Trade: The Foundation | Capital City Ironmen

The Foundation sends: SP Brandon McCarthy ($3), RP Trevor May ($2), 2017 1st Round Pick, 2018 1st Round Pick
Capital City Ironmen sends: SP James Shields ($28), 2017 2nd Round Pick, 2018 2nd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†This was always kind of the point of getting James Shields back in my Johnny Cueto trade: to flip him later for a little something extra.

It’s easy to say now that the White Sox have acquired him, but I really wanted to deal Shields before he got traded in real life. The Chicago rumors made me nervous. That ballpark plus the DH does not seem like a great recipe for one of baseball’s most HR prone pitchers dating back to the start of 2015. Among qualified starters, Shields is seventh-worst in HR/9 at 1.40 over that time period and in terms of total homers allowed, he’s surrendered 42; only Max Scherzer and Hector Santiago have allowed more.

EDIT: ZiPS just got updated and Shields’ FIP went from projected 3.73 rest of season to 3.98 with the move to Chicago.

Admittedly, the return was¬†lighter than I would have hoped. I would’ve liked to get back one more piece, preferably a cheap major leaguer, but I just couldn’t find a piece that fit and, frankly, the market for Shields’ services was not very robust.

What makes Shields valuable is that he throws a ton of innings, thus recording a lot of outs and points. He got totally blasted in his last start and was pulled after 2.2 innings, but that’s the exception. Usually even if he’s off, his manager will leave him out there for six or seven innings. In fact, he’d gone six or more innings in his first 10 starts before that last stinker. He scored 25 or more fantasy points in eight of those starts. He’s also thrown 200+ innings in nine straight seasons and is on pace to make that 10 in a row. His floor is quite high.

Brandon McCarthy is mostly just a flier, but I should note that for their careers, McCarthy and Shields have comparable¬†FIP, xFIP, BB/9, and HR/9 rates. Over their last 30 or so starts, McCarthy’s numbers have actually been better across the board. Shields still projects better though, given how he hogs innings and McCarthy likely won’t pitch deep into games coming off injury (which is a whole separate risk component altogether). I’m just hoping McCarthy spends the rest of 2016 recovering and is in a spot to contribute in 2017 at a much cheaper salary than Shields.

With Trevor May, I’m just hoping something changes and the Twins convert him back into a starter. That seems unlikely though. He’s currently sporting a 13.67 K/9, so if not a starter, he could be a cheap RP option that strikes a ton of guys out. The price to find out what his future holds costs nothing but a RP spot, which I’d been mostly funneling guys in and out of anyway.

The main thing was getting the picks. Once my team decided to suck this year and I embarked on rebuilding, part of my strategy was to stock up on the highest picks possible. I tend to think picks are valuable but likely overrated, especially in baseball. This isn’t football where your rookie running back will start and make an impact from Week One. In baseball, prospects take time. But I’d rather have superior draft assets than not, and with my fifteen minors spots mostly accounted for, accruing picks is my only real means of adding cost controlled talent in the future.

For Jordan, the cost to add a stabilizing starting pitcher really wasn’t too much. To date, his team has lost the second-most points to HR allowed (interestingly, first place Team Canada has been stung the most), so Shields doesn’t necessarily fix that. But there’s a ton of positive regression due for the rest of his staff, so what Shields will really be doing is cutting down on having to use dice roll starts. That means not being backed into a corner where Aaron Blair, James Paxton, or Mat Latos has to be deployed.

Trade: The Foundation | Capital City Ironmen

The Foundation sends: RP Cody Allen ($10), 2017 3rd Round Pick
Capital City Ironmen send: SP Mat Latos ($1), 2017 5th Round Pick

Alex’s (Team Hydra) thoughts: With how the two players involved in the trade are currently performing, this is an incredibly unsexy challenge trade with each team hoping that the guy they added can turn it around. ¬†Just looking at the names involved, Allen seems like the guy most likely to do that. ¬†He’s coming off 3 straight seasons of an 11 K/9 or better with his ERA and FIP under 3.00 in each year. ¬†Latos, on the other hand is coming off a season where his ERA was 4.95 and he hasn’t had a K/9 over 8 since 2011.

