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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Braves - Acquired McLouth

Atlanta Braves - Acquired CF Nate McLouth from the Pittsburgh Pirates for P Charlie Morton, OF Gorkys Hernandez, and P Jeff Locke.

I think Huntington misunderstood.  People were calling for McLouth to be moved to left field, not to another city.  This strikes me as a mistake on the part of the Pirates.  With McLouth not a free agent until 2011 and already locked up at $5 million per, the team really needed to get a real impact prospect.  Now, Jason Heyward was almost certainly off-limits here and probably Tommy Hanson, too, but couldn’t the Pirates have gotten at least a little higher in the Braves prospect pecking order?  When you’re giving up a solid, cheap player and the other team isn’t giving up someone they’re likely to miss, you’re not getting fair value.

Morton’s pretty much a 5th starter, unlikely to really develop too much beyond that.  Locke has a solid fastball and probably has the highest upside of any of the players going to Pittsburgh, but he’s also an A-ball pitcher and having trouble with walks this year.  Hernandez has developed more than a lot of toolsy players of the type, but his power is still disappointing and his skills haven’t developed enough that you can overlook that.

The benefits for the Braves are pretty obvious.  They acquire a player who instantly becomes their best outfielder, and give up none of their prized prospects.  Yes, McLouth can’t stay in center long-term, but even at 10 runs below average (and he’s been a bit better this year), he’s still a solid contributor.  The Braves still have Heyward and Schafer’s career is hardly over.


2009 ZIPS Projection - Nate McLouth
——————————————————————————————————————
          AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI   BB   SO SB   BA OBP SLG
——————————————————————————————————————
Year-to-Date   168   27   43   7   1   9   34   21   29   7 .256 .349 .470
Rest-of-Year   310   56   80 19   2 13   45   36   58 13 .258 .345 .460
——————————————————————————————————————
Total       478   83 123 26   3 22   79   57   87 20 .257 .347 .464

Year-to-date totals include minor-league translations, if applicable.

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: June 04, 2009 at 12:13 AM | 192 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Gaelan Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:35 PM (#3206358)
What if Morton turns into a decent back of the rotation starter and/or Locke becomes a decent pitcher?


The chances of all three being significant contributors is almost nil.
   102. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:40 PM (#3206362)
I didn't realize McLouth was locked up for so long for so cheap. It seems like the Pirates could have done better.


For me, it's hard to say. Opinions of McLouth's value are wide. He had his career year last year. Is that a fluke or a breakout? We THINK it's a breakout, but how sure can you be? This year he's hitting at a lesser rate. Defensively, the same notions apply. He got his GG, but some think he shouldn't be in CF.

To me you have to compare the situation to Jason Bay's. He also had an extra year before free agency, and the money difference between Bay and McLouth was only $4 million. The main difference between Bay and McLouth is the track record--Bay had a more reliable history than McLouth (despite Bay's injury-riddled 2007).

The Pirates got Andy Laroche, Moss, Hansen, and Morris for Bay. They got Hernandez, Morton, and Locke for McLouth.

Verdict: The Pirates didn't get enough back, but the gap is smaller than you might think.
   103. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:43 PM (#3206372)
The chances of all three being significant contributors is almost nil.


Agree, but if all three *did* have a significant chance of being significant contributors, the Braves would have been overpaying for McLouth.
   104. Gaelan Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:51 PM (#3206384)
Agree, but if all three *did* have a significant chance of being significant contributors, the Braves would have been overpaying for McLouth.


Well sure. However in short term--long term trades someone always loses in the end. The Braves are the definite short term winners. The trade only makes sense if the Pirates have a reasonable chance at winning in the long term. The problem is that there is no reasonable chance since we've agreed that the scenario in which they would win isn't very likely.
   105. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:51 PM (#3206385)
"Especially if you can turn your current back of the rotation starter into the equivalent of 2003-04 vintage Jason Kendall and current vintage Adam Laroche?"

What on earth are you talking about?
   106. Danny Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:55 PM (#3206392)
One thing I'm curious about: has there ever been an organization that's dug as deep a hole as the prior Pirates regime did, and (eventually) come out the other side OK?

The A's have done it several times over the years.
   107. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:56 PM (#3206394)
I don't blame you for passing on that, Vlad. Ugh. How about Niese, Thole, and a C prospect to be negotiated? And you can have Redding if you want him, too, but you don't have to take him.


I don't, either, Vlad, but I figgered if the Braves could get McLouth fot that package...
   108. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:59 PM (#3206399)
The problem is that there is no reasonable chance since we've agreed that the scenario in which they would win isn't very likely.

*We've* done no such thing - you have.
   109. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:08 PM (#3206413)

The A's have done it several times over the years.


The A's haven't been in as big a hole as the Pirates are in since they were in Kansas City.

How bout the late 80s Indians?
   110. Elvis Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:11 PM (#3206418)
What on earth are you talking about?


Josh Thole is batting .363 with 17 doubles at Double-A and is a work in progress defensive catcher. In coming up with an MLB comparison that a Pirates fan would appreciate, I came up with 2003 era Jason Kendall, who hit for a high average, with a bunch of doubles and no home runs, and who wasn't known as a defensive catcher.

Ike Davis is a 2008 first round pick, a first baseman, whose main trait is HR. He has not hit for power so far in the minors. Looking for a comparison that a Pirates fan would appreciate, I came up with Adam LaRoche, who certainly did not have the pedigree that Davis did, being a 29th round pick, but a first baseman who struggled to hit HRs in his first year of full season ball.

The back end of the rotation pitcher is Zach Duke.
   111. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:12 PM (#3206425)
The problem is that there is no reasonable chance since we've agreed that the scenario in which they would win isn't very likely.


I don't know about that. My take is that Morton is a 5th starter. But the other two guys are undeveloped enough that Gorkys might well be Jacoby Ellsbury (i.e. a decent CF starter), while Locke could probably be just about anything.

The way this deal makes sense for the Pirates is by stockpiling depth, since they have so many current holes. I do wonder if they could have done better though.

But the Braves are winners in this trade regardless of what those guys do. They badly needed a good outfielder to contend, and they just got one while giving up not a lot that they were going to need.
   112. Kyle S at work Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:14 PM (#3206431)
I think there's a chance that Gorkys becomes better than McLouth, but he seems to be a clone of Andrew McCutchen. To me the issue is organizational fit rather than player mix. Freeman would have fit much better for the Pirates - its to the credit of Wren that they didn't get him.
   113. Randy Jones Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:14 PM (#3206432)
From the KLAW chat going on right now:

Jim (CT): I know you are going to talk draft, but can you give us a quick opinion on the McLouth to Atlanta deal?

Keith Law: (1:09 PM ET ) Like it a lot for Pittsburgh - Morton could go right in their rotation, Gorkys is a ++ defender with a chance to hit (he hasn't been good this year but he's also 21 in AA), Locke is a high-upside LHP with three pitches who has shown good feel and command in the past. That's a lot of talent - and difficult-to-get talent, since players up the middle and LHP are hard to acquire in trade or free agency - for a guy who is, what, an average outfielder? Fringe-average? Since 6/1/08 McLouth has hit .256/.327/.447 if you exclude his 7 IBB, and he's not good in CF.
   114. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:16 PM (#3206439)
"The A's have done it several times over the years."

