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Article: Mailbag: Buxton’s Leash, Likely Lineup, Ticket Sales

byron buxton cj cron tyler austin manny machado dave st. peter
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#41 ewen21

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 07:41 AM

 

Yes. A player that can play centerfield is more valuable than a player who can only play a corner position.

Palka wouldn't gain more value there than he would in a corner spot. He'd be expected to get to more balls in CF than he is in RF, so he'd lose more runs than he'd gain from the positional adjustment.

But he asked does KEPLER really need a different WAR calculation for CF and RF.What he meant is that Kepler is different from Palka in that it wouldn't have much affect on his WAR if any.He isn't assuming Palka would gain anything moving to CF.He actually said he would be liability.

 

You are basically correcting him for something he never said


#42 spycake

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 08:01 AM

Hicks v Palka... Buxton v blackhole all based off the ubiquitous "bwar". Look how it's calculated and you can pretty easily determine where the most likely discrepancy arises.

"position adjustment". CF are given a 2.5 runs bump just for showing up. Corners are docked 7.5 runs. (Explains Kepler's elevated war as well). Where's the basis for the adjustment? Not actual defense, since that is calculated separately.


But actual defense (Rfield) is calculated relative to position, it is not absolute. So Palka is -11 Rfield compared to other corner outfielders. Hicks is +3 compared to other CF. Rpos is simply an attempt to put them on the same scale.

It's even worse than that for Palka -- 40% of his starts were at DH, which has no defensive baseline with which to compare. DH is Palka's primary source of negative Rpos credit, and judging by his -11 Rfield in only 62 starts relative to the average defensive corner outfielder, this DH penalty is absolutely justified for him.

You don't even need Rpos to see it. The 1991 Twins intuitively knew that Shane Mack was more valuable than Chili Davis, even more than the difference in batting lines and defense relative to position would suggest.

#43 Jham

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 08:19 AM

But actual defense (Rfield) is calculated relative to position, it is not absolute. So Palka is -11 Rfield compared to other corner outfielders. Hicks is +3 compared to other CF. Rpos is simply an attempt to put them on the same scale.

It's even worse than that for Palka -- 40% of his starts were at DH, which has no defensive baseline with which to compare. DH is Palka's primary source of negative Rpos credit, and judging by his -11 Rfield in only 62 starts relative to the average defensive corner outfielder, this DH penalty is absolutely justified for him.

You don't even need Rpos to see it. The 1991 Twins intuitively knew that Shane Mack was more valuable than Chili Davis, even more than the difference in batting lines and defense relative to position would suggest.


Ok. fWAR uses uzr (also positional). I get that. I'm just saying that I've seen no explanation as to how they came up with the positional adjustment that doesn't look arbitrary. I don't see how being bad at your position can be better than being good at another position (other than flexibilty, Riverb). Ball hawks, are also rewarded as I stated. Most outhogs are cf.

I'm not suggesting that Palka is better than Hicks. But he hit 27 HR as a rookie. I just don't think WAR is a perfect stat for comparing them.

#44 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 08:19 AM

But he asked does KEPLER really need a different WAR calculation for CF and RF. What he meant is that Kepler is different from Palka in that it wouldn't have much affect on his WAR if any. He isn't assuming Palka would gain anything moving to CF. He actually said he would be liability.

You are basically correcting him for something he never said


Yes, he does. CF is graded on a more difficult scale than RF, so the positional adjustment is required to account for that.
My Palka example is to refute his suggestion that you get a "bonus" just for showing up in the premium positions.

Let me try a different angle. Without positional adjustment, a league average RF'er would have the same dWAR as a league average CF'er. But a league average CF'er is more valuable than a league average RF'er, and since WAR is attempting to measure value, it has to adjust to correct that.
It would be more flawed than it is without positional adjustment, not less.

#45 jokin

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 08:23 AM

 


 

We are miles apart, I think.

 

If he is hitting .190 by Mother's Day I send him down to Rochester.Here is hoping he doesn't give us his career average .464 OPS April (even worse than .550). 

 

Dude has had almost 1.000 at bats at the major league level. 

 

HOwmuch further do we continue this apprenticeship?

 

How about 2 guys that may not be "miles apart???"

 

Aaron Hicks OPS+ by age year

 

23) 63

24) 76

25) 98

26) 64 [1st year with Yankees] Hicks had 1218 ABs after his 4th season.

27) 122

28) 123

 

Byron Buxton OPS+ by age year

 

21) 57

22) 90

23) 93

24) 4 [only 90 ABs, multiple injuries] Buxton has 979 ABs so far.

