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Pie for Christmas?


Jdan14

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I understand the "adding talent any way you can" argument, but what is Pie's real upside? His career MiL line is only .299/.355/.470 for an .825 OPS. I'm no expert on projections but that has got to be his absolute best-case upside. And as a left fielder, that's not very valuable to me, even including defense. Luke Scott has spent about as long in the pros and has outhit Pie in hilarious ways. I would argue that Scott actually has more upside as a left fielder over the next five years than Pie does. And Scott is far more likely to achieve that upside.

My question is (to Sports Guy): supposing we get Pie, what do you consider a breakout 2009 season for him? And what kind of offensive production do you realistically foresee if he puts it all together?

Something along the lines of .280/.320/.450 would be a huge improvement for him. It's also pretty close to the best case scenario IMO. It's also not very good for a left fielder.

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I understand the "adding talent any way you can" argument, but what is Pie's real upside? His career MiL line is only .299/.355/.470 for an .825 OPS. I'm no expert on projections but that has got to be his absolute best-case upside. And as a left fielder, that's not very valuable to me, even including defense. Luke Scott has spent about as long in the pros and has outhit Pie in hilarious ways. I would argue that Scott actually has more upside as a left fielder over the next five years than Pie does. And Scott is far more likely to achieve that upside.

My question is (to Sports Guy): supposing we get Pie, what do you consider a breakout 2009 season for him? And what kind of offensive production do you realistically foresee if he puts it all together?

Something along the lines of .280/.320/.450 would be a huge improvement for him. It's also pretty close to the best case scenario IMO. It's also not very good for a left fielder.

Whatever you consider Adam Jones' best-case scenario, shave off a little SLG and you've got Pie's best-case scenario. Their skillsets are that similar.

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I understand the "adding talent any way you can" argument, but what is Pie's real upside? His career MiL line is only .299/.355/.470 for an .825 OPS. I'm no expert on projections but that has got to be his absolute best-case upside. And as a left fielder, that's not very valuable to me, even including defense. Luke Scott has spent about as long in the pros and has outhit Pie in hilarious ways. I would argue that Scott actually has more upside as a left fielder over the next five years than Pie does. And Scott is far more likely to achieve that upside.

My question is (to Sports Guy): supposing we get Pie, what do you consider a breakout 2009 season for him? And what kind of offensive production do you realistically foresee if he puts it all together?

Something along the lines of .280/.320/.450 would be a huge improvement for him. It's also pretty close to the best case scenario IMO. It's also not very good for a left fielder.

Bill james is projecting a 750ish OPS for him this year. If you couple that with his defense, my guess is you have, at the minimum, a league average LFer.

I think his upside if an 820ish OPS, GG OFer.

I think he is likely to be a 740-775 OPS OPS, GG guy.

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Whatever you consider Adam Jones' best-case scenario, shave off a little SLG and you've got Pie's best-case scenario. Their skillsets are that similar.
I agree here. They are very similar. Pie probably will strike out less, but with less power. Neither walks much, but since Jones will have more power, I expect him to walk a bit more than Pie will. I think Jones settles in very nicely as a Mike Cameron / Torii Hunter type (of course with less OBP than Cameron).

Jones I think will hit 20-25 HR a year, hit about .280, OBP around .340, SLG around .500. Pie I think can hit 10-15 HR, hit about .275, OBP around .330, SLG around .470. I also think Pie will steal more bases than Jones, but at what percentage he does that remains to be seen.

The big difference is we already have some pretty good evidence that Jones will be able to translate to the majors. He didn't have a great overall season last year, but he showed some flashes, and had some extended stretches of pretty good numbers. We haven't seen that from Pie yet, so he's gotta be considered less likely to get there, but he still hasn't gotten a shot like Jones had last year.

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Whatever you consider Adam Jones' best-case scenario, shave off a little SLG and you've got Pie's best-case scenario. Their skillsets are that similar.

That sounds fair. I don't think Luke Scott is worth a small chance of ending up with two Adam Joneses and a large chance of ending up with the Adam Jones we already have. I'm not saying that "I dont want Felix Pie," I'm saying that "Luke Scott has a certain trade value and I don't think it should be wasted on rolling the dice on a guy that won't be that valuable to us even if we get lucky."

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That sounds fair. I don't think Luke Scott is worth a small chance of ending up with two Adam Joneses and a large chance of ending up with the Adam Jones we already have. I'm not saying that "I dont want Felix Pie," I'm saying that "Luke Scott has a certain trade value and I don't think it should be wasted on rolling the dice on a guy that won't be that valuable to us even if we get lucky."

What exactly do you think you should be getting for Scott, if you do indeed trade him?

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That sounds fair. I don't think Luke Scott is worth a small chance of ending up with two Adam Joneses and a large chance of ending up with the Adam Jones we already have. I'm not saying that "I dont want Felix Pie," I'm saying that "Luke Scott has a certain trade value and I don't think it should be wasted on rolling the dice on a guy that won't be that valuable to us even if we get lucky."
I agree with you here. I'm very high on Pie, and certainly would have traded Olson for him, and I like Olson.

