Showing posts with label Edwin Jackson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Edwin Jackson. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Granderson to the Yankees and the Rest of the Big Trade

Photo from fOTOGLIF

It is not quite official yet but it appears that the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, and Arizona Diamondbacks have completed a three-way trade at the Winter Meetings (and on Peter Gammon's last day at ESPN).
From ESPN:

The Yanks would acquire center fielder Curtis Granderson (from the Tigers), the Diamondbacks would get right-handers Edwin Jackson (Tigers) and Ian Kennedy (Yankees), and the Tigers would pick up center fielder Austin Jackson (Yankees), left-handed relievers Phil Coke (Yankees) and left-handed reliever Daniel Schlereth and right-handed starter Max Scherzer (Diamondbacks).
The Yankees do a good job of replacing Johnny Damon in left by acquiring Granderson. I do believe he will wind up in left field. This is primarily because I believe that Brian Cashman wants to put his best possible defense on the field and that includes Brett Gardner in center field. Melky Cabrera should be the fourth outfielder in that scenario with Nick Swisher staying in right field.

Granderson is at his best when he pulls the ball which makes Yankee Stadium a great place for him to play. last season Granderson went through a dramatic transformation from a groundball hitter to a flyball hitter. It caused his BABIP and subsequently his batting average to fall dramatically. It also resulted in a career high homerun total. I believe that there should be a happy medium in there somewhere and I'm absolutely certain the Yankees and hitting coach Kevin Long will work to find it.

The Tigers make out with two great arms from the D'Backs and a few odds and ends that should prove useful. Austin Jackson should be an adequate center fielder who steals bases well. But he will not provide much beyond that. He has always been expected to develop power but it would be a surprise if he found it in 2010. Max Scherzer has fantastic stuff (and violent injury-inducing mechanics) and could be either a frontline starter or a top-notch closer, Daniel Schlereth is similar (from the left side) to Scherzer but will definitely be in the bullpen. At this point he has to be considered at least a mild sleeper to become the closer. Phil Coke is better than the average lefty specialist and should be an asset in the Tigers bullpen.

Edwin Jackson has amazing stuff but often pitches like a fringy finesse guy. He wore down as the 2009 season continued thanks largely to a heavy workload. I believe he'll be a fine starter for the D'Backs who should benefit from the AL to NL switch. Ian Kennedy is not a hard thrower but has potential as a mid rotation starter or bullpenner.

Better Fantasy Value: Curtis Granderson, Austin Jackson, Edwin Jackson, Ian Kennedy

Same Fantasy Value: Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth, Phil Coke

Worse Fantasy Value: None

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Importance of Defense in a Fantasy Baseball Context

If I preach about anything on this blog one of them is putting things into the proper context. David Golebiewski at has posted a terrific series of articles that examine how the defense of the Texas Rangers and the improvement of Edwin Jackson, and also the new and improving defense of the Seattle Mariners fit into fantasy baseball context. This is great stuff that you should read.

Rangeless Rangers Compound Pitching Problems

So, the vast majority of Texas’ starters were crappy, regardless of dimensions of their home ballpark. That’s not breaking news. However, the Rangers’ fielders did those starters no favors in 2008. While Texas featured some heavy hitters, several prominent players were lethargic with the leather.

David Appelman recently added yet another great feature to this site: Ultimate Zone Rating. Using a fielding model developed by Mitchel Lichtman, UZR allows us to calculate how many runs above or below average a fielder is per 150 games played (for further details and discussion, look here). Perusing the Texas team page, it becomes apparent that while the Rangers’ offense is strong up the middle, some of those runs are punted back on defense (and, in Young’s case, on offense as well):

CF Hamilton: -12.6 UZR/150
2B Kinsler: -4.4 UZR/150
SS Young: -3.7 UZR/150

This is especially significant with all of the young and extremely talented pitching about to come out of the texas Rangers minor league system. It also helps to explain why so many pitchers fail in Texas only to make dramatic improvements elsewhere. The Park Factors and Bad Defense combine tocreate a worst-case scenario for pitchers in Texas.
Trade Fallout: Jackson Jumps to Motown
In 2007, Jackson posted a 4.90 FIP. In 2008, despite the huge difference in ERA, that FIP figure remained static (4.88 FIP). While he knocked off over a walk per nine innings from his line (from 4.92 BB/9 in ‘07 to 3.78 BB/9 in ‘08), his strikeout rate dipped considerably, down from 7.16 per nine in 2007 to just 5.3 in 2008.

