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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel trade talks well underway - Chicago Sun-Times

The Cubs are angling for the #1 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 17, 2014 at 06:48 AM | 71 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, jason hammel, jeff samardzija

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   1. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:11 AM (#4728194)
hammel looks better than he did a few years ago. wonder if he could have a second act of being pretty good for 4-5 years?
   2. Brian C Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:29 AM (#4728203)
I think I'd just as soon keep Hammel barring a big prize in a trade. He probably won't bring a whole lot and at this point I'd rather the organization signal that they're at least thinking about trying at the major league level. They've put together a reasonably solid month now (16-12 since bottoming out at 13-27 on May 16) and it just feels like the days of willful neglect of the major league roster ought to be over and the transition to being a real team with actual goals ought to be beginning.

Also, Harveys is right - Hammel's looked pretty good, especially with his command. Even yesterday when he got touched for a few runs he still K'd 9 against a lone walk. His peripherals are pretty good, too. His FIP (3.01) almost exactly matches his ERA (3.02).
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:54 AM (#4728215)
I don't really trust either pitcher enough to give up a boatload of talent.

Hammel would be a nice rental for a B- and a C+ prospect. The asking price for Samardzjia is likely to be way too high for a guy with 1.5 good seasons in his career.
   4. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:59 AM (#4728219)
FWIW, the Cubs have reached out to Samardzija again about an extension per Wittenmeyer.

On Hammel, I wouldn't be mad if they kept him but I agree they should at least test the market for him. If the Cubs can get a legitimate prospect (say a B- type or better) then I'm fine with pulling the trigger. If they can't, well the cavalry should at least begin to arrive in 2015 so it would be nice to see the team gun for relevance. Extending Samardzija, keeping Hammel and adding a solid FA to the rotation at least gets the rotation to non-pitiful. If Baez can improve his K rate to merely bad and Bryant keeps chugging along that would be nice upgrades for two lineup spots. Maybe Soler can get healthy and join them, and Alcantara would hardly be a downgrade at second. The Cubs could stay young, not get crazy on the payroll and have a somewhat interesting team next year.

Bryant, BTW, is continuing to go Babe Ruth in AA. Even his K rate seems to be dropping a bit (that's just from checking B-Ref periodically, I don't know how to look at monthly splits to confirm).
   5. donlock Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:04 AM (#4728222)
Hammel and Arietta are the kind of guys weak teams should keep. Both are former Orioles who were helpful in improving that team. Both had bad stretches and were let go with nothing to show for them now. The concept of trading your best players on bad teams for minor league junk is a tough policy to justify.

I'd rather take my chances with Hammel and Arietta getting better or stabilizing your rotation than churning them onto the market for weak prospects. Not sure what the market is for Samardzjia but he might be worth keeping.
   6. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:11 AM (#4728229)
agree with 5

the cubs are in a no lose sitaution. if they offer hammel a qualifying offer and he accepts (which he won't assuming he finsihes this season in good health and performs) then the cubs have him for another year churning out what is likely to be acceptable performance and they don't have to worry about babying him. if he rejects they get a pick and can pick from the market at their leisure

trading him for a b prospect seems foolish to me.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:16 AM (#4728237)
the cubs are in a no lose sitaution. if they offer hammel a qualifying offer and he accepts (which he won't assuming he finsihes this season in good health and performs) then the cubs have him for another year churning out what is likely to be acceptable performance and they don't have to worry about babying him. if he rejects they get a pick and can pick from the market at their leisure

trading him for a b prospect seems foolish to me.


What are the odds a comp pick turns into a B prospect? Pretty low I'd guess. I mean the B/B- line for Sickels this year was #107/108.