How long has it been since the A's were totally bare in the farm AND the ML roster, though?

Coming into the start of last season, here are our top 10 prospects from the system, per BA:

1) Andrew McCutchen
2) Neil Walker
3) Steve Pearce
4) Brad Lincoln
5) Dan Moskos
6) Shelby Ford
7) Jamie Romak
8) Brian Bixler
9) Duke Welker
10) Brad Corley

McCutchen and Lincoln are currently good prospects. Walker is currently hitting .239/.304/.446 in his second go-round at AAA, following up on a .242/.280/.414 season. Pearce is having problems with breaking stuff, putting up an OK-but-not-great .807 OPS as a 26-year-old in AAA. Moskos is just barely hanging on at AA: 4.15 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 3.1 K/9 (and more BB than K). Ford's got a .446 OPS at AAA, and even the best-case scenario for him is maybe Adam Kennedy's career. Romak's contact issues have exploded: he's got a .527 OPS at AA, and an 11/50 BB/K in 156 AB. Bixler looks like he may not even hit enough to be a glove-first UT IF: 26, .696 OPS at AAA this year, career ML line of .165/.229/.218. Duke Welker is repeating the Sally League, and walking five batters per nine. Corley put up a .668 OPS as a 25-year-old in AAA, and got sold to the Rockies last week.

What is that? Two legitimate prospects in the entire top 10? Three, if you assume that Walker or Ford or Pearce can become useful bench players?

That's one hell of a hole.
   115. Bad Doctor Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:25 PM (#3206464)
I think there's a chance that Gorkys becomes better than McLouth, but he seems to be a clone of Andrew McCutchen.

I think that's my biggest problem from the Pirates' side as well. I wouldn't say "clones" necessarily, but I don't see how the Pirates can get top value out of both Hernandez and McCutchen. Even if they both develop well, playing them at the same time would give you terrific OF defense, but I don't know that either one profiles as an All Star-type offensive contributor in the lineup, and that's a lot of power to be punting on, especially if neither one has the arm for RF.
   116. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:26 PM (#3206467)
"Josh Thole is batting .363 with 17 doubles at Double-A and is a work in progress defensive catcher. In coming up with an MLB comparison that a Pirates fan would appreciate, I came up with 2003 era Jason Kendall, who hit for a high average, with a bunch of doubles and no home runs, and who wasn't known as a defensive catcher.

Ike Davis is a 2008 first round pick, a first baseman, whose main trait is HR. He has not hit for power so far in the minors. Looking for a comparison that a Pirates fan would appreciate, I came up with Adam LaRoche, who certainly did not have the pedigree that Davis did, being a 29th round pick, but a first baseman who struggled to hit HRs in his first year of full season ball.

The back end of the rotation pitcher is Zach Duke."


Ah, that explains it! You were comparing a group of players that you overrate to a group of players that you don't understand.

Thank you. I get what you were trying to say, now.
   117. Elvis Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:32 PM (#3206483)
Well I'm glad you think you understand. It will be a good day when you actually do.
   118. The Essex Snead Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:35 PM (#3206488)
I don't know that either one profiles as an All Star-type offensive contributor in the lineup, and that's a lot of power to be punting on, especially if neither one has the arm for RF.

But they don't need OF power! They have Jack Wilson!

I thought McCutchen wish-casted into the sort of 20-20 Johnny Damon type that folks are still hoping Ellsbury becomes.
   119. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:38 PM (#3206494)
   120. Bad Doctor Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:38 PM (#3206495)
I thought McCutchen wish-casted into the sort of 20-20 Johnny Damon type that folks are still hoping Ellsbury becomes.

I think that was the general buzz, but looking at him in Spring Training this year, good Lord is he tiny! I just can't see it.
   121. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:51 PM (#3206530)
Law's a little more optimistic than I am, but I think this is a good deal for Pittsburgh, and a fair return for what McLouth is.

Most Pirate fans who are saying that the return isn't adequate are looking at McLouth's role in Pittsburgh - best hitter on team - and thinking that the best hitter should be worth a grade A prospect like Hanson or Heyward. But on a good team McLouth wouldn't be anything close to the best hitter on the team. In return for a guy who is primarily a complementary piece of the offense rather than a centerpiece, the Bucs get two B+ prospects, in Hernandez and Locke, plus a nearly-major-league capable arm in Morton (who adds one more option at the back of the rotation). Seems fair, maybe more than fair, to me.

-- MWE
   122. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:52 PM (#3206534)
"Well I'm glad you think you understand. It will be a good day when you actually do."

Allow me to explicate slightly:

You were wrong about Kendall being a bad defender. You were wrong to compare Thole to post-thumb-injury Kendall, in that: a) Kendall was a good (or at least average) defender, while Thole is a poor one (or at best a C/1B work in progress). b) Kendall was a good runner, while Thole is a poor one. c) Kendall relied heavily on the HBP to inflate his OBP, while Thole does not. and d) Kendall's unusual durability has been one of his primary positive attributes, while Thole does not have this trait. You were wrong to imply that LaRoche did not have a pedigree, in that he was the son of a longtime major leaguer who slipped on signability, and recieved an above-slot bonus. You were wrong to imply that LaRoche struggled to hit for power in rookie ball, in that he had 7 HR in only 201 AB (i.e. 7 HR more than Davis) along with a .507 SLG. You were wrong to imply that Zach Duke is a back-of-the-rotation starter in the metaphorical sense, in that his FIP has been more in line with a #3 for his career, and you were also wrong in the literal sense, in that the Pirates' #5 starter in terms of alignment this year is Jeff Karstens, while the worst of the five in terms of performance has been Snell.

You also erred tactically on several occasions in your post, if you were trying to pitch Pirate fans on the offer, in that Duke is popular with the Pirate fan base, while LaRoche and 2003-era Kendall are generally not.

Hence my confusion, as I'm sure you can understand.
   123. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:54 PM (#3206542)
"I think that was the general buzz, but looking at him in Spring Training this year, good Lord is he tiny! I just can't see it."

McCutchen is listed at 5'11", 175. Hank Aaron was listed at 6'0", 180.

Just sayin'.
   124. JPWF13 Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:55 PM (#3206545)
Coming into the start of last season, here are our top 10 prospects from the system, per BA:
***
What is that? Two legitimate prospects in the entire top 10? Three, if you assume that Walker or Ford or Pearce can become useful bench players?

That's one hell of a hole.

yikes that is bad indeed.

Hell the guy you so readily dismissed, Thole, would pretty clearly slot in at #3 in that group... .320/.397/.448 in the FSL and EL at ages 21/22
   125. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:55 PM (#3206546)
has there ever been an organization that's dug as deep a hole as the prior Pirates regime did, and (eventually) come out the other side OK?

