Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

So if you didn’t like Jack Morris in the Hall … what are you saying about Baines??

32 comments

Baines comes from out of nowhere to get elected to the Hall. Photo via BroBible.

Baines comes from out of nowhere to get elected to the Hall. Photo via BroBible.

Last week, we heard that Lee Smith and Harold Baines were selected by this 16-person “Today’s Game Era Committee” to be in the Hall of Fame.

Honestly, I’m not sure why we pay so much attention to this institution at this point; literally every decision they make seems to be in direct conflict with what the general consensus of the sport’s fandom thinks makes sense.

  • Too many players on the ballot?  By all means, don’t expand the ballot.
  • Too many players on the ballot needing more years to get elected?  Oh, lets shorten the amount of time players can stay on the ballot.  Of course!
  • Tired of seeing illogical votes?  The writers themselves voted to make their votes public … but the Hall of Fame said no.
  • Old-timey players found out to be relatively unworthy due to new knowledge of the game?  Oh, lets ignore years/decades of writer voting and just hand them a spot in the hall.

Lets talk about them one at a time

Smith aged off the ballot after 15 years in 2017, getting 34.2% of the electorate vote his final year, peaking just above 50% in one of his years on the ballot.   He was a journeyman closer (8 teams in 18 years) with a gazillion saves (478) and a 3.00+ ERA with a middling bWAR figure (29.4), 16% of which came in his best season.  We talked about him for years; he was a mediocre to good closer, nothing special, and came into the ballot at a time where there was a huge glut of candidates as well as better/more famous closers in the discussion.   He made 7 all-star teams and had three Cy Young leading seasons back when people thought that saves were actually worthy of voting for (to wit, he finished 2nd in Cy Young voting in 1991 b/c he led the league in saves with 47 saves … and had a 2.3 bWAR season.  Meanwhile, last year Tanner Roark, you know the guy who a lot of Nats fans were convinced we should non-tender due to his crummy performance … he posted a 3.0 bWAR for 2018.  Yeah; even a replacement level starter right now is more valuable than an all-star closer).

That is a hall of famer?

Meanwhile Baines was even more of a journey-man; playing 22 seasons across 5 franchises and hanging around as a lefty DH type with a solid bat but not highlight power.  He accumulated 38.7 bWAR in his long career, his career apex being a 4.3 bWAR season in 1984.  He made 6 all-star teams and never sniffed even a top5 MVP vote.   He hung on the ballot getting just north of the 5% threshold for several years, then was dropped off when the glut of candidates started in 2011.  That’s right; people lost their minds because Jack Morris got in despite his 3.90 ERA and peaking at 61.5% of the HoF vote … yet Baines is now in despite never getting more than 7% (!) in any year and having a career BA of .289.  His best argument for getting into the Hall seems to his high career hit total (2,866), which will now also be the eventual argument for the likes of Omar Vizquel (career hits: 2,877) and Johnny Damon (career hits: 2,769) to also get added by a chummy veterans committee filled with current employees and former managers.

That’s a hall of famer??

.289 will not be the lowest batting average for any Hall of Famer (not like Morris’ 3.90 being the highest ERA).   Not by a long shot; there’s plenty of guys in the .250-.270 range or lower.  But many of those who have these lower averages also have 500 homers, or are 10x gold glove winners.  Or have some other redeeming qualities.  Baines was often not even the best player on his own team, let alone the league.

I mean, good for him.  He gets to make a speech and join a pretty exclusive club.  He’ll also basically serve as a low-end benchmark going forward for comparison purposes.

But most of the rest of the baseball world is pretty troubled by this.  I’ve always thought that a committee would do a better job of electing players to the Hall, in the same vein that the NFL selection committee seems to do a pretty good job.  But clearly not THIS committee, that includes the arrogant and patently-anti-analytical Joe Morgan (whose letter to the electorate literally led some respected writers to quit the process), and the equally arrogant Tony la Russa, who failed so spectacularly in management with Arizona recently and literally used game winning RBI during an on-screen interview to defend the selection of Baines while claiming anyone who argues against Baines are using “weak *ss superficial bullsh*t.”

