Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chapping something

In the conclusion of a long saga which involved a catfight between agents and a parade around scouts, Aroldis Chapman signed with the Reds recently. The Cuban defector sparked a bidding war that resulted in a six year, $30 million contract.

First, let's talk about Chapman's stuff. He reportedly throws 100 mph (smoke tinges the words with each keystroke). No problem there. He's also left-handed. That's always a plus. He's 21-years-young (give or take a few years). No problem there. He has control problems. Uh oh.

Chapman allowed 5.37 walks per nine innings in Cuba. Last I checked, that wasn't very good. Now, yes, we've all seen pitchers get better command as time goes on. A quick look at Randy Johnson's career reveals an atrocious walk rate early in his career, and then an exceptional walk rate at the end.

In fact, Randy Johnson's name has been thrown around a lot lately. He's been retired for only a few days, and already people are expecting some kid from Cuba to be "The Next Randy." Let's not forget, Randy Johnson's a certain first ballot Hall of Famer. He's one of the top 5 pitchers of all-time. And we're comparing an unproven 6'4" defector to him, simply because he's left-handed, throws hard, and has terrible command?

It's symptomatic of a general problem in the baseball world, and the world in general. When judging someone or something, we look for shortcuts. We say a person reminds us of another person because it instantly delivers information. But that person is an entirely different person. Chapman is his own being. He's not Randy Johnson and shouldn't be compared to him. It's not fair to Chapman or Johnson, and it doesn't deliver enough meaningful information.

Back to walk rates, Chapman may very well have a long and successful career. He certainly has the raw ability. But the problem with raw ability is that you don't know what the finished product will look like. Instead of going down, his walk rate may instead increase. Nobody really knows what will happen. The Reds just gave a lot of money to a guy who is a "maybe."

Since he was on the open market, the bidding war resulted in this contract. Some will say this is his fair market value. I think it's too much money, but the market says otherwise.

A few of my teammates emailed me saying this is a problem. Some foreign players such as Chapman are able to use this open-market system to their advantage while Americans, Canadians and Puerto Ricans are subject to a draft. A phenom such as Stephen Strasburg had no control over who picked him in the draft. Once taken, he could only negotiate with a single team. While he was paid handsomely, there was no bidding war. On the open market he would've received much more--perhaps more than Chapman.

MLB and the union need to decide what system they want. Do they want free market system, where anyone can negotiate with any player, and the player has the ability to choose? Such a system existed prior to 1965 when the draft was instituted. Or do they want a worldwide draft?

Selig has said he wants an international draft. So have several others. I'm generally not a fan of systems that limit a player's options, but I recognize the need for a draft, as without it, talent would be even more unequally spread than today. The rich would keep getting richer. But if such a draft is instituted, mobility must be ensured as well. The Rule 5 draft should be expanded, and changes should be made to it to allow more players to stick with new teams. The length of contracts should also be examined.

The current system certainly segregates against players from certain countries. This is unfair. All players should be subject to the same rules when dealing with MLB teams. There are obvious complications to this (look at the Japanese posting system.) since you're dealing with several countries, but the status quo simply isn't sufficient. A system is needed that ensures mobility, allows a player to gain close to market value, and also provides equal access to talent for large and small market clubs. The current system provides none of these things.


Jason Wolf said...

Interesting analysis. I agree that players get whatever the market bears.

I suspect that your teammates may be wondering why they didn't get their $30 million deal yet? The answer is in your column: If they threw like Strasburg, they would get Strasburg/Chapman money.

Also I agree with you that Chapman seems over-hyped. Those who don't understand baseball think throwing 100 means instant success. Major league hitters can hit 100 mph fastballs with no problem if they know it's coming.

Sarah said...

I agree that he did receive an unfair advantage, moneywise, for not really proving anything yet. However, with Cincinnati "winning" the sweepstakes, and supposedly Oakland and Washington in the final few teams involved, teams are starting to put out money that they historically would not. The Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, etc were not really mentioned after a certain point, so the question is--what do they know that these smaller market teams don't?
Strasburg, for example, has a better chance at success for two reasons-they know what he can and can't do (Olympics, college), and he doesn't have Dusty Baker as a manager. :)

Craig said...

Question- What is the difference in other people comparing Chapman to Johnson and you comparing yourself to Jamie Moyer. Maybe I am missing something.