The Brewers between '82 and recently. The Braves and Indians in the mid- to late-80s.
   126. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:58 PM (#3206549)
"Hell the guy you so readily dismissed, Thole, would pretty clearly slot in at #3 in that group... .320/.397/.448 in the FSL and EL at ages 21/22"

Yep. Hence the focus on moving ML talent for multiple solid bodies - the whole system was just one big flat desert, after the combined efforts of Littlefield, Creech, and Graham.
   127. Kyle S at work Posted: June 04, 2009 at 06:09 PM (#3206586)
Calling Jeff Locke a "B+" prospect is way too generous, Mike, unless you think the Braves have 7 or 8 guys at that level or better. He's clearly behind Hanson, Schafer, Heyward, Hernandez, and Freeman, and I would argue also behind Rohrbough, Medlen, and Teheran. Our system is good but it isn't THAT good.
   128. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: June 04, 2009 at 06:10 PM (#3206591)
Mike/121 - That's almost exactly how I feel (though I'd rate Locke a bit lower than that).
   129. Elvis Posted: June 04, 2009 at 06:16 PM (#3206604)
Kendall did not get a good defensive reputation until he moved to Oakland (and stopped hitting). Thole's defensive reputation is up in the air.

In 2003 Jason Kendall stole 8 bases. Thole has 3 in less than half a year so far in 2009

Kendall had an insane amount of HBP. I am happy to cede this advantage. Thole's OBP comes from hitting and walking. I make no apologies for this.

Kendall has stayed in the lineup. Thole has been jerked around as they've tried to figure out what to do with him. He's not injury prone.

You're dreaming if you think that Adam LaRoche dropped to the 29th round because of signability concerns. Check that, perhaps he fell from the 25th to the 29th round due to signability concerns. He could have gone from JuCo to a real college after all. He certainly was not considered a first rounder like Ike Davis. What money did LaRoche sign for and what were first rounders getting that year?

In post #110, I specifically said full-season ball, not rookie ball. Regardless, LaRoche slugged well in rookie ball and then struggled at a tough hitting environment in his first exposure to full season ball. Davis struggled in rookie ball last year but is holding his own (.442, LaRoche hit .361) in a tough park. David Wright slugged .459 when he was at SLU.

When Duke had a 4.13 FIP he was a #3 SP. The other two years, not so much. And this is a cherry-picked stat to make him look as good as possible. And just because he's better than a 4/5 SP on the Pirates does not make him one in reality.

I have no interest in pitching Pirate fans on the offer. A Met fan made the original offer, a few people made it sound like a steal for the Mets and I weighed in with my opinion.

Finally, Rest of Season ZiPS gives Duke a 5-9 record with a 5.11 ERA.
   130. bfan Posted: June 04, 2009 at 06:38 PM (#3206647)
and I would argue also behind Rohrbough, Medlen, and Teheran


I know prospect lists are some mystic combination of performance, potential and age, but i don't get how Teheran's 15 relatively ineffective innings at Danville rookie league keeps him in the top 10 of these lists. He throws hard? So did Colt Griffin.
   131. JPWF13 Posted: June 04, 2009 at 06:59 PM (#3206690)
Through age 22 Ike Davis has hit 268/.345/.379 between Rookie Ball and the FSL
Through age 22 Adam LaRoche had hit:
.308/.381/.507 in rookie ball
251/.305/.361 in Myrtle Beach
.336/.406/.512 in Myrtle Beach
and .289/.363/.410 in AA

Through age 22 LaRoche looks better

sure Ike was a 1st round pick, BUT EVERYTHING I read said that was a reach
   132. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:06 PM (#3206700)
Elvis, in your dispute with Vlad, I think you're largely mistaken. However, as to LaRoche's signability...

I don't think Adam was considered a particularly good prospect at the point at which he signed - BA didn't have him as one of the top prospects in his state the year Atlanta tabbed him (conversely, brother Andy - who also was a late pick out of juco was and was paid like it*). So, citing the round in which a guy was picked - particularly for juco guys - is an imperfect indicator of the regard in which they were held**, it probably works here.

* In part because of a killer Cape Cod season - but he was gonna get a fair chunk of change whenever he inked. I think he got high 2nd rd money (Andy, that is).
** Excepting that first round types rarely far *that* far - someone'll take a risk on 'em before round 29 unless there's really big signability issues (which mostly happens w/ hs guys with strong college commitments). This strengthens the Ike Davis argument - though no one would pick Davis nearly that high if the draft were replayed.

Teheran has a lot more than just velocity.
   133. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:07 PM (#3206704)
...THOUGH, citing the round...
   134. bfan Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:13 PM (#3206714)
Teheran has a lot more than just velocity.


But am I correct he has a grand total of 15 innings of 5+ ERA in rookie ball?
   135. Elvis Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:25 PM (#3206735)
sure Ike was a 1st round pick, BUT EVERYTHING I read said that was a reach


From Baseball America:

Final Projected Pick - Toronto #17
http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/draft/mock-draft/2008/266271.html

Jim Callis Projected Pick - Padres #23
http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/draft/mock-draft/2008/266117.html

Scouting Reports Top 100 Prospects - #30
http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/draft/draft-preview/2008/266125.html
   136. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:30 PM (#3206745)
Teheran - a 6.60 ERA at that.
As a 17 year old in the App league (normally, a guy his age would be in the DSL/VSL) with 4 bb and 17 k. Regardless, with so few innings - I'd pay little attention to the numbers. He impressed onlookers, fwiw.
   137. Elvis Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:51 PM (#3206772)
Ike Davis is going to be tough to get a firm grip on because he didn't hit in rookie ball and he is following that up in a tough hitting environment. I'd like to see him finish at SLU with an .825 or better OPS and I'll call that a success.

Double-A should tell us more but even then there are questions in the opposite direction with BNG traditionally being a pretty good hitting environment.

Elvis, in your dispute with Vlad, I think you're largely mistaken


Would you clarify if you think I'm being optimistic on the prospects or pessimistic on Duke?

I'll accept the prospects angle. Everyone always overrates these guys and I admit the last thing I want to see is the Mets give away Thole.

But someone is going to have to make a pretty strong case - much stronger than the "he plays in front of a bad defense" one - to convince me that Duke is worth giving up a guy hitting .363 at Double-A and a former first-round draft pick.
   138. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:58 PM (#3206781)
"Kendall did not get a good defensive reputation until he moved to Oakland (and stopped hitting)."

Regardless of what Kendall's reputation may or may not have been, he was largely an average defender, post-injury. In 2003, the year you cited, he threw out 27% of runners trying to steal. The year before, he had 33%, and the year after, he had 37%. He also made good use of his plus (for a catcher) speed when running down popups and bunts.

"Thole's defensive reputation is up in the air."

Thole has a career total of 140 games behind the plate, after spending the bulk of his career as a first baseman. Last year, in A-ball, he threw out 22% of baserunners. He may ultimately become an average or better defender behind the plate. He is not there yet, and thus, not comparable to Kendall.

"In 2003 Jason Kendall stole 8 bases."

