Archive for July, 2013

Royals Acquire Decent Platoon Outfielder, Pay Real Price

Not only are the Royals not sellers, they’ve actually made a prospect-for-veteran swap on deadline day. To help shore up their right field situation, they sent RHP Kyle Smith to the Astros in exchange for outfielder Justin Maxwell.

Maxwell is a solid role player, athletic enough to play all three outfield spots and with enough ability to provide some offensive value. In 763 big league plate appearances, he’s posted a .319 wOBA/97 wRC+, and UZR/DRS have liked his defensive contributions as well. Add it all up, and he’s racked up +3.8 WAR in just over a full season’s worth of playing time.

However, that’s a very defense-heavy number, and we’re dealing with 1,500 innings of outfield play from a 29-year-old. You have to regress his expected defensive contributions a good deal, which is why both ZIPS and Steamer forecast him to be roughly an average defender over the rest of the season. It doesn’t kill Maxwell’s value entirely, but he’s very unlikely to continue to produce at a +3 WAR per season pace.

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Orioles Acquire Bud Norris and his Platoon Problems

Bud Norris is heading to Baltimore, it looks like. Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Orioles will send the Astros the much-traveled LJ Hoes along with a second prospect and a draft selection to Houston in exchange for Norris, who is under team control through 2015. At first, it may seem like a flawed prospect isn’t much to pay for a proven, cost-controlled starter who has struck out over 21% of the batters he’s faced so far in his career, but on the other hand, Norris has deep flaws that make his acquisition less of a steal and more of a gamble.

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Diamondbacks Swap Ian Kennedy Dollar for Bullpen Quarters

Understand that this is the trade deadline, so things are kind of busy. When things are kind of busy, you don’t have time to think about each individual thing in sufficient depth. The analyses you read today should be fine, but maybe they’ll miss some points. Maybe, right here, I’m missing some points. But the Diamondbacks traded Ian Kennedy to the Padres, and as far as Arizona is concerned, I can’t help but feel underwhelmed.

The whole deal is such: Kennedy is going to San Diego. In return, Arizona gets Joe Thatcher, Matt Stites, and a compensation round B draft pick. Kennedy’s 28, and he’s got two more years of team control. Thatcher’s 31, and he’s got one. Stites is 23 and relieving in Double-A. The draft pick is a high-but-not-too-high draft pick that’ll add to Arizona’s bonus pool. As intended, the Diamondbacks have improved their current bullpen. They’ve also cleared a little salary. And the Padres bought low on a potential quality starter.

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2013 Trade Deadline Chat Extravaganza

12:01
Dave Cameron: Welcome to the FanGraphs Trade Deadline Chat Extravaganza. I’ll be here from 12-1, followed by Jeff Sullivan, then Eno Sarris, then Carson Cistulli will take you to the trade deadline at 4:00. I’ll come back at 4:00 and hang out for a bit to wrap up all the straggler deals that wander in after the deadline.

12:02
Dave Cameron: Obviously, we’ll be mostly focused on trade reaction/speculations today, but if nothing happens, we’ll talk about other stuff too. This isn’t going to be a typical Q&A, and we’ll try to keep it more real time then playing catch up on a backloaded queue, but I’d guess we’ll sneak in some regular questions here and there as well.

12:05
Comment From Guest
Yesterday on Twitter someone (I think Bowden) mentioned that the Cardinals should pursue Chris Owings with DD blocking his way at the MLB level. If they could make this happen at the deadline without giving up Taveras, Martininez, or Wacha do you think it improves the team (significantly) in the short term and long term? Also, excluding those 3, what do you think it would take? Maybe a package of Joe Kelly and Kolten Wong for Owings and something?
P.S. Your piece on Lee yesterday was excellent.

12:05
Dave Cameron: I wouldn’t give up Kolton Wong for Chris Owings straight up. Terrible plate discipline, PCL power.

12:05
Comment From Rexel
Do the teams realise the deadline is today?

12:06
Dave Cameron: They also realize that you can make trades in August, especially with the kinds of role players that are available.