If they could get an actual B prospect (top-100) they probably should jump at it. B- is more questionable.
   8. puck Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:20 AM (#4728242)
One thing in favor of trading Hammel is that he hasn't made it to 30 starts since 2010. He's usually pretty good (though not quite as good as this year) and then he gets hurt.
   9. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:21 AM (#4728247)
Harvey:

If the Cubs re-up Samardzija and keep the other four of the rotation in place (Jackson's contract means they will keep trying) then I am fine with trading away a guy like Hammel who is having a career year, isn't particularly young, and isn't going to be under any sort of long-term control. Arrieta should definitely be kept but it's not like there is any reason to be confident that Hammel is going to improve the team next year. That is the profile of a guy who is expendable and although I don't think he's blocking anybody, the Cubs also don't have a particular need to lock in all five rotation spots for 2015 right now. Particularly given that Theo's biggest strength has been finding guys like him on the cheap (Maholm, Feldman, Arrieta).
   10. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:24 AM (#4728250)
If Hammel finishes the year reasonably strong there's no risk he'll accept the qualifying offer. So if they're to trade him they would have to get back something significantly more valuable than a sandwich round pick.
   11. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:28 AM (#4728253)
pops

see zeth's comment. that is the gist of my sentiment.

i know theo is all that and a bag of chips but trading hammel would be pretty loony in my estimation
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4728258)
If Hammel finishes the year reasonably strong there's no risk he'll accept the qualifying offer. So if they're to trade him they would have to get back something significantly more valuable than a sandwich round pick.

Are we sure of that? After the Drew/Morales saga, is a guy who's "only" made $23M in his career going to turn down $14M guaranteed?
   13. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4728259)
Based on TFA there is no reason to believe Theo's doing anything more than waiting around to see whether someone gets desperate and calls him willing to overpay.


Are we sure of that? After the Drew/Morales saga, is a guy who's "only" made $23M in his career going to turn down $14M guaranteed?


Absolutely, because if he completes this season strong he's going to get at least that much per season over probably four or five years. Everyone always wants more pitching.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:38 AM (#4728264)
Absolutely, because if he completes this season strong he's going to get at least that much per season over probably four or five years. Everyone always wants more pitching.

Why is Hammel going to get that when Ervin Santana couldn't?

His best case outcome would probably be the Ubaldo Jimenez contract, 4/50 (which looks horrible for Baltimore right now). But Santana was coming off a season that Hammel probably won't match (211 IP, 127 ERA+) and had a healthier track record, and had to settle for basically a QO contract.

If I could get a B or a strong B- prospects, I'd pull the trigger, before he gets hurt or turns back into Jason Hammel.
   15. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:43 AM (#4728268)
pops

see zeth's comment. that is the gist of my sentiment.

i know theo is all that and a bag of chips but trading hammel would be pretty loony in my estimation


Well, I'm not convinced a sandwich pick is equivalent to a B- prospect and getting a guy of that level now presumably means the prospect is closer to the majors than a draft pick next June.

I'm also unconvinced that even if Hammel finishes the year with a 130 ERA+ that he will turn it down.

Finally, I'm not a Theo fanboy but I have been happy with Chicago's moves on low price veteranish pitchers for mid-tier performance. That's small potatoes in the grand scheme but I see no imperative to hold on to Hammel rather than go to that well again. He didn't come in as a good pitcher coming off a down year like Maholm, he's the hot hand who is more likely than not (IMO) to turn back into a pumpkin.

   16. DL from MN Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:48 AM (#4728272)
Why is Hammel going to get that when Ervin Santana couldn't?


Or Kyle Lohse.
   17. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:54 AM (#4728281)
i think we regard hammel differently. when somewhat healthy he's been a 1-2 win pitcher. not great. but he takes the ball. and i think right NOW he's throwing better than he has in his career. he's killing righties and i don't think it's a fluke.

so the cubs stumbled into a guy who might be putting together a 4-5 war season and i think he will keep doing something along the lines of 2-3 wins for a few more years.

i don't know why i am so confident. but hammel just seems different. he's certainly BETTER.

   18. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4728288)
Hammel should be flipped like Feldman was last year. He's 31, has no health history, and there's no chance he's going to be part of the next winning Cubs team. Trade him for some lottery tickets and hope that one cashes in like Arrieta.

These are the trades bad teams need to make to get better.
   19. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4728293)
Maybe you're right, HW. I've only seen a couple of his starts this year and his peripherals are strong this season.

