Thursday October 23,2008

A Reality Check on Believing ESPN writers without checking what the real stats and rankings are your self.

A reality check on Peavy rumors

By Keith Law

Thursday, October 23, 2008 | Feedback | Print Entry

Some of the projected “offers” I’ve seen for Jake Peavy just don’t make sense. Look at what we’ve seen in the past few major pitching deals involving front-line starters:

• For a half-season of CC Sabathia, Cleveland got one top prospect (Matt LaPorta), an A-ball arm (Rob Bryson, who subsequently hurt his shoulder), a “AAAA” pitcher (Zach Jackson) and a player to be named who did not turn out to be a top prospect.

Matt LaPorta was THE #1 prospect in the Brewers organization and is a Top 25 prospect in all of baseball. Both Rob Bryson (20 yrs old) and Zach Jackson (25 yrs old) were top 20 prospects in the Brewers organization at the time. Bryson was ranked 9th – 11th depending on the service and Jackson was ranked 14th to 18th. Rob Bryson is a highly touted draft and follow by the Brewers and in just 2 professional seasons has a 3.34 era and a 1.12 whip with over 11k/9 and a k/bb ratio of nearly 4/1

Zach Jackson has 16 starts and a 5.49 era over parts of 3 seasons already.

Does this guy even CHECK his info before publishing?

• For three years of Dan Haren, signed cheaply, Oakland got one starter with big-league experience (Dana Eveland) and one big-league-ready starter (Greg Smith), neither of whom has a high ceiling or is a top prospect. On the minor-league side, the A’s got two top prospects in outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and left-hander Brett Anderson, and two lesser prospects in outfielder Aaron Cunningham (fringe starter or good fourth outfielder) and first baseman Chris Carter (big raw power and a ton of strikeouts, with defensive problems).

For Dan Haren the A’s got Outfielders Carlos Gonzalez (#22 according to BA and the Dbacks #1 prospect) and Aaron Cunningham (#6 in Dbacks system); Pitchers Brett Anderson (#36 according to BA and #3 in Dbacks system), Major League Starter Dana Eveland and ML Ready Greg Smith; and 1st baseman Chris Carter (#7 in Dbacks system). What he means by lesser prospects I simply cannot figure out. The A’s got 4 of the top 7 in the entire diamondbacks system AND a Major League Starter.

• For one year of Johan Santana, the Twins got a good center-field prospect (Carlos Gomez), two back-end pitching prospects who were not major-league ready (Phil Humber and Kevin Mulvey) and a 19-year-old pitcher with upside (Deolis Guerra, who instead found his downside this year).

Gomez is the 52nd ranked prospect in Baseball and the #3 ranked prospect in the Mets organization. Deolis Guerra, 18 at the time of the trade and the youngest starting pitcher in high A ball by two years this season, is ranked as the 35th best prospect in the country this year and was the #2 rated prospect in the Mets organization. Not just a “pitcher with upside”, a top prospect expected to be an ace in the. 25 yr old Phil Humber was the 7th ranked prospect in the Mets organization and pitched in the Majors this season AND the year before that AND the year before that. Not ML ready? Mulvey, at 23 the 2nd youngest starting pitcher in the International League, is pitching extremely well in AAA and is stuck behind a bevy of other good young pitchers in Minnesota including Humber.

• For a year and a half of Rich Harden, who had a history of injuries at the time of the deal, the A’s received a young big-league starter (Sean Gallagher), a bench player (Matt Murton), a fringe hitting prospect (Eric Patterson), and a very good catching prospect (Josh Donaldson, having a horrible year at the time).

The A’s got the Cubs #5 prospect and top starting pitching prospect in the organization in Gallagher, a former ML everyday player in Murton who was replaced in the lineup by the big dollar Fukodome, the Cubs 2nd best OF prospect the organization in Patterson who spent 43 games at the big league level in 2008, and the Cubs #7 prospect and #2 catching prospect in Donaldson (Geovany Soto who started the year with the big league club being #1) who hit .330/ .391/ .564/.955 at high A ball at age 22. Some services like had Gallagher and Patterson ranked 3 and 4 in the organization prior to the year.

The team acquiring Peavy would get something similar to what Arizona got financially in Haren — three years of control at below-market prices — but they’re not getting the same pitcher on the field. Peavy missed time this year with elbow trouble after notching a career high in innings in 2007. When he did pitch, his strikeout rate was down, his walk rate was up, and his home run rate was back up after being exceptionally low in 2007. His velocity was about normal, sitting 92-93 mph on the four-seamer, a few miles per hour below that on the two-seamer, but his slider didn’t have the same bite. He uses the slider often, which isn’t good for the elbow, and without that as a primary weapon, he’s not going to be as effective.

Peavy has also benefitted tremendously from his home environment. Petco Park is one of the toughest places in baseball to hit a home run, good news for pitchers like Peavy who don’t keep the ball on the ground. In fact, Peavy has allowed far more home runs (81) in his career on the road than he has at home (47), despite throwing 95 more innings at home. And that’s before we consider the soft competition that he’s faced, between the National League and the weak offenses in the NL West.

The team that gets Peavy will get FIVE years of control at below market prices. 2009-2013. Lets compare apples to apples on stats – for their careers Peavy has been better than Haren at Petco – 2.77 era 1.09 whip .219 baa vs 2.70 era 1.16 whip .263 baa.

In 2008 Peavy was still better than Haren in ERA-2.85 to 3.33, K/9-8.60 to 8.58 and BAA- .229 to .247. And please don’t try to say it’s because Haren plays in a hitters park at Chase Field. Haren’s road numbers were almost identical – 3.32 era, 1.25 whip, & .246 baa including 3.21 era 1.21 whip and .291 baa at Petco as compared with Peavy’s 1.74 era, 0.97 whip, and .205 baa at Petco.

Oh, and Haren ALSO plays in the NL West.

So PLEASE, Take what the writers at ESPN say with a grain of salt. It is far from Gospel. In fact they seem to be much worse at researching their articles to make sure they are accurate than many of the blog writers out there like, and just to name a few Padres blogs.

The Bottom line is this;

The Team acquiring Peavy should and will give something MORE than what Arizona gave up for Haren because Peavy has shown he is simply a better pitcher than Haren.

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