CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Premium and Super Premium Subscribers Get a 20% Discount at MLB.tv!

<< Previous Article
The BP Wayback Machine... (12/07)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (12/06)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (12/07)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (12/07)

December 7, 2012

Transaction Analysis

Red Sox Get Koji

by Matthew Kory

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

BOSTON RED SOX
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Agreed with RP-R Koji Uehara to a one-year contract worth $4.5 million. [12/6]

Among other problems infecting the team, last year's Boston bullpen ranked 13th in baseball in TAv Against. The Red Sox took an incremental step toward improvement by signing Koji Uehara.

Incremental because, since coming over from Japan four seasons ago, Uehara has landed on the 15-day disabled list four times and made the 60-day once. His hamstring has been a reoccurring issue, and last season his shoulder gave him problems. So the issue has been keeping him on the mound, but when he’s made it that far he’s pitched very well. In three seasons as a reliever, Uehara has struck out more than 11 per nine innings, despite a fastball that rarely brushes against 90 mph. He gets batters out with pinpoint control of his fastball and by collecting whiffs—on a whopping 40 percent of swings in 2012—with his split-finger. The combination has been equally effective against left-handed hitters in his career (.204 TAv) as against same-sided guys (.183 TAv). Since his switch to the bullpen in 2010, his peripheral numbers have held steady, even as had moved from mid-30s to late-30s.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Uehara is that he very rarely he grants ball four. He’s walked 29 hitters in four seasons, covering 212 innings. As a reliever he’s been even better: 17 free passes in three seasons. That’s silly. The end of the story is that lots of strikeouts and few walks without a platoon split makes for a good pitcher in any role.

If there is a concern beyond health it’s a predilection for the home run. Uehara doesn’t blow batters away with stuff, so if he misses his location he will likely pay for it. Boston isn't kind to this sort of flaw, but neither is Texas, and Uehara was very effective there despite allowing a dozen homers in a year and a half. It takes a lot of home runs to undo a strikeout-to-walk ratio over 16, it turns out.

Unless Andrew Bailey gets attacked by an angry squirrel or steps on a tic-tac, he should return to his role as the closer. This pushes Uehara into a battle with Junichi Tazawa, Alfredo Aceves and Mark Melacon for the late innings role in Boston’s pen. If he’s healthy he’ll probably slot into the seventh or eighth inning. If there is one thing Boston has right now it’s money, so giving $4.5 million to someone who may or may not pitch very often won’t hurt their bottom line. Getting a pitcher as effective as Uehara, and particularly as effective against lefties, for a one-year commitment is a coup in the current environment. This isn’t the kind of move the Red Sox could make last season due to restrictive payroll commitments, but this season it’s the kind of upside play the Red Sox should make. 

Matthew Kory is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Matthew's other articles. You can contact Matthew by clicking here

Related Content:  Andrew Bailey,  Koji Uehara

3 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
The BP Wayback Machine... (12/07)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (12/06)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (12/07)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (12/07)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article What You Need to Know: August 27, 2014
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Tuesday, Augus...
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Wednesday, August 2...
Fantasy Article Dynasty Dynamics: Progress Report: Prospect ...
Fantasy Article They Hold No Quarter: Third Basemen
Premium Article AFL 2014
The Lineup Card: Seven September Call-ups We...

MORE FROM DECEMBER 7, 2012
Premium Article Raising Aces: Making the Grade, Part One
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Friday, December 7
Premium Article Prospect Push: Ranking the Traded Prospects
Premium Article Scouting the Draft: College Right-Handed Pit...
Fantasy Article Resident Fantasy Genius: Valuing Offensive P...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Revere Rides Into Phil...
The BP Wayback Machine: Grand Ole Opry

MORE BY MATTHEW KORY
2013-01-15 - Out of Left Field: Giving Miami the Silent T...
2013-01-09 - Premium Article Out of Left Field: Jumping the Gun on 2013 P...
2012-12-18 - Out of Left Field: What the Internet Can Tea...
2012-12-07 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Red Sox Get Koji
2012-12-04 - Premium Article Out of Left Field: Josh Hamilton and Talking...
2012-11-27 - Premium Article Out of Left Field: The Least Valuable Player
2012-11-20 - Premium Article Out of Left Field: Fish Out Of Contention
More...

MORE TRANSACTION ANALYSIS
2012-12-10 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Phillies Get Young, Ol...
2012-12-10 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Dodgers Go Big for Gre...
2012-12-07 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Revere Rides Into Phil...
2012-12-07 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Red Sox Get Koji
2012-12-06 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Angels Add an Ordinary...
2012-12-06 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Double LOOGY Day
2012-12-06 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Three Years for Keppin...
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2013-12-06 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Fascinating Mu Thing
2012-12-18 - Out of Left Field: What the Internet Can Tea...