Right Field

Reveille 7/21/14

Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday at the office a bit more bearable:

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.

 

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That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.

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