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Ranking the D'backs (and everyone else)

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The Elias rankings are out! The Elias rankings are out! The what? They're a statistical formula used to work out how valuable a player has been - but unlike most such toys, these actually mean something. The Elias ranking determines which draft picks a former team receives as compensation, if the player is a free-agent and signs with another team. The top 30% in each group get an "A" ranking, the next 20% a "B" ranking and the group between 50% and 60% a "C" ranking. A type "A" free-agent, for example, gets you the signing team's first round pick (unless it's in the first 15, in which case you get their second round pick), plus a supplemental pick between rounds one and two. A nice bit of compensation.

[Should mention that the details have changed a little in the new agreement bashed out recently between the players and owners. The compensation for "B" players has declined (you now get just a supplemental pick instead of taking the pick of the signing team), and that for "C" players been eliminated entirely. That goes into effect immediately; however, starting next year, they are also revising the divisions. Only the top 20% will be type A; the next 20% remain B; and C-grade - which now equal no compensation - will starts after 40%.]

Of course, there's a catch: you have to offer the player concerned arbitration. This is a bit like russian roulette, in that they might call your bluff, accept arbitration and you could end up stuck with a player you don't want for another year. However, there are some cases where you can be fairly sure a player will decline, knowing he can do significantly better in the free-agent marketplace. Miguel Batista is the obvious example, and even though he's a Type B free-agent, so we can look forward to snaring a supplemental draft pick there. And if he goes to arbitration, we probably wouldn't mind too much.

Craig Counsell (Type B) presents an interesting dilemma in this case, partly because of the fear that he might accept, and partly because offering him arbitration will reduce his appeal to other clubs. They know that signing him will cost them a draft pick, and that will inevitably get factored into negotiations. Again, if nobody wants to sign him, we could end up with a contract neither we nor the player in question really wants. And dare we offer arbitration to Type A agent Gonzo? Perhaps the mediocre terms on which the organization parted company with him, was all part of a cunning plan to ensure he'd never accept arbitration? None dare call it conspiracy!

Paranoia aside, you can see the full rankings here. These are the scores for the Diamondbacks, past and present, this year, along with their grades: [* - listed as reliever]

  1. Brandon Webb 90.196 A
  2. Livan Hernandez 80.310 A
  3. Johnny Estrada 78.022 A
  4. Luis Gonzalez 75.778 A
  5. Orlando Hudson 74.459 A
  6. Shawn Green 73.556 A
  7. Jose Valverde 71.341 A
  8. Luis Vizcaino 65.034 A
  9. Craig Counsell 64.069 B
  10. Jorge Julio 63.105 A
  11. Orlando Hernandez 60.294 B
  12. Claudio Vargas 57.843 B
  13. Brandon Medders 56.461 B
  14. Miguel Batista 55.113 B*
  15. Chad Tracy 54.037 B
  16. Chris Snyder 53.480 B
  17. Stephen Drew 51.852 B
  18. Brandon Lyon 49.357 B
  19. Eric Byrnes 49.222 C
  20. Jeff DaVanon 46.222 C
  21. Tony Clark 46.087
  22. Juan Cruz 43.968*
  23. Conor Jackson 38.261
  24. Damion Easley 35.979
  25. Greg Aquino 31.935
  26. Carlos Quentin 28.889
  27. Tony Pena 25.903
  28. Andy Green 23.593
  29. Russ Ortiz 20.392
  30. Enrique Gonzalez 11.683
  31. Chris Young 10.444

I'd be interested to know how they are worked out, and will look into this - they seem almost entirely unrelated to 2006 performance. For example, Hanley Ramirez, who was NL RotY in both the SB Nation and Baseball Prospectus polls, is ranked as Grade C, with fellow Marlin and All-Star Dan Uggla a B. Albert Pujols rated a perfect 100, the sixth player to have scored so highly since the system was introduced after the 1981 dispute. [after Don Mattingly (1987), Cal Ripken Jr. (1991), Frank Thomas (1995), Jeff Bagwell (1995) and Manny Ramirez (2002)].I also note that, among NL pitchers, Webb ranks only sixth, well behing Oswalt and Carpenter - and also trailing Smoltz, Willis and Zambrano. I suspect the disastrous last start may have killed his Cy Young chances. As a point of comparison, here are a few other figures that caught my eye in the NL list:

  • HITTERS
  • Albert Pujols 100.000 A
  • Jason Bay 96.000 A
  • Michael Barrett 87.546 A
  • Chase Utley 87.446 A
  • Paul Lo Duca 77.106 A
  • Derrek Lee 82.609 A
  • David Eckstein 82.011 A
  • David Wright 78.882 A
  • Carlos Beltran 80.444 A
  • Alfonso Soriano 80.222 A
  • Ryan Howard 80.000 A
  • Mike Piazza 76.923 A
  • Damian Miller 72.527 A
  • Jim Edmonds 72.000 A
  • Barry Bonds 70.000 A
  • Dave Roberts 66.000 A
  • Nomar Garciaparra 60.000 B
  • Dan Uggla 59.307 B
  • Hanley Ramirez 51.058 C
  • Royce Clayton 48.677 C
  • Steve Finley 40.889
  • Prince Fielder 36.957

    PITCHERS

  • Chris Carpenter 97.222 A
  • Roy Oswalt 96.487 A
  • Billy Wagner 94.397 A
  • John Smoltz 93.873 A
  • Chad Cordero 89.865 A
  • Pedro Martinez 86.111 A
  • Trevor Hoffman 83.298 A
  • Brad Lidge 82.058 A
  • Tom Glavine 78.023 A
  • Greg Maddux 75.327 A
  • Jason Isringhausen 72.137 A
  • Roger Clemens 70.098 A
  • Eric Gagne 69.106 A
  • Mark Mulder 63.889 B
  • Jeff Weaver 60.049 B
  • Oscar Villarreal 54.042 B
  • Armando Benitez 50.000 B
  • Byung-Hyun Kim 45.507 C
  • Lance Cormier 40.539

Sadly, my time of leisure appears to be coming to an end. Yes, I actually went for a job today, doing the same kind of technical support as I did at Go Daddy, only for cable modem customers. I had to take a technical proficiency quiz first, which I somehow managed to pass, even though all I know about networking PCs and DSL, I learned from three articles on howstuffworks.com. I think I must be a good guesser. ;-) That done, the interview was today, and went well enough that the key question is whether they can offer me a shift that fits in with Mrs. SnakePit's schedule, so we can car-pool to work, (our employers are in the same neighbourhood). If not, then I get to claim unemployment for a bit longer, so part of me is hoping they can't manage it. I've grown used to a relaxed lifestyle involving boxer-shorts and assaults on the unwatched DVD pile... Oh, well: had to end some time!