best counter

Your Ad Here
Just The Sports: MLB Trade Round-Up

Just The Sports

Sunday, August 01, 2010

MLB Trade Round-Up

Each season, dozens of trades are made within Major League Baseball, but most of the trades will have very little positive impact on the teams. Here, today, I want to give a rundown of a few teams that think they have obtained better players than they have.

Washington Nationals: Wilson Ramos

I have to admit I almost believed the hype about Wilson Ramos. There was so much talk and so much agreement about the fact that he was going to be a great major league catcher some day and might even take Joe Mauer's place behind the mound if Mauer had to undergo a position change. It was one of the few times I trusted the majority opinion implicitly without doing some research of my own. Never again.

Wilson Ramos is not a can't-miss prospect; he is actually a can't-succeed prospect. Usually, with predictions, I am afraid that I will be proven wrong. With Ramos, I have no such fears.

My prediction of an extremely disappointing career for Ramos is based on his minor league numbers where he has only hit .283/.330/.426 with a gross product average of .255. For those not familiar with gross product average, it is a more accurate variation of OPS and should be read as a batting average. A gross product average of .255 is beyond terrible for the majors. For the minors, it is the number of a player who has no chance of producing on the major league level because of the statistical regression involved in making the leap from an inferior level to a superior one.

Although I have not found a large collection of minor league box scores that I can use to compare to a player's major league statistics, I feel very confident in predicting that only a tiny percentage of players ever significantly outperform their minor league numbers while the other 99% do not. Therefore, with great certainty and with a sample size of 1,519 minor league plate apperances, it is painfully obvious Ramos is the well below average hitter he has shown himself to be.

The Washington Nationals should not expect him to be their catcher of the future unless they enjoy costing themselves runs at the plate.

San Diego Padres: Miguel Tejada

Trading for Miguel Tejada in 2006 would have made sense. Trading for him in 2010 is inexplicable and simply should not have been done.

Tejada is thirty-six years old now and in the midst of the worst season of his career since he became a full-time player. He is only hitting .267/.308/.358 with a wOBA of .294. For a reference point on wOBA, which should be read like on-base percentage, the average for it is around .340, well above Tejada's mark. Nothing about any of Tejada's hitting statistics indicate a rebound is in the future, either, so he will just be carrying his below average bat to the Padres.

Hopefully, the Padres are not expecting Tejada to do anything to help them get to the playoffs. It is more likely he will do more to keep them out of the playoffs.

New York Yankees: Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns

Lance Berkman is not a terrible player, but the Yankees need to be especially careful in the way they choose to deploy him. I first wrote about the deficiency of Lance Berkman the hitter a few years ago when I listed him among the switch hitters who are significantly worse in one side of the batter's box than the other. Since then, nothing has changed.

Berkman is still a player who is average when facing left handed pitchers (.343 wOBA) and an elite hitter when facing right handed pitching (.377 wOBA). He has seen a decline in his overall production over the past three seasons, but he should still be able to hit well enough against righties to give the Yankees value.

Under no circumstances should he be allowed to hit against left handed pitching. It will only end badly and will cost the Yankees runs. League average is nothing to encourage in your team's lineup.

Trading for Austin Kearns was a little bit of a head scratcher. True, he is a little bit better batter against left handed pitching (.353 wOBA) versus right handed pitching (.340 wOBA), but he has really not hit well against left handers since 2007. His last three wOBAs when facing a portsider have been .240 wOBA in 2008, .287 wOBA in 2009, and a .315 wOBA in 2010, albeit in not the optimal sample size, but still troubling.

Then again, Kearns has not been too much of a productive hitter overall these past few seasons so his struggles against left handed pitching is most likely just a microcosm of his decline even though he has had a bit of a resurgence this season.

Overall, it is hard to envision Kearns helping the Yankees for the rest of the season.

St. Louis Cardinals: Jake Westbrook

Far be it from me to question the ability of the best pitching coach in the majors, Dave Duncan, to turn around Jake Westbrook and make him into a better pitcher, but Duncan certainly has his work cut out for him.

Right now, Westbrook is mired in the worst season of his career. He does not strike out enough batters (5.15 K/9 IP), he walks too many hitters (3.10 BB/9 IP), and he has given up too many home runs (1.06 HR/9 IP) to be effective with any team. As expected with those poor statistics, his expected fielding-independent ERA of 4.41 is the highest it has ever been.

Even a change to the National League where Westbrook will no longer have to face a designated hitter will not make that much of a difference.

Instead of solidifying the Cardinals' rotation for a postseason push, Westbrook will only be the fourth best pitcher on the staff behind Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, and Jaime Garcia.



Post a Comment

<< Home