He used to be more of a topspin hitter...lots of grounders and line drives. Now you can tell he's trying to hit everything in the air. Note:

Career GB/FB: 1.12

Last three seasons: 1.32, 1.06, 0.82

Career HR/FB, 13.6% (the normal rate for a topspin hitter), this season: 27.6% (probably unsustainably high, but it is normal to expect an increase when you're hitting more flyballs by choice)

His ISO probably won't be .300 when the dust settles...and the choice to be a cripple hitter means his BA probably won't stay >.250 (more Ks and less speed and more flyballs in play...all of which lower BA or BABIP, one or the other)...but you could still be looking at a 42 year old who hits .230/.290/.450, which would have its uses.

2

I hadn't noticed it either, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Shout Box Digest. What an amazingly quick response to the suggestion! Thanks are due to you AND Grant!

3

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SpectatorReports are that Cole Gillespie will be the guy to come up, so I've bumped by February post on him back up to the front: http://marinerbrainstorm.com/2014/04/24/q-is-cole-gillespie-worth-paying-attention-to/2 hours 54 min ago
moethedogGuys, unless we give Franklin the 3B or SS job there is no real IF role for him. Unless we demote Almonte (which I'm all over) and put Saunders in CF he gives us nothing more than we have in RF (and probably less). He isn't playing 1B and he isn't going to DH over Hart. Where do you want him to play? Barring injury, Cano likely ended the Franklin era in Seattle (If 1/2 a season is an "era?"). I'm a fan, really......but his greatest value to us is in what he brings in return. We've got SS's up the wazzu and DJ about to arrive, remember. I think bringing him in this week was a bad move, because if he struggled (as he did) it may have dinged up his trade value. Send him to Tacoma and bring him back if we get an IF injury or Miller stays lost. And try to trade him for something nice in the meantime.6 hours 14 min ago
MtGrizzlyPineda kicked out a game for having pine tar on his neck.6 hours 37 min ago
JDDubWonder if they'll have Franklin down there playing OF from now on? Hey, maybe he could make it work in CF!7 hours 9 min ago
IcebreakerXLooks like Franklin just got demoted again.7 hours 12 min ago
Gordon GrossNot just a win, but a climbing-out-of-the-grave, walk-off win, AND a day off to process and BREATHE. If the hitters can come back afterward and hit, maybe we've got something. If we'd lost a sweep to the 'Stros after being swept by the Marlins and losing the last three to Texas, I would have started shoveling dirt. Maybe after the weekend we'll get out the shovels again, but right now it sure feels like life in the season. C'mon boys, win another on Friday.8 hours 46 sec ago
DaddyOWhat the M's do in the aftermath of this big win may determine the course of this season. Admittedly the win was only against the Astros, sometimes all it takes is a spark to fire up a struggling team. I wouldn't go so far as to predict it, but I can hope.8 hours 34 min ago
moethedogAlmonte report (because I can't resist): Last 13 games: 11-56 w/ 21 K's and 0 BB's. Oh, Blash with a single and two more BB's today. Got to give Young props for gutting it up today, too.8 hours 36 min ago
JDDubInteresting rick! Seager is one of our purest hitters and it was only a matter of time before he busted out. Hit another just foul the other day. Coming into the game 10BB was good, 17K a bit high. He's still not into his prime and maybe some day soon he'll replicate some of his minor league numbers like 300/400/500.8 hours 40 min ago
SpectatorI was thinking during the 11-pitch AB that maybe it could be the turning point of the whole season. Let's hope.8 hours 50 min ago
rick82But I absolutely loved the Seager at bat on the first homer. What a manly at bat that was: fouling off pitch after pitch until he got one to drive.9 hours 3 min ago
rick82Divish was on the radio today or yesterday saying that Seager's swing looked a little too long and complicated lately, and suggested it could be because he was overused last season, not getting rest, and started compensating for his dwindling power. He did some lower trunk strengthening work in the offseason to help with this season, but that when players get tired (or injured) and overcompensate, they fall into bad habits (could this be Miggy's problem as well). It would be interesting to have a breakdown of Seager's swing, from, say last week, and today.9 hours 5 min ago
JDDubI'd wait on that G! Our starting pitching is scary deep. Maurer looked so promising the other day. ERam, Young and Elias can do enough to give us a chance most nights. We HAVE to keep juggling these hitters around until something clicks.9 hours 26 min ago
Gordon GrossI look forward to writing that one, JD. Let's absolutely see if I can bore some people to tears writing about exciting baseball for once. If we'd lost this game I was gonna post a big Draft piece just to stick a fork in this year, but now I think I'll wait a bit longer. Hopefully after our upcoming 9 game winning streak the draft piece will be anticipatory instead of dirge-y.9 hours 30 min ago
rick82Good to see Cano, Hart, and Seager put an end to this losing streak. They are our most accomplished hitters and needed to step up and make a statement.9 hours 35 min ago
JDDubI'm going to save my money for the sequel, the rise of Z and the turnaround after he was left for dead. It all started when he FINALLY admitted defeat and swapped Smoak out of the lineup. The emergence of Brandon Maurer and overdue tryout for JJ in CF got the wheels rolling smoothly again. As spring turned to summer Paxton, Walker, Peterson, Choi and Elias led a wild run rivaling the exhilarating summer of 95.9 hours 37 min ago
moethedogFly out, ground out, K, K! Almonte is broken. But atta boy Seags! Prove me wrong...I would have sat your rear today.9 hours 38 min ago
rick82Yes, JDDub, you'll find it in the footnote section of Gordon's exhaustive look at the fall of the Zduriencik Empire, a three volume set...but your's at the low low price of $9.95 per month. But wait, call today and he'll throw in an easy reading Children's version, with no scary pictures of Chone Figgins or Joe Saunders - just cuddly cute ducks enjoying a tax subsidized natural environment.9 hours 45 min ago
JDDubYes I remember the Fields situation well. Directed to Rick :)9 hours 47 min ago
Gordon GrossHey, my feed finally caught up to you guys. M'S WIN! My pink elephant jinx worked. FINALLY. Thank you Seager. So much. Might have changed the season there. Seager with a 5 RBI game and a walk-off to take the hephalump-sized monkey off the Ms back before the off day.9 hours 52 min ago