Wow.

Whatever.  I’m sure we’ll get some good candidates elected and can argue for or against them during the slow period in early January like always.  But the inclusion of Smith and Baines while the likes of Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina (in particular) is yet another nail in the coffin of believe-ability for the Hall of Fame as an institution.

Written by Todd Boss

December 16th, 2018 at 9:53 am

32 Responses to 'So if you didn’t like Jack Morris in the Hall … what are you saying about Baines??'

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  1. I was still living in Illinois and rooting for the ChiSox back when Baines first came up with the team in 1980. Believe it or not when Baines first left the White Sox upon being traded to Texas in 1989, the team immediately RETIRED HIS NUMBER, even though he was 1). still playing, 2). only 30 years old, 3). had never hit 30-HRs in a season, and 4). had 100 RBIs only twice. Baines ended up returning to the Sox TWICE in 1996 & 2000, and resumed wearing his own “retired” number.

    So why did the Sox do it? Baines was reportedly one of the nicest guys ever to play in the league. He was beloved in Chicago despite being a very good but not dominant player. No doubt, those warm feelings towards him were also felt around the league. The guys who voted him in would never admit it was a factor, but it wouldn’t be the first time a voter judged someone based on their feelings towards that person rather than on their actual record of accomplishments.

    Let me also throw another monkey wrench into this argument. Baines lost almost an entire season of playing time due to the 1981 strike and 1994 lockout, which were obviously beyond his control. Let’s say those hadn’t happened and he managed to finish his career with 3001 hits. Since 3000 has always been considered “automatic,” would that change your opinion?

    Karl Kolchak

    16 Dec 18 at 2:10 pm

  2. The Buffalo to the Mets. Decent deal, too ($19m guarantee over two years). Their lineup still has too many holes but that’s a good add.

    Miami is playing a pretty high risk game of poker. Just down to LAD and HOU, i think. If they don’t trade him this offseason, I think it will be a grave example of overplaying your hand

    Wally

    16 Dec 18 at 6:58 pm

  3. Plenty of thoughts on HoF, but not much time to spell them out right now. Baines was a very good player but has no business being the Hall without buying a ticket. What do you tell two better hitters, Berkman and Helton, when they struggle to get 20 percent of the vote next month? What do you tell McGriff and Walker?

    Look, there’s a line where there can be a good level of debate. McGriff and Walker are about at that line as hitters, but it’s a line well above Baines. I loved watching Berkman hit, and he was significantly better than Baines, but I don’t think he’s in. Morris really straddled that line as a pitcher, and Pettite will be in a similar category. But Mussina and Schilling are a lot better, and Halladay will fall somewhere in between (and likely is in).

    Anyway, it’s a terrible development for the HoF, all in all. Smith (bWAR 29.4) likely will be sharing the podium with the GOAT, Rivera (bWAR 56.3).

    Here are the numbers for the current candidates:
    https://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/hof_2019.shtml

    and Jay Jaffe’s take on the Backdoor Ballot:
    https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/hall-election-of-lee-smith-makes-sense-but-harold-baines/

    KW

    16 Dec 18 at 8:18 pm

  4. It’s hard to root against the Buffalo, but I’m sure not pulling for any Mets. His deal is significantly less than what was expected, as I saw multiple sites predicting 3/$36M. But as I’ve noted, it’s starting to get to the time where prices are dropping. I hope for his sake that he can stay healthy, but I’ve said all along that he’s not catching more than 80-90 games.

    KW

    16 Dec 18 at 8:22 pm

  5. Agree about the Fish and Realmuto. They really should have traded him last year, when he had more value. I imagine they’re feeling burned from the Yelich deal, though, and perhaps are a bit gun-shy. It seems pretty clear that they could have had Robles for JT but got greedy.