But I like Scott even more. I think he's a guy with great raw power who can destroy RHP and plays a pretty darn good defensive LF. For a team without a lot of power, I don't trade Scott for Pie. Scott may only be a platoon guy, but he should still get about 400 AB a year hitting against righties, should be able to hit about 20 HR in those at bats with an OPS in the 850-900 range against RHP.

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What exactly do you think you should be getting for Scott, if you do indeed trade him?

I'm not sure. I don't think it's wrong to be targeting specific positions, especially since we should be leaving left field for in-house guys-in-need-of-a-shot Montanez and Reimold anyway. Pitching and infielders seem like the things to target. I just don't see a reasonable scenario where either we have an open spot in CF for him in the next 5 years, or he hits his weight to be anything but average at a corner outfield position. Why waste Scott on that?

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I'm not sure. I don't think it's wrong to be targeting specific positions, especially since we should be leaving left field for in-house guys-in-need-of-a-shot Montanez and Reimold anyway. Pitching and infielders seem like the things to target. I just don't see a reasonable scenario where either we have an open spot in CF for him in the next 5 years, or he hits his weight to be anything but average at a corner outfield position. Why waste Scott on that?

First of all, you seem to be discounting his defense.

Secondly, every trade is a risk.

When trading Scott, you are trading a valuable player but he is still just a role player. We already have a guy in the minors who should be able to replace him if Pie doesn't work out and you are also getting 2 other pitchers, one of which looked like he was going to be a #2 starter as he entered the 2008 season.

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I understand the "adding talent any way you can" argument, but what is Pie's real upside? His career MiL line is only .299/.355/.470 for an .825 OPS. I'm no expert on projections but that has got to be his absolute best-case upside.

The career minor league line for Adam Jones is .291/.350/.476 for an .826 OPS. Each advanced through the minors at young ages; Pie is only six months older than Jones.

http://minors.baseball-reference.com/players.cgi?pid=7406

As others have noted, Felix Pie and Adam Jones have similar skills. We'll never know how Felix Pie would have performed if he had been handed a full-time gig in Baltimore in 2008. Likewise, we don't know what chance Adam Jones would have been given on the 2008 Chicago Cubs.

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First of all, you seem to be discounting his defense.

Secondly, every trade is a risk.

When trading Scott, you are trading a valuable player but he is still just a role player. We already have a guy in the minors who should be able to replace him if Pie doesn't work out and you are also getting 2 other pitchers, one of which looked like he was going to be a #2 starter as he entered the 2008 season.

Well, Rich Hill's value is low for a reason. The only time buying low actually accomplishes anything (or buying anything) is if you think another team values the player differently. If you look at Hill and think "all he needs is a change of scenery," or "Kranitz could fix those mechanics easily," or "those fools, he needs glasses because he's actually nearly blind from all those years in the Carolina Penal League," then you think you can turn that low value into something higher.

If you're looking at Hill and you see great stats prior to 2008, and lingering top prospect status, the Cubs know that too. That's the thing about trades that are designed to add talent. You have to know why you're winning it. Maybe you make a trade with a GM who's known to be a bad judge of trades. In that case, you have a good chance of getting away with something better than what you gave up. If you're dealing with a competent GM, and I'd argue most are, you have to focus on misperceptions to get a win in a trade. For Bedard, the Mariners thought that they were closer to contention than they were. They deluded themselves into thinking Bedard was better than he was, or less of a risk than he was, because they wanted to win and ignored evidence that he wasn't going to be enough.

Back to Hill, the Cubs know Rich Hill better than any team. They know his MiL stats and his peripherals and his mechanics and his potential. They also know his upside, and they've judged his chances of reaching it, and they've decided they're willing (in this scenario) to deal him as a spare part for Scott. For Hill to be a good pickup, you have to know something they don't, because most prospects with real #2 upside don't get scrapped like Hill has been. Daniel Cabrera flashed some #2 upside for the first half of 2008. His stuff, size and power was finally reflected in good numbers. But he was non-tendered. Rich Hill put up some #2 numbers in the NL in 2007 in 32 starts (not that much bigger a sample size than D-Cab's 2008 first half), with worrying peripherals including an unsustainably and unrealistically low BB/9. My point is: Rich Hill's value is low for a reason. The Cubs have decided that he's not worth much. If you think he's worth more than the Cubs do, he's a good pickup. But a reclamation project for its own sake is not a positive addition just because we have a few years to give some players some shots.

Would you do this trade for D-Cab instead of Hill?* A year younger, downward trending BB/9 (true story), terrible K rate in 2008 that is a prime contender for a rebound year, tantalizing stuff, power frame, proven durability? Not to mention his ML ERA is only .68 higher than Hill's, despite pitching in the AL, which is worth about a .41 jump in ERA (source). He's a reclamation project some team is about to get for just cash, and we're talking about a deal where Hill is the second piece, where the first piece is another reclamation project, and the third piece a salary dump.