Craig said...

BTW- your comparison of yourself to Moyer was in the BA blog, correct?

Craig said...

I have noticed that you publicly talk about what everyone else makes, when do we get to read about your money. For instance, what was your signing bonus?

gbroshuis said...

Thanks guys for the comments! A few thoughts:

Jason: Yeah, wouldn't everyone love a $30 million deal? Fortunately most of my teammates aren't delusional. They recognize they aren't as talented as Strasburg or Chapman. My friends are working their tails off, trying to succeed in a highly competitive environment.

As for me, yes, I received a modest signing bonus upon signing in the fifth round. A quick google search will reveal it. I'm extremely grateful for it, as it's greatly helped me over the past six years. But the vast majority of players receive no such signing bonus. Most instead receive between $1000 and $10K as a bonus. This quickly expires when you're only making $5K or $6K a year.

And yes, I once said I'm the equivalent of a right-handed Jaime Moyer. You got me there. But I'm not in the business of evaluating talent. Furthermore, it seems dangerous on many levels to compare a young kid to a Hall of Famer.

As I said, we all fall victim to various biases without even realizing it. It's part of the human psyche. When you're in the business of making important decisions, you need to do your best to overcome these biases.

gbroshuis said...

Thanks again for the comments!

Anonymous said...

Strasburg from what I read, is a better pitcher now and projected to be in the future than Chapman. Chapman getting nearly double the money Strasburg got makes no sense and exposes how screwed up MLB system is. Strasburg had to play for the Nationals or go back to college.

Chapman got to pick where he goes and pick the best situation for himself and his career and have all 30 teams bid for him.

I feel bad for a later round pick by the Yankees to play SS. Good luck playing the big leagues with Jeter blocking you. It would be nice for those guys to pick what team fits them the best. Instead no pay and being blocked by a hall of famer.

Anonymous said...

I am going to go out on a limb and say that Strasburg would have gotten Dice K type money on the open market(6 years/$52M..Instead he got 4 years/$15.1M.. either way he is rich, but what about the lower level signings?

Now if players subject to the draft get only half of what they get on the open market. Where does that leave the lower end signings? Only getting half of what their open market teammates got?

I have always heard bigger bonus means more playing time in the minor leagues. I am not sure if thats how it works, but it makes sense. So middle round and lower round players would get less opportunities than a player who scouts view as equal but due to a larger bonus maybe more chances to play or move up levels?

I could see it working both ways if a drafted player got drafted higher than where they should have though I guess. Either way the system sounds messed up. Good thing the NFL and NBA don't use the same system as baseball

Craig said...

I love how you answer my question by not answering it and wanting me to do a Google search yet you were quick to point out Chapman's signing bonus. You did not tell us to find Chapman's information by doing a google search you simply laid it out there. I'm not for sure what it is that you're hiding behind that you cannot simply say, "I make $_____".

My question is you talk about not being worth $12,000 over on the BA blog. If you were the Giants and invested $160,000 would you be happy with the return on investment provided over the last 5 years?

Craig said...

So it's not alright to compare a young player to someone who has 303 wins but it is ok for you to compare yourself to someone who has 258 wins? With this logic you are telling me the only difference stopping comparisons between Johnson and Moyer is that of 45 more wins?

Do you actually believe what you write? Or is this some kind of prank you're pulling? I mean Moyer at age 28 had 34 more Major League victories than you do today. With that said he had 34 more major league victories than I did when I was 28, so can I compare myself to you?

Anonymous said...


It is quite obvious you are just looking to create a stir. However, I feel the need to address a few of your most recent points.

He told you how you can find out what his signing bonus (which you obviously did), so what is your issue? He has the freedom to divulge that information however he pleases and he chose to do so indirectly.

As for if the Giants are happy with their investment, that really isn't relevant to the topic at hand. And even if it were, the Giants knew before they made the pick that the majority of fifth-round draft picks never see the major leagues.

Anonymous said...

As for the comparisons, I think the difference lies in the tone and actual comparison. Chapman has never done anything in the MLB system and is being compared to one of the best pitchers of all time. On the other hand, Garrett has had sustained success at AA and is comparing himself to a "crafty" pitcher who is now best known for his success in the presence of a lack of velocity. Given that Moyer gains value from being left-handed as well, I would imagine Garrett's comments carry some sarcasm to speak to his own lack of velocity (despite the fact that he does not throw the same speed as Moyer).