    KW

    16 Dec 18 at 8:27 pm

  6. I’m not rooting for the buffalo, that’s not a problem. But he definitely upgrades them. The Mets have gotten better, and maybe there’s more. If you give them Pollock, which is entirely possible, they look solid, like 84-86 win solid. That puts them pretty close to the Nats.

    Wally

    16 Dec 18 at 9:17 pm

  7. Well, at the very least the election of Baines can be interpreted as a signal to the previously borderline & more deserving candidates (McGriff, Walker, Helton, et al.) that they too will eventually get their day in the HoF sun. Otherwise, Congress needs to subpoena La Russa & his cohort to the carpet for actions detrimental to the integrity of the game.

    John N

    17 Dec 18 at 3:51 am

  8. I’ll add that if I was a BBWAA voting member, I’d absolutely be spitting nails. If the organization has any stones, it should be leaning hard on the Hall, maybe even threatening to boycott the pending HOF vote.

    And while I do enjoy every opportunity to point out what an arrogant a-hole LaRussa is, in this case, he was just lobbying for his own player. The much bigger problem lies with the rest of the majority he convinced to vote for Baines. Of course Reinsdorf was also on the committee, so there was a heavy Chisox tilt.

    One really has to question whether a committee like this still needs to exist. If so, the list of the players it can consider obviously needs to be narrowed. A player who never got above 7% of the BBWAA vote shouldn’t even be under consideration. And I say that as someone who was horrified that Andruw Jones, with 62.8 career bWAR, only got 7% last year. But if he can’t move up in the level of consideration now, he shouldn’t still be in the running later.

    KW

    17 Dec 18 at 9:19 am

  9. Wally, the Mets still have a number of holes in their lineup, but they certainly have the pitching staff to make things interesting if they can ever keep everyone healthy. The Braves have the lineup, but they’ve been very slow in making moves for pitching. The Phils, meanwhile, have been acting like they’re supposed to be big shots, but they really haven’t done anything much, except unload bad contracts.

    As for the Nats, all they can do is take care of what they can take care of themselves. They’re off to a good start. I will point out that while a lot of the focus has been on pitching, the Nats only surrendered 10 more runs in ’18 than they did in ’17. They scored 48 fewer runs, though, plus they’re (likely) losing Harper and Murphy from the equation. Thus far, all they’ve done to strengthen the hitting is to add a couple of credible-hitting catchers. I do understand that between incumbents and those expected to step in and start (Robles), they don’t have too many other places where they could upgrade, other than 2B, where they don’t want to invest too heavily with Kieboom presumably on the way.

    KW

    17 Dec 18 at 9:32 am

  10. @John–I really hope you are joking, because the LAST thing we need is for those clowns in Congress to be forcing baseball to conform the HofF to their wishes. The next thing you know, they’ll be demanding that pet players from their own hometown teams with 1500 hits and 280 HRs be inducted purely as a way to pander for the votes of their constituents.

    The more I think about it the more I think Baines deserves to be in. As one of the few players who lost major playing time to both MLB strikes, he was denied the chance to get 3,000 hits, which he surely would have otherwise. You’ve got to be pretty darn good to get to that number.

    Karl Kolchak

    17 Dec 18 at 9:45 am

  11. The Mets have an OF hole, which is why I said Pollock to them. If they did that, they don’t really have another hole. They have some wide variables performance wise – what is Todd Frazier these days? How will Alonso perform as a rookie? Will Cespedes ever be completely healthy? Those are real, but the pitching staff could be extraordinary. The variability in the lineup is why I still had them at 84 wins, but its not crazy to see them as a playoff team. I probably have them ahead of the Braves if they sign Pollock.

    Been thinking more on the Nats: (1) lots of talk that the Nats need 2 SPs. Why aren’t people more comfortable with Ross as the 5th starter? I am. Past success, youth, and his stuff looked good after injury last year, even if the results didn’t. I agree he’ll be somewhat innings limited, but I have no problem rolling him out there as the 5th starter and hope for better. And Fedde is old enough that she should be in the majors one way (SP) or the other (RP), and either adapt or be released.