I just see he's a guy with a 95 career ERA+ and has had health issues. I feel like this type of guy is available every offseason and a legitimate chance to be a starter draws this type to Chicago where that opportunity exists.
   20. Joey B. Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4728327)
Hammel and Arietta are the kind of guys weak teams should keep. Both are former Orioles who were helpful in improving that team. Both had bad stretches and were let go with nothing to show for them now. The concept of trading your best players on bad teams for minor league junk is a tough policy to justify.

WTF? Arietta freaking sucked on the Orioles. His "bad stretch" was his entire career; he was a complete and total bust, and it's insane to think he was going to return anything valuable.
   21. zonk Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:35 AM (#4728331)
I'm in the trade Hammel camp -- as others have noted, wrong side of 30, never been a picture of health, even when healthy is nothing special.

By no means would I be desperate to move him, of course - I'd sooner just hang onto him if no one offers me anything interesting.

That said, I have been relatively impressed when watching him - he's got better stuff than I thought. Of course, Edwin Jackson has pretty good stuff, too - and I'm all for just forgetting to tell him when the plane departs back to Chicago after the current road trip.

I keep going back and forth on Samardzija -- I have no problem locking him up long-term, but he wants ace money and I just don't think he's worth ace money. I think he's still under team control this offseason, so there's no reason to get trigger happy with him. With him, I think I'd wait and see what unfolds with Hendricks, Edwards, Johnson, and a few other arms. There's a good chance we see a couple of them late this year - plus a few other mildly interesting guys like Beeler or Jokisch. If a couple of them look like keepers, I'd almost be inclined to give Samardzija something like the 5/80 I suspect he wants because we might actually be looking at an interesting 2015/2016.

All in all, I'm increasingly happy with this season. The Two Big Things That Needed to Go Right -- Rizzo and Castro righting the ship - have come to pass. Lake and the hurt Castillo are muddling, but showing flashes and some of the young arms in the pen - Grimm, Rameriz, Rondon, in particular - are looking pretty good. If Jake Arrieta continues to look like a new pitcher, so much the better.

Be nice if Olt could tone down the lesser Branyan-esque tendencies a bit, but at this point it looks all but certain that Kris Bryant is going to get a chance to play Ryan Braun for a season or so.

It's hard to say how much of the kids looking decent is due to Renteria, how much is just random variance, etc -- but I'm also relatively happy with Rich.
   22. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:35 AM (#4728333)
pops

i hear that. i also acknowledge the impact of recency bias.

but i bet if you check you will find out that hammel is throwing 2-3 mph faster than he has in previous seasons. and he's very fluid out there.

the cubs should ride that horse in 2014 and then let him walk.
   23. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4728354)
These are exciting times for Cubs fans.
   24. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4728358)
Hammel should be flipped like Feldman was last year


That's a good comp. Any talk of a QO for Hammel is ridiculous. He's a back of the rotation guy. Feldman has more 100 ERA+ seasons, a lower career ERA, and a similar career FIP (4.22 for Hammel, 4.46 for Feldman). Hammel is better, but not much better. He would be foolish to turn down 1/$14 after a better pitcher like Ervin Santana got hung out to dry. Hammel should bring back a marginally better return than Feldman got. Maybe a close to MLB ready piece with little upside, and a lottery ticket in A ball.
   25. McCoy Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4728395)
The Two Big Things That Needed to Go Right -- Rizzo and Castro righting the ship - have come to pass.

There is still a lot of baseball that has yet to be played.

For Castro having four 3 hit games in less than 2 weeks will do wonders for your line. Heading into that stretch his line was .267/.311/.430 in 55 games. Definitely an improvement over last year but you definitely wouldn't call it righting the ship for a guy who is supposed to be your starting SS for the rest of the decade. More like he stopped sinking than anything else. Starlin will obviously not continure .365 batting average with a 1.065 OPS the rest of the way so there are still some solid question marks about him going forward this season. Plus his defense hasn't improved any from last year and at some point you have to decide who is going to make the move to second. One of your prospects or the guy at the ML level.