25) ?

26) ?

27) ?

28) ?

 

-Buxton @ age 21 OPS+ is close to Hicks 1st year @ age 23.

 

-Buxton @ age 22 and 23 OPS+ were 2nd and 3rd years... very comparable to Hicks' 3rd year OPS+ @ age 25.

 

-Buxton's career OPS+ is 80. After 4 seasons, and 2 years older than Buck, Hicks' OPS+ was ~75.

 

-Buxton cumulative dWAR in first 4 years- (4.2)

-Hicks cumulative dWAR in first 4 years- (0.6)

 

-Buxton cumulative WAR in first 4 years- (6.9)

-Hicks cumulative WAR in first 4 years- (2.0)

 

It's still all about Buxton's upside and putting 2018 far in the rear view mirror.... and nothing else.

 

In answering your question...

It's pretty obvious the numbers tell us that we play this one out.

Edited by jokin, 30 January 2019 - 08:42 AM.

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#46 spycake

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 08:26 AM

Also, how in the world does stating a fact about his 162 game average understate anything? It states the reality and that is what I am interested in first and foremost.


If Buxton was a consistent .672 OPS hitter, capable of playing a healthy 162 games to make his 162 game average relevant, his present value case would actually be better than it really is. That is all I meant about understatement. Buxton's chief problem is that he is often well below a .672 OPS and/or hurt, moreso than that his career OPS is only .672.

Keep in mind, the comment to which you first responded on this thread was "Even if Buxton’s bat struggles again, he continues to provide value through his defense and base running abilities." Quoting Buxton's .672 career OPS in response to that is actually reinforcing the point -- it's only .057 below average for the position, and it's not that hard to see excellent defense/baserunning making up a .057 gap in OPS. And an average player is undoubtedly contributing value as the original poster said, even if we would like it to be more, and even if it's not sustainable long-term as defense/baserunning erodes with age.

That is all I was responding to, and that is all I intended to discuss. So I will bow out of this tangent now.

#47 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 08:26 AM

Ok. fWAR uses uzr (also positional). I get that. I'm just saying that I've seen no explanation as to how they came up with the positional adjustment that doesn't look arbitrary. I don't see how being bad at your position can be better than being good at another position (other than flexibilty, Riverb). Ball hawks, are also rewarded as I stated. Most outhogs are cf.

I'm not suggesting that Palka is better than Hicks. But he hit 27 HR as a rookie. I just don't think WAR is a perfect stat for comparing them.


No stat is perfect. But 27 HR's from a poor corner outfielder/DH without any other positive contribution is neither very valuable or impressive, and I think WAR actually reflects that.
I think any team could easily find a no glove, no speed, no walk, no average guy anywhere that could hit 27 HR's.

#48 ashbury

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 08:27 AM

There is much more to baseball than hitting HR's. Palka does none of those other things. He's basically a replacement level player.

I started to say something like this yesterday, but then looked a little deeper and decided to hold back.

 

Palka had a few multi-HR games, so there were 24 games in which he hit a HR. That leaves an even 100 where he did not. Unfortunately b-r.com's excellent analysis tools didn't let me compute an OPS for those specific 100 games, and I didn't have the patience to try to compute it by hand. I wish my database skills were better, because it shouldn't be a hard thing to generate.

 

So instead, I went to look at his Win Probability Added, a situational stat, expecting to find that it was close to zero if not downright negative. I mean, hitting the occasional homer, often in games where the outcome isn't going to be changed, shouldn't be too valuable - 16 of his 27 HR were solo shots, not an unusual ratio. To my surprise, he led his team in WPA. Now, that stat is offense-only, but it's kind of like a results-oriented WAR statistic as opposed to computing WAR from the individual stats (walks, doubles, etc).

 

Apparently he was doing something to move the offense forward when it counted, and it might or might not be from just the home runs.

 

Now, the White Sox weren't a good team, by a far stretch. For a team leader, WPA of 1.6 isn't high. But, it's not nothing either - unlike WAR, I believe 0.0 is about average, or even slightly above. Eddie Rosario led our Twins with 1.7 (again, it doesn't include any defensive value). The mighty Red Sox had 4 guys better in this stat.

 

Bottom line, for me: I'm going to withhold judgement for another season. Stats can fluctuate, but it's possible that Palka can have value as a bat-only guy for a few seasons, in which case it'll be unfortunate to have misjudged with that waiver try.

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#49 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 08:40 AM

I started to say something like this yesterday, but then looked a little deeper and decided to hold back.