    (2) So that leaves me with the need for a 4th starter. But other than Keuchel, I’ll be damned if one looks any better than the other, so cost would drive me, as it would at 2B. So let’s say you went Fiers for $7m, and Deitrich for $3m.

    (3) That leaves $10m or so for relief, which is good because I think they need an OF too. So I’d go after a RP for about $5m, and then Jay, Maybin or a trade for a quality 4th OF that you wouldn’t hate giving 300 PAs. Here is my rationale: Soto/Robles/Eaton are the starters, with MAT as the backup. Which is pretty good (like 10-12 WAR good) until you assess injury risk. Has Robles ever made it through a full season? Eaton should be healthy, but hasn’t been recently and plays an aggressive style. So if you don’t want to risk listening to the giant sucking sound caused by MAT’s swing and miss and soft stuff away (I know, I know, Venezuela is going to fix him), you need another option that isn’t called Andrew Stevenson. And I don’t see it in house. Goodwin could have been useful here, but he’s in KC.

    But the Nats are in pretty good shape. Most contending teams try to get themselves 45 WAR, on the assumption that any major league team gets to 45ish WAR just be default. So that’s a 90 win team. I’d see the Big 3 SPs for 12, Rendon for 5, Turner for 4, C for 3, and the OF for 10. That’s 34 WAR before counting anything for 2B, 1B the 4th and 5th starters and the entire bullpen. I don’t see any of the NLE teams that strong.

    Wally

    17 Dec 18 at 5:18 pm

  12. ‘she’ was a typo, not something else. :-)

    Wally

    17 Dec 18 at 5:20 pm

  13. Here are two slash lines from 2018: .250/.293/.363; .230/.298/.350. The first guy also had a -0.8 defensive WAR rating on FG, while the second one was +4.7. The first guy is Josh Harrison, while the second one is . . . Difo. So Harrison is just Difo with much worse defense. Do NOT sign this guy.

    I agree that the Nats don’t need two starting pitchers, and I scratch my head at all the chatter on NatsTalk about Miley being signed as the #5. I completely agree that Ross or Fedde needs to step up and be the #5. I know Ross will get shut down at some point, but there was a time before he got hurt when he looked pretty darn good.

    I more or less agree that there isn’t much separation in certain elements of the pack of pitchers after Keuchel. Any of the guys from the A’s, Fiers, Cahill, or Anderson, would be serviceable and probably an upgrade on Hellickson. Of course Hellickson was pretty darn good for five innings.

    Not a fan of Taylor or Stevenson in the OF reserve roles. An upgrade would be nice, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if that money is spent on another bullpen arm instead.

    KW

    18 Dec 18 at 9:13 am

  14. I keep forgetting about Kikuchi. I do think he’s probably a cut above the domestic arms still available, other than Keuchel.

    Beyond those guys — and it’s not really being discussed — but the bigger names still available are relievers, not starters. I guess how much more one wants to spend on the bullpen depends on how much one believes in the ascendancy of more bullpen use. Anyway, I can’t see the Nats being in on Kimbrel, but there are still top-tier guys out there like Robertson, Ottavino, Miller, and Britton. To get a $10M reliever, they’d have to settle for a $5-7M starter, though, not to mention a 2B at a deep discount. Of the “name” relievers, I would say that Miller might be the most likely to slip down into the $5-7M range.

    KW

    18 Dec 18 at 3:03 pm

  15. It would be good to have another decent 8th inning guy so the kids can learn in low leverage spots. But, and most in the Natisphere will think I’m crazy – it’s possible that could be Solis if used and rested properly. He’s had stretches like that before. But Sipp might be a better call.

    I see no way they can afford a Miller/Britton/Robertson type unless they give up on another rotation guy. But that would be a nice bullpen, no?

