Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Unbearable Meaninglessness of Brian Dopirak's Monster Season

The first thing that struck us as we looked at Brian Dopirak's outstanding numbers in the minor leagues this year is how much they look like J.P. Arencibia's from a year ago. To wit:

In 2008, Arencibia hit 27 homers and drove in 105, posting a .322 OBP and a .527 SLG (.850 OPS) in a season split between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Syracuse.

In 2009, Dopirak hit 27 homers and drove in 102, posting a .371 OBP and a .549 SLG (.921 OPS) in a season split between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Las Vegas.

In spite of the promise that the Jays' (excuse us for saying this) Catcher of the Future showed last season, Arencibia's offense dropped off significantly enough to qualify as a disappointment. Despite the move to alleged offensive haven of the Pacific Coast League, Arencibia's tallies for 2009 fell across the board (21 HRs, 75 RsBI, .282 OBP, .444 SLG, .728 OPS).

It bears mentioning that some reports say that Arencibia has improved his defense, and it is possible that an increased emphasis on his position behind the dish contributed to some drop off at the dish. Also, Arencibia's numbers began to improve over the final stretch (.789 OPS in August, .920 OPS in one week's worth of September), including a red-hot final 10 games (6 homers and 15 RsBI), so maybe there is room to hope.

Dopirak's 2009 season was actually stronger than Arencibia's 2008 given his higher rate stats, and the much higher OBP would give you the impression that those are numbers that will be far easier to replicate in the coming seasons. Still, one great year in the minors isn't any sort of assurance that Dopirak could even reproduce the same numbers in a full season of Triple-A, much less in the Bigs.

We'd love to think that Dopirak could make that step, and become something resembling what Lyle Overbay used to be: A doubles machine and a run producer. But at this point, we just don't feel like we can put all that much stock in what Dopirak's done.

FML Update: Aww, fuck me. Of course the Drunks go down exactly the same road as me on Dopirak on the same day, and get their post up before mine.

Well fuck it: I don't have an infinite amount of time to convince the handful of anonymous jag offs that I don't just copy/paste their posts into my blog. So I'm not going to start from scratch, because chances are that whatever I write next will be covered off somewhere else.

If it bothers you that we're writing about the same fucking things all the time, then just read their blog and leave me alone.


The Ack said...

"FML Update"....I like that. Works on so many levels this season.

So, yeah, I used my best commenting material "over there", but to paraphrase.....at this point, I'll even take false hope.

But whether he's Josh Phelps or, uh, "some late bloomer who came up and stuck around to enjoy a productive career", we'll never know. Not this year anyway.

One thing we do know.....he's not Kevin Millar.

Drew - LtB said...

Is it wrong of me to consider those extra 50 points of OBP a big deal? An extra walk a week ain't nothing.

Mattt said...

A walk a week is more than the total offensive production of Millar per week...

Anonymous said...

Yo all the advanced statistics (Davenport translations, etc) tell us that Dopirak would be worse than Millar if called up to the majors right now.

He is hitting 272/312/379 outside of the Las Vegas Comedy Launching Pad (tm). So he isn't even raking in AAA outside of the field that makes Coors look like Petco.

tl'dr Dopirak sucks always has always will

plain_g said...

over the course of the season, it's been alarmingly evident that the jays need more pop in the lineup. since rios left, it seems like they're doing better (39 hr in aug, 5th in al), but they've also gone from the best fielding club in the majors, to a club that's made 24 errors in the last month. is the pendulum swinging too far the other way?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but they include boner instructions while you reference a heady Czech novel...who wins? It's a toss up -- pun intended.

Tao of Stieb said...


Yeah, those 50 points are significant. That's what I was trying to get at with the discussion of "rate stats". Arencibia's big K-rate and low-BB rate are a little scary when looking at him as a MLB catcher. (Would be interesting to see the numbers that Napoli or Doumit put up...will look that up.)

@Anonymous Davenport quoter
What do all of those systems say? It's one thing to say that they say he'd be worse...but I think you've gotta back that up.