Palka had a few multi-HR games, so there were 24 games in which he hit a HR. That leaves an even 100 where he did not. Unfortunately b-r.com's excellent analysis tools didn't let me compute an OPS for those specific 100 games, and I didn't have the patience to try to compute it by hand. I wish my database skills were better, because it shouldn't be a hard thing to generate.

So instead, I went to look at his Win Probability Added, a situational stat, expecting to find that it was close to zero if not downright negative. I mean, hitting the occasional homer, often in games where the outcome isn't going to be changed, shouldn't be too valuable - 16 of his 27 HR were solo shots, not an unusual ratio. To my surprise, he led his team in WPA. Now, that stat is offense-only, but it's kind of like a results-oriented WAR statistic as opposed to computing WAR from the individual stats (walks, doubles, etc).

Apparently he was doing something to move the offense forward when it counted, and it might or might not be from just the home runs.

Now, the White Sox weren't a good team, by a far stretch. For a team leader, WPA of 1.6 isn't high. But, it's not nothing either - unlike WAR, I believe 0.0 is about average, or even slightly above. Eddie Rosario led our Twins with 1.7 (again, it doesn't include any defensive value). The mighty Red Sox had 4 guys better in this stat.

Bottom line, for me: I'm going to withhold judgement for another season. Stats can fluctuate, but it's possible that Palka can have value as a bat-only guy for a few seasons, in which case it'll be unfortunate to have misjudged with that waiver try.


Fair enough.
But as long as the other team gets to bat as well, I'm never going to ignore defense and position.

#50 ashbury

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 08:53 AM

Fair enough.
But as long as the other team gets to bat as well, I'm never going to ignore defense and position.

Agreed, that defensive skill makes a given player more valuable.

 

But (and this is where I differ to a small degree with Riverbrian too), the league rules allow you to DH a player, every game. If you go to the extreme of having excellent Positional Flexibility for all the hitters on your 25-man roster, then by definition a very good glove (and whatever you "paid", in any sense, to have it) is wasted each and every game in the DH slot. For me, the value of Positional Flexibility is when it allows you to roster one (ONE) guy who has no defensive value, if his bat is strong enough. Nelson Cruz, for example.

 

Is Palka that guy? Probably not.But it looks like his offensive contribution to the 2018 Sox was enough above average that I'm still in evaluation mode.

It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into. -- Jonathan Swift


#51 Number3

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 08:53 AM

Per Sahitan, "I don't know Schoop well, but I question why so many lineup predictions have him in the 6 spot. His numbers last year suggest 8-9 hole to me, unless he turns it around anyway."

 

Schoop was a victim of what happens to a team with an overpaid first baseman (Chris Davis) and self centered so-called stars (yes, Manny Machado) on the Baltimore O's who looked fine on paper but totally tanked. The Twins are a perfect fir for Schoop and I predict he will be more than a pleasant surprise. Why the fascination with Machado on this board is totally perplexing to me. If it was up to him it would be the Minnesota Machados, or Machado plus 8.

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#52 Aerodeliria

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 08:54 AM

Anyway, the question was about Buxton's leach not his leash. Apparently, he has a pet. I suppose it swims around in the bottom of the ice bucket.

#53 spycake

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 08:57 AM

Ok. fWAR uses uzr (also positional). I get that. I'm just saying that I've seen no explanation as to how they came up with the positional adjustment that doesn't look arbitrary. I don't see how being bad at your position can be better than being good at another position (other than flexibilty, Riverb). Ball hawks, are also rewarded as I stated. Most outhogs are cf.

I'm not suggesting that Palka is better than Hicks. But he hit 27 HR as a rookie. I just don't think WAR is a perfect stat for comparing them.


Check out the section "Rpos, Positional Adjustment Runs" at the following link:

https://www.baseball..._position.shtml

It is worth quantifying, and this is probably the best way.

It's not going to apply perfectly and evenly to every player -- Kepler might be an example of that. Maybe he is capable of playing a league average CF, but isn't given the opportunity? In that case, though, the player is usually able to record above-average defensive performance in the corner outfield, which offsets some of the negative Rpos credit. And teams are incentivized to correct these situations too -- the Twins are likely wasting resources by keeping an average CF in a corner spot long-term. So if this is really the case, the Twins will try to find a way to get him opportunities in CF, either in Minnesota or elsewhere as a trade asset.