Jason Kendall may not have run much in 2003, but he was still much faster than the average catcher. In 665 plate appearances, he grounded into a grand total of nine double plays. He stole fifteen bases in 2002, and eleven in 2004. He was still very fast for a catcher. He just didn't steal much that year.

"Thole has 3 in less than half a year so far in 2009."

In 343 career games, encompassing almost 1,300 plate appearances, Thole has a grand total of eleven stolen bases. Kendall stole that many bases or more in eight different seasons. Over that time frame, Thole's entire professional career, he's hit four triples. Kendall had almost as many, three, in 2004 alone.

"Kendall had an insane amount of HBP. I am happy to cede this advantage. Thole's OBP comes from hitting and walking. I make no apologies for this."

Good. There is nothing wrong with hitting and walking, but it's another way in which Thole is different than Kendall.

"Kendall has stayed in the lineup. Thole has been jerked around as they've tried to figure out what to do with him. He's not injury prone."

I'm not saying that Thole is injury-prone. I'm saying that Kendall is, by the standards of catchers, one of the physically toughest and most durable backstops in the history of major league baseball. From 1997 to 2006, he played in at least 140 games in every season except for 1999, when he suffered his season-ending ankle injury. In that season, he had played 78 of 80 games before being hurt.

"You're dreaming if you think that Adam LaRoche dropped to the 29th round because of signability concerns. Check that, perhaps he fell from the 25th to the 29th round due to signability concerns. He could have gone from JuCo to a real college after all. He certainly was not considered a first rounder like Ike Davis. What money did LaRoche sign for and what were first rounders getting that year?"

Teh Google turns up nothing useful, and BA's archived coverage doesn't go back that far. I'll try and check later.

"In post #110, I specifically said full-season ball, not rookie ball. Regardless, LaRoche slugged well in rookie ball and then struggled at a tough hitting environment in his first exposure to full season ball. Davis struggled in rookie ball last year but is holding his own (.442, LaRoche hit .361) in a tough park. David Wright slugged .459 when he was at SLU."

Which was, by and large, my point. Davis's struggles are a serious blot on his record. LaRoche's were largely excusable due to his park/league context.

"When Duke had a 4.13 FIP he was a #3 SP. The other two years, not so much."

It's more of a #2 season than a #3, actually, if you look at the numbers.

"And this is a cherry-picked stat to make him look as good as possible."

It's a context-neutral stat, which makes him look better because his numbers were drastically skewed by context (i.e. his defense allowing an extra 30+ hits a year).

"And just because he's better than a 4/5 SP on the Pirates does not make him one in reality."

I merely wanted to show that you were wrong in every possible interpretation of the phrase "#5 starter", so you didn't try to weasel out of your position.

"Finally, Rest of Season ZiPS gives Duke a 5-9 record with a 5.11 ERA"

We'll just have to see, won't we?
   139. JPWF13 Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:59 PM (#3206785)
From Baseball America:


That's funny, because I only looked up Davis after the Mets actually did draft him- and all the usual suspects were saying the Mets had reached and he should have been a 2nd rounder...

I get it now, the prospect mavens said he was a 1st rounder, but when the Mets actually drafted him around where pre-draft predictions had him going... the prospect mavens changed their minds...
   140. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:04 PM (#3206790)
And of course, I didn't even get into the issue that Davis is 5'7" and a RHB, while LaRoche is 6'3" and a LHB...

They just aren't good comps.
   141. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:06 PM (#3206793)
Oops, disregard #140. Wrong "Ike Davis".
   142. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:19 PM (#3206808)
don't know about now but historically st. lucie is one of the better places to hit (for power anyway) in the fsl. <checks> has been neutral (granted it's a pitcher's league)

BA's archived coverage doesn't go back that far.

it does, though their salary data was really scanty.
   143. Elvis Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:29 PM (#3206817)
I think of back end of the rotation to be 4/5 not exclusively #5. Otherwise, I would say "#5 pitcher." If you read post #110, I said "back end of the rotation." When the best thing you can point to is a pitcher having a FIP of 4.40 and 4.95 the past two seasons, I think you're reaching to paint him as anything better than a back end of the rotation guy.

I'm thrilled that you expect me to "weasel out" of my position in this or any other thread. Can you point to examples where I've done this? If anything, you've been misrepresenting my position and misquoting me in this thread. I clearly said "full season" and I never said "#5 pitcher"

I'm bullish on Josh Thole. If you offered me the chance to sign on the line and for Thole to have Jason Kendall's career, I would do it in a heartbeat. The number of catchers in MLB history who've done what Kendall has done is a small club. Right now Thole is a prospect. I don't have any more idea of what he's going to do than you do. But I see a lot of promise there if they will just let him catch every day and let him be.

I made a comparison between a minor league player and an active MLB player. I don't think it's unrealistic to compare a minor league catcher with a high average, high OBP, lots of doubles and little power to Jason Kendall. Is there someone else you would prefer me to use?

I came to this thread to read about McLouth. I read a proposal from a Mets fan on a proposed Duke trade and voiced my opinion that it's too much to give up and now you're accusing me of not understanding players and weasling out of opinions.

I would prefer if you would stick to facts and not engage in personal attacks when I don't believe I've given you any reason to do such a thing. If I've insulted you, please point out where I did this.
   144. The Buddy Biancalana Hit Counter Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:32 PM (#3206821)
I would prefer if you would stick to facts and not engage in personal attacks when I don't believe I've given you any reason to do such a thing. If I've insulted you, please point out where I did this.

Probably should have re-read your #117 before posting those sentences.
   145. Elvis Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:37 PM (#3206831)
Re: #117 - Guilty as charged.

In my weak defense, I will point out that it came after #116.

I retract the non-productive sentence and will refrain from making comments of that nature in the rest of the thread.
   146. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 08:47 PM (#3206843)
"it does, though their salary data was really scanty."

Yup, that's what I meant. I think I have an old printed guide with LaRoche's signing bonus in it at home, but I might be thinking of his brother. I'll check and see later.

"I think of back end of the rotation to be 4/5 not exclusively #5. Otherwise, I would say "#5 pitcher." If you read post #110, I said "back end of the rotation." When the best thing you can point to is a pitcher having a FIP of 4.40 and 4.95 the past two seasons, I think you're reaching to paint him as anything better than a back end of the rotation guy."

THT, 2006:
To start with, here are the averages for each rotation position:
Lg      #1      #2      #3      #4      #5
MLB     3.60    4.14    4.58    5.10    6.24
AL      3.70    4.24    4.58    5.09    6.22
NL      3.51    4.04    4.57    5.11    6.26
What immediately jumps out at me is how high the #4 and #5 ERAs are. If there's one thing most people agree on when they talk about rotation spots, it's that a guy with an ERA over 5.00 ought to be your #5 starter. As it turns out, fewer than half of major league teams could claim an ERA under 5.00 from their #4 spot. -Jeff Sackmann, THT

You're overestimating the quality of the various rotation positions.

"I don't have any more idea of what he's going to do than you do. But I see a lot of promise there if they will just let him catch every day and let him be."