    Wally

    18 Dec 18 at 7:27 pm

  16. Harvey to Angels for ridiculous contract, with $11M guaranteed and possibly up to $14M with incentives. Sorry, but that’s a dumb deal. They could have gotten two guys as good or better for that $14M.

    Are deals like these inflating the starting pitching market? We’ll see. Do I regret the Roark deal? No. I think he’s running on fumes and really going to struggle in the Great American Bandbox. I find it interesting that the real contending teams aren’t joining in the starter overpays. It’s teams like the Rangers and the Angels.

    Also, there’s more than one way to get a starter. There are reasonable trades to be had.

    KW

    18 Dec 18 at 9:05 pm

  17. That (the SP market is pricey) was my first reaction too, and maybe they do regret trading Roark. We’ll see. At a minimum, absent a creative trade, I don’t see them being able to get a quality guy.

    At this point, maybe getting a good relief guy @ $10m/per is the better way to go, then just add a few NRIs, go with Ross at 4, Fedde, McGowin and the NRIs fight it out for 5th and depth. Not ideal but might add more value.

    Wally

    19 Dec 18 at 6:57 am

  18. Also, it’s funny to see how prevailing opinion changes. A month ago, there was a lot of noise to DFA Roark. Then it switched to talk about trading him. Now I’d say a majority of the fan sentiment is that trading him was a mistake because we won’t be able to replace the production for less cost.

    I don’t think this is unique to the Nats, I think this is part and parcel of being a fan. The truth is we have no idea

    Wally

    19 Dec 18 at 9:55 am

  19. There will be a number of decent pitchers who sign for less than $10M, and who will perform better than Roark. The trick is figuring out which ones! The A’s won 97 flippin’ games last season with a rotation that collectively probably didn’t cost $20M. Several of those guys are on the streets now — Cahill, Anderson, Fiers, EJax.

    Latest scuttlebutt has the Nats in extended conversations with Sanchez. I have a hard time fully believing that he’s reinvented himself, but I’m looking at her peripheral stats, and they suggest that 2018 wasn’t a fluke. Would he take less than Lynn and Harvey, though, when he was significantly better?

    KW

    19 Dec 18 at 1:21 pm

  20. So, who would you rather have? Roark 1yr $9.8M or Harvey 1yr $11M? food for thought for people who think we can just magically get 10% improvement on Roark for 20% reduction in cost.

    Todd Boss

    19 Dec 18 at 1:45 pm

  21. I’ve always had Ross penciled in as #5, so in looking at #4, it’s either Fedde or someone off the street. I would make a small wager that even Fedde will have a better season than Roark (although I don’t think Fedde will end up being the #4). Roark was only good for a month and a half in 2018, but he was good enough in that period to make his overall stat line look decent. Still, his GB rate dropped 8% — which is a big deal with him, and may really get him hurt in Cincy — his K/9 was down one full K, he lost one MPH off his heater. He is keeping his walks down, but nearly every other stat is trending in the wrong direction. Maybe he proves Rizzo and me wrong, but the odds are in our favor.

    Harvey hasn’t been remotely good since 2015. That contract is one of Boras’s greatest con jobs. But yes, it does throw a bit of a monkey wrench in the starter market.

    KW

    19 Dec 18 at 3:51 pm

  22. Sanchez went to heavy cutter usage, so maybe that’s a thing. I’d hate to see us pay him $10m though. You know, if this was 2 years ago, i’d Say sign Ottavino and then only add NRIs. Cause getting through the regular season should be ok, then the big 3 are what you need for the playoffs. But with the improvements everywhere, we need a better stay to make it in.

    Luis Garcia for Jose Urena? What would you give up for Bundy? If you think Grey was better than his 5.00 ERA, maybe Bundy was too?

