Thursday, February 7, 2019

Quick analysis of JT Realmuto to Philadelphia and a Dodgers alternative

Long rumored, recently consummated

Realmuto projects for about 4 WAR for each of the next two seasons.
The value of that production is something like $80 million
He'll earn something like $16 million

That means he'll produce about $64 million more than what he'll be paid

According to this FanGraphs analysis, Sixto Sanchez with a 60 future value (FV) is worth $60 million.  Nearly all of Realmuto's surplus value

FanGraphs gave Will Stewart (40 FV).  This analysis gives him a future value of $2 million.  That's a total of $62 million the Marlins will be receiving. 

Alfaro is projected for 1 WAR this season, and will have 5 more seasons of team control and arbitration.  Giving him a pessimistic 1 WAR for those 5 seasons and costing the Marlins a total of, say, ($500K, $500K, $1 million, $3 million, $5 million) $10 million, Alfaro is worth about $30 million.

Thus, a grand total of about $92 million going back to the Marlins. 

Unnecessary disclaimer: neither I, not FanGraphs' projections know the future with much certainty, and anyone is free to value these players differently.

Looks, from here, like the Marlins received more than fair value for Realmuto.

What might a similar trade have looked like for the Dodgers?
The Phillies gave up a top pitching prospect in Sixto Sanchez.  Dustin May is the Dodgers' best pitching prospect.  He was a 50 FV last year, maybe he's a 55 now. What's that worth? A value of between $16 and $40 million - big gap.  Take the middle - $28 million.  About $30 million less than Sixto's.

The Phillies also gave up a major league ready catcher with some experience.  The Dodgers have prospects in Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith, they also have Austin Barnes.  Barnes had a fantastic 2017, a terrible 2018 and is projected somewhere in between for 2019. A pessimistic projection for him gives him 4 seasons at 1.5 WAR for 6 WAR.  That's worth about $54 million.  $20+ million more than Alfaro's value.

At this point the Dodgers are between $5 and $10 million less than the Marlins' offer..  Who do the Dodgers have in that range?  Maybe someone like Mitch White (45 FV)?

How would Dodger fans feel about giving up Austin Barnes, Dustin May and Mitch White to get Realmuto?  I think I'd pass.  If you would sub in catching prospect Will Smith (55 FV $42 million) instead of Barnes, I think I'd do it.  If it took Keibert Ruiz (55 FV $41 million), I'd probably pass. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Contract Reviews: Happ and Morton

A couple of similar pitchers signed similar deals with a couple of AL East teams

J.A. Happ to the Yankees for 2 years and $34 million (with a vesting option for a 3rd year).
Charlie Morton to the Rays for 2 years and $30 million (with a team option for a 3rd year with the salary dependent upon how many days Morton spends on the DL during the first 2 seasons).

Happ is a year older and has been healthier - making 119 starts in the last 4 seasons to Morton's 82.  In fact, Morton considered retiring after his contract expired, but decided $30 million was enough to work a couple more years.

Morton has been better with and ERA and ERA estimators a quarter to half a run better than Happ's over the last 2 seasons.

Happ's projected, by Steamer, for 187 innings while giving up 3.82 runs per 9.  That works out to about 3.2 WAR

Morton's projection, by Steamer, is for 165 innings of 3.50 runs per 9 performance.  That's also 3.2 WAR.

Both guys are expected to produce about 6 WAR over the first 2 seasons, the market value of that WAR is $60 million.  About twice what they are earning.

The 3rd year is for 2.2 WAR and an additional $24 million.

These look like pretty team friendly deals, for two somewhat under the radar productive pitchers.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Contract Review: Andrew McCutchen

Andrew McCutchen - the face of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He put up nearly 30 WAR in the 4 seasons between 2012-2015.  That's very good.

He's also seems to be one of the more thoughtful professional athletes.

Now, he's a Philadelphia Philly for 3 years (and $50 million).  He's, at 32, certainly no the player that he once was with Pittsburgh.  Though, he's rebounded from a precipitous decline from 2015 to 2016 to remain a useful player.

The Phillies, are, as they say, upcoming.  They're loaded with young talent and on the precipice of contention. 

Does it make sense for them to sign McCutchen?

