|More Projection Notes
- Yusmeiro Petit at least has the chance to be good someday, making Arizona the clear winner of the Jorge Julio trade. That said, his low groundball rate and high homer rate limits any possible short-term optimism.
- Doug Davis simply isn't the same pitcher he was in 2005. The K-rate isn't going to come back, and his ERA, particularly in that park, should rise.
- Will Jose Valverde carry any baggage from his "walk-off walk" in the playoffs against the Rockies? Even without that, it's not that likely that he'll be as valuable as he was in 2007. The Diamondbacks provided a ton of save situations with all the close games that they played. While he's a legit closer with a fantastic strikeout rate, his walk rate, HR rate and lack of stamina are all legitimate concerns.
- Do you want to get me to spend money early in an auction? Bring up Chad Billingsley. Whether by accident or design, the Dodgers used the "Earl Weaver" manner of developing him by sticking him in the bullpen to start the season before moving him back into the rotation, with awesome results. Young stud pitchers tend to get overvalued (wait until you see the results of the Mock Auction that we had for the magazine), apparently not just by me, but this is one I'm comfortable overpaying for.
- Derek Lowe's three seasons in Los Angeles have been remarkably (with apologies to Ken Tremendous for using this term) consistent, at least in terms of ERA/WHIP/BB-rate. The contract that former GM Paul DePodesta signed him to doesn't look too bad in light of the current market.
- Were the Giants seriously contemplating trading Tim Lincecum for Alex(is) Rios prior to signing Rowand? Isn't that borderline insane? Rios has been fine the last two seasons, and sure, they need offense, but Lincecum screams potential ace for the next 10 years (the next two of which will be insanely cheap, and the following three reasonable as well). I can't see that working out well for them.
- Noah Lowry's K:BB really deteriorated last year, yet he lowered his ERA from 4.74 to 3.92 - how did he do it? Mostly by inducing more groundballs and fewer homers, with a little help from the bullpen as well. He might have been a good decline candidate anyhow, following the bone spurs in his elbow that ended his season. But from a statistical point-of-view, he's certainly not a good bet to repeat his sub-4.00 ERA.
- Nominally there's a job battle for the closer's job in San Francisco, but Tyler Walker really isn't an alternative. Count on Brian Wilson winning that battle fairly easily.
Posted by Jeff Erickson at 12/14/2007 3:14:00 PM
|The Mitchell Report
|The Mitchell Report is kind of a dud. It seems to be basically what everyone already knew (with perhaps a few exceptions). And when naming names throws a Scarlett S on each player's chest for the rest of his life, well, the "investigation" should have been much more thorough to be fair -- obviously many more players used steroids than the ones named, and most of the naming is based on circumstantial evidence. And more managers, general managers, trainers and owners -- and commissioners -- should have been skewered.
That said, the importance of the report and why it matters, it seems to me, is it places the Steroids Era officially on the record. Prior to this, calling the last 20 years "the Steroids Era" was open for debate. That's no longer the case. The records put up in this era must now be looked at through that lens.
And Bud Selig should resign because it happened under his watch.
Posted by Jason Thornbury at 12/13/2007 12:47:00 PM
|More Projection Notes
- Interesting demonstration of the fickleness of closer values - Jason Isringhausen was a considerably better pitcher in 2007 than in 2006, yet ended up with one fewer save (32).
- Does Troy Percival hold the Rays' closer job all year long? I think it's possible - Al Reyes might not be that big of a threat, considering his second half fade.
- Raise your hand if you think the Ryan Dempster starter experiment will work. I didn't think so .... I also don't think it's likely that Jason Marquis will be successful. That means the Cubs will have to scramble to fill the back end of their starting rotation - Sean Gallagher and Sean Marshall might become very important to the Cubs' chances of winning.
- I really distrust relief prospects. For every Huston Street, it seems like there are three Chad Orvella's (grammatical misuse notwithstanding). I'm not even giving Orvella a projection this year - I doubt that he gets a whole lot of service time.
- I'm not yet ready to write off J.P. Howell however, even after the Rays went out and got Matt Garza. Even with the hideous ERA, he's been able to maintain a pretty high strikeout rate at the major league level. I'm a sucker for high K-rates for starting pitchers - it's a sign of ability and talent that just hasn't been honed yet.
- More crappy defense, Tampa Bay style. Here are the BABIP's against for the Rays' starters:
J.P. Howell .391
Edwin Jackson .351
Scott Kazmir .341
James Shields .292
Andrew Sonnanstine .329
Keeping B.J. Upton in the outfield for a full season and off second base and replacing Brendan Harris with Jason Bartlett at shortstop is a great start at improving that team defense. Getting a healthy Rocco Baldelli to patrol center field would work wonders as well. (Fill in your own metaphor here as to the likelihood of having Baldelli healthy for any appreciable amount of time.)
Posted by Jeff Erickson at 12/13/2007 2:12:00 AM
|Pitcher Projection Notes
|I'm in the middle of doing the projections for our magazine for the 2008 season, and wanted to share a few quick notes/observations from doing the projections. I'm going with the bullet point form and the blog format rather than a formal article. I hope to do a few similar posts in the ensuing days.
- Projecting the A's is tough - is Duchscherer really going to start, how many games do you give Harden, and will they trade a starter? Right now, I'm still treating Duchscherer as a reliever.
- I'm assuming that Chad Qualls will be the Astros' closer, if not a terribly effective one.
- A.J. Burnett's K/9 last year was 9.56 - that's pretty awesome for a starter. One of these years he's going to put together a monster year. The more I think about it, the less I hate his contract. Better to gamble on a guy with such clear upside than spend market rate on a "safe" guy. Better still in roto.
- I'm assuming BJ Ryan misses at least the start of the season.
- Injured Braves: Gonzalez, Hampton, Lerew, plus Dotel. Hampton in particular is a nightmare to project - you're really just throwing darts.
- Tim Hudson only allowed 10 homers in 224.1 innings last year. While my first inclination is that rate won't last, it's not the first time he's had a freakishly low rate.
- How serious was Chris Capuano's shoulder injury - he has to be one of the bigger "healthy" disappointments of 2007.
- I have a pretty aggressive projection on Yovani Gallardo (14-7, 3.38, 1.230 WHIP), but he had a pretty damn good rookie season, one that would look a lot better but for one Coors Field thrashing (2.2 IP, 12 H, 11 ER).
- Beyond the usual injury concerns for Ben Sheets, there's also the drop in his strikeout rate (from 9.85/9IP to 6.75) and rise in the walk rate (from 0.93/9IP to 2.36). His overall projection will still look pretty good, at least in terms of the rate stats, but you just can't go too far out on a limb on him.
- Check out the BABIP's against for the Brewers' starting pitchers:
David Bush .327
Chris Capuano .340
Yovani Gallardo .311
Ben Sheets .293
Jeff Suppan .324
That's a pretty strong indictment against their team defense - it's not just the errors, but the poor range factors, the plays that could/should have been made but weren't. Most people know what a butcher Ryan Braun was at third base, but the Brewers were also getting below-average defense from Rickie Weeks and Bill Hall, and possibly even Corey Hart. There's a good reason that the Brewers are in the market for a decent third baseman, with the idea of moving Braun to left field. Even with that, they still probably won't be that good of a defensive team, and expect that to be reflected in their team ERA. It might also cause them to overvalue other teams' pitchers and undervalue their own.
Posted by Jeff Erickson at 12/12/2007 1:24:00 AM