I think there is a major difference between those two comparisons.

Craig said...

I’m not trying to make a stir at all. I am simply pointing out my thoughts and opinions just like everyone else. The difference is I’m not agreeing with Broshuis on what he has written. Yes Broshuis chose to divulge his signing bonus very discreetly in that he never gave the amount. For a man to call another person out for their personal achievements like Broshuis did seems more like what my 3 year old niece would do when her older sister takes the toys she was playing with.

As for the Giants being happy with their investment why is it not relevant to this post? I could have sworn this post mentioned Chapman and his nice signing bonus correct me if I am wrong but when you’re talking about $30,000,000 you’re talking about an investment. Granted the Giant’s investment with Broshuis did not have near the zeros as the Reds and Chapman but in both cases an investment is an investment.

As for the comparisons (as you put it), Broshuis has done just as much in the Major Leagues as what Chapman has done. Nothing. Success at AA eh? Really? You’re going to tell me that a record of 29-40 is deemed a success at the AA level? I’ll do the math for you…11 games below .500 and I wonder how you could possibly fathom this giving him success? Are you serious? Are you kidding me? So you’re basically giving Broshuis a free pass to be sarcastic and knock a ball player that has 258 career Major League victories compared to zilch by Mr. Broshuis. Again why is that ok? Broshuis and I are both the same number of major league victories away from Jamie Moyer but yet you stick up for him. Face it…you cannot compare Broshuis to Moyer because there is no comparison. Broshuis’ 55 losses are 4 ½ times less than the number of Moyer’s victories as a Major Leaguer.

Anonymous said...

I think "Craig" has taken this article by Garrett a little differnt than most people have or at least myself. Craig, You seem to take this as Garrett being jelious or something of the money Chapman got. Maybe I am wrong but I think it was to point out how the differnece in the draft system and internation signings process and how flawed it is.

What does Garrett's bonus that he has lived off of for the last 6 years have anything to do with how much Chapman signed for? Nothing.. You just seem to like to argue and live in jeliousy.
Oh by the way "Craig" you show your ignorance for baseball by pointing out victories for a pitcher and not other stats along side it. I saw Garrett pitch a few years ago. His team gave him and fellow pitchers no run support. Look up the all stats if you want to see for yourself not just the ones you want to spit out to back up your ridiculious personal attack.

The comparison to Moyer, he should have never made. Its actually a put down to himself. He is right handed and throws a lot harder. I actually don't like the comparison to Johnson either. He was 6'11".. both are hard throwing lefties with control issues but the comparison seems to stop there. Watching Chapman in the WBC and on youtube.com he seemed to pitch more in the mid 90's (150km=about 94) Johnson threw a lot harder in his prime and did it from closer to the plate due to his long legs and arms.

wjackalope said...

the other thing is that there's a difference in the type of comparison made - saying someone is the "next ____ [insert superstar name]" implies they will likely be as good or nearly as good as said superstar. Garrett said that his pitching style is like a right-handed Jamie Moyer. He didn't say he was the next Jamie Moyer. He's talking about the type of pitcher he is, not pretending that he's going to have the type of success Moyer had.

Craig said...

Anonymous, you might be right...Moyer is considered ancient in Major League Baseball because of his age and Broshuis is considered ancient to be 28 years old stuck at AA. You're right, they are comparable I just missed this comparison when I first responded, my bad.

Anonymous said...

Craig, everyone I know including myself would love to be 28 and in AA and have pitched in AAA like Garrett has.

You have a serious jeliously problem that needs addressed. This is a good blog. How many other professional athletes do a blog and talk about the inter details to us fans?

I love this blog and visit a lot to see what article he is going to post next. Garrett I for one want to say thank you for doing such a wonderful blog.
Its people like you, "Craig" that have no life, so you attempt to make other people feel as worthless as you are. Hence the constant put downs of a professional athlete.

If you do have a complaint or something to point out at least come up with new material instead of using his Moyer comparison over and over and over.

The signing process for amatuer baseball players is severly messed up. Some players can sign at 16, while others have to wait until nearly 22. I never understood that. Its nice to hear things from a players prospective and not someone in the media which most likely doesn't have a clue.