First, the projections.  Steamer projects McCutchen for 2.6 WAR in 2019.  Standard aging curves, then, have him producing like this over the life of the contract.
2019    2.6      $26
2020    2.1      $22
2021    1.6      $18
TOT     6.3      $66

All the above assumptions have McCutchen producing $16 million more than the Phillies are paying him, so, on that level, the deal makes sense. 

But, does it make sense to commit to a declining player when the teams' fortunes should be going up?

The Phillies' depth chart for 2019 had Nick Williams, Roman Quinn and Odubel Herrera as the primary outfielders.  They were projected for 3.2 WAR combined.  That's not great.  Fangraphs, had a 40 future value for Quinn, and a 45 for Williams.  Meaning that neither is expected to be an average (2 WAR ) player in the future.  So, there was certainly need for an OFer for 2019.  Quinn looks to be the lesser of the OFers, but is the most qualified to play CF.  Meaning McCutchen is more likely to replace Williams - somewhat mitigating the improvement.  Herrera has been the Phillies' CFer, but the metrics hated his defense last year (-10 UZR/150 compared to +9 and +4 in 2016 and 2017). 

The Phillies don't have much coming up from the farm either.  Adam Haseley, Mickey Moniak and Dylan Cozens are their top minor league outfielders but none are even 50 future value players, so none should be expected to be impact players.  Though Haseley and Cozens had strong seasons in the minors last year. 

So, I still don't like the idea of the Phillies giving what looks like a below average McCutchen starting OFer money when they should be in the prime of their contention window, the deal makes sense if they think they're in the running this year and next.  

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Trade Review: Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets for stuff

Wow, it's been a while since I've written a blog.  Somehow lots of stuff, but not that much has been happening since November of 2016.


I was interested in the Mets/Mariners trade and decided to take a look at it.  Since I did, I might as well put some thoughts into words.

So, here's the deal
Mariners give up 2B Robinson Cano, RP Edwin Diaz and $20 million
Mets give up OF Jay Bruce, RP Anthony Swarzak, and prospects OF Jarred Kelenic, SP Justin Dunn and RP Gerson Bautista.

Here's the deal with the deal.

First, some assumptions and sources
As always, I'm highly influenced by FanGraphs.  So, I'll be using projections and methodology from them.

Starting with Robinson Cano
Robinson Cano might be a Hall of Famer in 15 to 20 years.  He's been an incredible and consistent player.  Last year was, arguably, his worst year since his rookie year in 2005.  This is largely because he missed half of the season due to a PED suspension.  When he was on the field, he was fantastic - hitting 36% better than league average and playing plus defense.  His season was split roughly in half by the suspension (169 PA's before and 179 after).  He hit a bit better after returning (140 wRC+ to 131 wRC+) - so much for PED's enhancing performance, eh?  He' also entering the second half of a massive contract (10 years $240 million).

Then there's Edwin Diaz.  He's gone from a good starting pitching prospect to one of the league's most dominant relievers.  His 73 innings were more productive (per WAR) than Cano's  80 games and 350 PA's.  He's also super inexpensive due to MLB's manipulation of player salaries.

Then, the Mets' guys
Jay Bruce.  It was not a goo idea to sign Bruce to a 3 year $39 million contract on the strength of his 2017 season.  In the three prior seasons he had been, basically, usless (just 0.2 WAR) before resurging (or dead cat bouncing) to 2.6 WAR in 2017.  Unsurprisingly, his 2018 was a lot more like the three prior seasons as he produced just .1 WAR.

Anthony Swarzak.  Swarzak turned his own out of character 2017 into millions of Mets dollars.  He was a non-descript (1.1 WAR) starter and reliever for 7 seasons before doubling his career productions in 2017.  The Mets thought he was for real, and gave him $16 million for 2018 and 2019.  He was non-descript (-.4 WAR) in 2018.

And the prospects (I know less about them than I do about the major league players, which already isn't that much).

Jarred Kelenick is the big get.  He's an athletic and toolsy 19 year old outfielder in rookie ball.  The Fangraphs' prospect guys gave him a 50 future value, meaning they expect him to be an average everyday player in the major leagues.  He's at least 3 years from the majors.

Number 2 was Justin Dunn.  He threw 89 pretty good innings in AA last year as a right-handed starter.  He could see major league time in 2019.  The Fangraphs guys gave him a 45 future value, meaning a back-end starter or reliever in the big leagues.

