The Rockies' bullpen is one reason why Joe had them finishing last in the NL West this year. Does a closer look change that assessment?
When I slotted the Rockies at #24 in my preseason Top 30, it was in part because I'm not that confident in their bullpen. Since then, I've had a back-and-forth with a Rockies staffer over that assessment, and figured it was worth going into greater depth about the matter in a column. I had actually intended to write about the Rockies last month, but Tracy Ringolsby's Hope and Faith piece broke down the team so well that I hesitated to follow it.
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The Transaction Analysis you have been waiting for. Saunders. Izturis. Guzman. Cormier. Hernandez. Reyes. The names are all here, and only Christina can sort out the right from wrong, and the stupid from the just obtuse.
The Doctor returns with a look at the draft history of high school and college pitchers, to see if we can learn a few things about pitching value.
Pos Years 1st Rd 2nd Rd 3rd Rd Overall Busts
COL LHP 84-91 - 4.4% + 54.7% +133.4% + 21.5%
COL LHP 92-99 - 7.3% + 61.1% + 15.0% + 8.0%
COL LHP 84-99 - 5.8% + 57.8% + 82.4% + 15.2%
Years Biggest Bargains Biggest Busts
84-91 Jim Abbott, Greg Swindell Drew Hall, Kyle Abbott
92-99 Barry Zito, Randy Wolf B.J. Wallace, Jeff Granger
Note that the two most valuable draft picks from 1984 to 1991 are notRandy Johnson, who was third on the list. Johnson is a future Hall of Famer, but was not a full-time starting pitcher in the major leagues until four years after he was drafted, and didn't become RANDY JOHNSON until 1993. And of course, along the way he was traded by the team that drafted him, the Montreal Expos, essentially for four months of Mark Langston. The point bears repeating: the sooner a draft pick renders his value, the less likely the team that drafted him will have already given him up for pennies on the dollar.
Just because Opening Day has passed doesn't mean that the following players aren't busts, or, for that matter, that all drafts have been completed. We'll finish off the rest of the divisions this week, starting today with the AL Central. Here are the categories we use to classify busts:
The Angels' pitching staff returns to health. The David DeJesus era begins for the Royals. The Phillies have an epic battle going for the role of fifth starter. The Mariners hit a home run with the Freddy Garcia deal. These and other happenings in today's Transaction Analysis.
The Royals head into the season with four lefties potentially in the rotation, definitely an oddity. From a health perspective, does this mean anything? Digging into the data, the answer is a simple "no" with the usual caveat of small sample size. Across age spectrums, lefties and righties tend to be within a few percentage points of each other in risk. At times lefties are higher, and at others, righties take the lead. The differences are near random and point to this as something that Royals fans can ignore.
What the Royals cannot ignore is their continuing downtrend when it comes to their medhead stats. They were near the bottom in days lost do the DL in 2003, and were saved by their budget from being near the bottom in dollars lost. It always strikes me as penny-wise and pound-foolish when teams operating under real or imagined budget constraints don't do more to make sure that the money they're spending stays on the field.
The D'backs made an early splash in the Hot Stove league by dealing Curt Schilling to the Red Sox and getting Richie Sexson from the Brewers. The Royals, whether we believe it or not, are now employing one of the more savvy GMs in baseball. And the Phillies spent the off-season making themselves the favorite in the National League East. All this and much more news from Arizona, Kansas City, and Philadelphia in your Thursday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.
Alright, We're Spent: Arizona made an early splash during the Hot Stove season when, within a matter of days, they consummated the first two major trades of the off-season, dealing Curt Schilling to the BoSox and getting Richie Sexson from the Brewers in a classic quantity for quality deal.
As promised, here's a team-by-team breakdown of last week's NorCal Mock Winter Meetings. With the real winter meetings in New Orleans winding down, it's interesting to compare the two for like transactions as well as differences.
Following up on yesterday's article, here is the definitive list of every transaction made at last weekend's Mock Winter Meetings in Chicago. The list of moves includes a blockbuster trade for Mark Teixeira, cheap contracts for Trot Nixon and Juan Gonzalez, and a surprise new home for Vladimir Guerrero.