Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday at the office a bit more bearable:
- The Astros and the No. 1 pick in this year’s amateur draft, Brady Aiken, failed to reach an agreement before the signing deadline. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports’ Eye on Baseball, agent Casey Close ripped into general manager Jeff Luhnow in conversations between the two men, accusing him of “various perceived transgressions, [including] leaking the medical findings regarding Aiken that derailed the deal (he is said to have an issue with his left ulnar collateral ligament).”
- The Angels acquired Huston Street from the Padres last Friday. Beyond the Boxscore’s Bryan Grosnick called it “one of the strangest deals I’ve ever seen.” Here’s why:
This season, Street has had little margin to improve on this number, but he has nonetheless. His LOB%? 100%. If you get on base against Street — he does not allow you to score. You have to hit a home run to get across the plate — so far.
Here’s the thing, though. This is – if not entirely, then mostly — an artifact of luck. Street’s career LOB% is 77%, and if we know anything, it’s that LOB% will cause you to be eaten by a luck dragon. 100% is not sustainable. It’s not even close to sustainable. Yet it is a main factor in the ERA / RA9 success that Street has had over the past two seasons. Street has a career FIP of 3.20 and a career RA9 of 3.09. That’s a pretty decent expectation for his future performance.
It’s probably fair to project Street to be a good closer — albeit one with some potential injury worries — over the life of a contract that will pay him fairly, or perhaps a little bit undervaluing him. He’s got a $7 million option for 2015. He’s what I’d consider a good fit for Los Angeles, but not a cure-all.
The interesting thing here, of course, is that the Angels had to give up four prospects to get him [and a minor-league reliever]. . . .
In the end, the Angels gave up four prospects, three with some very real upside, for a year and a half of Huston Street. Huston Street is a relief pitcher, and relief pitchers are possibly the most volatile asset in baseball. Their performance swings wildly, and they are pitchers, which leaves them open to a host of injury possibilities.
All the Angels had to give up to get him was a good chunk of the top-end of their already-weak farm system.
- Later this week, C. C. Sabathia will undergo season-ending arthroscopic debridement surgery on his right knee. While Yankee fans can’t be thrilled that four-fifths of their Opening Day rotation is on the shelf, GM Brian Cashman provided them with a silver lining when he acquired Brandon McCarthy from the Diamondbacks earlier this month. (In two starts since donning pinstripes, McCarthy has given up two runs in 12 2/3 innings, striking out 12 and walking one.) In the wake of the trade, Eno Sarris of Fangraphs postulated that McCarthy was due for progression toward the mean:
ERA does not tell the full story of Brandon McCarthy‘s season so far. Look across his line, and you see career-best strikeout (20%) and ground-ball rates (55.3%) paired with his customary excellent command . . . and then you see that he’s giving up twice as many home runs on fly balls as he has his whole career. . . .
Perhaps the 11 home runs he’s given up in the hitter friendly parks in Arizona and Colorado (versus the four he’s given up elsewhere) have a little more to do with the ledger standing as it does.
At least the Yankees and their home park — third-friendliest in the league to lefty power hitters — can hope so. They’ve got the rest of the (non-ERA) numbers on their side, it looks like.
- As of yesterday morning, Baseball Prospectus put the odds of the White Sox’s reaching the postseason this fall at a meager 3.4 percent. That’s fine with Alexei Ramirez, says Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. The dynamic shortstop believes that even if this year doesn’t pan out, the White Sox have enough talent to contend while he’s still under contract. (He is signed through the end of next season; there’s a club option for 2016.)
- Writing in Gammons Daily, Alec Dopp profiles Devin Mesoraco’s extreme pull-hitting and suggests to opposing managers that they respond by employing the shift with their outfielders.
- Fangraphs’ Neil Weinberg explains to readers why weighted on-base average (wOBA) is a “gateway statistic” — a good, not very complicated first step toward understanding additional sabermetric measurements.
- For a generous helping of awkward, passive-aggressive behavior, check out the article, from Rob Neyer of Fox Sports’ Just a Bit Outside, on Curb Your Enthusiasm ’s Jeff Garlin’s agreeing to write for the new publication — Garlin is a huge fan of the Cubs and sportswriter Joe Posnanski — then his abruptly backing away.
- Former big leaguer Gabe Kapler is writing for JABO. In “Marlins’ Yelich Will Be Slugging Them Out in Near Future,” Kapler profiles Christian Yelich, Miami’s quiet 22-year-old phenom.
- David Ortiz almost beat the Royals shift with a popup to the pitcher’s mound last Friday. Mike Moustakas smartly used his chest to retire the Red Sox slugger.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!