As for Hammel I say trade him for the best offer you can get. In the end you're likely to get nothing of much value for him. Either in the trade or via a compensatory pick and he's likely to turn back into a pumpkin at some point. See Wood, Maholm, Silva, and many more Cub reclamation projects.
   26. Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4728408)
Harveys

Hammel's overall velocity is slightly down from the last two seasons. He's up about 1.5 MPH from April, though.

One red flag is that he's been having trouble throwing strikes over the past month.
   27. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4728413)
Ricketts, Epstein, and Hoyer are the Symbionese Liberation Army, and Cubs fans are Patty Hearst.
   28. Cabbage Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4728418)
Every generation there are a few pitchers who have much better 30s than 20s -- Schilling, dennis martinez, etc. Not that I havr amything more than intuition to support this, but Szhjallmerson seems like someone who could have an unlikely run of brilliance at an older age.
   29. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4728420)
Szhjallmerson


And I think this would be a great nickname.

   30. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4728441)
Not that I havr amything more than intuition to support this, but Szhjallmerson seems like someone who could have an unlikely run of brilliance at an older age.

Maybe, but, in 2 of his last 3 starts, Samardzija has reverted to Samardzijatude
   31. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4728442)
I just read a report that Samardzija is asking for something along the lines of the Homer Bailey deal: 6/105. That seems fairly reasonable if true. Looking at Cots, the Cubs drop about $30 million in payroll next year from FAs and Soriano money. Obviously it's not that simple because of arb awards but even given the CBA constraints it looks like budget room exists.
   32. zonk Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4728468)
6/105 just seems high for Jeff, whether you can afford it or not.

I suppose Bailey is a reasonable approximation, though, so the market is what it is.

The nice thing about Samargarine is that 1)He's been pretty healthy and 2) his relatively late start - both as a full time pitcher and as starter - means he's got relatively low mileage on his arm for his age.

I have no problem getting into 5-6-7/100+ for a pitcher.... I just don't know that someone like Samaritan is necessarily a guy worth that. He's more than just a mid-rotation workhorse, I guess, but would you really go so far as to call him a strong #2? Maybe...
   33. Al Kaline Trio Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4728477)
I was super confused reading the first few comments here. Didn't realize Hammel wasn't still on the Orioles.
   34. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4728488)
Hammel should be flipped like Feldman was last year.

But the Orioles already had him, and the Rangers are out of the running so they won't want to make this the third year in a row they trade for a veteran Cubs starting pitcher. Who's left?
   35. zonk Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4728490)
The Angels seem like they could use a rental...
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4728538)
The Angels seem like they could use a rental...

Yankees, Blue Jays, Pirates, as well.
   37. McCoy Posted: June 17, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4728605)
If the Royals' pitching staff falters I could see the Royals making a move for Hammel and the Indians would be in much better shape with Hammel in their rotation right now.
   38. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4728660)
Samardzija isn't going to make the Pirates a playoff team. They really should keep what young talent they have and look toward 2015.
   39. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4728679)

If the Royals' pitching staff falters I could see the Royals making a move for Hammel and the Indians would be in much better shape with Hammel in their rotation right now.


The problem is, the most obvious candidate to falter is Jeremy Guthrie who just signed a 3 year extension, and the club is not going to admit that was a mistake. I guess Ventura or Duffy breaking down is a possibility, but I would guess they'll try Bruce Chen for a few starts before making a trade. And hitter (RF, 3B) is a much more pressing area of need.
   40. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4728688)
Samardzija isn't going to make the Pirates a playoff team. They really should keep what young talent they have and look toward 2015.

I was talking Hammel. But Samardzija would be under control for 2015.

In any case, the Pirates should look to cash in some of their far from the majors talent to improve the team now, and in the near future.

The future in now-2018 for the Pirates. Guys that are 3+ years away are expendable.
   41. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4728714)
The future in now-2018 for the Pirates. Guys that are 3+ years away are expendable.