Then Gerson Bautista.  The right-handed reliever made his major league debut last year with 4.3 innings for the Mets.  He wasn't great in those 4 innings, but, it's just 4 innings.  The best pitchers in baseball can be not the best for 4 innings.  He's got a 40 future value from Fangraphs which is a low-leverage reliever or guy who shuffles between AAA and the majors.

So, an overview of some guys you probably know something about if you've somehow found this random-ass blog.

Now, what I think of it.

Before looking at anything, it seemed like this would make the Mets better in the short term.  Bruce and Swarzak didn't look like much - certainly worse than Cano and Diaz.  A lot more questionable in the long-term.  The Mets give up 2 pretty good prospects in Kelenick and Dunn plus a cromulent Bautista.  Plus added the large contract of an aging Cano.

The question then becomes, "Did the Mets get enough better in the short term to justify what they gave up to get better?".

That's where some analysis comes in.  Or, you can just argue back and forth.  I prefer the former.  Then you can argue, because, hey, no one knows the future.

So, using projections by Steamer and hosted on Fangraphs, some simple aging curves and prospect valuations, we can make a somewhat educated guess about what kind of value these players have.

Starting with Cano
He's projected for 3.0 WAR in 2019.  As an aging player he's expected to lose .5 WAR each season.  He also makes $20 million per year ($24 million per year minus the $4 million per year the Mariners are sending to the Mets.  We can make a chart, like this:
YEAR        WAR      MONEY
2019        3.0        $20
2020        2.5        $20
2021        2.0        $20
2022        1.5        $20
2023        1.0        $20
TOTAL      10.0       $100

So, he's expected to produce 10 WAR and cost $100 million for a tidy $10 million per WAR.  Which, is about what 1 WAR costs on the current free agent market.  This cost typically increases each year.  Based on these assumptions, Cano's contract doesn't look that bad.  He's really only significantly underwater the final year.

How about Diaz?  He's yet to go through arbitration which puts his cost well below his market value until 2023.  He should provide significant value above and beyond what he's being paid.  But, we don't know what he'll make.  Using Kenley Jansen's salaries as a template, I estimate something like this.
YEAR        WAR      MONEY
2019        2.0        $.5
2020        2.0        $5
2021        2.0        $10
2022        2.0        $12
TOTAL       8.0       $27.5
Nearly the same production as Cano at about 1/4 the cost.  Diaz is a valuable player.

In all, the Mets should expect 18 WAR at a cost of $127.5 million from this deal.  With one WAR costing about $10 million, and getting more expensive every year, this is very good for the Mets.

But, the Mets did give up players.  How does their production and cost look

YEAR        WAR      MONEY
2019        0.5        $13
2020        0.0        $13
TOTAL       0.5        $26

YEAR        WAR      MONEY
2019        0.5        $8

TOTAL for both 1.0 WAR $34 million

Both these players are expected to be paid in excess of what they will produce. The deal gets better for the Mets!

But, there's still those three prospects that the Mets gave up.
Using the prospect valuations, I linked to above their values are as follows
Kelenick - $21 million
Dunn - $4 million
Bautista - $1 million
TOTAL - $26 million

Now, add everything up.
Swarzak and Bruce produce basically nothing for a cost of $34 million.  This is bad for Seattle
But, they get $26 million in prospects from the Mets.  This is good for Seattle.
And the $8 million dollar difference between $34 and $26 million, is, in baseball's ridiculous financial environment, about a wash - the cost of a player like Anthony Swarzak.

We've already seen that the Mets look to gain from the Cano and Diaz portion of the deal, compared to what they're being paid (thus compared to what the Mets could be expected to buy on the open market with that money if they went free agent shopping).

So, big win for the Mets and new General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen (who, coincidentally, or not, was Robinson Cano's agent who negotiated the $240 million deal Cano signed), right?

Not so fast.

We can break this deal down into the short (2 years) and long term (the next 3 years).
In the short term the Mets turned an expectation of 1.0 WAR and $34 million in expenditures into an expectation of 9.5 million and $45.5 million in expenditure.  The Mets made out like bandits in the short term.  For the cost of David Robertson (expected to produce about 2 WAR) the Mets upgraded by 8.5 WAR (one bad Mike Trout season).