Also, isn't the stadium in LV close to 440 feet in CF? I know the air is thin and what not, but I didn't get the impression that it is inherently a homer park. (Maybe lots of doubles and triples)...

Tao of Stieb said...

Ok, so since anonymous commenters won't back their shit up, we'll go look for ourselves.

Davenport's regular translation for Dopirak puts him at .302/.434, so an OPS of .736.

Millar is rocking a stellar .297/.379 for an OPS of .651.

Now, maybe your math is different than mine, but I'd take a .736 OPS over a .651 OPS from a corner infielder.

Anonymous said...

Tao, we actually read your posts.

Over there I tend to just scan them for the general topic to bat back and forth. Stoeten in particular contradicts himself to the point where it's unreadable.

Anonymous said...


The outfield is giant for the same reason Colorado has a huge outfield: with the way the air is there the ball flies off the bat like it has a rocket strapped to its ass. LV isn't the only team like this in the PCL. Dallas McPherson a year or two again put up some silly numbers in the PCL but didn't get called up because being able to hit home runs in Salt Lake doesn't mean jack.

Here are BP's funky translations: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/minoreqa.php

Since I last checked, Dopirak has inched past Millar but is still in the realm of godawful. Millar is hitting 222/309/371. Dopirak's stats translate to a lovely 265/302/434 and a studly .251 EQA which only becomes worst when attached to a hitter who can barely even field first base.

I'd rather give the PAs to McDonald since he's been on the team the whole year and should finally get some, or to Casey Janssen for comedy value.

Tao of Stieb said...

Again, repeating what I said above: given the option, I'd take the extra 63 points in slugging from Dopirak.

It's not a solution that's going to make the Jays a contender, but this team shouldn't feel like it can afford to keep extra production like that in reserve.

Whatever. They didn't even bother to call up Dopirak, so five years from now, he'll become someone else's Randy Ruiz.

Darren Priest said...

You don't honestly think Randy Ruiz is going to keep it up do you?

If so, I hope you're right.

Never figured you for an eternal optimist, but I must say, I like it!

Anonymous said...

"Again, repeating what I said above: given the option, I'd take the extra 63 points in slugging from Dopirak."

Why Dopirak? On the same team, Kevin Howard, has an 11 points lead in EQA. Advocating Dopirak since he's better than Millar is like advocating Pol Pot because he's better than Hitler. Instead of weighing the two, the Jays should instead pursue a player whose offence isn't a crime against humanity. Dopirak doesn't belong anywhere near a major league roster, and the continued support for him is baffling.

Anonymous said...

And yes, Kevin Millar is literally Hitler.

You can quote me on that.

Tao of Stieb said...

No, actually, it's nothing like that.

And I don't think that 11 points of EQA projection merits such absurd and insensitive hyperbole.

Millar and Dopirak are baseball players. Let's keep things in perspective.

Reading that comment seriously, it just makes me want to shut the whole fucking blog down.


Tao of Stieb said...

And seriously, "a crime against humanity"?

Fuck you. Fuck you right in your smug fucking face.

Mattt said...

I think it would be a good idea to stick to the whole baseball thing here. Offensive analogies might make you feel smart but they definitely don't make you look it...

stonedog said...

"And you can quote me on that."

You're a fucking anonymous commenter, douchebag. How are we supposed to 'quote' you? Do you find it intimidating to talk to preschoolers knowing that they outclass you in every conceivable way?

Yes, that was also a dick joke.

And I know, don't feed the trolls, but that was some repugnant shit.

Voodoo Matt said...

You know what, Tao?

I just got back from Toronto where I took the family to two games, Friday and Saturday. It was a blast. It helped that some guy threw a really good game and handed out 0-fers like they were candy. Taking kids to a junior Jays Saturday is something I recommend to any parent.

I guess the point I'm shooting for is: This shit is supposed to be fun and if you get away from all the dick-bags on the internet and enjoy it for what it is (i.e. seeing Johnny Mac make a damn fine catch IN LEFT FIELD is entertaining), you can have a great time.