Thole may have a very nice career ahead of him, but at the end of the day, he's not very similar to Jason Kendall, which makes Kendall a poor point of comparison. You can compare him to whomever you like, but if you pick someone with whom he has little in common, the comparison will not be any more illuminating than the Kendall one.

"now you're accusing me of not understanding players and weasling out of opinions"

I accused you of not understanding players, because you apparently don't, or you wouldn't have picked the examples that you did. I said that I didn't want you to try and weasel out of your opinion, so if you aren't going to do that, great. Admit that you were wrong (even to yourself, if not here), learn from it, and move on.
   147. Gaelan Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:02 PM (#3206869)
You're overestimating the quality of the various rotation positions.


You have me on ignore and are a moron so you'll never read this but that study was deeply flawed and does not show what you want it to show.
   148. Elvis Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:10 PM (#3206882)
Wow, you're really setting the bar pretty high for a comparison between a minor leaguer and a major leaguer. Kendall's HBP are relevant because they helped him to a high OBP. Thole has a high OBP. Kendall was a big SB threat early in his career. The comparison I made was to 2003 era when he had 8 SB.

As for the THT chart, that was actual ERAs not what we would hope they would put up with FIP. Since Duke's actual ERAs have been 4.82 and 5.83 - I would say that's a perfect example of a #4 starter. Since I've consistently called him a back end starter throughout the thread - and then gave you a definition of that as a 4/5 - thank you for proving my point.
   149. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:14 PM (#3206888)
"You have me on ignore and are a moron so you'll never read this but that study was deeply flawed and does not show what you want it to show."

Actually, you're showing up for some reason despite the ignore. I guess it only applies to the main site, unfortunately.

Good to have confirmation that my impulse to ignore you was the right one, though.
   150. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:21 PM (#3206900)
"Kendall's HBP are relevant because they helped him to a high OBP. Thole has a high OBP."

Kendall's HBP are relevant for the purposes of comparison because they're a huge, huge part of his offensive profile. He ranks sixth all time in career HBP, and is MLB's active leader. He's ranked among his league's top 5 in HBP in ten different seasons.

If we were just talking about players having similar value, it wouldn't matter, but since we're talking about similarities between the players themselves, it's a significant difference.

"Since Duke's actual ERAs have been 4.82 and 5.83 - I would say that's a perfect example of a #4 starter."

Except that, as previously noted, the Pirates have been in the bottom three in the league in DER in all of the seasons in question, costing Duke a huge number of runs. Which is why FIP is a fairer measure of his ability (even though it counts all his unearned runs), in that the point under discussion is his likely future value to the Mets in the event of a hypothetical trade. The Mets don't have the same defense as the 2006-2008 Pirates (and neither do the 2009 Pirates, for that matter).
   151. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:22 PM (#3206902)
Kendall did not get a good defensive reputation until he moved to Oakland (and stopped hitting).

Any fan of the NL Central knows this to be incorrect. In fact, Kendall had his defense questioned in Oakland and then trashed during his brief stint in Chicago.

His performance in Milwaukee and previous to that in Pittsburgh has been above average and at times outstanding.

I have no dog in this fight other than accuracy.
   152. Elvis Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:32 PM (#3206910)
If we were just talking about players having similar value


This whole thing got started due to a difference of opinion on Zach Duke's trade value. I think Josh Thole by himself has more trade value than Duke, much less throwing in Ike Davis and the remains of Tim Redding. I used Kendall as a comparison to show what his value could be. Is he going to be Jason Kendall - no. Could he be a hi AVG, hi OBP, hi doubles, low HR guy like 2003 Kendall? My answer is yes.

As for Duke and the THT chart - you can't have it both ways. If you're going to throw out a chart that uses ERA then you have to use ERA for the comparison to have any merit whatsoever.
   153. JPWF13 Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:34 PM (#3206912)
but at the end of the day, he's not very similar to Jason Kendall, which makes Kendall a poor point of comparison.


Kendall accross 2 eyars at A+/AA hit: .318/.404/.433

Thole (so far) across 2 seasons has hit .320/.397/.448 in A+/AA

considering how good a player Kendall was before coming to Oakland, I may just have to start following Thole more closely- I had previously tended to dismiss him as just another overhyped by Mets Fanboys' "prospect", but hey, he really is comparable to Kendall (despite what Vlad says)
   154. JPWF13 Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:37 PM (#3206921)
As for Duke and the THT chart - you can't have it both ways. If you're going to throw out a chart that uses ERA then you have to use ERA for the comparison to have any merit whatsoever.


There is a not insignificant chance that Duke's ERAs would have been better pitching in front of just about any other defense than Pitts' of recent years. (of course there is the not insignificant chance that Dukes ERAs would have been better if he had never met Jim Coburn too...)
   155. Elvis Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:41 PM (#3206930)
From Baseball Prospectus - emphasis mine

2007

Let`s first dispense with the obvious: Kendall wasn`t worth his $11.5-million salary in 2006, and he really won`t be worth his $13-million salary in 2007, the last season covered by his six-year, $60-million contract. On the plus side, the Pirates are on the hook for a good chunk ($5 million) of Kendall`s `07 income, his .367 on-base percentage last season ranked fourth among the nine MLB catchers who played enough to qualify for the batting title, and the A`s rave about Kendall`s work behind the plate. That isn`t to say Kendall is worth even the $8 million the A`s will spend on him this season. His OPS ranked ninth among those nine regular catchers, he threw out only 24 percent of larcenous baserunners, and he`s totaled exactly one home run in the last two seasons. The day his contract expires should be one of relief in the Oakland front office.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/kendaja01.php

Perhaps some questioned his defense. My recollection is that he was praised for his work with the pitching staff in Oakland.
   156. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:43 PM (#3206931)
"This whole thing got started due to a difference of opinion on Zach Duke's trade value."

I have no problem with you holding whatever opinion you want on Duke's trade value.

"I used Kendall as a comparison to show what his value could be. Is he going to be Jason Kendall - no. Could he be a hi AVG, hi OBP, hi doubles, low HR guy like 2003 Kendall? My answer is yes."

Could he be a high average/OBP/doubles guy with little over-the-fence power? Sure. With that profile, would he be "like 2003 Kendall"? Sure... if he also adds a bunch of foot speed and HBP, greatly improves his defense, and starts all but maybe one game a month.

"If you're going to throw out a chart that uses ERA then you have to use ERA for the comparison to have any merit whatsoever."

If you can find or make a breakdown under similar methodology for FIP instead of ERA, I'll gladly use that instead. In the absence of such a chart, I think the one I provided is a reasonable substitute.
   157. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:48 PM (#3206938)
"Kendall accross 2 eyars at A+/AA hit: .318/.404/.433

Thole (so far) across 2 seasons has hit .320/.397/.448 in A+/AA"


Kendall was 20 in A+, and 21 in AA. Thole was a year and a half older when he was at those levels. And of course, Kendall was faster and more durable and a better defender, yadda yadda yadda...
   158. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:49 PM (#3206940)
"Perhaps some questioned his defense. My recollection is that he was praised for his work with the pitching staff in Oakland."