How about the long-term.
The Mets turned $26 million in prospects into 8.5 WAR and $82 million.  Using some basic inflation (5% per year), the cost of those 8.5 WAR in 2021 to 2023 would be expected to be $96 million.  The Mets got if for $82 plus the $26 million for the prospects - $108 million.  So, they come out $12 million in the hole for years 3-5 of the deal.

So, again, win for the Mets, right?  A massive upgrade in the short term for a minor loss in the long term.

Well, an upgrade in the short term doesn't really help if your team's not going to be competitive in the short term.  The Mets project now, as about a .500 team.  They have the still formidable Nationals in their division who look to be better and the, as everyone is required to dub them, upstart Braves.  Then there's the vastly improved Phillies who could land a Machado, Harper or Corbin which would make 4 pretty good NL East teams.

Then, the Mets have been rumored to be looking to trade Noah Syndergaard.  Which makes no sense for a team looking to leap over the Nationals and Braves and, maybe, Phillies.

The Mets have gotten better in the short term - almost no question.  But, if they don't make more improvements to make themselves real contenders alongside the Nationals and Braves, and keep up with the Phillies, then sticking themselves with Cano's contract and giving up some decent prospects doesn't make any sense.

How about from Seattle's point of view?  It's basically the opposite of the Mets'.  The Mets were an ok team trying to make themselves into playoff contenders.  The Mariners are an ok team who chose to rebuild.  They didn't look like playoff contenders in 2019 or 2020 and certainly didn't look like playoff contenders with a, likely, diminished Cano, in 2021 to 2023.  So, they blew it up.  Looking for more flexibility in the future. 

So, remember how I talked about arguing before.

Now, it's time to argue.  Argue about the basic assumptions of this analysis.  Argue that Steamer is way underrating Cano who had 3.0 WAR in half a season last year - I'd hear that specific argument.  Argue that I didn't include anything about how Cano and Diaz fit the Mets' roster and how the Mets didn't need Cano because of Jeff McNeil - I'd hear that argument too.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Current Man Crush: Trevor Oaks

It's the off season.  Time to think about what the team will look like in 2017 (and beyond).  That means looking at prospects.

MLB Pipeline has their Team Top 30 lists up.  Including their Top 30 by team lists.  Of course, I was most interested in the Dodgers' Top 30.

The usual names are there: Jose DeLeon, Cody Bellinger, Alex Verdugo, Willie Calhoun, Yadier Alvarez, etc...  One of the most interesting names for me was the 30th one on the list - Trevor Oaks.

I started becoming aware of Oaks last season as he started at Rancho Cucamonga and ended the season in Oklahoma City.  All told, he was 14 - 3 with a 2.74 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 18% K rate and 3.5% walk rate.   Solid numbers that were pretty consistent between levels.

He's not a huge prospect because he doesn't have the two tools that make scouts drool; speed and strikeouts.  Per MLB Pipeline's scouting report -
Oaks lived off a sinker that sat around 90 mph in college and has ticked up to 92-93 mph in pro ball, now topping out at 96. His fastball plays better than its average velocity thanks to its heavy life. He has feel for a changeup that can become at least an average No. 2 pitch, and he also can mix in a slider and a cutter that sometimes blend together.Oaks pounds the bottom of the strike zone, and though he doesn't miss a lot of bats, he has what it takes to be an efficient workhorse starter." 
What the scouting report alludes to but doesn't mention is his ability to get ground balls.  Batted ball data in the minors isn't easy to come by, but he did have a 2.44 ground out to air out rate.  That's fantastic.  For reference, Marcus Stroman lead the majors (qualified starters) in 2016 with a 2.40 rate (Orioles reliever Zach Britton was an otherworldly 7.86).

I've always had a thing for ground ball pitchers, so started to get more intrigued and wondered how he might perform in 2017.

The first thing to do in that situation is look at projections

Steamer projections have Oaks projected for a 5.6% BB rate and a 15.8% K rate in the upcoming season.  I looked at starters over the last 3 seasons who
--had a K rate between 12 and 15 percent
--had a BB rate between 4 and 7 percent
--had a GB rate above 45%

There weren't many of them, just 12.  The list included names like: Tim Hudson, Doug Fister, Bronson Arroyo and a guy Dodger fans might have heard of - Zach Lee.  Not exactly world beaters, but guys who were useful members of major league rotations (and some other guys).

