Player Evaluation – An Introduction

In today’s economic environment, good player evaluation is a vital component of a successful organization. I would define the term as follows: the rating of baseball players. Now of course this rating system has many factors in it. Also, different rating systems have to used for different types of players, ie a team probably won’t use the same criteria to rate a possible free agent target and a high school senior. For my purposes, I’m going to use a fictious measure, T, to serve as an example through the subsequent parts of this series. T stands for Talent, a term used often but never explained. Also assume that as T goes up, the value provided to the organization increases proportionally.

Now the trick is, if you’re the GM, to place a T measure on a player. At the major-league level, this isn’t too difficult. Since at the major-league level everyone’s numbers are relevent, you can use statistical analysis for the offense, and teams usually have their own defensive measures to use. I should however differentiate between current value and projected value, which is a totally different animal. Current value is what a particular player is worth at a given point in time. This is useful for in-season moves such as rental trades. The more tricky measure, projected value, comes into play when teams are looking at a player in the long-term view. In this instance, age is a huge factor, as well as career trends and peripheral statistics from the past couple of years. Let’s say that a player is worth 100 T as of the last day of the season. However, this player is a free agent, and the team is pondering whether they should pay him what he’s asking for. Let’s assume that the these are the players’ previous T rankings:

2001: 80 T (Age 28)
2002: 70 T (Age 29)
2003: 75 T (Age 30)
2004: 100 T (Age 31)

Because the player’s 100 T season happened to coincide with his walk year, he expects to be paid as a 100 T player. Also assume that his walks and strikeouts in 2004 did not differ dramatically from his previous three seasons. What do you as GM do?

I’ll give you my answer, along with the various facets that went into it, tomorrow.

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