Anonymous said...

Also Craig, I never said they were comparible. I said the comparison should have never been made. So your last post makes no sense what so ever.

Craig said...

Sorry you're wrong about being jealous of Broshuis. From what I have seen of his writings he is a little too high on himself. The man feels pity for himself when it comes to baseball. Look at his writings on the BA blog. I'm waiting for him to announce his retirement from the game of baseball. It must be hard seeing younger players advance up over you.
Look at Fresno, all but 2 players listed on the current roster are younger than Broshuis and on the AA roster all but 1 player is younger than Broshuis. He's becoming a regular Crash Davis.

Anonymous said...

If you don't like his articles then don't read them, let alone spend your time commenting on them. I like them, that why i read them and hope he contiues to give us inside info and opinions.

I am done stooping to your level Craig and critizing someone I don't know. I am sure you will have to come back and get the last word though. One sentance of advice cause every aritcle I read always has someone like you and to those people, Get a life other than sitting around criticizing other peoples lives.

Craig said...

I'll let you have the last word...you've got it. It's yours. Broshuis is a much better writer than what he is a pitcher. Though Broshuis needs to know if he's going to write he needs to be prepared for the critics. Of course though he might be a liberal cry baby who cannot take criticism. Maybe that's why he gripes and complains on his BA blog.

Though I think it's ironic I criticize Broshuis and he's yet to put in his two cents. Unless anonymous is Broshuis, hm.

Anonymous said...

Ok i lied I am not done posting.... I am not Broshuis. I don't have a google account so I don't know how to post other than just clicking Anonymous. Also there has been more than one person using the "Anonymous" option, they are not all from myself or one person. I only left 3of them.

Craig said...

I know how the Giants must feel....I'm on a Broshuis watch and he has yet to show up.

David said...

Geez. You guys need to stop. I mean, really, grow up Craig. This is ridiculous. I have read most of Garrett's blogs, and have NEVER got the impression that he is "high on himself" or looking for pity. I am a former pitcher, and would give anything to have gotten the chance to get drafted and play in the minors. If anything, he is pointing out how difficult it is to be a minor leaguer. If you take a look at the baseball cube website and sift through each year's drafts, you will see just how nearly impossible it is to make the majors. Even if you are a 1 through 5 round draft pick. Garrett does a fantastic job of pointing out the flaws of minor league baseball from the daily meal money, to the lack of medical insurance, to the meager pay. I for one would love to see ALL major league contracts based on incentives and not guaranteed money. I understand everybody has their own opinions, and I don't mean to trample on anybody's beliefs, but when you start attacking each other, it starts to lack maturity. Thanks Garrett for the great insight and I look forward to your next blog.

Craig said...

Attacking would be with false information. I've used factual information when I have went after Broshuis.

How disappointing though for me and the Giants, they've waited 5 years I've been waiting 4 days for Broshuis to show up.

David said...

So, you have personally invested money in the development of Broshuis? Cause you have made your point pretty clear that you think that his career is a waste. And the fact that he is a good insightful writer gives you the right to voice disappointment in the fact that he has yet to make the major leagues? I don't understand why you have to be so argumentative. And of all the things I wrote in my previous post, the only thing you get out of it is my "attacking each other" line. And you weren't even correct in that. I meant between you and "anonymous" Anyway Craig, I'm done bickering with you. You have said your peace, and I have said mine. Feel free to post your disagreements and arguments, cause in the internet world, whoever posts the most and loudest, is always correct.

Jason Wolf said...

Craig, could you do this blog's readers a favor and go find a fan board where you can do your troll act?

Craig said...

Jason Benjamin Wolf- Really? Is that the best you can come up with? I thought you had a journalism background, surely to goodness you can came up with something better than that on your own. Could it be you're a regular Jayson Blair?

Speaking of Trolls- Where's Broshuis at? Still no response. You're calling me the troll yet you seem to be the one doing the troll act for Broshuis. I'm not the one sniffing his jock responding when he should be the one.

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Anonymous said...

I'm another anonymous poster, first post, mainly because I'm afraid that "Craig" would come after me somehow.

Anyone with a brain who has been reading Garrett's blog knows that he's only talking about the inequities in the way farm systems are being run by the MLB and how prospects are being treated.

