Sunday, June 19, 2011

Looking back at the Trade Targets series

Last fall I felt that the Pirates should deal a package of prospects in order to improve the Major League club. I was specifically targeting pitchers with multiple years of control remaining, not expecting the starting pitching to be a strength of this team.

Here's how the four pitchers I wanted are doing this year so far:

James Shields has followed up his worst season with his best season in 2011. The Rays traded Matt Garza last off-season and hung on to Shields, probably because they realized his value was at its lowest point.
In 2010, Shields was 13-15 with a 5.18 ERA (4.24 FIP), but he had his highest K/9 (8.28/9). The problems with Shields were two-fold. First, his HR/9 was 1.50, easily the highest of his career. Second his BABIP was an ungainly .341, which was well above his career average of .304. The Rays probably saw both of these things and hung on to him.

Good thing, because he is a complete beast so far in 2011. To date he is 6-4 with a 2.60 ERA (3.43 FIP) with an 8.51 K/9. His HR/9 has receded to 1.04, his BABIP is .263 and he has pitched 4 complete games already. That's one less than he pitched his whole career coming into this season.

Scott Baker in 2010 was 12-9 with a 4.49 ERA (3.96 FIP) for the Twins. He was also coming off a career high in K/9 with 7.82, but I targeted Baker because of thoughts that the Twins may want to offset some salary because of rising contracts to Mauer and Morneau. I certainly wasn't expecting the bottom to fall out completely on their 2011 season.

In 2011, Baker is doing pretty much what Baker does. He's quietly pitching well, but this time on an awful team. He's 5-4 with a 3.24 ERA (3.65 FIP) and is in the midst of re-establishing another career high in K/9 (8.64 K/9). He would have made an excellent addition to the Pirates as well.

Ricky Nolasco was another arb-eligible pitcher that I targeted, but was then signed to an extension by the Marlins. In 2010, Nolasco's numbers dropped slightly as he went 14-9 in only 157 innings. His K/9 dropped from 9.49 to 8.39 and he became more homer prone (1.37/9 in 2010). His 2010 ERA was 4.51, with a FIP of 3.86.

In 2011, his numbers are continuing to decline in certain areas, especially K/9. This year to date he has a K/9 of 6.96, but his other numbers have improved. He is 4-3 with a 4.48 ERA (3.54 FIP). There's no noticeable change in velocities on his pitches to indicate the drastic drop in K/9. Perhaps he has been instructed to not try and strike everyone out and to pitch to contact more.

The final pitcher I targeted was Gavin Floyd. Again, I tossed him in thinking that the White Sox would want to offset some salary, not expecting them to come out flat in 2011. In 2010, Floyd was coming off another solid season. He was 10-13 with a 4.08 ERA (3.46 FIP) with a 7.26 K/9 rate.

In 2011, he has been solid again with a 6-6 record, 3.94 ERA, 3.66 FIP, but his K/9 has dropped to 6.67/9. In looking at his pitch stats, his FB velocity has dropped nearly 1.5 mph this year. It hasn't affected his FB run stats, but with his changeup remaining steady it has wreaked havoc on the effectiveness of his changup, causing it to be -3.22 runs/100 pitches to date.

So all in all, I would have been very happy if the Pirates got any of these four pitchers. The way things are shaping up with the Pirates becoming resurgent in 2011, plus the impending 40 man roster crunch after the season, it appears this could be the year that the Pirates trade some minor-league depth for additions to the Major League team.

No comments:

Post a Comment