Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ask the Hurler: A Saturday twofer

Timothy writes:

How about a game of rate my trade?

Here is my roster:

C -Ramón HernándezUTIL -Mark Teixeira
1B- Prince Fielder
2B -Rickie Weeks3B-Miguel CabreraSS-Rafael FurcalOF-Álex RíosOF-Bobby Abreu
OF- Alfonso Soriano

BN- Travis HafnerBN- Delmon Young
SP-Brett MyersSP-Matt Cain
SP- Félix HernándezSP-Randy WolfSP- Dustin McGowan
RP-Takashi SaitoRP-Jason IsringhausenRP-Jon RauchRP-Brian WilsonRP-Manny AcostaDL-Howie Kendrick

I ended up trading Tex and Rauch for Verlander and Broxton ( I am a mildly nervous Saito owner- my man is another ass cramp away from done)

Did I do a good job? And do I drop Wolf or Cain - any shot Cain gets traded to a team that doest not belong in class AAAA?

Mike responds:

Timothy, I appreciate the praise for the site. I really do. It gives me no joy to tell you this, but you've been hoodwinked. Badly.

The guy you should have wanted to move is Hafner (something is wrong with Pronk -- he's been shoveling donkey manure onto the field for nearly a year and a half now). Teixeira's worst month historically, by a large margin, is April: sounds like you sold low. Rauch is probably going to close in Washington for most of the season, and he's not just some fill-in scrub. He's averaged somewhat close to a K an inning for his career, and if you take away his first two seasons, he's close to a 3.00 ERA and 1.15 WHIP reliever. In our draft guides, we hyped the crap out of him, and rightfully so. Cordero looks like he's done.

Verlander's velocity is down. That's a concern. C.C. Sabathia, despite his struggles, was still throwing in the mid 90s. Verlander is not throwing as hard, so the problem isn't just control. As I said in our starting pitching draft guide: "I thought he would break down last year; now I think he'll break down this year." I would only acquire Verlander for fifty cents on the dollar. Broxton is an awesome middle reliever, but Saito looks healthy, and you can always find good middle relivers.

Basically, if we were drafting today, you traded a second-round pick and a 12th-round pick for an eighth-round pick and a 16th-round pick.

As to your second question, I wouldn't drop Matt Cain or Randy Wolf, but I'd definitely only start Wolf at home or at San Francisco for the indefinite future. I'd keep throwing Cain out there until his head implodes from the lack of run support.

Nathan writes:

I have a quick question for you. How would you rank the following pitchers in terms of their likely 2008 fantasy production: Bonderman, Rich Hill, Jered Weaver and Jair Jurrjens?

Mike responds:

Well, Nathan, this one falls right into my wheelhouse. I was a big Rich Hill proponent pre-draft. Last year Hill had a 1.19 WHIP with 183 Ks in 195 innings. That tells me his 3.79 earned run average was aberrantly high. Those are the kinds of pitchers I target in the following year's draft. Hill did have a brutal spring and a few rough early outings, but he's still managing a sub 4.00 ERA and a decent K-rate (oddly enough, his WHIP sucks). Not only is he the best of the bunch, he's the only one I'd probably want on a shallow mixed-league team.

After that, I'd probably select Jered Weaver. His semi-miraculous 2006 is a thing of the past, but he's settled down into a decent 3rd/4th starter.

Bonderman is a guy who never fixed his mechanics. Whether he's stubborn or received bad coaching, there is just too many moving parts to his delivery. If you can, compare a video of his pitching motion to John Smoltz, Roger Clemens, or any other consistent, reliable starter. He's all over the friggin' place. He's got a lifetime ERA that's closer to 5.00 than 4.50 and a 1.38 lifetime WHIP. Most worrisome of all, 2007 was his worst year. Finally, he pitches in the AL Central.

Jair Jurrjens can't last a whole season. He just can't. He's 22 and never pitched more than 145ish innings at any professional level. Whatever he gives you in April or May enjoy, but there's no way he's going to give you 150+ quality innings. I also don't like his K totals in the minor leagues. If you can't dominate minor league hitters and approach anywhere near a K-an-inning strikeout rate, how are you supposed to do it at the Major League level?

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