Kendall had a bad year throwing in 2007, which damaged his defensive reputation. Otherwise, he has generally been average, with occasional years that were very stong (such as 2004).
   159. JPWF13 Posted: June 04, 2009 at 09:59 PM (#3206951)
Kendall was 20 in A+, and 21 in AA. Thole was a year and a half older when he was at those levels


yeah yeah yeah, you caught that,

but catchers tend to age poorly, and Thole being a convert has much less mileage on his knees at age 22 than Kendall did at 21.

Ok I'll stop hyping Thole, most of what I've read says he's a butcher behind the plate, some recent reports say that he's shown improvement, and while I hope that's true, as a Mets fan I'm not holding my breath waiting for Thole to replace Schneider and Omar's flavor of the month behind the plate anytime soon...
   160. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 10:02 PM (#3206956)
I think Thole is a reasonable enough catching prospect - I just don't see that he has a lot in common with Jason Kendall (either the prospect version or the 2003 version).
   161. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 04, 2009 at 10:06 PM (#3206958)
Post 155:

You wrote that Kendall did not get a good defensive rep UNTIL he went to Oakland. This is incorrect.

I wrote that some questioned, like folks here, Kendall's defense IN Oakland and that "chatter" increased substantially during his stint in Chicago.

Your post is based on BPro commentary which in my world only heightens my concern be it quoting team sources or otherwise. Once a reader I am completely distrustful of their work and find the quality of effort there sorely lacking.

I strongly encourage you to spend your time and money elsewhere.
   162. Jose Molina wants a nickname like ARod Posted: June 04, 2009 at 10:50 PM (#3207006)
Given Huntington's trades so far, it seems he's going for quantity over quality of prospect, which could you might argue be a new way of beating the system. These days everyone seems to be hyped up on the very top prospects, but these prospects fail more often, I think, than people realize. I realize I'm cherry picking, but the Delmon Youngs and Alex Gordons are over-valued since they're seen as more of a sure thing than they really are. So, instead of one good prospect, perhaps it's best to get three okay prospects. Charlie Morton might not turn into Roy Oswalt, but he could turn into Casey Janssen.
   163. Ned Garvin: Male Prostitute Posted: June 04, 2009 at 11:34 PM (#3207058)
McLouth is basically the second coming of Al Martin...


Exactly how many wives does McLouth have??
   164. The Essex Snead Posted: June 04, 2009 at 11:57 PM (#3207077)
Your post is based on BPro commentary which in my world only heightens my concern be it quoting team sources or otherwise. Once a reader I am completely distrustful of their work and find the quality of effort there sorely lacking.

Of course, the BPro quote in question was from 2007, which was the year (as Vlad notes) that Kendall's ability to throw out runners cratered. (If we're gonna strive for accuracy, let's do the damn thing right.)
   165. greenback likes millwall, they don't care Posted: June 05, 2009 at 12:09 AM (#3207082)
McCutchen is listed at 5'11", 175. Hank Aaron was listed at 6'0", 180.

Having watched McCutchen more than Littlefield should've allowed, I'm a bit skeptical of his listed height and weight. He is tiny by modern standards, and he doesn't have the swing or bat speed to make up for it.
   166. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 05, 2009 at 12:40 AM (#3207102)
Re-reading the thread here, I think I'm being a bit more harsh than I should, Elvis, so I apologize.

Doesn't mean that I think I'm wrong on the argument, of course (what? never!), but even if I disagree with you, I should've found a way to be nicer about it.
   167. Walt Davis Posted: June 05, 2009 at 01:12 AM (#3207119)
Getting back to McLouth ...

I think folks are greatly undervaluing the significance of his contract in such a deal. He is, at worst, an average-hitting, average or better defending corner OF ... whom Pitt had for 3 years $13 M. That is very valuable.

Mike E notes that McLouth wouldn't be the best hitter on most teams and so isn't worth a top prospect. I find that a bit curious as few top prospects are ever going to develop into being their team's best hitter or pitcher either.

As it stands, McLouth would probably be the 2nd best overall position player on the Cubs behind Ramirez (when healthy). He's the 3rd best on the Braves (OK, I guess Johnson has a case). He'd probably be the 3rd best on the Brewers (though Weeks and Cameron have a claim). He'd be in a group with Kemp, Ethier and maybe Martin behind Manny on the Dodgers. He might well be the 2nd best on the Cards (go check what Ludwick's been up to lately). I'll mostly leave the AL out of it since that will just spark a debate about league quality differences but note that, even after dinging him, McLouth would be a nice upgrade for at least the Tigers, White Sox and Angels.

Granted, there's usually a sizeable gap between McLouth and the #1 and sometimes #2 on those teams but that's a boatload of contenders who would be better this year AND FOR THE NEXT TWO YEARS with McLouth ... and they wouldn't have to pay him a whole lot.

Now it's fine, there's a perfectly rational argument that McLouth still wouldn't be worth a top prospect ... in which case Pitt should hold onto him. It used to be that low-revenue teams "had to" send their high-priced players out of town for prospects before they became FA. Sometimes they had to do it for guys who would get huge arb awards. We'd talk about how for these teams to compete, they had to exploit the first 6 years of these guys' careers -- which we'd note is tough since (1) a lot of prospects don't pan out at all; (2) even for the ones that do, the first 2-3 years is pretty mediocre; so (3) these teams had to sign these guys to smart arb buyouts so they could get good return over years 4-6 (and maybe more if they buy out some FA years).

Well, the Pirates hit a nice small jackpot in McLouth. He developed into a good player -- not a great one, fine. He's reasonably priced. So now we're saying that, even when the "low-revenue model" works out, teams should still sell low on these players? Are we saying that such teams now have to extract all their value out of such players in years 1-3?

Maybe it all makes sense. Seems like Oakland and Pittsburgh are trying to find some happy medium between the Tampa Bay/Florida model (suck for several years straight and build up a system) and "strive for 75".

I just don't think that can work very well. If the Pirates are lucky, 3-4 years from now, Hernandez will be as good as McLouth and Locke or Morton might be a Zach Duke replacement -- which would be nice except McLouth and Duke will be gone (and, by that time, Doumit, both LaRoches and Maholm too ... and heck, even if McCutchen develops and the Pirates sign him to a reasonable arb buyout, he'll be on the block too).

Bad teams trading good, reasonably-priced players for non-impact prospects just can't possibly be a good idea.
   168. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: June 05, 2009 at 01:49 AM (#3207137)
I disagree with your premise, Walt - but, rather than attacking that (dishes await) - I'll nitpick:

He's the 3rd best on the Braves...

