Thursday, October 18, 2007

Torii Hunter Wants to Come to Washington

As reported on the Nationals Website, the man from Minnesota wants to join his friend Dmitri Young here in Washington. The 32-year-old Hunter would be a great fit for this team and our management has to aggressively pursue this free-agent. This team has struggled to find an adequate centerfielder since it was born and Hunter is a major improvement both defensively and offensively. He's such a stud, a veteran presence in the clubhouse, a winner and he would bring a marquee name and face to the team. Hunter has also said he wants to reach out to the community, be a leader in the area, which is the most important reason to bring him to the Nats. Finding and bringing a ballplayer to the team is one thing, but getting a charismatic individual who can reach out to those around him and make a difference in people's lives is what builds a franchise. GET TORII HUNTER!!!

- The Hokie


Yard Yoder said...

While Tori Hunters glove and charesmatic nature would without a doubt be a whole lot of fun to watch. Is signing a 33 year old veteren centerfielder, who isn't quite the player he used to be really a great idea for a team thats not going to compete any time in the immediate future?
Not only will Hunters price be inflated because of his star status, but he also doenst fit into Manny Acta's playing style. He doesnt do a great job getting on base,(A .330 OBP for a veteren is not very good), and until this year has not consistantly hit over .280.
I say the nationals should go after the significantly cheaper, younger Aaron Rowand. An equally respected defensive outfielder, Rowand batted over .300 the entire season last year. While Rowand certainly isnt a franchise cornerstone, he is a good start to putting together a winning franchise and will be a solid starter for 5-7 years.

DMG said...

Neither of those guys ever wore a Reds uniforms so I doubt Jim Bowden even knows who they are.

DMG said...

Stat Standout
Torii Hunter:
6 consecutive Gold Gloves
.287 batting average in 2007
28 homeruns in 2007
107 RBIs in 2007
18 SBs in 2007
600 At Bats in 2007

Gold Gloves are almost meaningless - remember when Palmeiro won one a year he played 28 games in the field? Hunter is a great fielder, no doubt but still

Batting average is a statistically insignificant stat - it doesn't really correlated with run-scoring success. What does is on-base percentage, where Hunter is mediocre.

RBIs are also a meaningless statistic, at least on a individual basis.

Hunter stole 18 bases but was only successful 66.7% of the time, meaning he actually hurt his teams run scoring.

All that said Hunter did create 2 more runs per 27 outs than Nook Logan last year.

Oh yeah, and I like how the fantasy football sit 'em/start 'em reflects your team Hokie. In need of a little advice?

The Friendship said...

Haha, well the fantasy one was just an example to spur debate. I already know I'm going to start Jon Kitna.

With that said, Torii Hunter is 32 which no, he's not a young up and comer, but don't go to sleep on guys in their early 30s still being able to produce. His OBP is solid and he's obviously not the best in the league, but we aren't going to get a top tier guy any time soon from our system or from free agency, so he looks like the best bet.

You do bring up an interesting point about Rowand, who would probably be the more cost effective batter because they do have very similar statistics, but his consistency is still suspect. He really hasn't had that many solid seasons and while last year was a nice step in the right direction, I also guarantee he was helped by the Philadelphia ballpark and the Philadelphia lineup

Torii Hunter is not an efficient player by any means, but he'll bring a winning attitude and probably still has 3 above average years left in him. It boils down to the fact that I wouldn't be opposed if we overpaid a little bit to get him in order to solidify that part of our lineup and position in the field. He's gonna hit more bombs than Rowand and be a much better leader for all these young guys.

I just hope we don't have a repeat of last offseason and think that Nook Logan is going to get it down at the major league level.

DMG said...

Hunter's OBP from last year puts him 62 out of 82 qualifiers in the A.L.; 8 or 13 among center fielders, so really his OBP is mediocre at best.

He was, however, 6 or 13 in RC/27 outs among CFs and 40 of 82 overall. All told, Hunter is pretty much an average offense player and a good defensive player who isn't getting any younger. You could certainly do worse but you could do better too (Rowand for example)...

The rumors of Adam Dunn coming to D.C. are interesting and he is a beast (7.49 RC/27 outs last year; 166 home runs over the last 4 years), but I don't know where they'd put him. Kearns is a big part of the reason he'd want to be in D.C., Pena seems to have too much potential to sit and none of those guys can play center.

The Friendship said...

Let throw out some other names that would be considered in the Free Agent class of 2008. Now I'm not sure which of these guys have already been signed, but at least they are scheduled for some negotiation.

Torii Hunter, Aaron Rowand, Adam Dunn, Andrew Jones, Eric Byrnes, Corey Patterson, Milton Bradley and Bobby Abreu.

If we rule out Abreu because he currently makes $15 million a year, and if we rule out Bradley because he's crazy, and we rule out Patterson because he brings nothing but speed to the table, and we rule out Byrnes because he looks like he's having a blast in Arizona, we are left with the three previously mentioned and Andrew Jones.