Both have struggled this season. ¬†Despite recording 8 saves, Allen has only averaged 1.63 P/PG but this low score is weighed down from 4 negative outings which were 4 of only 5 appearances where he’s allowed an earned run. ¬†The bigger problem, at least from a fantasy perspective, is that only 2 of his 13 appearances have resulted in a score of more than 6 points which has prevented him from making up for the negative points. ¬†Steamer projects his rest of season numbers to result in the worst K/9, BB/9 and ERA since 2012 but still result in a nice bounce back from where he is now.

Latos’ value is much harder to pinpoint. ¬†Between 2013 and the half season he played in 2014, Latos put up 24 starts of over 30 points. ¬†Last year he only put up 8 such starts. ¬†He then started 2016 with 3 straight starts of 40+ points before posting 13, -14 and 9.5. ¬†Latos currently has an ERA of 2.62 but a FIP of 4.44 an ugly K/9 of 4.98 and after making big cuts to his HR rate in 2013 and 2014, it jumped up to over 1 HR/9 last year and has climbed a bit higher so far this season. ¬†Most concerning is that Steamer projects the HR rate to get noticeably worse (1.26 HR/9) while basically every one of his stats is worse than his 2015 season.

So now that I’ve proven I can copy stats off of Fangraphs, what’s all this mean? ¬†Well it’s easy to see Jordan’s thinking in making the move for Latos. ¬†Jordan has a solid bullpen already and with our league’s scoring, the best RP (Andrew Miller) has 68 points while the 30th best RP (Kyle Barraclough) – who isn’t even on a team right now – has 48 points. ¬†That’s an advantage of only 4 points per week between the best and a middle of the road RP. ¬†So Jordan could either hold on to Allen with the hopes that he regains form and either gives him a small advantage or allows him to trade him away at a high point. ¬†However we have no established trade market for RPs and as more people realize something that a few teams have known since the draft – spending money for RPs in this league makes no sense – Jordan’s decision to sell Allen seems like a smart move. ¬†The question is really, does Latos give him any advantage at all. ¬†He’s only Jordan’s 8th SP so he could use the depth and if Latos can find a glimpse of 2013/2014, or Jordan can accurately find those 5 or so 30+ point starts, then sure why not!

For Bailey, I’m not as big a fan of the move. ¬†Bailey’s team is currently last in the league in points scored which means any moves Bailey makes need to be big improvements this season or ones that focus on the future. ¬†Now Latos is not the future, even at $1, so trading him away is fine. ¬†And turning a 5th round pick into a 3rd round pick is great but a 3rd round pick isn’t really worth much. ¬†My bigger issue with the deal is that getting Cody Allen, even if he becomes 2015 Cody Allen, isn’t going to be a move that really does much for Bailey this season and as I’ve said, who knows that the trade market is for RPs. ¬†So grabbing him with the hope of flipping him seems ill advised. Allen was also $10 which wasn’t a bad price in the draft but at $12 next year, Allen would really have to go back to being elite to even be worth considering holding on to and even then, I firmly believe paying for RP is a mistake. ¬†Right now, it’s possible that Allen was all Bailey could get for Latos but if Bailey really is looking towards the future, he has all season to make these deals and selling Latos after 3 very poor starts for a struggling RP seems like a move just to make a move. ¬†If there’s one thing I learned in this league it’s that someone will always pay for SP so waiting for him to put together a few good outings and trying to sell for essentially anything besides a RP seems like the better play.

At the end of the day, I just wrote 800 words about two players who probably won’t have much of an impact in any way so I think I’m the one who lost this deal!

Trade: In Line 4 The Win | Long Ball to LF

In Line 4 The Win sends: SP Matt Moore ($9)
Long Ball to LF sends: SP Mike Leake ($14), 2017 3rd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†I don’t mean to open this on a negative note, but my first thought upon seeing this deal was “wow, two pitchers I really don’t like.” I’m not really sure what it is, but neither Leake nor Moore have ever been guys I’ve been interested in on any level at all, really.

Leake is, to me, the definition of an okay emergency seventh starter. He’s got a career 4.24 FIP, a HR/9 of 1.13, and he barely strikes anyone out. He’s useful here and there, but it’s tough to predict when those games will be.