If you mean "best position player" than I've got him 5th: well behind Jones and McCann, also clearly behind Escobar. Johnson v. McLouth is closer - I give the edge to Kelly.
   169. Elvis Posted: June 05, 2009 at 03:07 AM (#3207187)
Post 161:

From MLB.com - since Baseball Prospectus cannot be trusted

06/24/07 3:30 PM ET
Notes: Kendall's defense invaluable
A's staff heaps universal praise on catcher's work behind plate

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070624&content_id=2046414&vkey=news_oak&fext;=.jsp&c_id=oak&partnered=rss_oak

The Pirates fan in the thread said that Kendall's defense has "generally been average"

Can you link a source that claimed Kendall to be a good defensive catcher prior to going to the A's?
   170. Der-K: Hipster doofus Posted: June 05, 2009 at 03:18 AM (#3207194)
No link, but my reading (literally, I opened up a bunch of books and guides) sees Kendall's defensive rep as below average until his last year in Pittsburgh, when Russell was credited with improving his technique and then higher still after his first year in Oakland.
All this said, SNLOCD probably applies somewhere in this equation.
   171. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 05, 2009 at 05:42 AM (#3207284)
"Can you link a source that claimed Kendall to be a good defensive catcher prior to going to the A's?"

This one is pretty good. It's from 2004, when he had probably the best defensive season of his career.
   172. Elvis Posted: June 05, 2009 at 11:46 AM (#3207358)
Thanks for the link. It says his defense was "noticeably improved" which agrees with what what DK posted in #170.
   173. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: June 05, 2009 at 02:16 PM (#3207458)
Wow: can open, worms all over the place...!
   174. karkface killah Posted: June 05, 2009 at 06:34 PM (#3207831)
McLouth is basically the second coming of Al Martin...

He played in the Rose Bowl?
   175. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 05, 2009 at 06:38 PM (#3207840)
(dishes await)


Nice to know that someone else does dishes - do you do laundry, too? :)

Here's the main part of what Walt had to say with which I disagree:

Well, the Pirates hit a nice small jackpot in McLouth. He developed into a good player -- not a great one, fine. He's reasonably priced. So now we're saying that, even when the "low-revenue model" works out, teams should still sell low on these players?


What I am suggesting is that based on what McLouth can actually offer a contending team, the Pirates AREN'T selling low - they are selling at or near full market value. Two B+/B prospects and a nearly-ready-to-contribute major league arm is almost exactly what McLouth is worth. There are few, if any, teams, who will give up a A/A- level prospect like Hanson, Heyward, or Schafer for a player like McLouth.

Furthermore, the Pirates need two things: (a) impact players, and (b) quality depth. Impact players, whether they be on the major-league roster or in the minors, almost always require the purchasing team to give up a lot more than McLouth. For that reason, it's rare to see a low-revenue team acquire an impact player by trade; they normally have to develop their own. I have argued that low-revenue teams need to focus on getting players (especially hitters) with superstar upside in the draft - which is why the Pirates' draft philosophy under Littlefield/Creech irritated me so much, why I wanted Heyward two years ago and Hosmer (who isn't doing badly in Burlington for a 19-YO, although the power has been slow to come) instead of Alvarez last year.

So that leaves (b). McLouth is the perfect candidate to trade to get some quality depth. He's about as fully developed as a player as he is likely to be, and the Pirates were able to leverage that into some depth where they needed it - up the middle - and improve the organization as a whole so that they can focus their draft and development efforts on getting the impact players they also need.

Thinking that the Pirates "sold low" on McLouth, IMO, is a result of a faulty evaluation of McLouth's real value to a team and the result of a faulty model for what bad teams need to do to get better.

-- MWE
   176. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: June 05, 2009 at 06:54 PM (#3207858)
Nice to know that someone else does dishes - do you do laundry, too? :)

I did before we had kids. She's much better at stain removal, so laundry is now her domain. [She also does almost all home construction/improvement - I'm incompetent at and uninterested in that stuff.]

Walt, I'll leave you alone - Mike's post is better than what I was going to say.
   177. MM1f Posted: June 06, 2009 at 02:50 AM (#3208469)
You're dreaming if you think that Adam LaRoche dropped to the 29th round because of signability concerns. Check that, perhaps he fell from the 25th to the 29th round due to signability concerns. He could have gone from JuCo to a real college after all. He certainly was not considered a first rounder like Ike Davis. What money did LaRoche sign for and what were first rounders getting that year?

LaRoche was a different kind of sign-ability case. His dad, of course, was an MLB pitcher and most teams saw Adam LaRoche as a future LHP but he was insistent on being drafted as 1b, so he fell in the draft.
   178. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: June 06, 2009 at 03:28 AM (#3208487)
Two B+/B prospects

Jeff Locke is a B+/B prospect?

nearly-ready-to-contribute major league arm

McLouth, if he continues to hit at his current level, will be worth his contract through 2011, perhaps even through his $10.65M 2012 option; if he should be traded, it's because he wouldn't be part of the next good Pirates team, which means the next good Pirates team is at least four years away. If so, what's the point of looking at readiness with a low-upside arm like Morton? Who cares how ready Morton is to be the Pirates' 4th or 5th starter for the next few years?

For that reason, it's rare to see a low-revenue team acquire an impact player by trade; they normally have to develop their own.

What you're essentially saying is that you have to trade value (perceived, anyway) to get value. If so, why not just wait until you have something other McLouth to trade that you can package with McLouth to get something more valuable than what McLouth on his own would fetch--some actual impact talent, the succor after which low-revenue teams lust? Sure, McLouth may not have any upside left, but is he a good bet to regress? Is he likely to be less valuable in the offseason than he is right now?
   179. RollingWave Posted: June 06, 2009 at 04:05 AM (#3208507)
This isn't Kendall + Cash for Arthur Rhodes and Mark Redman bad.

I think it's a reasonable move. though Pirate's track record of scouting and developing player along with the Brave's record of the guys they gave away... leave me skeptical
   180. MM1f Posted: June 06, 2009 at 04:28 AM (#3208518)
I'm almost with Keith Law on this deal. The Pirates really did get talent here for a good-but-not great OFer. The Braves needed to make this deal, because any OF is better than what they had, but the Pirates got some good talents here.
Charlie Morton has far more upside than almost any 25yo AAA RHP ever. His results in AAA are good and he has the stuff to back it up. His stuff is definitely MLB caliber and he is starting to show results too. He was drafted as a project pitcher out of HS in a cold weather state. No wonder he was raw to start his career.
I'm going to miss him. He could be a really good MLB pitcher, or he could be Matt Belisle.

Jeff Locke is kind of the earlier, LHP version of Morton (project pick from HS in northern state starting to put it together) but he is probably more advanced now than Morton was at the same age.

Hernandez is the clear centerpiece here. He is a fast guy who is a true CFer and has shown some offensive capability against advanced competition at a young age. His upside is pretty good.
   181. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: June 06, 2009 at 04:40 AM (#3208526)
He could be a really good MLB pitcher, or he could be Matt Belisle.

What am I missing about Charlie Morton? I'm going off BA's prospect rankings, and he was never in the Braves' top ten.

Charlie Morton has far more upside than almost any 25yo AAA RHP ever.

Well that seems a little over the top.
   182. MM1f Posted: June 06, 2009 at 04:46 AM (#3208530)
Well that seems a little over the top.