That's what I've been vociferously arguing, but then again... operating from the assumption that our window closes in 2018 is a textbook way to set up a self-fulfilling prophecy. Then again again, flags fly forever and the Pirates know they have one of the best players in the world on their team for four more years.
   42. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4728718)
That's what I've been vociferously arguing, but then again... operating from the assumption that our window closes in 2018 is a textbook way to set up a self-fulfilling prophecy. Then again again, flags fly forever and the Pirates know they have one of the best players in the world on their team for four more years.

Well, I wouldn't go all in doing stupid ####. But, Sickels gives them 13 guys at B- or better; Trading in one for a Hammel's rental is exactly punting the future.

Also, to the extend you can make the playoffs a few times, and become a regular contender, revenue will grow, and you'll be better able to sustain competitiveness past 2018, either by extending McCutchen, or replacing him.
   43. Walt Davis Posted: June 17, 2014 at 06:08 PM (#4728822)
1. I don't see any reason for Hammel to do particularly well in FA ... although I wouldn't be deeply annoyed if the Cubs made a QO and he accepted as it would be for just one year if he tanks.

2. That said ... if the Cubs feel like Hammel has turned a corner as HW suggests (and it happens) or even if they just think he's probably good for 3 years of league average, then just extend him. If they don't think that or he won't accept an extension, then trade him.

3. This has been one part of the secret Theo plan that has gone well -- Maholm in 2012, Feldman in 2013 and now Hammel. Of course we also had Volstad and Baker but nobody's perfect.

4. The argument is much the same for Samardzija. Other than sensible skepticism about any pitcher, I don't see any reason to "doubt" Samardzija. His FIP has been solid for 4 straight years (and even bettter this year), he's been healthy and he chugs along at 6.5 IP/start (what a pathetic world we live in such that is now good!). Durable 110 ERA+ starters are good things to have. But if he won't extend (or the Cubs are skeptical) trade him for good return now when his value is at its highest.

5. I am depressed to see somebody note the Cubs have $30 M coming off the payroll and so should be able to afford some veterans. Payroll this year is just $88 M. This is a team that should be running payrolls of at least $125 and really $150-200. It's one thing to sign on to the death march to future success but don't buy their penny-pinching propaganda.
   44. Baldrick Posted: June 17, 2014 at 07:10 PM (#4728858)
For Castro having four 3 hit games in less than 2 weeks will do wonders for your line. Heading into that stretch his line was .267/.311/.430 in 55 games. Definitely an improvement over last year but you definitely wouldn't call it righting the ship for a guy who is supposed to be your starting SS for the rest of the decade. More like he stopped sinking than anything else. Starlin will obviously not continure .365 batting average with a 1.065 OPS the rest of the way so there are still some solid question marks about him going forward this season. Plus his defense hasn't improved any from last year and at some point you have to decide who is going to make the move to second. One of your prospects or the guy at the ML level.

Yes, if you exclude the parts of the seasons where he did well, his numbers do look worse.
   45. Walt Davis Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:28 PM (#4728899)
Castro's BA and OBP are right in line with his career averages, no reason to think he won't sustain those. We've got a long enough stretch now that it seems unlikely that he's going to be a consistent 300 hitter.

The improvement this year is power and the question then is whether it's going to stick around. It's pretty common for players to add power around age 24 so there's a good chance it's a real step forward although his 187 ISO might regress towards 165 or something. He's also dropped the K-rate back to career-averages which is good given increase K-rates over this period.

His defense remains tolerably below-average (by the numbers), he remains a free-swinger, he is frustratingly inconsistent (I assume this is what the other poster was pointing out ... just 10 games ago his OPS was 735 and it could easily be there again 10 games from now). He's hardly the first good player with those characteristics and lots of bad baseball decisions have been made out of frustration with how a player produces instead of focusing on how much.

The change in Rizzo is much more dramatic. Power has taken a big leap, walks have taken another huge leap, BABIP back up to league average. I tend to put more faith in such across-the-board improvement -- he can regress in all three areas and remain a much better hitter than he was.
   46. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:28 PM (#4728928)
His first couple seasons, Castro seemed fast. Now he seems like an average-ish runner. If he lost a step, Walt's probably right that his days of being a .300 hitter with a lot of singles might be over.
   47. Walt Davis Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:57 PM (#4728991)
I assume infield hits are picked up by "to the infield" splits. He was actually pretty steady up until this year with BAs of 123, 106, 097, 058. His RoEs have also been steady until this year -- 5, 7, 8, 8, 1. If his speed is reduced, it hasn't affected that part of his game before this year.

