Jordan’s thoughts: Have you seen what Ian Kennedy has done recently? He scored 43 last week despite giving up a homer. He want 7 deep and struck out seven. The strikeouts seem be working for Kennedy since signing with the Royals this offseason. He looks incredibly good. Two starts is hardly a sample size for a reasonable change in value, but at $6 and after two starts, this seems like a good buy.
Odor on the other hand has had a rough go in 2016 thus far. He’s not getting walks, the base hits will come, but they are not here yet. While there’s reason to believe the 22 year old will find his own and continue to grow as a MLB hitter, its unlikely that he is a keeper at season’s end for $24. He can fill the hole for now, but next year you want him at a lower price.
I really like Tai Walker a lot. Obviously I’m a biased Mariner fan who cannot get over Walker’s stuff. His first two starts this year have been alright, going six innings in both, four strikeouts a piece. Not awesome, but not terrible. He’s 23 and potentially still an ace. He was a top prospects not long ago. I like Walker to get better as he continues to learn how to pitch through an inning. I watch a lot of him, and I believe he relies on his stuff more than he needs to. If he can put it together he will be electrifying.
Herrera has been hot this year. 5.96 points per game for the Philles so for this year. You have to like that he’s walked 12 times in 13 games, has three extra base hits and a stolen base to boot. If the walk rate is legit, then Herrera is a big threat to be very valuable in this league. Last year he got on base 34% of the time, a slight improvement is not unlikely, and there is reason to believe his batting average can come up.
This trade is harder to break down than most. I would much rather have the Walker/Herrera side, but the arguments that Odor (being much better than this) and Kennedy (being legit again) hold their own. Likely I see Walker being better than Kennedy, and Odor being slightly better than Herrera, but not by much. Win for the oreos.
Andrew’s thoughts: I think Taijuan Walker and Ian Kennedy may just be the same guy when all is said and done. They’ve both struggled some with consistency. Kennedy because of walks and homers, Walker because he’s young and young guys tend to be rollercoaster ride performers. I certainly don’t think Kennedy is $21 worse than Walker, particularly not pitching in front of that Royals defense. I’m not even sure Walker has more “upside” than Kennedy. Kennedy’s always been a high strikeout guy and he’s had some stud seasons — see 2011 and 2014 — so if he can resolve the walk/homer issue, there’s no reason to think he can’t make a huge leap. He’s only 31. He’s not old.
If you consider the pitchers roughly equal, then the Roughned Odor versus Odubel Herrera contrast is what makes or breaks the deal. And for me, I want Odor, though his $22 kinda stinks (hahahah get it?!).
Herrera was quite a breakthrough last year as a Rule 5 pick and has been even better this year. It’s super early, but he’s got a .366 wOBA, a 22.6% walk rate, and his ISO is up .025. All of that is good, but again: small sample. Either way, this was a 3.9 win player in 2015, so he’s quite good. That he only went for $2 at auction suggests he was viewed as a fluke, but his start to 2016 hints at maybe that being fallacy.
Odor, meanwhile, posted a March/April wOBA of .250 that sunk to .153 in May of last year. He’s at .284 two weeks into 2016, so he’s actually starting better than he did a year ago. But once the calendar flipped to June, Odor was a monster. His month-by-month wOBAs from June 2015 forward: .443, .405, .354, .304. Those are some superstar numbers. (To be fair to Herrera, he had a .415 in July.)
To me, this looks like a young player who makes adjustments. Maybe he’s just a slow starter. But the talent is in there.
Really though, Herrera and Odor are about as equal to one another as Walker and Kennedy, and the cash difference is there too. They play different positions, so for their acquiring teams, they can afford to make theoretical lateral moves if it means eliminating positional needs.
For next year, Kennedy’s price advantage over Walker is more alluring to me than Herrera’s advantage over Odor. I’d want the cheap pitcher.
So I think I prefer the Kennedy/Odor side myself, but it’s really close.