But Palka is a really odd case on which to raise this question! By all accounts, he's a bad corner OF, so much so that he was often banished to DH. He's also a bad hitter aside from the dingers, sometimes even finding himself on the bench on one of the league's worst teams. His WAR suggests his performance was above replacement level, but below the level of a competent starter. I'd say it has pegged him pretty well, no? Even the league's behavior seems to conform with this conclusion -- Chris Carter was considered nearly worthless after leading the league in HR, a better hitter in Cron was non-tendered, etc.

#54 ewen21

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 08:58 AM

 

How about 2 guys that may not be "miles apart???"

 

Aaron Hicks OPS+ by age year

 

23) 63

24) 76

25) 98

26) 64 [1st year with Yankees] Hicks had 1218 ABs after his 4th season.

27) 122

28) 123

 

Byron Buxton OPS+ by age year

 

21) 57

22) 90

23) 93

24) 4 [only 90 ABs, multiple injuries] Buxton has 979 ABs so far.

25) ?

26) ?

27) ?

28) ?

 

-Buxton @ age 21 OPS+ is close to Hicks 1st year @ age 23.

 

-Buxton @ age 22 and 23 OPS+ were 2nd and 3rd years... very comparable to Hicks' 3rd year OPS+ @ age 25.

 

-Buxton's career OPS+ is 80. After 4 seasons, and 2 years older than Buck, Hicks' OPS+ was ~75.

 

-Buxton cumulative dWAR in first 4 years- (4.2)

-Hicks cumulative dWAR in first 4 years- (0.6)

 

-Buxton cumulative WAR in first 4 years- (6.9)

-Hicks cumulative WAR in first 4 years- (2.0)

 

It's still all about Buxton's upside and putting 2018 far in the rear view mirror.... and nothing else.

 

In answering your question...

It's pretty obvious the numbers tell us that we play this one out.

Buxton has nothing to do with Hicks.There are far more players who had bad offensive numbers in their first four seasons and ended up being nothing.Not sure what the point of the comparison is.It is far too simplistic.Hicks doesn't have nearly the issues Buxton has with injuries.This is a very real concern and will have a profound amount of influence on how he develops (or doesn't develop).If Buxton crashes into a wall and gets carted off the field he leaves just a little bit more of himself out on the field.There will come a point that the mounting injuries will be detrimental to his development.This must somehow be averted, although with the dialogue Buxton provides running into walls seems to be his trademark.Good luck with that.

 

Hicks doesn't have a concussion history or migraine issues.One similarity both Hicks and Buxton had was that the Twins wanted to throw them out there and let them take their lumps when they were not actually ready.Between Buxton and Hicks our CFs have been absolutely horrid in April.These abysmal starts affected Hicks and it might be affecting Buxton's confidence even more.So when you say, "play this out" what exactly do you mean?Do we allow him to hit .200 and strike out twice a game through the month of June?

 

 

 

The game is not played on paper and this gets ignored far too much.

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#55 spycake

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 09:01 AM

Anyway, the question was about Buxton's leach not his leash. Apparently, he has a pet. I suppose it swims around in the bottom of the ice bucket.


It's a medicinal leech. The player's union apparently prohibits the team doctors from trying bloodletting on him.
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#56 ewen21

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 09:02 AM

 

Per Sahitan, "I don't know Schoop well, but I question why so many lineup predictions have him in the 6 spot. His numbers last year suggest 8-9 hole to me, unless he turns it around anyway."

 

Schoop was a victim of what happens to a team with an overpaid first baseman (Chris Davis) and self centered so-called stars (yes, Manny Machado) on the Baltimore O's who looked fine on paper but totally tanked. The Twins are a perfect fir for Schoop and I predict he will be more than a pleasant surprise. Why the fascination with Machado on this board is totally perplexing to me. If it was up to him it would be the Minnesota Machados, or Machado plus 8.

Machado would be a nightmare here.We'd need to outbid the entire market for one player who was discarded by the Dodgers rather quickly for character issues.He is the new A-Rod only his numbers are not nearly as good.I agree with you and I hope Machado remains unsigned for another month or two (or more).Add Harper to that list as well.

 


#57 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 09:08 AM

Agreed, that defensive skill makes a given player more valuable.

But (and this is where I differ to a small degree with Riverbrian too), the league rules allow you to DH a player, every game. If you go to the extreme of having excellent Positional Flexibility for all the hitters on your 25-man roster, then by definition a very good glove (and whatever you "paid", in any sense, to have it) is wasted each and every game in the DH slot. For me, the value of Positional Flexibility is when it allows you to roster one (ONE) guy who has no defensive value, if his bat is strong enough. Nelson Cruz, for example.

Is Palka that guy? Probably not. But it looks like his offensive contribution to the 2018 Sox was enough above average that I'm still in evaluation mode.