It wasn’t really Jackson that improved, but rather the defense around him. The dramatic shift in the quality of Tampa’s D has been well chronicled. After posting a gruesome -54.2 UZR in 2007, the Rays skyrocketed to +70.6 in ‘08 (for those of you scoring at home, that’s about a twelve-and-a-half win swing). Jackson’s BABIP was .351 in 2007, but with the best defensive squad in the majors flanking him in 2008, that number dropped to .301. He also benefitted from stranding 76.1% of runners on base, well above his 69.7% career average.

This makes the Tigers acquisition of Jackson even more interesting. The Tigers have improved their defense this offseason but is it enough to allow Jackson to stay at the level he reached last year? If it is and Jackson can increase his strikeout rate and maintain or even improve his BB/9 from last season we could be looking at a real breakout.
Meet the Mariners’ New Outfield D
As a whole, the M’s outfield was -25.5 runs below average by UZR and -15.2 runs by the Plus/Minus system (the big difference in RF is due to Dewan’s system liking Ichiro’s work there and UZR rating it as slightly below average).

Now, take a gander at the new-look Seattle D. For the sake of making this comparison easier, let’s assume that:
1. Chavez, Gutierrez and Suzuki all make 150 starts and play 1350 innings apiece.
2. The fielding metrics compiled by Gutierrez are docked 15% (it’s far from perfect, but it’s an attempt to account for the added difficulty of playing center), and Chavez and Suzuki play to the levels that they have shown in the corner spots during their respective careers. For Chavez, I added his equally stellar work in RF to his projection to make the sample size larger (the majority of his career has been spent in center).

LF Chavez: 20.3 UZR/150
CF Gutierrez: 18.3 UZR/150
RF Suzuki: 7.3 UZR/150

If this trio plays 150 games, they project to be nearly 46 runs above average with the leather. Compare that with the embarrassing work done by last year’s Ibanez-fueled, molasses-covered group: if the M’s get league-average defense from their extra outfielders (filling out the additional 12 game gap), that’s a swing of over 70 runs in outfield defense, or seven wins (!)

An improved defense as well as an improved offense means good things are in store for the Seattle Mariners pitching staff. I'm especially intrigued with the improvement that is possible for Felix Hernandez.
Read All of The Above Articles - what I've sampled for you is just that.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

More Updates From the Winter Meetings

The trades just keep coming from Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings. I've written more updates on the blog and now of course I share them with you.

CC Sabathia Agrees to Pitch for the New York Yankees
In the end the New York Yankees refused to take no for an answer. CC Sabathia had no issues with playing in New York his problem was that he really wanted to live and play on the West Coast. Unfortunately for Sabathia none of the West Coast teams were willing to step to the plate. It might have dragged on even longer but Brian Cashman was so determined to sign him that he left the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas to meet with Sabathia and his wife in San Francisco. Cashman also added another year onto the contract and gave Sabathia the ability to opt out of the contract after three seasons.The final deal was for seven years and $161 million.
Closer J.J. Putz Traded in Three Team Deal
The Mets received closer (now set-up man) J.J. Putz, outfielder Jeremy Reed, and right-hander Sean Green from Seattle. The Mariners received outfielder Franklin Gutierrez from the Indians and, from the Mets, right-hander Aaron Heilman, center fielder Endy Chavez and four Minor Leaguers -- first baseman Mike Carp, right-hander Maikel Cleto, left-hander Jason Vargas and center fielder Ezekiel Carrera. The Indians received right-hander Joe Smith from the Mets and infielder Luis Valbuena from the Mariners.
The Detroit Tigers Acquire RHP Edwin Jackson
The Detroit Tigers have sent outfielder Matt Joyce to the Tampa Bay Rays for right-hander Edwin Jackson. The trade fills a need on both teams. The Tigers needed a healthy starter to eat some innings. While the Rays needed a corner outfielder.

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