Comments on: The Prestige of Small Payroll Baseball – Tampa Bay Rays 2008-10 Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Thu, 13 Nov 2014 00:16:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Joel Miller Thu, 26 Jul 2012 18:50:00 +0000 Addressing the trade and more specifically Wandy vs. Maholm using my favored simple metric for pitchers, FIP. Wandy has been the better pitcher this year with a 3.82 FIP vs. Maholm’s 3.98. Past 4 seasons? Still Wandy 3.71 vs. 3.89.More importantly, Kevin Correia has an abyssmal FIP of 4.98 after a season where he had a 4.99 FIP. Correia’s best recent FIP is 2009 at 3.76 in 33 starts.

The rest of the rotation: McDonald: 3.60, Burnett: 3.55, Bedard 3.83, Karstens: 2.72.

For reference, a pitcher with a 4.99 FIP with an average defense is expected to give up an average of 5.4 Runs/9 IP. Wandy should give up an average of 4.15 Runs/9 IP. Basically, I can sum up my comments as follows:
Wandy > Maholm > Correia
Correia has been exceptionally lucky this year with a 4.24 ERA against an expected 4.98. Bedard has been unlucky with an ERA of 4.32 vs. an expected ERA of 3.83. McDonald is probably still the best pitcher in the rotation despite a couple bad starts recently.

By: Marcus J Thu, 26 Jul 2012 15:18:00 +0000 I expected given the prospect package the Bucs were giving up that the Astros would have been kicking in more than $12 million on the contract. I don’t love the deal but I don’t hate it either. My biggest concern is the opportunity cost. With Wandy and AJ Burnett costing the Bucs in excess of $16 million next season what kind of controllable position player can the Pirates afford?

By: Mark Ludwig Thu, 26 Jul 2012 14:33:00 +0000 If one buy’s into the drop in his K-rate this year, then I agree that Wandy carries some risk. However, I don’t think it’s fair to make it seem like it’s a trend that’s been going on since 2010. Do you know the difference between Wandy’s 2010 K rate and his 2011 K rate? It’s 8 strikeouts. Eight strikeouts in 30 starts and 191 innings pitched. It’s really tough to say that’s anything meaningful. This seasons drop is meaningful but since the velocity is the same and his curve still looks great, it strikes me more as a change in approach (and maybe not a good one) that leads to the change in his K rate.

By: st1300b Thu, 26 Jul 2012 13:28:00 +0000 Just to join in, the trade will play itself out like all other trades and rating it will come at a later date.
I will however say that I think getting another proven vet, southy, SP for this season is hard to argue with – and to give him the opportunity to make a push along with this team for playoff baseball is exactly the kind of opportunity those vet’s like. I expect a real strong second half from Wandy.
By the way, I really appreciate the fact that we don’t have to come up with a *-Rod monniker for him too!

By: Eric Delp Thu, 26 Jul 2012 04:56:00 +0000 I understand that you were using your own opinion of the prospects in question. But you can’t apply prospect values based on Baseball America’s (or John Sickels’s) opinions to your own opinions. There aren’t any studies showing that top 51-100 hitting prospects on your list are worth $10.4M. (Not to mention that you’ve routinely said that you don’t follow other teams’ farm systems all that closely, making your top 100 ranking pretty arbitrary and unhelpful.) Preseason grades are relevant because we don’t have any more current information from BA or Sickels from which to derive prospect values. So it’s not just a difference of opinion here; there’s also a fundamental flaw in your analysis.

That said, what you’re article essentially shows is that even if you’re optimistic about the prospects involved, the values on each side more or less match up. So I don’t see any reason not to like the deal. You can worry all you want about Wandy, but you should spend an equal amount of effort worrying about all of the many ways in which Grossman, Owens, and Cain might not ever become good major leaguers.

I’m interested in your take on the deal, but I don’t see much logic to the argument you’ve presented in this article.

By: szielinski Thu, 26 Jul 2012 03:41:00 +0000 You forgot to include the fact that this trade occurred in a seller’s market.

By: Tim Williams Thu, 26 Jul 2012 03:01:00 +0000 I appreciate your thoughts on this. It all boils down to a difference in opinion. My grades on Grossman weren’t based on pre-season, but my projection of him now. Same with Owens and Cain. So talking about what he was pre-season is irrelevant. We’d just have to agree to disagree.

Also, I think Wandy is good. But I think he’s become a pitcher that is easier to acquire with the lower K rates. And the lower K rates, plus his age, concerns me going forward.

By: Eric Delp Thu, 26 Jul 2012 02:37:00 +0000 Tim, you are vastly overrating the prospects here, and vastly underrating Wandy. Grossman is not a top 100 prospect. Not only was he not in BA’s top 100 over the offseason, he was behind both McPherson and Sanchez, neither of whom were in the top 100 either, and he’s done nothing to raise his stock this year. I realize that KLaw and Goldstein ranked him in their top 100s, but none of the prospect value studies done have used KLaw or Goldstein’s top 100s as their data sets. The only prospect value we can really put on Grossman is the $5.5M for being a Grade B hitter according to Sickels. So roughly half the value you are giving him here.

Furthermore, Sickels gave Owens a C+ last offseason, not a B. Owens has certainly raised his stock some, but the persistent questions about his stuff combined with his mediocre K rates probably keep him from a B grade. That makes him worth $1.5M, not $7.3M. Even if you want to split the difference, you’re giving him too much credit.

Overall, the prospect package we gave up is worth more like $9M than $19M. Even if you want to give Grossman and Owens some extra credit (which you obviously do), I don’t think it’s accurate to literally double their value.

Conversely, you do Wandy a disservice by comparing him to Maholm. He’s posted consistently better results in a far less favorable stadium. Even limiting ourselves to this year’s results (which is not a good analytical model), you yourself point out that Wandy is striking out more batters, walking fewer, and getting more groundballs. Sure, the margins of difference are slim, but it adds up to a 6% difference in xFIP relative to average. Which is the same as the career difference between the two pitchers in both ERA- and xFIP-. Six percent may not sound like a lot, but it’s pretty huge – roughly 0.25 runs per 9 innings. On top of that, Wandy is more durable than Maholm. He started at least 30 games and pitched at least 6 IP per start in every year from 2009-2011, and he’s on pace to do it again this season. Maholm is very durable in his own right, but he failed to make 30 starts last year and has pitched 6 IP per start in only one of the last three seasons. WAR reflects these differences: according to fangraphs, Wandy has been worth 1.4 more wins than Maholm over the past three seasons. If you use B-Ref instead, the difference improves to 2.6 wins.

There are certainly some concerns in Wandy’s profile – his age, his declining K rate, his general lack of dominance – and those would make for an interesting discussion, but trying to compare him to Paul Maholm is not an interesting discussion. He’s clearly much better.

In conclusion, I respectfully submit that your analysis is extremely flawed here. For reasons already mentioned, you’re obviously overrating the prospects the Pirates gave up and underrating the player they got back.

By: Tim Williams Wed, 25 Jul 2012 22:38:00 +0000 They’ve got the amounts flipped. That’s what the Pirates are paying.

By: Joel Davis Wed, 25 Jul 2012 21:51:00 +0000 There seems to be some confusion regarding the amounts being paid by Pirates/Houston. It looks to me like Houston is paying 1.7, 8.5, 7.5. See MLBtraderumors and espn article. This makes a big difference in trade value!