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What OPS do Pujols and Hamilton each need in 2015 to be satisfactory?


Angel Oracle

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Do you really expect Pujols to improve at his age? He's going to be "35" next year.

 

But to answer your question, consider that he had a 3.3 fWAR this year. He loses about 1 fWAR a year to baserunning and defense, so consider that a .272/.324/.466 line gets him to 3.3 fWAR. Now consider that the value of a free agent is supposed to be around 1 WAR per $5 million. That seems high to me, but that's what Fangraphs came up with. Now consider that in 2015 Pujols will make $24 million a year, and then +$1M per year for five years after. So in 2015, for him to be worth the $24M, that's $24M divided by $5, or 4.8 fWAR.

 

So for Pujols to be "satisfactory" in 2015, he has to earn that $24M, which is roughly 4.5 to 5 WAR. I'm guessing he would need at least an .850 OPS.

 

As for Hamilton, he makes $25M next year and had a 1.1 fWAR in 89 games this year with a .745 OPS, a pace of about 2 WAR in a full season. He's got a long way to go. I'll say he needs the same as Pujols, an .850 OPS to be satisfactory.

 

So yeah, all of that to get to this: .850. And that's just "satisfactory." .900 OPS is closer to expected value for the money, .950+ good value.

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Two things are for sure.

Pujols needs a significantly better OPS than he had in 2014. Yes he was healthy, but the OPS wasn't much better than in 2013 when he was hurt (.767 in 2013, .790 in 2014).

Hamilton needs significantly better than the .741 OPS that he has had since coming here.

Why would you expect Pujols to improve? What you see is what you get. He's an above average player being paid like the best player in baseball. And there's really nowhere to go but down at this point. Why would he suddenly improve from last season? The Angels better hope he just stays the same for a few more years.

And I wouldn't expect much of anything out of Hammy. I wouldn't be shocked if he gets released by around the end of next year.

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Why would you expect Pujols to improve? What you see is what you get. He's an above average player being paid like the best player in baseball. And there's really nowhere to go but down at this point. Why would he suddenly improve from last season? The Angels better hope he just stays the same for a few more years.

And I wouldn't expect much of anything out of Hammy. I wouldn't be shocked if he gets released by around the end of next year.

I would more expect it around the end of 2016.  Gonna be real tough to eat more than one year of that contract.

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Yeah, I don't see Hamilton being released next year. If he bombs again next year, more likely we see extended DL stints and numerous chances to get things going. The sad thing is that the Angels simply don't have any other options - look at the minors. I mean, Cowgill is a passable 4th outfielder but he's probably not better than Hamilton. Maybe they convert Green? The only decent outfield prospect--meaning, with a potential to be at least an average major league regular--is Natanael Delgado, who probably won't be ready for the big leagues until 2018.

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I don't think Pujols was that far off from 2014 being a "satisfactory" year. I'd like to see an OPS+ from him of 135-140. He was at 125 this year, and 138 in 2012 (with his .859 OPS; I am sure that now an .859 OPS would give him a 145 OPS+). I don't think it is unreasonable to think he could possibly climb up to the 135-140 range with better plate discipline.

Hamilton is just a lost cause. We'd be lucky to get an OPS+ of 110 out of him.

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wRC+ of 125 would be acceptable from both.  Providing some semblance of lineup depth would be key.  

 

You could argue that Pujols is still capable of being a middle of the lineup guy.  He's got a little dangerous in him.  

 

Hamilton is a 25mil per year platoon player or 4th OFer.  Any season from him where he can be a capable 4/5 hitter and provide some level of lineup presence would be a total bonus.  

 

Fortunately, the lineup is very balanced.  We had the best offense in the league and there wasn't one player you could consider as having some sort of crazy aberrant good season.  

 

So as long as Pujols and Hamilton give us similar performances, I expect the offense to be pretty similar.  

 

We need one strong rotation arm and maybe a Grilli type for the pen.  That will keep us in the mix to be tops in the division.  Another back end rotation arm would be a nice bonus.  Pipe dream would be that even if they keep Josh around, they go out and get a leadoff type for the OF and move everyone down a spot.  Don't think they'll spend the money on that and frankly I'd rather see them get pitching anyway.  Pujols won't be moving out of the three spot regardless.  

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