It could be IF positioning I suppose.
   48. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: June 18, 2014 at 02:01 PM (#4729487)
Bryant has been promoted to AAA and Schwarber (sp?) Was moved up to low A kane county.
   49. Walt Davis Posted: June 19, 2014 at 03:40 AM (#4730204)
Bryant has been promoted to AAA

At least Theo has enough sense to believe my predictions of the future. :-)

EDIT: for kicks, I calculated Bryant's on-contact numbers at AA ... BA of 515, SLG of 1018.
   50. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: June 19, 2014 at 04:07 AM (#4730206)
he really is hitting the #### out of the ball. I hope it translates to the majors, I am tired of other teams bringing up plyares who mash and then do well in the majors while the cubs develop dreck.
   51. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 19, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4730316)
At least Theo has enough sense to believe my predictions of the future. :-)

Are you sure? Bryant is getting called up to AAA at almost precisely the half-way point in Iowa's season. All he had to do to get promoted this quickly was stay completely healthy and put up an OPS of 1.160.

I still think he's going to begin 2015 in Iowa and get the George Springer treatment (even if called up in September - he will be back in the minors to start next year in order to learn the OF or something). I'm very happy to be wrong, though!
   52. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 19, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4730320)
rizzo has stopped scr8wing around with his stance. in past seasons it seemed like every six weeks he was trying something different

he's clearly 'settled' on the current approach even when he slumped a bit in may. he snapped back in june and one would hope he sticks with it.

he has serious power. it's effortless.
   53. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 19, 2014 at 10:12 AM (#4730325)
he really is hitting the #### out of the ball. I hope it translates to the majors

Bryant is an interesting case. He's K-ing a little more than 25% of the time in the minors. What does that translate too in MLB?

That 25-30% K-rate range is a tough spot. You can be a productive big-league hitter, but you need to walk, and really hit the ball hard. If you slip at all on either of those, you end up being Mark Reynolds or Pedro Alvarez.
   54. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 19, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4730349)
I wish I could point to splits to support this but I think his K rate has declined a bit as the year went on. At the very least, he balances that K rate with a healthy number of walks.
   55. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 19, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4730418)
Bryant does look basically like Pedro Alvarez to me. Useful player, not a star but people will think he is one. The silver lining is he does walk significantly more than Alvarez ever did.
   56. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 19, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4730423)
Bryant does look basically like Pedro Alvarez to me. Useful player, not a star but people will think he is one. The silver lining is he does walk significantly more than Alvarez ever did.

A more optimistic comp could be Mike Napoli. Career 26.4% K-rate, 12.2% BB-rate, .238 ISO, .312 BABIP, 129 wRC+.

Depending on D, solid regular to minor star.
   57. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 19, 2014 at 12:02 PM (#4730448)
Both Napoli and Alvarez did K slightly less at the AA level but Bryant is well ahead of both on overall performance.

To be fair to Kris, it's probably hard to work on your approach when your overall performance is so successful. The key will be how he responds to better competition where he can't slug .700.

Even if he's a high K guy his on-contact numbers are so good he could still be a star. I certainly wouldn't complain about a .240/.340/.500 player.
   58. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 19, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4730452)
Bryant does look basically like Pedro Alvarez to me. Useful player, not a star but people will think he is one.

I don't know, Pedro Alvarez led the league in homers last year and still I don't think anyone outside Pittsburgh thinks he's a star.
   59. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 19, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4730475)
agree with crispix

i don't even think pittsburgh regard alvarez as a star. he's just too flawed a player. and he's clearly not getting better

   60. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 19, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4730484)
I guess that ISO I gave him was a bit generous - though still below Ryan Howard's career line.