These guys combined for the following:
6% BB rate, 14.3% K rate, 51.9% GB rate, 4.11 ERA, 4.25 FIP, 4.09 xFIP, 4.21 SIERA
and 1.3 WAR and 1.4 RA-9 WAR per 180 innings.

That's something like what an average #4 or #5 starter would be expected to produce.  That's not bad.  It's also probably more Oaks' ceiling than an expectation.

There's a better chance he ends up in the bullpen.  He might be useful for the Dodgers there.  We expect Oaks to have a high GB rate, and the Dodgers don't have a guy like that in their pen.  The Dodgers' bullpen had a cumulative 41.1% GB rate last year - that was 28th out of the 30 teams. The leader (out of guys who pitched at least 10 innings) was JP Howell (59%).  He's gone.  Up next was, interestingly, Ross Stripling at 58.8%.  But Stripling had just a 49% GB rate as a starter so I'm skeptical about his 24 inning relief sample.  The highest GB rate of any reliever who's probably going to be a reliever next year was Pedro Baez at 43%.  So, the infield worms can feel pretty safe when a Dodger reliever enters the game.

Trevor Oaks might not crack the Dodgers' starting rotation in 2017 - the Oklahoma City Dodgers' rotation - due to the depth of the Dodger organization's pitching staff.  So it might be ridiculous for me to suggest he's a major league quality starting pitcher - but, he might be.  A more realistic route to the majors might be as a multi-inning ground ball machine.  Here's hoping. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

My 2014 Trade Deadline Top 20 Dodger Minor League Players

Well, the 2014 non-waiver MLB trade deadline has come and gone and the Dodgers didn't trade away any of their minor league players (NOTE: I try to avoid the word 'prospect' because prospects are baseball players - not the magic beans that some people seem to think they are.  A good minor league player IS a good baseball player).  So, it's a good time to do my first ever prospect ranking.

My list is based on: other people's rankings, scouting reports and statistics.  One thing my list does that might be different than some other lists is rely heavily on both ceiling and floor.  A high-ceiling 18-year-old 2014 draft pick who's tearing up rookie ball might not rank as highly on this list as a 24-year-old guy in AAA who's not a star but can contribute to the major league team.  Contributing to the major league team is what it's all about, right?

Without further ado.

TIER ONE - Future All-Stars
1) CF Joc Pederson AAA 22 years old
2) SS/3B Corey Seager AA/A+ 20 years old

These two guys have, if not 'it all', a heck of a lot of it.

Joc Pederson is probably the Dodgers' 3rd or 4th best OFer but he's stuck in the minors.  He's an adequate defensive OFer with power and speed.  The strikeout rate is a concern but he's got a lot of other skills.  He's almost certainly a major league caliber player.  Prior to the season ZiPS, Steamer and Oliver combined to project Pederson for 2.5 WAR/600 PAs.  He's done nothing in Albuquerque to think that would have decreased.

See Joc Catch
See Joc Hit

Corey Seager is similar.  He destroyed High-A pitching.  Hitting 66% (per wRC+) better than the league average hitter.  He's doing the same at AA.  There are some concerns - mostly that he's striking out 15 times as often as he's walking (15:1).  But when he's hitting the ball he's destroying it.  He started slowly in A+ as well and he figured that out.  His pre-season projections had him at 2.0 WAR per 600 PAs.  That's almost certainly higher now.  Whether Seager becomes a SS or a 3B at the major league level will effect his overall value to his team, but at either position he looks to be a major league quality player.

TIER TWO - Oh man, please let this guy reach his potential
3) LHP Julio Urias A+ 17 years old

Only one guy in this tier.

The 17-year-old Julio Urias.  He's not dominating - but he's definitely more than holding his own so fill in your own adjective phrase - guys who are, on average, 6 years older than him.  He has the 7th highest K% in the league and the 19th highest K%-BB%.  He's good.  And he's knocking on the door that leads to the door to the major leagues.  Not impossible that he'll see the majors next year.  More likely 2016.  He has a chance to be something special, but he's a step below Pederson and Seager (on this list) because he's a pitcher and pitchers are more volatile than non-pitchers and because he's a bit farther from the majors than they are.  He could be Clayton Kershaw, but he could still be Todd Van Popple.  I'm hoping for the former.