*DISCLAIMER: I know Hill has a bunch of positives over D-Cab. I'm making a point that shouldn't be lost in trivialities.

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Well, Rich Hill's value is low for a reason. The only time buying low actually accomplishes anything (or buying anything) is if you think another team values the player differently. If you look at Hill and think "all he needs is a change of scenery," or "Kranitz could fix those mechanics easily," or "those fools, he needs glasses because he's actually nearly blind from all those years in the Carolina Penal League," then you think you can turn that low value into something higher.

If you're looking at Hill and you see great stats prior to 2008, and lingering top prospect status, the Cubs know that too. That's the thing about trades that are designed to add talent. You have to know why you're winning it. Maybe you make a trade with a GM who's known to be a bad judge of trades. In that case, you have a good chance of getting away with something better than what you gave up. If you're dealing with a competent GM, and I'd argue most are, you have to focus on misperceptions to get a win in a trade. For Bedard, the Mariners thought that they were closer to contention than they were. They deluded themselves into thinking Bedard was better than he was, or less of a risk than he was, because they wanted to win and ignored evidence that he wasn't going to be enough.

Back to Hill, the Cubs know Rich Hill better than any team. They know his MiL stats and his peripherals and his mechanics and his potential. They also know his upside, and they've judged his chances of reaching it, and they've decided they're willing (in this scenario) to deal him as a spare part for Scott. For Hill to be a good pickup, you have to know something they don't, because most prospects with real #2 upside don't get scrapped like Hill has been. Daniel Cabrera flashed some #2 upside for the first half of 2008. His stuff, size and power was finally reflected in good numbers. But he was non-tendered. Rich Hill put up some #2 numbers in the NL in 2007 in 32 starts (not that much bigger a sample size than D-Cab's 2008 first half), with worrying peripherals including an unsustainably and unrealistically low BB/9. My point is: Rich Hill's value is low for a reason. The Cubs have decided that he's not worth much. If you think he's worth more than the Cubs do, he's a good pickup. But a reclamation project for its own sake is not a positive addition just because we have a few years to give some players some shots.

Would you do this trade for D-Cab instead of Hill?* A year younger, downward trending BB/9 (true story), terrible K rate in 2008 that is a prime contender for a rebound year, tantalizing stuff, power frame, proven durability? Not to mention his ML ERA is only .68 higher than Hill's, despite pitching in the AL, which is worth about a .41 jump in ERA (source). He's a reclamation project some team is about to get for just cash, and we're talking about a deal where Hill is the second piece, where the first piece is another reclamation project, and the third piece a salary dump.

*DISCLAIMER: I know Hill has a bunch of positives over D-Cab. I'm making a point that shouldn't be lost in trivialities.

Of course Hill is a reclamation project....if he wasn;t, we would be laughed out to even consider Scott for Hill.

Personally, I would prefer Pie over Scott...I would prefer 1 year of Marquis over 2-3 of Looper and I would prefer to take a shot on a starter who was very good as of last year.

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Of course Hill is a reclamation project....if he wasn;t, we would be laughed out to even consider Scott for Hill.

Personally, I would prefer Pie over Scott...I would prefer 1 year of Marquis over 2-3 of Looper and I would prefer to take a shot on a starter who was very good as of last year.

Well, I'm not an expert on player evaluation. Just don't get blown away by the upside and lose sight of the actual probabilities, is all I'm saying. I personally think Scott outvalues that package for reasons I've laid out. I don't mind disagreeing though.

I remember a part of Moneyball about scouts getting caught up in projections and tools and body types and that's how Beane's statistical analyses would let him find gems in the rough. I think the big danger facing sabermetrics in the future is getting caught up in the same trap of dreaming on trends and potential upsides and getting suckered into overvaluing players again, except based on sexy statlines instead of wheels or a rifle arm or a 6'10" frame or whatever. I think it's entirely possible we'll see a revolution in the opposite direction, once sabermetrics becomes institutionalized, where teams that actually take the time to do detailed visual scouting will be the ones that can separate the true talent from the background noise of the stats. But that's neither here nor there.

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That entire post misses the essential point that the O's are in much different position regarding risk-taking than the Cubs are. The Cubs are in win-now mode, so they don't have the luxury of rolling the dice on what might be. The O's can, and should.

So Hendry and MacPhail could sit down and agree that Hill has a 33% of being awesome, a 33% chance of being OK, and a 33% chance of being a total washout. The Cubs are going to view that situation as a 66% chance he doesn't help them win now, and MacPhail will see a 0% chance of ending up worse off than he already is.

So even given the exact same information, this trade can happen and both sides can "win".

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What is the worst case scenario here?

We trade Scott, his 25 homers and 825ish OPS and get back 2 flops and a starter that we need to cut in June due to ineffectiveness.

We then bring up Reimold and he fails miserably and next offseason, we go out and spend 5-10 million a year or trade a young, cheap are with decent upside on a player similar to Scott.

That is a lot of bad things happen.

The fact that we have Reimold as a security blanket here is enough for me to make the trade.

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