I'm fine with a DH only DH. I just don't think Palka's numbers are very good for a DH. I think every organization has 1 or 2 Palka's buried in AAAA, they don't have much value.

#58 spycake

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 09:14 AM

I started to say something like this yesterday, but then looked a little deeper and decided to hold back.

Palka had a few multi-HR games, so there were 24 games in which he hit a HR. That leaves an even 100 where he did not. Unfortunately b-r.com's excellent analysis tools didn't let me compute an OPS for those specific 100 games, and I didn't have the patience to try to compute it by hand. I wish my database skills were better, because it shouldn't be a hard thing to generate.

So instead, I went to look at his Win Probability Added, a situational stat, expecting to find that it was close to zero if not downright negative. I mean, hitting the occasional homer, often in games where the outcome isn't going to be changed, shouldn't be too valuable - 16 of his 27 HR were solo shots, not an unusual ratio. To my surprise, he led his team in WPA. Now, that stat is offense-only, but it's kind of like a results-oriented WAR statistic as opposed to computing WAR from the individual stats (walks, doubles, etc).

Apparently he was doing something to move the offense forward when it counted, and it might or might not be from just the home runs.

Now, the White Sox weren't a good team, by a far stretch. For a team leader, WPA of 1.6 isn't high. But, it's not nothing either - unlike WAR, I believe 0.0 is about average, or even slightly above. Eddie Rosario led our Twins with 1.7 (again, it doesn't include any defensive value). The mighty Red Sox had 4 guys better in this stat.

Bottom line, for me: I'm going to withhold judgement for another season. Stats can fluctuate, but it's possible that Palka can have value as a bat-only guy for a few seasons, in which case it'll be unfortunate to have misjudged with that waiver try.


Isn't WPA highly context-dependent? Similar to RBI? Sounds like Palka hit a few more dingers in closer games. I don't think anyone considers that a repeatable skill.

Palka posted a respectable 111 OPS+ as a rookie, but his peripherals were pretty bad (6% BB%, 34% K%) and they weren't much better in the minors. And he's already 27 years old now, with zero or negative defensive and baserunning value. Barring any shocking development going forward, I really don't see how the Twins could regret losing him -- similar or better players are available as nontenders or bargain FA every year.

#59 ewen21

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 09:16 AM

 

Keep in mind, the comment to which you first responded on this thread was "Even if Buxton’s bat struggles again, he continues to provide value through his defense and base running abilities." Quoting Buxton's .672 career OPS in response to that is actually reinforcing the point -- it's only .057 below average for the position, and it's not that hard to see excellent defense/baserunning making up a .057 gap in OPS. And an average player is undoubtedly contributing value as the original poster said, even if we would like it to be more, and even if it's not sustainable long-term as defense/baserunning erodes with age.

That is all I was responding to, and that is all I intended to discuss. So I will bow out of this tangent now.

 

But he doesn't counterbalance his poor offense with speed and defense.Not when he also has a .285 OBP and all those strikeouts.He makes up for it part of the way, but not all of the way.No way in the world Buxton gets enough opportunities to make great plays so as to offset horrible offense.There simply aren't enough balls hit into those tiny zones where he can make a play other good CFs don't make.There just aren't enough opportunities.He cannot control it.You can throw any defensive metric out there and I still won't be convinced.They simply do not measure as accurately as offensive statistics do.I think 2017 was somewhat of a lucky season for him defensively in that he had an inordinate amount of opportunities.Those opportunities are not a given like at bats are

 

We know for a fact, he gets up 4 times a game and there are have been long stretches where he is about as bad as any hitter I have seen come through our system.I am willing to put up with him around his fictional 162 game average.Then again, if he does that I try look for another option in CF for 2020.Honestly.

 

 

Edited by ewen21, 30 January 2019 - 09:19 AM.


#60 ashbury

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 09:23 AM

I'm fine with a DH only DH. I just don't think Palka's numbers are very good for a DH. I think every organization has 1 or 2 Palka's buried in AAAA, they don't have much value.

OK, but league-wide, DHes combined for a .778 OPS. Palka's 2018 was, by coincidence, .778. As a team, the White Sox got only .725 out of that lineup spot. Simplistically, Palka full-time there would have lifted their production.

 

Maybe this was Palka's career year. In that case, the story's over. If this is his baseline, he still won't last too long - roster/lineup construction isn't as simplistic as I laid out. But, if he has a career year still in him, at age 27, the story might turn out more interesting than we all had previously suspected.

 

 

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