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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Dear Brandon Wood: Sorry, Your Demotion Is No April Fool's Gag

It probably says something about how close I'm paying attention to the Angels these days that I missed yesterday's announcement that Brandon Wood, Matt Brown, and Sean Rodriguez are all heading back to AAA to start their seasons. (Well, that, and the fact that I have in-laws in town this week.) It does make me begin to wonder, however, whether a trade of Chone Figgins might not be a good idea, taking career arcs and suchlike into consideration.

In fact, looking at Figgy's comparables by age 30, we get —

So it seems to me that the Angels, by delaying calling up Wood, are postponing his development, and making the 2010 and successor teams worse (as pointed out in the Halos Heaven thread). I suppose the good news is that Figgins is on a one-year deal at this point.

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Comments:
I think you meant Sean Rodriguez.

And if you use comps, you should at minimum use James' age-based similarity scores. It makes not a whit of sense to try to compare the cumulative record of a modern player in mid-career to the full career of a cipher from a century ago before penicillin and the polio vaccine, let alone multi-million dollar contracts, sports dieting and contemporary conditioning and physical training. It's the worst sort of statistical abuse, and would even make Nate Silver throw up in his mouth a little.

Even if we limit our sample to at-30 comps from within the last two generations, the stats can't figure out if Figgy is Bip Roperts or Brett Butler. If he's Roberts, he's going to break down this season and Wood will get 300+ ABs anyhow. If he's Butler, he'll play to age 40 and score 109 runs this season. There are miles and miles between those comps.

I think I'll go with the club on this one. Figgins is in his contract year, he managed to out-hit Wood this spring, and got better in the final two weeks as he saw more major league hurlers, whereas Wood started regressing, walking less, whiffing more. Wood may still get there, but he looked terrible in 150 ABs last season, and one good spring doesn't tell a story.
 
Corrected above.

And who knows but that the more-patient S-Rod might eventually eclipse Brandon.
 

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