So keep up with the great posts and don't worry about the jerks. And try to enjoy some top quality baseball (No comments on this one, it beats the hell out of the Calgary Vipers)

eyebleaf said...

I hate Millar. I think we all do. But I think we all know where to draw the line. That was some DJF shit right there.

You know what we need? A big Gay Jays Fan logo to flash across the internet, because we need our good pal to come on over and shut this thread down.

Steve G. said...

... uh anyway.

Keeping in mind that PECOTA is from before this season, it pegged Dopirak at a .220 EQA, with a 90th percentile of .263 and a 10th percentile of .163. Although it is in a hitter's park and he is old for the level, I imagine his season this year would give him another quality season in his 2010 projection, canceling out one of his injured / subpar years.

For Millar, his PECOTA projection for this year was a .256 EQA, with a range of .144 to .288. His actual EQA is .241.

Small thing left out of previous comments - Millar makes $850k, vs. whatever the minimum is ($400k?) for Dopirak. Also, Dopirak is still young enough that he could continue to improve, whereas as Millar will just continue to degrade.

Stedron said...


Tao of Stieb said...

Keep in mind that the whole point of my post was that I didn't know that we should get excited over Dopirak's great season.

I liked the Millar signing at the beginning of the year because it was a low risk thing. If he sucked, they could cash out and only end up owing him the rest of what he had left on $900K.

But he did suck, and they continue to use him in the MIDDLE OF THE LINEUP. Which is what is infuriating.

I'm not saying that Dopirak or Ruiz or whoever are necessarily the solution. But having unproductive players (Millar, J-Mac, Inglett) is a waste of the fans' time.

God forbid the Orioles have a hot week, and then we spend the rest of the season cheering for the Jays to stay out of the AL east basement.

Darren Priest said...

In defense of the anon poster, I think his tongue was firmly in cheek with that analogy. Let's keep the fainting in check, ladies.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Millar is worse than Hitler.

He has the warmth of Goebbels, the charm of Himmler and the personal hygiene of Goering.

Like Hitler his dog has no nose and smells awful.

Tao of Stieb said...

Fine. Everybody just post whatever the fuck they want.

Genocide! Ha ha! Murder! Wahoo! Holocaust! Stop! My sides are hurting!

I get it. Nobody feels anything anymore, because we're all dead inside, so we have to say shocking things to make people laugh.

So glad to provide an venue for you fuckers to push the envelope. You're welcome.

Brad Fullmer Fan said...

Stop whining Tao. And stop sucking the fun out of everything.

Tao of Stieb said...

Yo Fullmer fan: You Can't Break Me.

JaysZone93 said...

Good read, I hope this kid pans. Clearly he is worth having up next season over half the scrubs on the Jays roster, at nearly half the price of most of them.

p.s. Just wrote a V.Wells blog - possibly (ok, definitely) the worst player in the league this year. Offensively, defensively... Just utter garbage!

Brad Fullmer Fan said...

It looks like you already achieved that feat yourself.

Anonymous said...


KP said...

Dear Tao,
You are better than DJF. It's like Arrested Development vs. Family Guy. Family guy is on more often and gets cheap laughs, especially when you're passing out in bed after a long night of inebriation.

But Arrested Development, despite being available less frequently is far more satisfying and enjoyable to the keenly adjusted sense of humour. Not to mention having an extra 25 or so IQ points.

You stay classy.

Tao of Stieb said...

Hey man, don't slag the Drunks. They're good people. And all of them are probably smarter than me, at least when they're sober.

But if you want to compare me to Arrested Development, I'll take that.

(Or maybe the Wire...Can I be the Omar of the Jays' blogosphere?)

Anonymous said...

well that should get GJF to comment.

KP said...

Hey I like Family Guy. It was a playful slag. I just hate to see the Tao get down on hisself.

Brad Fullmer Fan said...

Except Arrested Development didn`t suck the fun out of everything.

Anonymous said...

hey my little bff, got any more totally awesome quips?

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