Not really. I mean, it was intentionally a little hyperbolic but there are rarely any 25yo arms with any upside who spend any real time (12 starts last year, 11 last year) as starters in AAA. Who was the last 25yo AAA starter with upside?
   183. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: June 06, 2009 at 04:52 AM (#3208533)
I dunno. Jeff Niemann? Manny Parra was 24 in 2007.
   184. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 06, 2009 at 05:02 AM (#3208538)

Not really. I mean, it was intentionally a little hyperbolic but there are rarely any 25yo arms with any upside who spend any real time (12 starts last year, 11 last year) as starters in AAA. Who was the last 25yo AAA starter with upside?


It's not the norm, but sometimes there are late-bloomers. Heck, Cliff Lee spent substantial time at age 28. Moyer was in his 30s before being a major leaguer for good. Other active starters who spent substantial time in the minors at 25 or later and are (or were) useful starters in the majors include Bronson Arroyo, Ryan Dempster, Oliver Perez, Aaron Cook, Joe Saunders,
Aaron Harang. That's a non-inclusive list, just from glancing at the inning leaders the last 3 years.
   185. MM1f Posted: June 06, 2009 at 05:33 AM (#3208547)
It's not the norm, but sometimes there are late-bloomers. Heck, Cliff Lee spent substantial time at age 28. Moyer was in his 30s before being a major leaguer for good. Other active starters who spent substantial time in the minors at 25 or later and are (or were) useful starters in the majors include Bronson Arroyo, Ryan Dempster, Oliver Perez, Aaron Cook, Joe Saunders,
Aaron Harang. That's a non-inclusive list, just from glancing at the inning leaders the last 3 years.


Meh, Cliff Lee doesn't count. 8 starts one year after 3 years in the bigs. That isn't the same as a 25yo prospect still in AAA. Cliff Lee's AAA time was as a MLB washout trying to recover his stuff. I don't think anyone has ever doubted the existence of MLB washouts in AAA who find their way again.
Moyer is in the same boat. He had dozens of MLB starts between 23-27 before spending a couple years in AAA and becoming an MLBer again.

Arroyo kind of counts, he had seen 70 MLB innings as early as 23 so he wasn't entirely the late-blooming darkhorse that Morton is but he was a pretty darn late bloomer overall. Aaron Cook is kind of in Arroyo's boat.

Oliver Perez completely doesn't count. He had 94 Ks in 90 IP at age 20. He was no late-bloomer. Quite the opposite.

Dempster comes nowhere close to counting as a AAA late bloomer. He had made over 100 MLB starts between 21-26 and then threw 4 starts in 6 games in AAA in 2004. Throw him out 100%.

Saunders and Harang are the closest to Morton.
   186. RollingWave Posted: June 06, 2009 at 06:16 AM (#3208551)
Either way though, I think we should be able to agree that Nate mclouth is not someone you build a team in complete shambles around. His reputation is probably a bit further than his actual value. so the Pirates trading him isn't a bad idea. the only problem was wether they got enough out of it.
   187. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 06, 2009 at 07:39 AM (#3208564)
Morton made his first start for Indy on Thursday, and totally killed it. Seven shutout iinnings, FB up to 97.

He probably won't do that every time out, but even so, that seems a little better than your usual #5 started.
   188. sonoran_fox Posted: June 07, 2009 at 04:04 PM (#3209343)
For those looking for appropriate historical comparisons to the Pirates efforts over the last couple of decades I would suggest looking at the the 1919 to 1948 Phillies. In that 30 year span the Phillies finished right at .500 once and a couple games over .500 once. The rest of the time they were well under .500, very frequently dead last by convincing margins.

You Pirate fans have reasons to complain, but it can get worse, much worse.

By the way, the Braves were the Phillies competitors for haplessness in the NL for most of the 20s and 30s.

And speaking as a Braves fan here, in judging the McLouth trade Charlie Morton is not getting enough love. IMO the day Charlie Morton is promoted he instantly becomes the Pirates third best starter. That may be a #4 or 5 on a pennant competitor, but Charlie is ready to pitch in the majors NOW, and should be a notable improvement on what is being used by the Pirates so far this year. Those of you who can slice and dice the data will see a notable difference in Morton's numbers in 2008 before his late July shoulder injury and what he put up the rest of the season pitching through the injury. I would expect his pre-injury success is what will be seen once he gets another shot in the bigs.
   189. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 11, 2009 at 09:17 PM (#3214942)
Jeff Locke is a B+/B prospect?


In my book, yes.

If so, why not just wait until you have something other McLouth to trade that you can package with McLouth to get something more valuable than what McLouth on his own would fetch--some actual impact talent, the succor after which low-revenue teams lust?


The Pirates are in a position where they need both quality AND bulk, and they don't have enough nearly enough trade chits to leverage for quality.

Quality - the occasional Kazmir trade aside - usually requires that you give up quality. When you don't have quality, you normally can't trade enough bulk to get quality.

The way for a low-revenue team to build, IMO, is to develop quality via the draft and the occasional international signing, trade for bulk, and hope you know something about the other team's players that the other team doesn't (which happens sometimes).

-- MWE
   190. JPWF13 Posted: June 11, 2009 at 09:39 PM (#3214960)
What am I missing about Charlie Morton? I'm going off BA's prospect rankings, and he was never in the Braves' top ten.


Really?
For a month or so Braves fans have been posting that Morton would make good trade bait...

FWIW Morton was real good in 79 IP in Richmond last year, 2.05 ERA and a 72/27 k/bb ratio, and YTD 2009 he's 2.27 with a 62/17 k/bb rate in 71 AAA ip.

of course pre-2008 he sukked
and in 2008 in the MLB he was lit up like a Christmas tree.

In the minors he had a very low HR rate most years
his MLB HR rate hasn't been bad (hasn't been good either)


if he can give up HRs at a better rate than average (perhaps 1 per 11-12 IP looks doable) and gets his walk rate down below 4/9 (which based upon his minor league record looks doable)

he could be a solid #3
   191. Kyle S at work Posted: June 11, 2009 at 09:50 PM (#3214972)
The reason Morton was never mentioned prior to 2008 is because he wasn't very good. He had an outstanding 2007 Arizona Fall League if memory serves correctly and built on that in 2008 (although not at the big league level). I believe that he just suddenly started hitting the mid to upper 90s on the gun.
   192. Russ Posted: July 06, 2009 at 04:24 PM (#3243284)

The way for a low-revenue team to build, IMO, is to develop quality via the draft and the occasional international signing, trade for bulk, and hope you know something about the other team's players that the other team doesn't (which happens sometimes).


Or try to take advantage of another team's surplus... the Red Sox had a surplus of infielders and were willing to give up Freddy Sanchez. Teams are less protective of prospects when they are deep at certain positions. When those opportunities arise for contending teams, the non-contenders have to really jump on it. I know the RS fans hated the Sanchez trade, but I don't think it was that horrible. They were well-manned at all of the positions that Sanchez would have played and Suppan could have gone the other way for them and it would have looked like a genius move.
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