Wednesday Night, May 21, 2008
Response to Gomez/Santana Discussion
I have another guest writer today. In response to my Comments at Howard's A Fan's View blog, frequent SethSpeaks reader mini_tb came up with the below response. So, thanks to him for writing and researching the below. I will start with the note I had on the site this afternoon, followed by mini_tb's article:
Quick Update Ė I left a comment over at Howard Sinkerís A Fanís View blog regarding his posting on how ďwellĒ some former Twins starting pitchers are doing so far this year. The comments were basically saying that, as well as Johan Santana is pitching for the Mets, if he was still with the Twins, how many wins could he have helped them to? Also, how many wins has Carlos Gomez helped the Twins to? And finally, which Twins starter would likely not be in the rotation if Santana was still here? Nick Blackburn? How has he done so far in helping the Twins get wins? Anyway, Howard just posted a new blog entry because that comment will likely create a lot of comments, so please check it out and then voice your opinion there.
Carlos Gomez is better than Johan Santana with statistical proof to back it up! Sort ofÖ
This little rant was fueled by reading Howard Sinkerís blog and comments section when Seth made what I thought was a rather innocent comment. Here is what Seth had to say:
ďLet me go a bit controversial hereÖ
Santana has been very good for the Mets so far, very typical of what he did with the Twins. I believe he has five wins to this point and an ERA around 3. How many Wins would he have with the Twins at this point? How many wins would he have helped the Twins get?
Iím not going to back this statistically at all, but just theorizingÖ Has Carlos Gomez already helped the Twins to more wins than Johan would have been able to? I would argue that when Gomez is in the lineup, the Twins have done better and in several cases, he has had a very direct effect on the Twins wins.
Meanwhile, starting pitching has not been the Twins problem at all. In fact, which Twins starter would not be in the rotation if Santana was still here? Probably Nick BlackburnÖ and how is he doing so far?
In other words, this is a perfect illustration of why giving crazy years and dollars to any one player makes no sense.Ē
Iím sure Seth, being a frequent commenter on Sinkerís blog, knew the poopstorm that was forthcoming by making what I thought was a thought provoking comment. Many people in the comments section seemed to think that Seth said Carlos Gomez is better than Johan Santana. I would like to interpret what I think Seth was saying:
The Twins starting pitching, outside of Liriano, has been surprisingly solid this year with Nick Blackburn and Livan Hernandez leading the way. I am assuming Blackburn would have been the odd man out had the Twins kept Santana for 2008. He would likely have ended up in Rochester because Brian Bass had to make the team or get released. Off the top of my head, I would say Blackburn has been close to as valuable to Twins as Johan Santana would have been at this point.
Oh, the horror! How dare Seth make a statement like that in far fewer words?! Now I will give my take on the Carlos Gomez portion of Sethís comment:
Carlos Gomez, the speedy young outfielder with great potential who the Twins got in the Santana deal, has been pretty decent this year. He has had his share of struggles, but he also been every bit as exciting (and raw) as advertised. Yes, his approach at the plate and his throwing, could use quite a bit of work, but you can see the immense potential this kid has. Gomez and Blackburn have been valuable to the Twins and their over .500 record this year, potentially as valuable as Santana alone would have been.
Iím just going to ignore that part about Gomez helping the Twins to more victories than Santana statement. I guess that could be the controversial part. I am going to look at Total Win Shares in a bit, but I do know that Win Shares for pitchers and position players are not directly comparable.
Anyhoo, now that I am done putting words in Sethís mouth, I am going to do a minimal amount of research to see if I can warp some statistical evidence to at least support Seth a little bit. Iím going to use 2008 Win Shares through games completed on May 20th to see if I can back up Sethís statement. I should make a disclaimer that Johanís win totals are for a different team, the Mets, so they may not directly apply to my little comparison. I should also note that I am doing this for fun, so I am not saying this little exercise is going to prove or disprove anything. Total Win Share totals are taken from The Hardball Times.
Here are the ground rules: I am going to assume that, had the Twins kept Johan Santana, Denard Span would be the primary centerfielder this year and that he would have started the same number of games as Carlos Gomez through the Twinís first 45 games this year. I will be prorating Spanís small sample size Win Share total over the number of games Carlos Gomez has played. Why? Because itís as close as I can get to comparing apples to apples without doing a whole lot of work.
Ok, with all that stuff out of the way, letís dig in and see whether Seth is an idiot or not. Actually, my research may have no bearing on whether or not that it true. Here are the Win Share totals for all 4 players involved:
∑ Johan Santana 4 (9 starts)
∑ Nick Blackburn 3 (9 starts)
∑ Carlos Gomez 6 (40 games)
∑ Denard Span 1 (12 games) = 3.33 prorated for 40 games
The Win Share total for the combination of Santana and Span, or Spantana if you like, is 7.33.
The Win Share total for Blackburn and Gomez is 9.
What does this all mean? In some roundabout way, I may have just supported Sethís comment that he made at Sinkerís site, or I may have just gone through a lot of work to prove that 9 is greater than 7.33. Iíll let the readers decide that one.
So let me and mini_tb know what you think... The Debate Rages On...|
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