At first glance, it seems crazy. A bad-body post-peak designated hitter that was under replacement last year 3 years? $30 million? Billy Butler towards the Athletics? A team which has never had three ten million dollar players around the roster at one time accomplished it the very first time in order to sign a guy that might not take part in the field?

What whether it wasnt so crazy.

Youd think a straight dollars for wins analysis would hate the offer, also Lamar Miller Jersey it does. Steamer has Butler down for ~1.5 wins the coming year (theres a bug on his page currently), and wins per dollars analysis isnt likely to love that production. The fans median crowdsourced projection was two years and $18 million, therefore the crowd think its an exce sive amount of, too.

Dan Szymborski was generous enough to supply a four-year projection for Butler in Oakland, and its a little more hopeful:


Szymborskis projection system dings designated hitters a little bit le s than our current positional values in WAR here. His work mirrors MGLs focus on the designated hitter penalty. A healthy player hits worse as a designated hitter or off the bench like a pinch hitter than he does if he adopts the area. So if Butler has hit to the tune of 17% better than league average (once his park and league were taken into effect), hes done so despite that penalty. And since every team within the American League has to field a designated hitter, and hes shown the skill to become a designated hitter, perhaps we are undervaluing his work by penalizing him 17.5 runs with respect to players that play in the field.

Its TJ Yates Jersey important to note the designated hitter penalty *is* included in current FanGraphs WAR, making this a discu sion of how big that penalty actually is. And various tries to measure it have come up with different results. ZiPs isnt really that rather more optimistic than Steamer, probably. Were still a couple wins lacking a good deal.

But so far weve ignored Butlers fit on his new team, which is something which should be considered. His steamer projected wOBA (.340) might have him tied for that second-best around the team with Brandon Mo s. But Brandon Mo s is very much the kind of hitter the Athletics have gathered during the last few years. Butler is extremely different. This is an excellent thing.

Mo s had the second-fewest ground balls per fly ball in baseball last year. The Athletics hit the fewest ground balls per fly ball in baseball last year. This isn't the very first time someone has noticed this Andrew Koo showed that fly-ball hitters prosper against ground-ball pitchers which the Athletics were a sembling a fly-ball lineup, most likely to combat the growing trend of ground-ball pitching in the big leagues.

Only seven hitters by having an isolated slugging percentage over .100 hit more ground balls per fly ball than Butler this past year. Butler could pair well with Mo s within the lineup and supply diversity, that is odd for a dude like him, but probably true.

This isnt nece sarily something we must believe without evidence either.

We know, a minimum of, there are synergistic effects in lineups. Certain batter events are worth more in various teams and lineups. So its not all batter fits every team the same, even batters with the same overall offensive value. Heres a bit about why from Steve Staud:

However, when it comes to particularly bad or good offenses, or to individuals with unusual breakdowns, wOBA will lose some of its effectivene s. Why? There are synergistic effects in offenses to consider. First of all, if a team gets on base a lot, you will see more team plate appearances to go around, which obviously gives its batters more chances to contribute. Secondly, if the team gets on base a lot, a batters hits are generally more vital, because theyll have a tendency to drive in additional runs. And, obviously, once the batter gets on base in this team, it will likely be likelier there is a hit (or series of hits) to drive him Reshard Cliett Jersey in. Overturn of all three points holds true inside a team that rarely gets on base.

Basically, players with similar wOBA dont also have the same effect on a team. Staud procedes to say that to some low-walk team (the Royals had the worst walk rate in baseball last year), the house run is worth over ten times Quintin Demps Jersey as much as a walk. But to some high-walk team (the As led baseball in walk percentage last year), the home run is just worth 5 times as much as a walk. So Butler might be more vital to the Athletics than to the Royals just according to his distribution of offense alone.

But remember back to those disastrous games from the Angels late season, and Butlers addition might have to go beyond home runs and walks. The Angles were third in baseball in fly ball percentage last season and also the Athletics had all sorts of problems against them with their fly-ball hitting lineup. Now theyll have Craig Gentry, Sam Fuld, and Billy Butler there to perhaps put some pre sure on the fly-ball pitchers. This wrinkle on lineup synergy effects is one thing we may need to take on faith for the time being, but its fairly intuitive that the mixed lineup would fare better than a homogenous lineup a minimum of in certain situations.

Lets say these synergistic effects, and the value Butler has to this specific team, push Butlers production for the Athletics to in exce s of four wins making him a reasonable signing. We dont actually be aware of true worth of these effects, so its difficult to say. But if they come from being a high-walk, high-ground-ball rate hitter arent there other guys that could have done the same thing for that team, at a cheaper rate?

Not really. There have been only fifteen hitters this past year that had an isolated slugging percentage over .100 (.150 is all about league average), had an above-average walk rate, and hit more ground balls per fly ball than league average. The only free representative is Chase Headley, and hell be more expensive than Butler and plays a position where the Athletics dont have a need. The rest are stars. Well, theres David Freese, but also, he plays third and would cost you a prospect of some kind. So Butlers offensive profile is simply not as plentiful as you might think.

Of course, it will likely be weird to po se s a full-time DH around the team when theyve had some injury problems with the present guys on the roster and something of the catchers may not catch again and today theyve had a glut of men within the corner outfield and first base and so forth and so forth. However the offseason isnt over yet, so the depth chart can be figured Tony Bergstrom Jersey out later.

In the meantime, for a price that is much more reasonable in recent times, the Athletics added some lineup diversity having a rare offensive skillset at a position that people may undervalue. Billy Butler probably fits his new team a lot better than his old team, a minimum of.

Even if this is still a head-scratcher of a deal whenever you consider it as spending $30 million for three years of a post-peak designated hitter, theres more to the eye. Perhaps through this lens, its an understandable deal.