Urias with the K

TIER THREE - Ready to contribute to the big club  
4) IF Alexander Guerrero AAA 27 years old
5) IF Erisbel Arruebarrena AAA/AA 24 years old

Not your typical minor league players these two international free agents are ready to make an impact.

Alexander Guerrero was expected to compete for the starting 2B job in LA this season.  Lots of stuff (defensive questions, a gnawed off ear, Dee Gordon All-Star) kept that from happening but Guerrero looks like a major leaguer.  He's destroyed opposing AAA pitching (57% better than league average).  He's got the bat for the majors, the glove is a question, but the team is looking at him as a utility infielder and he's even played some outfield.  His minor league performance has been good enough that projections systems see him as a 2.0 WAR/600 player right now.

Erisbel Arruebarrena is a notch or two below Guerrero but there's little doubt that he's capable of playing at the major league level - at least defensively.  Arruebarrena is an amazingly smooth defender at SS.  But can he hit?  He's been terrible so far, striking out about 27% of the time between AA and AAA and 35% of the time in a brief major league stint.  Even so, his glove is so good that he can provide value to a major league team.  Heard of Brendan Ryan?  Ryan might be more Arruebarrena's ceiling than floor but that's ok.  Projections have him at replacement level for the rest of the season - but that's with league average defense.  He's better than that.

Erisbel's Defense

TIER FOUR - Pitchers that can probably contribute 

6) RHP Zach Lee AAA 22 years old
7) LHP Chris Reed AA 24 years old
8) RHP Yimi Garcia AAA 23 years old

Three pitchers who haven't yet gotten the chance, but can probably pitch in the majors.

Zach Lee was the Dodgers' #1 minor league player in 2012.  But he's been surpassed not because he's really gotten worse, but because he's stayed the same while others have gotten better.  The shine's off of him but I still believe.   Lee's come a long a little bit slowly but he was good in AA two years (3.83 FIP) ago and very good in AA (3.08 FIP) last year.  He's been bad in AAA this year (5.26 FIP).  Two good years at AA trumps one bad one in the PCL in Albuquerque where breaking balls don't break and fly balls don't come down.  He needs to be better next year, but no reason to give up on Lee yet.

Chris Reed is going the other way.  In 2012 he was a top Dodger minor leaguer.  Then he struggled in half a season of AA in 2012.  His 2013 and 2014 (also at AA) have shown improvements - notably in strikeout and walk rates (and the ambiguous 'command' if that's more your style).  There's some noise around Reed replacing the struggling Haren in the Dodgers' rotation.  I don't think that'll happen but that it's being talked about is a sign that Reed should see the majors some time in his career.

Yimi Garcia is a reliever who's having a good, not great, season in AAA.  He's in the top 25 in K% in the PCL.  Top 20 in K%-BB% and top 50 in FIP.  He's not a star, but he's better than Chris Perez and deserves a shot in a major league bullpen.

TIER FIVE - Non-pitchers with a shot 

9) IF Darnell Sweeney AA 23 years old
10) OF Scott Schebler AA 23 years old
11) IF Jesmuel Valentin A 20 years old

These three guys aren't as sure of bets as Pederson, Seager and Guerrero, but there are some good signs.

Darnell Sweeney has been working his way up Dodger minor league player lists for the last few seasons.  He's going to move up big time next year.  He's having a breakout offensive campaign (45% better than league average) due to a huge improvement in BB and K rates despite moving up a level.  A move off of SS has hidden his defensive issues.

Scott Schebler started moving up those same lists last season - getting a handle on one's K rate while improving one's power will do that.  Two consecutive seasons of doing so will get one noticed.  The Dodgers' OF is pretty crowded but there could be room for him on someone's 25 man roster soon.

Jesmuel Valentin has been a moderately revered Dodger minor leaguer for a while.  He struggled in A-ball in half a season last year (20% worse than average offense) but has handled it this season (18% above average).  He's young, and further away than Schebler and Sweeney but has the pedigree (1st round pick in 2012) and has done nothing to lose value.

This is the first tier where I'd want to start making trades from.  I mean, I'd trade Joc Pederson for Mike Trout in a second but not for a whole lot less than that - it'd have to be a long-term impact player.  The guys in this tear are questionable enough to reach the majors that they could be used for short term rotation or bullpen upgrades.  Schebler's way is blocked, Sweeney and Valentin have Gordon, Guerrero, Arrurebarrena in front of them as well.

