What does Doug see ahead for selected pitchers in 2014?
Along with the rest of the BP staff, I’ve submitted my pre-season predictions for division standings and end-of-season award winners. I tend to stay in the neighborhood of likely outcomes for these picks, resulting in easy answers such as “Mike Trout for AL MVP” or “Tigers win the AL Central,” but I’m more intrigued by the long-shot stories that emerge once the season starts.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
A look at fantasy impact of every significant transaction consummated on Tuesday.
After one of the craziest transaction days in recent memory, the fantasy team (literally, it took nearly the entire team given the short notice) went through all 10 transactions with fantasy implications to see who gained and lost value in the last 24 hours. A longer introduction than that is not necessary—let’s get straight to what you came here to read.
With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, Mike looks at the changes in the closer landscape before unveiling his new tiers and the updated dollar values.
Welcome to another installment of The Bullpen Report. As a reminder, closers are rated in five tiers from best to worst. The tiers are a combination of my opinion of a pitcher’s ability, the likelihood that he will pick up saves, and his security in the job. For example, a pitcher in the third tier might have better skills than a pitcher in the second tier, but if the third tier pitcher is new to the job or has blown a couple of saves in the last week this factors into the ranking as well.
This week’s edition of The Bullpen Report will focus on moves teams made at yesterday’s Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline. Additional analysis is also available at today’s Free Agent Write-Up, but if you’re looking for more specific analysis about middle relievers/deeper league fodder like Jesse Crain, you’ve come to the right place.
On Brian Wilson and the etiquette of being different.
As you no doubt know by now, the San Francisco Giants opted not to tender a contract to their All-Star closer, Brian Wilson. He was due a league-mandated minimum of just under $7 million, and was probably hoping for something closer to $10 million. Apparently the Giants decided he wasn’t worth it, and Wilson is now a free agent. News reports have described Wilson as “angry” that the Giants chose not to re-sign him and he is likely to sign elsewhere. It remains to be seen what kind of deal Wilson will get on the open market. On the one hand, Proven All-Star Closer; on the other, those peripherals, and coming off Tommy John surgery. Intriguing hot-stove action!
When the news came down about the Giants' non-tender, there was some recrimination among San Francisco fans, but not a ton. He was the guy on the mound when they won it all in 2010. His numbers in 2010 were eye-popping: a 2.18 FRA and 1.7 WARP to go along with his 48 saves and World Series ring. He was really good. But then the Giants won the whole thing again in 2012, without Wilson, thereby “proving” that he wasn’t necessary. I heard and read the same thing over and over from Giants fans: Many/most/all said that, while they loved him as a player, they “wouldn’t miss his act.”
As you no doubt know by now, the San Francisco Giants opted not to tender a contract to their All-Star closer, Brian Wilson. He was due a league-mandated minimum of just under $7 million, and was probably hoping for something closer to $10 million. Apparently the Giants decided he wasn’t worth it, and Wilson is now a free agent. News reports have described Wilson as “angry” that the Giants chose not to re-sign him and say he is likely to sign elsewhere. It remains to be seen what kind of deal Wilson will get on the open market. On the one hand, Proven All-Star Closer; on the other, those peripherals, and coming off Tommy John surgery. Intriguing hot-stove action!
When the news came down about the Giants' non-tender, there was some recrimination among San Francisco fans, but not a ton. He was the guy on the mound when they won it all in 2010. His numbers in 2010 were eye-popping: he notched a 2.18 FRA and 1.7 WARP to go along with his 48 saves and World Series ring. He was really good. But then the Giants won the whole thing again in 2012—without Wilson—thereby proving that he wasn’t, strictly speaking, necessary. What I heard and read over and over from Giants fans was that they “wouldn’t miss his act.”
Investing in top non-closers now could save you loads of money next draft day.
For the past five years, as the season winds down, I’ve made it a habit of discussing one of my favorite keeper league strategies: stashing potential closers. This, of course, isn’t viable in every single keeper league based on format, depth, and rule quirks, but in leagues where it is, it can be a powerful way of accruing cheap value for your 2013 squad before the 2012 season even ends.
As I discussed the strategy in detail last season, I’ll simply repost for those who are new to BP:
Ian loves two things. These are those two things, as one thing.
Everyone who has seen Brian Wilson pitch has had two different, concurrent reactions. The first is to recoil in horror at the black alien life-form consuming his face; the second is to make a Beach Boys joke.
What most people don’t do, however, is take the next step: wonder if they could field a baseball team composed entirely of rock-star namesakes. But I am not most people; I am a weird baseball-slash-music obsessive. I took the names of rock and roll legends and scoured Baseball Reference to find players by the same (or nearly the same) name. This was both more stupid and more fun than you might have imagined.
Brian Wilson experiences more elbow soreness, Carlos Marmol's MRI comes back clean, Zach Britton gets good news about his shoulder, and Orlando Hudson's groin continues to keep him off the field.
Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants (Right elbow soreness)
After finally appearing to be over his 2011 elbow problems, Wilson developed soreness in his right elbow, which has to have everyone concerned. He missed over a month last season due to a strain of the flexor muscle mass on the inside aspect of his elbow. In addition to contributing to force reproduction levels necessary to throw the ball in the upper 90s, the flexor mass is an important stabilizer to the ligament, made famous by Tommy John (with an assist from Dr. Frank Jobe).
Velocity is one of the factors that have been associated with injuries to this ligament in throwers. Whenever a pitcher experiences multiple bouts of elbow pain within a year’s time, there has to be concern about some underlying cause, whether it is ligament, cartilage, or tendon damage. Wilson was able to throw in a minor-league game on Thursday and kept his velocity in the upper 90s. He’s not out of the woods yet, but for now, he’s day to day.
Where will CJ Wilson's next contract take him, and how much money can he expect?
With CC Sabathia staying put, this winter's free-agent market for starting pitchers is a particularly thin one, no pun intended. Unlike last winter, there's no rotation ace equivalent of Cliff Lee, nor is there even a frontline starter who offers the track record that the 2009-2010 winter's belle of the ball, John Lackey, did—a reminder that big-ticket items carry big-time risks. The pitcher drawing the most interest is 31-year-old lefty C.J. Wilson, who has spent all of two seasons in the rotation, converting following a rocky tenure in the bullpen that included some time spent as a very hittable closer.