Basically, if he's not going to get a handle on his Ks his power needs to translate really well to put up an OPS of .840.
   61. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: June 19, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4730587)
Sammartino walks too many guys to succeed in the AL, so that limits where the Cubs might send him.


I don't know if that's true. I just wanted to call him Sammartino.
   62. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 19, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4730599)
Even if he's a high K guy his on-contact numbers are so good he could still be a star. I certainly wouldn't complain about a .240/.340/.500 player.

That's pretty close to Napoli. That's a good player, but not a star as a bad D 3B, or a good D 1B or LF.
   63. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 19, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4730640)
Hammel has a career 4.66 ERA. Kyle Lohse had a better season in 2012 than Hammel is having now, even if Hammel keeps up his rate stats (which I doubt he will) and there was little market for him in the offseason. Don't expect a B- prospect for him.
   64. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: June 19, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4730653)
i don't even think pittsburgh regard alvarez as a star. he's just too flawed a player. and he's clearly not getting better


Perhaps so, but then why is he playing every day, and not being pinch-hit for when the inevitable LOOGY comes in late-and-close, when he cannot--repeat, cannot--hit lefthanded pitching?
   65. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 19, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4730682)
Hammel has a career 4.66 ERA. Kyle Lohse had a better season in 2012 than Hammel is having now, even if Hammel keeps up his rate stats (which I doubt he will) and there was little market for him in the offseason. Don't expect a B- prospect for him.


Feldman circa 2013 seems like a pretty good comp for Hammel: very similar career ERA+ and both having a career type year. Hammels in 2014 has actually been better than Feldman last season.

The Cubs turned Feldman into Arrieta and Pedro Strop. Hard to compare since neither were prospects exactly but I think that was at least as good as a B- prospect, even without the benefit of hindsight on Arrieta's strong 2014 (so far).
   66. Ziggy Posted: June 19, 2014 at 05:11 PM (#4730971)
Are we really being that pessimistic about Bryant? He does strike out a lot, but his SO/BB rate is less than 2:1. And his career MiLB batting average is more than 100 points above the .240 figure mentioned above.

On the other hand, Adam Dunn had some pretty good batting averages (at younger ages) in the minors, and didn't strike out as much (or slug as much).
   67. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 19, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4730977)
Are we really being that pessimistic about Bryant? He does strike out a lot, but his SO/BB rate is less than 2:1. And his career MiLB batting average is more than 100 points above the .240 figure mentioned above.

On the other hand, Adam Dunn had some pretty good batting averages (at younger ages) in the minors, and didn't strike out as much (or slug as much).


Go search Fangraphs for the lists of guys with K-rates over 25%. Stanton and Thome are really the only two star hitters who've succeeded with that high a rate, and they are both absolute beasts on contact.

It's, really, really hard to give away 25% of your PAs and be a great hitter.
   68. SouthSideRyan Posted: June 19, 2014 at 05:44 PM (#4730998)
But...Bryant has been an absolute beast on contact
   69. Spahn Insane Posted: June 19, 2014 at 05:45 PM (#4731000)
Stanton and Thome are really the only two star hitters who've succeeded with that high a rate, and they are both absolute beasts on contact.

Well, see Walt's 49 for Bryant's on-contact numbers. Who knows whether he sustains that (or comes close to it) at higher levels, but I don't buy the (relative) pessimism about Bryant on display by many here.

EDIT: My wordiness does me in. Coke to Ryan.
   70. SouthSideRyan Posted: June 19, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4731002)
Dialing a bit to pops but I can't see Bryant being called up in September. What if he actually performs well in that time? How do you justify to your fans and the mlbpa keeping him down for 2 months in 2015? He'll finish in AAA, then some creative story will be hatched as to why he needs 3 more weeks of seasoning next year
   71. McCoy Posted: June 19, 2014 at 09:33 PM (#4731153)
If Bryant is K'ing now at a 25% clip he's going to have improve his ability to make contact just to keep a 25% K rate in the majors. Thome's K rate in the minors wasn't as high as Bryant's and Stanton's only had an obscene K rate once in the minor when he first got called up to AA.

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