    Wally

    19 Dec 18 at 6:00 pm

  23. It’s a very interesting market right now because nearly every contending team needs a starter or two. There are a number of pretty decent guys still available, but most of the contending teams are also near the tax line and don’t want to pay too much. But you’ve got Cahill, Buchholz, Sanchez, Miley, Anderson, Fiers, D. Holland, Hellickson, Gio, EJax, perhaps Pomeranz as a bounce-back candidate, and innings eaters like Shields and (maybe) Santana. Keuchel and Kikuchi are also still out there. Then you’ve got Sonny Gray, Jon Gray, maybe the Cleveland guys, and probably some other trade candidates here and there. So there’s A LOT of action still to happen on the starting pitching market, and a lot of good teams that still need starters. Do you overpay a little to get who you want? Do you lay back and hope for a bargain?

    It’s not desperation time yet by any means. That’s what makes the Harvey deal so doubly dumb — there was no rush, AND there were better options, probably for less.

    I’m just looking at Sonny Gray. Honestly, he just turned 29, he was very unlucky with a .326 BABIP against, and he pitched in the hothouse of the Bronx in the toughest division with several small ballparks. The impression is that the Yanks just want to dump his salary similarly to what the Nats did with Roark. So send ’em Tanner Rainey! Anyway, Gray seems like a very good change-of-scenery candidate, and he would know Doolittle and Hale from Oakland. He also shouldn’t cost any top prospects.

    KW

    19 Dec 18 at 9:47 pm

  24. The problem with Sonny Gray is the same problem as Roark, imo. Price. It just seems like they want a guy @ or < $5m, not $9 or 10. If that’s right, I think it rules out Gray, Sanchez, Miley, Fiers. Who do you like of the remaining guys? I’d maybe say Santana, Holland, Hellickson. Maybe your guy Bucholz. That’s why none of it is exciting to me. More and more, i’d Throw $10m at Miller/Britton/Ottavino, then add a SP and 2B for <$10m combined.

    Wally

    20 Dec 18 at 8:03 am

  25. I’d absolutely take Roark at $9.8mil over Harvey at $11mil. Harvey has been consistently hurt and bad for three years whereas Roark has been consistently healthy and consistently inconsistent over that same period. A win-now team unambiguously prefers Roark to Harvey at the same price. I could see a going-nowhere team (do the Angels fit in this category?) preferring Harvey on a one-year deal to any number of other pitchers because Harvey was once a premier pitcher and is not super old. If he pitches well, you can flip him for good value at the trade deadline. But would I pay $11mil for that (remote) possibility? No, I wouldn’t. But I also wouldn’t have given out those contracts to Pujols and Josh Hamilton either.

    I’d probably take Sonny Gray at $9 mil (projected arb salary) over Roark at $10 mil, but the difference in salary/quality between the two is probably not worth the trouble of the two deals it would take to make it happen. I think Gray is a better pitcher but less durable.

    Derek

    20 Dec 18 at 10:29 am

  26. What I saw when I looked at S. Gray’s peripherals was a different story than with Roark’s. Gray’s K/9 and velocity haven’t slipped like Roark’s have. His GB% is down a little, but not nearly as much as Roark’s. Steamer projects Gray to bounce back to a very good 3.59 xFIP but has Roark at 4.32. So all in all, there are statistical reasons to believe that Gray will be better than Roark in 2019.

    Are the Nats willing to pay $9M to another starter? I’m not even sure they know right now. I assume they’re weighing and pricing all the options. My guess is that they would prefer to go no more than $7M on the starter and still try to afford another higher-level reliever. I’d sure rather seem them spend the money that way than giving $8M or so to LeMahieu.

    KW

    20 Dec 18 at 10:51 am

  27. FWIW, here are the 2018 xFIP numbers for a lot of the guys mentioned as possibilities, along with a few others for comparison. It’s not the only stat or a perfect stat, but it is one that’s weighted in a way that makes direct comparisons more valid. It also should be noted up front that some of these guys pitched a lot more innings than others did. But this is a decent measure of how effective each one was when he did pitch.

