Bauer's clownish antics apparently weren't the reason he was sent to the Indians, although it sounds as though they helped make him available.

"I'm not going to say that didn't weigh into the decision-making, but he's a young kid," Towers says. "With young kids, it's inexperience and immaturity. Over time, I think he'll turn into a great everyday player."

Maybe K.T.'s being polite.

Adam Eaton is slated to eventually start in center field.
Jamie Peachey
Adam Eaton is slated to eventually start in center field.

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In Bauer's four career big-league starts with the Diamondbacks, his continually shaking off Montero's pitch calls had dismal results. Bauer earned just one victory, while posting a miserable 6.06 earned-run average.

"Really, we weren't trying to just get rid of him. [It's that] we like Gregorius a lot," Towers insists. "We think Gregorius will have a chance to be a very special player."

In 19 plate appearances in spring training this year, Gregorius hit .474.

Bauer allowed four runs in three innings in his last start with Cleveland.


"Moneyball," as a concept, is old news in MLB front offices.

You can bet that most teams play their own version of it by now. Everybody has his own method of analyzing players' effectiveness and cost related to winning as many ballgames as possible.

In the 2011 Hollywood movie starring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane — based on the 2003 Moneyball book by Michael Lewis — the cash-strapped Oakland A's win an unexpectedly high number of games given the team's seemingly unimpressive roster, which was built on player statistics.

It's a romantic view of what actually happened during the 2002 A's season, but some of Beane's principles, explained in the movie and book, have been adopted and modified around the bigs.

By the time the movie came out, eight years after the "Moneyball" story first was told, other GMs had caught up with Beane.

Sports Illustrated explained to fans after the movie's release that every team since had made statistical analysis a significant part of its operation, with a little more than half of big-league organizations relying "heavily" on stats. The magazine argued that Theo Epstein, then-general manager of the Boston Red Sox, had become the most ahead-of-the-curve GM in baseball. Epstein, using his own methods, including advanced statistical analysis of players, won two World Series in less than a decade with Boston.

Now, it's harder for GMs to gain an advantage like Beane did in 2002, when he placed a higher value on players' on-base percentages.

GMs nowadays are more hesitant to open the blinds to the front office and show just how the sausage is made — perhaps this is why Towers stresses that his specific reasoning about players "can't be discussed openly."

But the numbers game certainly is a factor in Towers' decision-making, as explained by his view of replacing the bats of Upton and center fielder Chris Young, who's now a member of the Oakland A's.

"We're going to score the same amount of runs [with them gone]," Towers says.

Believe it or not, there's a lot of science behind his statement.

It sounds contrary to logic, but the Diamondbacks don't need more runs this season than they had last year to win more games.

For starters, only eight teams scored more runs than the Diamondbacks last year. Of those eight, only three made the playoffs.

This concept of runs is pointed out by Jonah Hill's character in Moneyball, as he explains in one scene that he's calculated how many runs must be scored and how many can be allowed for the A's to have a good chance of making the playoffs.

He was using a basic formula from the field of sabermetrics — a discipline described by the man who coined the term, Bill James, as "the search for objective knowledge about baseball."

The formula, the "Pythagorean expectation" — also created by James — provides evidence that Towers is right about the team not needing more offense.

Had the Diamondbacks scored the most runs in baseball last year, more than the Yankees and the Rangers, but the runs allowed remained the same, the D-backs still would've been projected to lose their division race, according to this formula.

(It should be noted that this "Pythagorean expectation" has some credibility. At the halfway point of last season, the formula was used to project that the Los Angeles Dodgers would finish with a record of 86-76, and that the Diamondbacks would finish 81-81. The projections were on the nose.)

But how can Towers say Eaton and Martin Prado will replace the runs lost by Young and Upton?

In this post-Moneyball era, its easy for fans to see predictions based on sabermetrics. Websites like FanGraphs.com provide advanced statistical analysis of players, including projections for the upcoming season.

It can be seen that sabermetrics provide a formula for "runs created" — a measure of how many runs go up on the scoreboard for a team thanks to a given player.

Based on an average of four experts' calculations listed at FanGraphs, Eaton and Prado are projected to create 166.5 runs this year combined, compared to 163.25 between Young and Upton.

That calculation was based on both playing a full season, and Eaton found out recently that a spring training injury to his left elbow could keep him benched for two months. He probably will be replaced by Cody Ross, another of Towers' off-season pickups, who hasn't lagged far behind Eaton at the plate.

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15 comments
dogbiter
dogbiter

After two games, the jury is out on Towers...

danxranx
danxranx

Sometimes man you jsut have to roll with ti.


www.Gone-Anon.tk

Dogbiter
Dogbiter

Towers better produce, what with him sending Upton packing! He'll be an ex-GM if he doesn't. Personally, I think his brand of Billyball (Kevball) will work. Predicting that the D-backs will go deep into the playoffs this year.  

RandyHill
RandyHill

Wow, what a misleading white wash of Kevin Towers tenure. KT won in 2011 with a team built almost entirely of players DiPoto and Byrnes acquired. He's been destroying tat team ever since.The stellar outfield defense has been replaced w/a DH in left who is one of the worst defenders in baseball. Justin Upton had the best range in right field and has been one of the most valuable right fielders in all of baseball despite the lack of a cherry picked OPS number, and we replaced him with an aging journeyman that we overpaid. And Adam Eaton was drafted by Josh Byrnes, just like Goldschmidt.And just like Jarrod Parker, who fulfilled predictions last year to become one of the best starters in baseball, for Oakland after Beane robbed Towers blind, giving him the less talented, far more expensive Cahill, and also picking up a great reliever and useful outfielder for throwing n another expensive, less valuable veteran reliever. Gee I wonder why Towers needs pitching? He gives up quality pitchers in almost every trade.And then KT finally makes a good pick in Trever Bauer and blows it while you misrepresent the story.. Bauer told every team not to draft him if his routine bothered them cause he wasn't changing it, but KT still took him. And the team said nice things about his "quirks" as Trevor dominated every level of the minors and shot into the majors. The kid had a few bad starts as young pitchers often do (see Kennedy, Ian in his Yankee stint) and suddenly KT and Kendrick couldn't wait to stick the knive in. They knew all of this before drafting him, ran him and his value down publicly and were forced to trade Bauer for an INJURED shortstop prospect who has never been able to hit for average, power, or get on base vs. MINOR LEAGUE PITCHERS at the same age where Jeter was coming off a near MVP season leading the Yankees to a World championship.