In Moore’s case, it seems like he’s still living a bit off the roto hype of 2012, when he had a solid first full season with a sub-4.00 ERA on a good Rays team. In 2013, he was a hot “sleeper” because he’d get wins and a presumably low ERA. But in our league, his linear weights just aren’t that enticing. He’s posted a 4.06 FIP and a 0.99 HR/9 in his career, which is meh on both fronts, while striking out 8.51 batters per nine and walking 3.99.

To me, these two pitchers are identical. Moore strikes a couple more batters out per nine than Leake, but he also walks a couple more to wash away any positive effect. Moore’s a year and a half younger, so I guess there’s “upside” at play, but he also pitches out of the tough AL East while Leake gets to throw in the NL, where half the teams are rebuilding.

I really don’t mean to be such a downer. It’s just… seriously, if you made me list five pitchers pre-auction that I would be completely out of the market on, these two guys would’ve made the list.

Having said all that, as a trade, this is fine. The pick is negligible — I feel like anything later than a 2nd rounder won’t carry much value — so essentially what you’ve got is a pick your poison move. Two identical guys but I like yours and vice versa, so let’s do it. And even with their flaws, as I said, both guys are solid as rotational depth. You won’t feel terrible starting Leake on a Sunday as your seventh. Back end starters like that are worth something (at least this is what I’ll keep telling myself as I attempt to sell Mat Latos, who isn’t all that dissimilar from either of these two guys).

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†I really do not have much to follow up after Bailey’s thoughts. The one thing I want to hit on is that the projections systems still have Leake as the better pitcher. He has to face the Cubs and Pirates more often, and that sucks, but otherwise he’s in the NL which is great. I think Leake has startable starts available, and I’m not a big fan of Matt Moore except in emergency.

The draft pick is weird.

2016 Auction Review – Capital City Ironmen

Capital City Ironmen

cap

Here I am to take shots at the co-commissioner. Andrew who I know to be extremely shrewd, but I cannot help but wonder if Bailey got too cute during this draft. The pitchers are sweet. The hitters look great and I had similar aspirations going after a pair of no doubt sluggers, but there is likely just a few too many holes on this roster.

Hitters – Alright

The line up is clearly stars and scrubs. Miguel Cabrera and Joey Votto are going to make sure each and every week your hitters are competitive. The catcher position is already punted, which can be okay. Jhonny Peralta could be the steal of the draft, but he’s not starting until summer. You can see the framework’s existence. Knowing this team left money on the table, on top of trading cash away to buy Blake Snell, there’s just a lot of work to be done here. The world is already low on guys like Corey Dickerson, Trevor Plouffe and Denard Span for reasonable reasons. This line up is a Cabrera or Votto season ending injury from being in uh-oh territory.

Pitchers –¬†Very Good

Carlos Carrasco, Johnny Cueto, Tyson Ross and Sonny Gray are all tier one starting pitchers. Or at the very least capable of pitching as tier ones. But the pitching staff as a whole is not great for two reasons. First the bullpen is already short a player with nothing splashy. Second, Patrick Corbin is a great fifth, but Chase Anderson, Mat Latos and Nick Tropeano all are cheap attempts at being clever. Capital City may never need any of them, and Bailey would clearly prefer it that way.

Depth – Good

While it’s not great because CCI’s¬†pitching depth is lackluster, the guys¬†on the bench for hitters do play multiple positions. The roster flexibility will allow CCI¬†to fill line up slots regularly on a daily basis. Those extra plate appearances will add up and will make the difference in a weekly match-up at least once this season.

Why 2016 would be bad…¬†

It is hard to bet on all the pitchers taking the year off. So in this case 2016 is bad if Miggy and Votto both finish outside the top 10 for first basemen. I love Alex Rodriguez as much as the next guy, but if you took the $21 spent on him and padded it with the cash left on the table you have basically any tier 1-2 hitter available. Whoops.

Why 2016 would be¬†good…¬†

The two hitters and the four pitchers carry this roster into the playoffs and just run through everyone. With any amount of luck, between the top four, he’s going to get 1 maybe 2 with 2-starts each week. That means six starts between top tier starters each week. Filling it in with Corbin or Chase Anderson is alright at that point. The hitters are good enough to hold a regular baseline.