TIER SIX - Young pitchers that are far, far away 

12) RHP Chris Anderson A+ 22 years old
13) RHP Grant Holmes R 18 years old
14) LHP Tom Windle A+ 22 years old

These are three good pitchers who are just to far away to be anything like sure things to contribute at the major league level.  Anderson and Windle were the Dodgers' first and second round picks last season.  Both pitched very well at single A (Anderson 2.79 FIP, Windle 3.15 FIP) but have struggled this year in High-A (Anderson 4.78, Windle 4.33).  Homes is this year's first round pick.  So far, so good in rookie ball...

TIER SEVEN - Pitchers who might be good enough

15) RHP Carlos Frias AAA/AA 24 years old
16) RHP Victor Arano A 19 years old

Neither Frias nor Arano looks like they'll be stars, but they could pitch in the bigs.  Frias took a while to work his way out of the low minors, but he's improved from the low minors to AA and again from AA to AAA.  He doesn't get a ton of K's (16% this season) but he doesn't walk anyone either (5%).  He doesn't have the groundball rate (below 50%) to succeed with that low K rate but if things break right he could get some innings in the majors.  And if his improvement continues...
Arano is only in A-ball but he's maintained a 22% K-rate and 5% BB-rate there and in rookie ball.  If he can keep that up...

TIER EIGHT - Hoping for a full recovery

17) RHP Ross Stripling AA/DL 24 years old
18) RHP Onelki Garcia AAA/DL 25 years old

Both Stripling and Garcia were making waves in 2013 before injuries.  Stripling blew through High-A with a 3.12 FIP and was even better in AA with a 2.31 FIP in 94 innings.  Tommy John surgery will keep him out until 2015 at least.  If he comes back anywhere near where he left off he'll be much higher on this list.  Garcia is similar.  He pitched in 4 levels in 2013 including the major leagues.  He struggled in the majors (walking 4 of the 9 hitters he faced) but if he can come back he'll get another shot

TIER NINE - Rookie Ballers

19) OF Alex Verdugo R 18 years old
20) C Julian Leon R 18 years old

Verdugo was the Dodgers' 2nd round pick in 2014.  Leon was an international free agent signed out of Mexico last year.  Both guys have hit well in their respective leagues.  Both guys are huge long shots to ever sniff the majors.

TIER TEN - No longer minor leaguers, really.

P Jose Dominguez AAA 23 years old 
P Matt Magill AAA 24 years old
P Chris Withrow AAA/DL 25 years old

Each of these guys appeared on some prospect list I looked at but I can't really consider them minor leaguers as each has spent some time with the big club.

Dominguez is a flame thrower who smoked the minors last year, striking out 40% of hitters.  He's closer to 25% this season.  In 14 major league innings he has a 4.86  FIP.

Magill was excellent in 2012 in AA (2.87 FIP).  He was ok in AAA (4.06 FIP) and struggled in 6 big league starts (7.13 FIP).  His struggles have continued in 2014 (5.16 FIP in AAA) and he has been moved to the bullpen.

Withrow was a big part of the 2013 Dodger bullpen pitching 34 innings with a 3.57 FIP.  He lost his spot when LA signed every former closer for 2013 but still got up for 20 innings.  Unfortunately, he walked 20% of the hitters he faced before succumbing to elbow issues.

So, that's my list.  I wonder how ridiculous it'll look in 6 years?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sam Demel: Starting pitcher

Sam Demel, who began the year as the Isotopes closer, has been starting recently.

This is somewhat interesting.
Stephen Fife is on the DL
Magill has been moved to the bullpen
These were the two guys most likely to be called up to the majors to make starts.

Red Patterson got an emergency start earlier in the year.
Lee has looked like a work in progress.
Is Demel next in line for major league starts should the need arise?

He's pitched 63 major league innings, as a reliever, with the Diamondbacks in 2010-2012.  He was a starter all through is minor league career.  His two starts with Albuquerque over the last week were his first two professional starts.

As a reliever this season, Demel faced 89 hitters.  He walked 7.9% of them while striking out 27.0%

In his two starts he's faced just 34 hitters.  He walked 11.8% of those hitters and struck out 14.7%.

No particularly impressive, but it'll be something to keep an eye on.