And no one questions a major league catcher so dense or self centered that either isn't even aware or doesnt care that his teams top pitching prospect relies on a very specific and widely reported pitching style and attempts to force him to change everything that's worked for the kid in the first inning of his first MLB start? Where is the manager? Where is KT?

If Trevor Bauer is this years Jarrod Parker just maybe fans will start to realize how hard it is to get top young talent and how much KT has squandered for older, more expensive,

RandyHill
RandyHill

Wow, what a misleading white wash of Kevin Towers tenure. KT won in 2011 with a team built almost entirely of players DiPoto and Byrnes acquired. He's been destroying tat team ever since.

The stellar outfield defense has been replaced w/a DH in left who is one of the worst defenders in baseball. Justin Upton had the best range in right field and has been one of the most valuable right fielders in all of baseball despite the lack of a cherry picked OPS number, and we replaced him with an aging journeyman that we overpaid. And Adam Eaton was drafted by Josh Byrnes, just like Goldschmidt.

And just like Jarrod Parker, who fulfilled predictions last year to become one of the best starters in baseball, for Oakland after Beane robbed Towers blind, giving him the less talented, far more expensive Cahill, and also picking up a great reliever and useful outfielder for throwing n another expensive, less valuable veteran reliever. Gee I wonder why Towers needs pitching? He gives up quality pitchers in almost every trade.

And then KT finally makes a good pick in Trever Bauer and blows it while you misrepresent the story.. Bauer told every team not to draft him if his routine bothered them cause he wasn't changing it, but KT still took him. And the team said nice things about his "quirks" as Trevor dominated every level of the minors and shot into the majors. The kid had a few bad starts as young pitchers often do (see Kennedy, Ian in his Yankee stint) and suddenly KTs boys can't stick the knive in fast enough

TomDaunt09
TomDaunt09

Brilliant story! Hope Towers deliver. If he doesn't, the Upton deal will haunt him right out of town. 

Dustin Mitchell
Dustin Mitchell

Upton with his close to .300 avg..6 hrs and 20 rbis in the spring?? No not at all.. Maybe we can trade goldy for some more RP since Kevin can never have a big enough bullpen

Walt Creed
Walt Creed

Nope, Bauer showed nothing but attitude and Upton was way overrated, I think Towers knows what he is doing..

JohnQ.Public
JohnQ.Public

I like the work that KT has done.  While I like and respect J-Up, there are times when for whatever reason a player gets stuck in a rut and can't get out.  Look at Aron Hill - he hit .205 and .225 for Toronto in 2010 and 2011 but hit .315 after coming over to the D-Backs for the remainder of the 2011 season and .302 in 2012.  It seems like J-Up was stuck in a rut and a change of scenery may have been required.  I don't see the J-Up trade as anything but creating the opportunity for J-Up to escape his rut and the D-Backs not to have to suffer through it any further.  Love Eaton as a player and disappoitned to see him injured.  Would love to see Parra reduce his base-running mistakes and make as big an offensive contribution as he does on defense.  I'm excited for this team.  But it all comes down to pitching - it always does - and we'll have to see how deep the 5 starters can go and still keep us in games and how effective the new arms in the bullpen can be.  Then with Hernandez as the set-up in the 8th and Putz as the closer in the 9th we're good to go.  I will say this, I would put KT's baseball knowledge and intentional development of this team up against the Dodgers just throwing money at the team any day.

Dogbiter
Dogbiter

You're hanging this on Bauer being a first-class prospect?! Please! That's just stupid. He didn't just have bad starts, he had terrible ones. He's going to be one of those pitchers who is working in a used-car lot soon. 

RandyHill
RandyHill

@Walt Creed If Towers knows what he is doing why'd he waste the #3 pick in the draft and $4.5M on Bauer, after Bauer told every team he wasn't changing his attitude or his approach to the game? Bauer is still rated one of the top 18 prospects in baseball, so why'd Towers dump him for an injured prospect who has never ranked higher than 63 and has consistently been a terrible hitter and barely average  defensive shortstop  in the minors for 5 years?

RandyHill
RandyHill

@Dogbiter Bauer was such as highly thought of prospect by Towers that he wasted the #3 pick and $4.5M on him.  Bauer is still rated the #14 best prospect in baseball by Baseball America and #17 by MLB.com, while Didi is 63 and 80th. 

You may think 4 bad starts by a 21 year old tells the tale on his career hopes, but the rest of baseball thinks his dominating 160 innings of 3.00 ERA in the minors says he's the real deal, esp. since half those innings were in Reno, the AAA version of Coors field, with a 2.85 ERA.

But if you & Towers are right, why didn't Towers trade him last season before bringing him up from AAA? BA had him rated the #3 prospect and we could have gotten a huge return. The truth is that Towers is clueless and didn't realize the backlash he'd get from Kendrick, Montero and Gibson when Bauer came up, so Towers bailed on a hugely valuable trade chip and dumped him for an injured shortstop of dubious ability and potential.

 
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