Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Hunter vs. Cameron

I'd been mulling whether to write a point-by-point rebuttal of the mostly silly reasons Jim Souhan listed as to why Torii Hunter is too important to trade--unless the Twins can get Vernon Wells, Shea Hillenbrand, cash, and a few cases of Labatt's, he says. But SBG already got his hands dirty for me this evening, and there's no need for me to go rewriting his blog.

I would like to nibble on one delicious crumb, however, which SBG left on the table: "In short, hitting big-league pitching is really hard," says Souhan. "Hunter is not Willie Mays, but he's not Mike Cameron, either."

Not Mike Cameron, either?

Hmmm, let's see....

Cameron
Batting Line
EqA
RARP
VORP
WARP-3
2001
.267/.353/.480
.301
51.1
50.9
8.0
2002
.239/.340/.442
.286
37.4
35.7
7.1
2003
.253/.344/.431
.278
29.2
29.9
7.4
2004
.231/.319/.479
.271
23.5
27.0
5.5
2005
.273/.343/.477
.284
16.5
22.4
2.4


Hunter
Batting Line
EqA
RARP
VORP
WARP-3
2001
.261/.306/.479
.264
22.3
26.0
6.7
2002
.284/.334/.524
.291
39.0
50.8
5.0
2003
.250/.312/.451
.261
18.4
19.8
4.1
2004
.271/.330/.475
.276
25.8
31.2
5.0
2005
.269/.340/.452
.280
20.8
23.7
4.8

If you're tallying along at home, you should have 165.9 VORP (which Baseball Prospectus defines as, "The number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same percentage of team plate appearances.") for Cameron over the past 5 seasons, and 30.4 Wins that Cameron has been worth above a replacement-value player. Torii Hunter over the past 5 seasons has been worth 151.5 VORP and 25.6 Wins above a replacement-value player.

I guess Jim Souhan is more right than he knew: Torii Hunter not only falls short of the Willie Mays standard, he really is no Mike Cameron, either. At the least, there hasn't been a significant difference between them in the past few seasons. Cameron is also a Gold Glove Centerfielder, and he's getting paid $6m this year, $8m next year, with a $6.5m option for 2007. Choosing between the two, why wouldn't you prefer to have Mike Cameron?

Terry Ryan, get the Mets on the phone! Let's wheel n' deal, pardner....

Kidding. Just kidding, TR. I hope to see the Twins aim higher than Cammy when bartering at the market this winter. But the point is, let's not lose our heads about how valuable Torii Hunter is to this team. Would you want the Twins to pay Mike Cameron $10.75 million next year, and $12 million to keep him in 2007? Then why overspend like that to keep Hunter?

Torii Hunter is not a franchise cornerstone. He's a very good Centerfielder, who is about to become overpaid for his true value. What the Twins need in an $11-12 million player is not a rough facsimile of Mike Cameron. They need that money to pay a big basher, and trading Torii Hunter may be the only way that kind of money could become available to the Twins GM.

4 Comments:

At 9/20/2005 10:19 AM, Blogger SBG said...

Nice work. There's one more comment I wanted to break down, but forgot.

Souhan said this:

Sometimes we Minnesotans become so focused on our teams that we fail to recognize that...

I would have concluded this sentence with something like "our favorites can be easily replaced with other players that can do pretty much the same job."

Instead, he finished with "the game's greatest players flounder, too." He seems to be insinuating that Minnesota fans are too critical of our own teams. I think just about anyone else looking at the situation objectively would conclude that Twins fans have given the Twins every of the doubt over the last several years and, if anything, have overvalued certain players. Why? Because we were so damned happy to have emerged from the darkness of the mid-to-late 1990s.

 
At 9/21/2005 1:07 PM, Anonymous brianS said...

Thanks, Frightwig. I had a similar reaction to the Cameron dig. Pretty clearly, Souhan doesn't know what the hell he is talking about.

Jeez, you don't need a pocket protector or slide rule to look at the conventional numbers.

2001-2005 averages
dude HRs Runs RBI SB/CS
MC 22 75.4 76.2 23.4/5.4
TH 23.8 79.2 85 16.4/7

Not much difference. Cameron is 3 years older, so he's past his peak, whereas Hunter should be in his peak years now.

Over their careers, both are average offensive players (Cameron's OPS+ is 105 through 2004; Hunter's is 99). Both have averaged about 5 RC/27. Just a dumb comment by Souhan.

 
At 9/21/2005 3:08 PM, Blogger frightwig said...

My guess: Souhan is fixing on the respective batting averages. Cameron's avg sometimes has dipped into the .230's; Torii has never hit below .250, unless you count the 19 PA's in his 1998 callup. Ergo, Torii must be better.

 
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