Monday, July 5, 2010

Offensive ROY? Tyler Colvin

So, in my last post, I said that Tyler Colvin was the problem with this team...(jokingly)...

But seriously, today, I want to discuss, as the All-Star game in another week or so, the Rookie of the Year.

The Braves superstar, Jason Heyward was voted as an All-Star game starter in his rookie season.

And his numbers are pretty darn impressive for a rookie player.

Average:  .251
Homers: 11
RBI: 45
Walks:  42
OBP: .366
OPS: .821

But I would argue that Tyler Colvin has been as good, if not better, than Heyward in his rookie year...

Average:  .278
Homers: 12
RBI: 32
Walks:  11
OBP: .321
OPS: .888


Let's look at one other stat...number of plate appearances...

Heyward:  303
Colvin:  176

Colvin has over 120 fewer PAs than Heyward does...if you spread Colvins number out over 303 trips to the plate, you get these number for the 3 stats that are more determinable on that PA number...

Homers: 21
RBI: 55
Walks: 19

Holy crap...that would be almost automatic All-Star numbers!  (Not quite...just ask Joey Votto.)

If Colvin had the same number of PAs as Heyward and performed consistently over that span, and you double that for full season numbers, Colvin would be approaching 40 homers and 100 RBI.

That's pretty damn impressive.

Ok, so the flip side of this is the fact that Colvin's appearances this year have probably been selected so that he could better succeed...

Almost 1/4 of Colvin's ABs have come against left handed pitchers...which is below average.  I have typically said that about 1/3 of the pitchers are lefties...and that stat holds true with Heyward's stats this no adjustment should really be necessary.

So, Colvin's numbers are, as expected, not as good against left handed pitchers...but neither are Heywards...(both are left handed hitters.)

Heyward vs. Lefties:
Average:  .214
Homers: 3
RBI: 10
Walks:  8
OBP: .305
OPS: .674

Colvin vs. Lefties:
Average:  .262
Homers: 2
RBI: 7
Walks:  1
OBP: .279
OPS: .779

In reality, Heyward has a much larger drop off between right's and lefties than Colvin has.

So, I showed some stats spread out across an equal number of ABs for Colvin and Heyward, but now we need to adjust all the numbers for a more fair number of righties and lefties.

Based on the plate appearance numbers put up by Heyward, I'll recalculate the numbers for Colvin assuming he face the same number of left handed pitchers as Heyward...

Homers: 20
RBI: 54
Walks: 18

and based on some funk math...his average would be .276...

The numbers are only slightly worse.

I did some similar analisis of Mike Fontenot and Jeff Baker platooning at second base before this season starter...when compensating for lefties and righties and so on, you really don't get a huge variance in the statistics as you might often suspect.

So, all the numbers seem to pan out extremely favorably for Colvin.

But the last question mark for the Colvin case is the idea that if he had played every day during the first half of the season, he would be "found out" and pitchers would exploit some weakness.

That's something I can't really extrapolate from stats (though Maddog over at ACB probably has some stat for that).

But, for the second half, it is very likely the Cubs will attempt to shed one (maybe two) of their extra outfielders, and when that happens, Colvin will get a large bump in the number of ABs he gets.

And if that happens, and he continues to play as well as he has been, he very well should be considered for ROY honors.

That being said, I'm only comparing Colvin to other hitters...and there are a number of pitchers out there (**cough** Stausburg **cough**) that might be deserving, but right now, Colvin doesn't have any equal on offense amongst NL rookies right now.