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Daily Notes: Meeting of the Corey Kluber Society Today

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. Meeting of the Corey Kluber Society Today
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Meeting of the Corey Kluber Society Today
The Purpose of This Post
The purpose of this post is, firstly, to announce a meeting — in this case, at 7:05pm ET today (Wednesday) — of the Corey Kluber Society. Secondly, it’s to publish — for the reader’s pleasure — three accounts by noted personages of Corey Kluber and the eponymous Society.

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The Fringe Five: Baseball’s Most Compelling Fringe Prospects

The Fringe Five is a weekly exercise (introduced in April) wherein the author utilizes regressed stats, scouting reports, and also his own heart to identify and/or continue monitoring the most compelling fringe prospects in all of baseball.

Central to this exercise, of course, is a definition of the word fringe. The author recognizes that the word has different connotations for different sorts of readers. For the purposes of this column, however — and for reasons discussed more thoroughly in a recent edition of the Five — the author has considered eligible for the Five any prospect who was absent from all of three notable preseason top-100 prospect lists.

That said, it should also be noted that in cases where the collective enthusiasm regarding a player’s talent becomes very fevered — like how the enthusiasm collectively right now for Philadelphia third-base prospect Maikel Franco is very fevered, for example — that will likely affect said player’s likelihood of appearing among the Five, given that the purpose of the series, at some level, is to identify prospects who are demonstrating promise above what one might expect given their current reputations within the prospect community.

With that said, here are this week’s Fringe Five:

Chad Bettis, RHP, Colorado (Profile)
This marks the second consecutive week in which Bettis has appeared among the Five, and third overall. It’s possible, however, that it will be his last, as he’s scheduled to make his major-league debut on Thursday against Atlanta. Bettis has been excellent for Double-A Tulsa, recording a 68:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 63.0 innings. The right-hander has received considerable praise both for his fastball (which sits at 93-95 mph) and slider. As the very dark footage below indicates, however — from a recent start against Angels affiliate Arkansas — his changeup might also be an excellent pitch.

Like this changeup:

Bettis Coward CH SS 4th

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Tewksbury’s Notebook: Notes on the 1992 Braves

Earlier this month, former St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Bob Tewksbury took us through his outings against the 1992 Chicago Cubs. He did so with the help of his old notebook, which includes scouting reports, pitch-selection data and results from specific at bats. Also on its pages are mechanical reminders and notes on adjustments he planned to make in the future.

Tewksbury, now a mental skills coach for the Red Sox, won 110 games in 13 big-league seasons. In 1992, he went 16-5, with a 2.16 ERA and finished third in National League Cy Young Award voting. His repertoire included a 47 mph curveball.

In the second installment of Tewksbury’s Notebook, he takes us through his notes on the 1992 Atlanta Braves. Tewksbury faced the National League champs twice, each time allowing a pair of runs over eight innings. Read the rest of this entry »


Effectively Wild Episode 255: Listener Emails Like Never Before

Ben and Sam answer listener emails about the consequences of abolishing the trade deadline, baseball’s war on PEDs, time traveling front offices, and more.


Red Sox Gain Peavy, Lose Little

Earlier Tuesday, a lot of the talk was about whether or not the Red Sox ought to go for it and trade for Cliff Lee. Lee, of course, is an ace, a rare breed, but he’s also paid like one, and reports suggested the Phillies were holding out for a wheelbarrow of prospect talent, along with complete contract assumption. People occupied both sides of the conversation, but it didn’t look like a wise idea for the Sox, given how much they’d have to give up for one individual shorter-term interest. The Red Sox really wanted a starter, but they also really wanted to not give up their top-level young talent. It was up to them to find a way.

Later Tuesday, the Red Sox got their good starter. According to reports, the Red Sox and White Sox couldn’t work out a straight-up Jake Peavy trade, but then they got the Tigers involved and a deal was struck. Peavy is off to the other Sox, while the Tigers are up one Jose Iglesias and the White Sox are up one Avisail Garcia. And, of course, there are some other bits. The complete summary:

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A’s, Angels Engage in Intra-Division Challenge Trade

After a rumor filled day with no real action, it looks like the last night before the trade deadline is going to bring some actual deals, and the A’s have gotten the ball rolling by picking up infielder Alberto Callaspo from the Angels in exchange for minor league infielder Grant Green.

This is an interesting trade for a number of reasons.

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