Explaining Grades


Coming up, I will be looking at our top prospects, giving an in-depth look into their statistics, and grading/ranking them accordingly.  Beforehand though, I wanted to take the time to explain the grading system to show why players get the grade they do.

Last offseason, I looked into our top hitters and gave expected WARs, as well as a ceiling/floor based on their potential.  I’ll be doing the same this year, but I’ll also be using a grading scale on top of that.  Also, while last year I solely focused on hitters, this year I’ll be looking into our pitchers as well.  Projecting them, though, isn’t anywhere near as easy.

After the jump, I’ll show how I differentiate between grades (you’ll notice a similarity to John Sickel’s system).

A: Perennial all-star, possible MVP candidate.

B+: Well above average player, possible all-star.

B: Above average player

B-: Average player

C+: Good bench players

C: Replacement level.

This matches up quite well with a corresponding WAR value:

A: 4.5+ WAR

B+: 3.5-4.5 WAR

B: 2.5-3.5 WAR

B-: 1.5-2.5 WAR

C+: 0.5-1.5 WAR

C: -0.5-0.5 WAR

Those WAR values are not set in stone to correspond to a grade though, as ceiling and floor are taken into account.  But I think this will allow a better understanding of just where our prospects rank compared to other systems.

While for hitters, WAR has several variables, that’s not the case for pitchers: runs allowed and (For RP) leverage index.  So what ERA/FIP corresponds to what grade/WAR?

For SP:

A  = sub-3.35 ERA

B+ = 3.35-3.80

B  = 3.80-4.25

B- = 4.25-4.70

C+ = 4.70-5.20

So C+ is your back of the rotation starters, B- and B your mid-rotation starters, while B+ and A are your front line starters.

For RP (Scaling LI so it’s higher for lower ERAs):

A  = sub-1.50 ERA

B+ = 1.50-2.00 ERA

B  = 2.00-2.50 ERA

B- = 2.50-3.20 ERA

C+ = 3.20-3.90 ERA

Note that this is using run values pre-2010 season.  2010 saw a massive shift in offense and pitching, but it’s too soon that that will be the run values going forward.  If that is the case though, for SP you’d subtract 0.20 ERA (So a B SP would now have to put up a 3.60-.405 ERA), for RP you subtract 0.10 ERA (So a B RP would now have to put up a 1.90-2.40 ERA), and for hitters they gain about 5 runs (So +0.5 WAR).  It’ll be interesting to see what kind of offense the 2011 season will hold.

Finally, a quick look back at how I did last offseason: Out of the seven hitters, three players got significant playing time in the majors.  Surprisingly, I was very close on all of Gaby Sanchez (Projected wOBA: .350, Actual wOBA: .346), Logan Morrison (Projected: .367, Actual: .369), and Mike Stanton (Projected: .359, Actual: .355) – but I definitely don’t expect to continue being accurate like that.  Two others, Bryan Petersen and Scott Cousins, saw a very small amount of MLB time.  Cousins out-hit his projection on the back of a .458 BABIP in 38 PA.  Petersen, meanwhile, posted the worst WAR of a Marlins position player at -0.6 (Taylor Tankersley “won” at -0.7) even though he had just 25 PA; His .099 wOBA looks like it has to be a typo.  The remaining two (Jake Smolinski and Matt Dominugez) – as well as more in depth for Cousins and Petersen – will be looked at later when I go through our prospect list.