All four of these guys have holes, Dunn for all his upside: age, power, ability to draw walks, and ability to stay healthy, unfortunately strikes out an awful lot and, like you said, doesn't have a place on defense.

And please don't say that Pena has a long term spot on this team. He's got a lot of holes in his game and has never shown that he can be an everyday starter on a real team. His best year, 2004, he had an .843 OPS in 110 games, however he only accumulated 22 BB compared to 108 Ks. And the next year his OPS dropped to .796.
If his homerun totals go cold at any point during the course of the season it drastically lowers his impact in the lineup and makes him worthless.

In addition, that outfield lineup was already attempted by the Reds. It didn't gel and to repeat it would be inbred and stale. At some point, we have to get away from the same style of player that is constantly recycled through our lineup.

That and paying some money for pitching, which is way more important. Damn that centerfielder would be nice though...

DMG said...

Dunn is okay as a left fielder and the fact that he strikes out doesn't really matter - he is a very productive player by any metric.

And I wouldn't count Pena out. I don't think the fact that he's "never shown he can be a starter" doesn't say much given that he's only 25. He best year was in 2004, where he hit 26 home runs in 336 at bats - as a 22 year old. Last year for the Nationals he hit 8 homes runs in 37 games, a rate that projects to 35 over 162; his 6.7 RC/game while on the Nats is higher than either Rowand or Hunter's was last year. He's still young and has been so highly regarded that it's worth the Nationals time to at least give him and shot and see what he can do if he plays every day.

The Friendship said...

No, I'm sorry but strikeouts matter. I don't care if he has a good OBP regardless of his K numbers, but strikeouts are an indicative stat of bigger problems at the plate. It either means your knowledge of the strike zone is piss poor, you decision making capabilities are inferior, you can't hit breaking pitches, you have no patience at the plate, you don't understand what your roll as a hitter in different situations, or all of the above. Hitters like that will never be reliable.
And you are sleeping on batting average. Yes OBP a more telling stat. But the difference between a .250 hitter and a above .300 hitter is drastic. While OBP is good for comparable statistics across the large sample size of a season. When it comes down to game time clutch situations, you are going to want the guy that gets hits.
Even your beloved sabermetrics gurus don't go after guys that have over 100 Ks and shitty batting averages. Except now with Nick Swisher... but I think missing the playoffs kind of backs up my justifications.

DMG said...

Strikeouts aren't a good thing, but they're not that bad most of the time and in Dunn's case they're a weak spot but he is such a productive hitter he makes up for it. In his case a lot of the strikeouts come because (1) he takes a lot of pitches and (2) he swings really hard; these two things help contribute to him being as productive as he is. No hitter is perfect (except maybe Pujols) and the high strikeout numbers are the sacrifices a hitter like Dunn makes to excel in other areas.

And I'm not sleeping on batting average - show me one credible statistical study that indicates that batting average is correlated with offensive success. The only two relatively basic statistics correlated with run production are on base percentage and slugging percentage.

DMG said...

I regressed Runs on Batting Average, On base percentage, slugging percentage, number of stolen bases, stolen base percentage and strikeouts from the 2005 season (only season I have data for, form an econometrics) and the only two which were statistically significantly correlated with runs were OBP and Slug; both had less than a 1% chance of incorrectly being identified as insignificant.

I got the same thing when when I regressed ln(runs) on Batting Average, On base percentage, slugging percentage, number of stolen bases, stolen base percentage and ln(strikeouts). In this situation a 1% increase in the number of strikeouts decreases run scoring by .112%; so a 10% increase in strikeouts would decrease run scoring output by 1.12%.

The mean for strikeouts was 1021; for runs 744. So if the average team decrease their strikeout numbers by 100 or so (about 10%), their run scoring would go up by about 8 runs.

Yeah it's only one season, and of course these are raw statistics and they can vary depending on specific situations, and I guess I could do more eventually when I have time but in 2005 at least strikeouts were not a significant part of a team's offensive success.

DMG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DMG said...

Oh yeah, for those models the R-Squared was a little over/under 0.83, which means 83% of the variation in runs scored can be attributed to these stats. Just for the hell of it I regressed Runs on OBP and Slug and these two stats, in the year 2005 at least, explained 80% of the variation amongst number of runs for the teams.

But back to the original point: Tori Hunter. He isn't great but he is solid and I think that the Nats could use a veteran or two, especially one with the kind of work ethic Hunter is supposed to have and who has been on winning team for so many years. The Nats only decent CF prospect to my knowledge is Justin Maxwell, who spent the year in A-ball in 2007, so it's not like Hunter would be blocking anyone. Yeah he'll cost a pretty penny but the Nats are supposed to have new revenue streams with the opening of their new park and their payroll is still low. Plus I would bet more people will come out to see/buy Hunter mech than they would for Rowand so while signing Hunter over Rowand may cost more it should bring in more revenue as well.

So yeah, I'm for picking up Hunter.

Yard Yoder said...;_ylt=AsLd2ZxDIzRCZ.n2W.zr8k4RvLYF?urn=mlb,52938