Sunday, February 14, 2010

Is there a reason why Felipe Lopez hasn't signed?

Well, Felipe Lopez did his part towards making baseball a better game by firing his sleaze ball agent Scott Boras. The man who has more than done his part to exacerbate salaries in the game fired for his failure to do so. At first blush this seems like something as second basemen such as Orlando Hudson and Adam Kennedy have signed in recent weeks. Should Lopez have found a team before these two players, lets take a look.

How did he rank to other second basemen recently signed last year ?

2009 Numbers:

Lopez: .310/.383/.427 111 OPS+
Kennedy: .289/.348/.410 101 OPS+
Hudson: .283/.357/.417 109 OPS+

On raw offensive numbers, Kennedy is at the back of the pack (seems natural the cellar-dwelling Nationals signed him) while the offensive contributions of Lopez and Hudson are fairly similar. Lopez hit for better average while Hudson got on base more often. This similarity in performance is not exclusive to '09 as Hudson is 3rd on the list of hitters most similar to Lopez and Lopez ranks first on hitters similar to Hudson. It could be argued that Hudson is historically more of a sure bet as his OPS+ has slowly improved (from 102 to 109 in the last four years). Lopez, on the other hand has gone up and down. On the other hand, Lopez's has jumped from (118, 91, 75, 93, 111) in the last five years and he seems to be a player who does better towards the end of the season as his OPS+ has improved after he got traded the last couple years (In 2008 he had a 64 OPS+ for Washington and a 153+ after getting traded to St. Louis and in 2009, had a 98 OPS+ for Arizona and a 129+ after getting traded to Milwaukee)

What role (if any) did luck have in inflated or deflating player performance ?

For moments such as finding an answer to this question, I am glad that this year's edition of Baseball Forecaster is within arm's reach of my laptop.

Lopez: He did get a bit lucky last year. His BABIP was an unusually high .360 suggesting that his batting average will regress to about .280-ish. He did get a little lucky power wise with 7% of flyballs going for home home runs so this total should stay in the 7-9 range.

Hudson: A couple areas of concern for Hudson was a slight drop in contact% to 82 (his lowest in the last five years) and he also hit a higher percentage of ground balls in comparison to the last five years). Everything else looks stable, he didn't seem to be terribly lucky or unlucky last year.

Kennedy: Kennedy should hit around .280 again this year but a repeat of his 11-home run "outburst", I think not. He went from a proven record of 2-3% hr/fb rate to 7% at his age 33-year. Then again, the Nationals were the team to fall for this. Pretty high likely for him to be a bust both IRL and Fantasy.


While Lopez does have some areas of concern (inconsistent performance and a slightly fluky 2009) he definitely should have signed by now if he wanted to and gave us some faith that there is good in baseball by taking Scott Boras out of the process. While Orlando Hudson signing before Lopez has a legitimate argument, the fact that Adam Kennedy found work before Lopez has to do more with a franchise "wondering" why they've lost 100+ games the last two years than Kennedy actually being a better player than Lopez. The worst part that faith in baseball being a better game was negated when Angels slugger Kendry Morales hired Boras.

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