Thursday, July 01, 2010

Searching for a Pitching Upgrade?

posted by Jon Williams
Hi Jon

Looking to improve my pitching and capitalize on what I think is a buy-low / sell-high.

I deal:
Carl Crawford, Billy Butler, Scott Baker and Carlos Marmol

I get:
Justin Upton, Juan Pierre, Dan Haren and Huston Street.

I'm thinking I net even on steals, saves and Ks and am sacrificing RBI and Average for improved pitching ratios and upside potential in both Upton and Haren.

What do you think?
I think we should start by looking at the stats of the players involved.

Carl Crawford - .310/.373/.488, with seven homers, 57 runs, 38 RBI and 27 stolen bases

Crawford seems to be past his shoulder problems. He hit .296/.380/.481 with 12 stolen bases in June. The last seven days he has hit .364/.364/.455 so he doesn't seem to be slowing down at all.

Billy Butler - .322/.377/.480, with 8 homers, 40 runs, 42 RBI and zero stolen bases

Billy Butler is having a nice season. He might be slower to develop the power we'd like to see out of our first basemen but there is very little to complain about here. For June he is batting .284/.333/.461 and .304/.385/.478 the lat seven days.

Scott Baker - 4.97 ERA/4.07 FIP/3.81 xFIP with six wins, 7.78 K9, 1.78 BB9, and 1.41 HR9

June has not been kind to Scott Baker. But most of the problem as illustrated by his xFIP has been poor luck. With a regression closer to his FIP seeming likely, I think he will have an excellent second half.

Carlos Marmol - 2.27 ERA/2.32 FIP/ 2.84 xFIP with two wins, 14 saves, 16.65 K9, 6.31 BB9 0.25 HR9

Marmol isn't always great in non-save situations. The Cubs losing ways don't help. However, Marmol has provided excellent numbers and a decent save total. He has a pretty firm grip on the closer role at this point.

Now, the return package:

Justin Upton - .269/.355/.472 with 14 homers, 48 runs, 39 RBI, 11 stolen bases

Upton began the season rather slow but has hit .312/.423/.548 with six homers and three stolen bases in June. Crawford has been better than him thus far but if Upton keeps up his current pace he will have been the better player at the end of the season.

Juan Pierre - .249/.317/ .279 with zero homers, 39 runs, 13 RBI and 29 stolen bases

Juan Pierre is not a great hitter. However he has value to fantasy teams because the White Sox let him run wild. Unfortunately he provides zero power and not much run production. I would not expect his numbers to improve but they shouldn't decline much either.

Dan Haren - 4.56 ERA/3.90 FIP/3.43 xFIP with seven wins, 8.90 K9, 1.70 BB9, 1.47 HR9

Haren has not been as bad as Baker but they both have had rotten luck. This is especially surprising in the year of the pitcher. Haren has not been particularly great of late. He may be an upgrade over Baker but not a tremendous one.

Huston Street - his stats are irrelevant at this point

Street has just returned to the Rockies active roster after spending most of the season on the disabled list. I can ignore my code against trading for pitchers recently coming off the disabled list (even ones with shoulder injuries and a lot of bad injury history). However, I still have to point out that despite achieving his first save, manager Jim Tracy is insisting that the closer-by-committee is still in effect. This is not to say he won't re-earn the job, just that he does not yet have it secured.

In Conclusion
Whew...so. Our reader is looking for a pitching upgrade. There is probably one here, assuming Street stays healthy and becomes the closer again. Not an assumption I would make, but it is a fair possibility. It is a risk but one that is (as the reader surmised) at the cost of batting average, probably a few homers and some RBI production. I believe he'll actually gain in steals. But the actual difference in pitching is almost nothing. For perhaps a few points of ERA, you lose quite a bit if nothing changes.

The entire trade seems to hinge on Dan Haren pitching like the top ten pitcher he was expected to be. He has yet to show much of that Haren to this point. And although I don't really believe in labeling players first or second half players, Haren is definitely more of the later. Check out his last three years of stats:

By Day/Month ERA W L SV SVO G GS CG IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
April2.10960017171111.283352692189.203
May3.07640016160111.18838381119103.214
June1.80910017171120.17726241123110.180
July2.771030016161107.199393362399.236
August4.97760017170108.213264602119112.295
September4.38460016161102.212253501127101.298
October7.5001001106.0955117.346

















Pre All-Star2.3427130056563385.02841151003370342.202

















Post All-Star4.3318140044441283.03261451363763279.286

I would save my trade ammo for a more certain upgrade. I think the risk that nothing is gained in the desired areas is too strong in this deal. I would pass and look to acquire a pitcher performing better right now. Perhaps one of these guys:

NameTeamK/9BB/9K/BBHR/9AVGWHIPBABIPLOB%ERAFIPE-FxFIP

Francisco LirianoTwins9.672.463.930.18.2591.26.35571.9 %3.472.201.273.01
Cliff LeeMariners7.340.4715.600.47.2350.92.28971.6 %2.452.340.103.31
Josh JohnsonMarlins8.922.253.960.33.2020.96.27081.9 %1.832.47-0.643.17
Roy HalladayPhillies7.751.186.590.69.2571.11.31580.3 %2.422.85-0.433.04
Tim LincecumGiants10.163.652.790.52.2311.25.31975.9 %3.132.880.253.22
Jered WeaverAngels10.452.124.920.97.2331.09.31175.3 %3.012.930.083.22
Yovani GallardoBrewers9.913.802.610.50.2231.23.30479.2 %2.562.97-0.413.46
Jon LesterRed Sox9.343.452.710.42.2051.11.27776.5 %2.863.02-0.163.44
Ubaldo JimenezRockies8.123.192.550.40.1991.05.25586.2 %1.833.08-1.243.68
Adam WainwrightCardinals8.602.413.560.68.2131.03.26981.3 %2.343.11-0.773.28
Any other opinions on this deal out there? Feel free to leave your questions, comments or even complaints in the comment section.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Pauly said...

I agree 100% that this trade isnt worth making. And you didn't touch on the fact that Marmol leads all major league RPs in strikeouts and K/9.

For the deal above, the team is easily giving up the best 2 players in the deal: Crawford (the best by a mile) and Marmol (second-best).

Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 2:52:00 PM EDT  

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