He only wants what he feels to be fair, he is not jealous about Chapman, only stating that it is not fair that one group is allowed to capitalize fully on free agency while another group isn't.

It's like saying that the slaves were jealous of the people who are free. They weren't, they only wanted what was fair.

Garrett is under no illusion about how good (or bad) he is. He only compared himself with Moyer in terms of style, while everyone is referring to Chapman as the potential next Randy Johnson. Craig apparently is unable to make that distinction.

And Garrett even apologized for that when I don't think he needed to. It is one thing to say you throw with someone's style, to give an idea of how you operate, and a totally different thing when newspaper headlines says that Chapman is the next Randy Johnson. Garrett never said that he's the next Jamie Moyer, only that he pitches with that style.

And the reason why he can talk about Chapman's bonus but not his is BECAUSE CHAPMAN'S BONUS IS PUBLISHED ALL OVER THE INTERNET, while Garrett's bonus was published in only a few sources.

However, if he really wanted to hide it, he didn't have to tell "Craig" how to get it, he just didn't want to bother digging it up himself, it is not like he has the URL for his bonus stored somewhere so that he can pass it along. But he kindly told "Craig" how to get it himself.

And why should he bother to dig it up for you, must he do everything for you?

And about worth, the money the Giants paid to Garrett is money they understand will probably not work out when they signed him. There are no guarantees in baseball, not even for the top picks in the draft, not even for Strasburg or particularly Chapman.

That has nothing to do with how good or bad Garrett is. The odds of a draftee making the majors is extremely small, particularly once you get past the first five picks overall in the draft. So for any player drafted past those picks, it is basically a numbers game for the major league teams, they draft a lot of them and, through their scouting and coaching, hopefully enough of them will make the majors and contribute.

So it is irrelevant to argue whether the Giants are "happy" or not, other than they would not keep any particular player unless he was valuable to them in some way. And they have kept Garrett, whereas they have dropped other players.

And that gets to Garrett's concerns about how the system is run. They devote more than half a year to the team (Feb to early Sept), and while they may never make the majors, they contribute by devoting that time and allowing the eventual major leagues the time and experience to advance to the majors. Yet, they are only paid $5-6K for that service (I was shocked by that!) plus per diem, which at $25 per day is roughly another $4K. $10K for half a year or so of their time.

That is not enough to compensate them for their time and efforts, for it is not like they don't work out during the off-season to try to make the team, nor are they sitting on their butts waiting for the call to the majors, they are working hard.

Meanwhile, somebody gets a $30M deal, more than even Strasburg got, yet Chapman is a huge question mark while Strasburg is about as close to a sure-thing as it gets in the MLB draft. Is that fair?

Anonymous said...

All Garrett is saying here is make the system even for everyone, either everyone is a free agent or everyone is covered by the draft. Give everyone a level playing field.

And to make fun of Garrett's career is just plain and pure meanness.

And, really, jealousy when you think about it.

What did Garrett do? He answered civilly the questions, at least when this had not yet degenerated into this mess. He didn't even answer "Craig"'s comments, it was other's who did it, and yet "Craig" goes for the jugular on Garrett. Why?

It must be jealousy. Maybe Craig feels that Garrett doesn't deserve to complain about unfairness that he saw in the system since, as another poster noted, many of us would have loved to have been able to be drafted and playing even in the minors and maybe Craig felt the same and decided to strike at Garrett. Don't know, don't care.

Luckily Curt Flood didn't have a blog when he was complaining about the unfair system back in the 1960's. How dare he complain and point out the problems with the system!

Craig said...

There sure are a lot of "anonymous" bloggers that sure do know how Broshuis thinks and feels. Either they're sniffing double time on his jock or they are him, regardless hiding behind anonymous is pathetic. C'mon Garrett join your own blog or are you going to have one of your sniffers respond for you?

Anonymous said...

Garrett is doing the proper thing, bloggers shouldn't respond to baiters and haters as that just encourages trolls like you have been behaving like.

And it is not a matter of "knowing" what Garrett is thinking, anybody who can read would know, only you don't bother to read or care to read, you just apparently like to bait and attack.

If you are not as trolly as you are acting right now, if you are really a decent human being, read his whole blog and you'll see that we are correct in what we've been saying about Garrett and that you are wrong.