    Corbin 2.61 (wow, 0.01 behind deGrom for MLB lead)
    Scherzer 3.06 (#6 in MLB)
    Kluber 3.08
    Bauer 3.14
    (Morton 3.42)
    Greinke 3.44
    J. Gray 3.47
    Cahill 3.80
    Sanchez 3.81
    Fedde 3.83 (very surprising)
    Keuchel 3.84
    (Eovaldi 3.84)
    (Happ 3.88)
    B. Anderson 3.91
    (Lynn 3.98)
    Buchholz 4.01
    D. Holland 4.07
    S. Gray 4.10
    (Harvey 4.21)
    Hellickson 4.27
    Miley 4.30
    Bumgarner 4.32
    (Roark 4.42)
    Gio 4.44
    Fiers 4.51
    EJax 4.88
    Shields 5.09
    Pomeranz 5.31 (4.15 in 2017)

    (Joe Ross was 4.22 in 2017 as he was regressing while hurt, with very good 3.87 in 2016 and 3.62 in 2015.)

    KW

    20 Dec 18 at 11:12 am

  28. Oops, I left Stras off the list. He was at 3.28, even in what felt like an “off” year for him.

    KW

    20 Dec 18 at 11:18 am

  29. Fedde is an interesting case to use in comparing the eye test to statistics (and by “eye test,” I’m referring to the fan’s eye test, not scouts’). He has not had good results in his 65 MLB innings. He has a 6.44 ERA and a 5.29 FIP and a number of very short outings as a starter. On the other hand, his career xFIP is 3.89, which suggests mid-rotation starter.

    He’s been killed by homers and high BABIPs in the majors, both of which explain his poor results and why fans aren’t excited about him in the rotation. I don’t see the homer issue continuing for him. He’s never had high HR/FB rates in the minors (in many more innings); in fact, it looks like he’s been pretty damn good at suppressing homers over the course of his MiLB career. So I think we should expect him to be close to league average in that regard. On the other hand, he’s run high BABIPs in the past in the minors (though not consistently). There’s a lot of noise there – good contact (which means the pitcher isn’t throwing hard to hit pitches) can cause high BABIPs but so can poor fielding and poor field conditions (which means we shouldn’t expect poor BABIPs to continue in MLB).

    He has had decent to good K/BB numbers throughout his career though his BB rate has jumped in MLB (his K rate in MLB is similar to his MiLB K rate). This explains why xFIP likes him.

    Even though he’s been undeniably crappy in the majors, there are good reasons to think a lot of that crappiness is a function of bad outcomes in a fairly small sample of innings. He has the statistical signs of a guy who can pitch to a 4.00 ERA as a starter.

    The big problem with him is that there’s literally no reason to think you’re going to get 150 innings out of him (a number he’s never sniffed before in a single season), much less the 180+ Tanner gives you like clockwork. For a team like the Nats, you can’t pencil a guy like Fedde in to the rotation because you just can’t count on him to pitch, even if there are reasons to think he might pitch decently for a starter.

    So I’m bullish on Fedde compared to my perception of what the average Nats fan thinks about him. But even I don’t want him in the rotation to start the season.

    Derek

    20 Dec 18 at 12:28 pm

  30. I agree that Fedde isn’t a workhorse, but the entire league is moving away from that kind of pitcher. The days of a plug-and-play rotation are over.

    One thing the Nats haven’t done well, compared to some other teams, is to use the 10 day DL to bring up guys for spots starts here and there to lessen the innings load on everyone. It requires a lot of advanced management of resources and a roster that fits, but LAD, TB and others are using it effectively. But you need multi inning relievers and guys that can be optioned up and down to make it work. I think the Nats are behind this trend, but without 5 guys who stay healthy and all throw 180+ IPs, they need to embrace it.

    Wally

    20 Dec 18 at 12:55 pm

  31. Cahill to Angels for 1/$9M, a smarter deal than what they’re paying Harvey.

    KW

    20 Dec 18 at 1:45 pm

  32. Guy hasn’t thrown more than 110 IPs since 2013. And. Was never very good. Getting pricey

    Wally

    20 Dec 18 at 3:04 pm

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