Jeremy Heit's Blog
Friday, December 12, 2003
 
If your looking for good unbiased work on the Yankees-Dodgers-Houston doings, look no farther than Aaron Gleeman. It's good work as always.

If you want something with a little more feeling, look no farther than Larry Mahnken, who I think hits best between a Yankees fan and one who looks at the stats and facts objectively. Very good work by him too.

Want my opinion? This what I see for each pitcher next year...

Andy Pettitte- 4.25 ERA, lower W-L record (like... 15-10). Things for the most part even out with him... he goes to a slightly better hitter's park in Houston, but gets a better defense (he's a slight groundball pitcher... 1.74 for career). The NL factor brings down his ERA a little, but I think he'll end up a little over this year cause he'll give up a few more HR's this year.

Kevin Brown- 3.50 ERA, higher W-L record (like... 21-7). OK, 3.50 might be pushing it, but he is not the ideal pitcher for the Yankees. Extreme groundball pitcher going from a good defense to a very bad one. Going from a pitcher's park to a hitter's park (even if its only really slight). Going from NL to AL, where he has to see the DH instead of the pitcher. Maybe this is a little Yankees hating, but really, whether its 3.25 or 3.50, he'll still win a bunch of games because of the Yankees offense. Injuries and age are always a worry with him too...

Jeff Weaver- Under 4.50 ERA, I'd be willing to bet down to 4. He clearly has the most to gain here, if only because he got out of New York. If he stays here, he goes to a pitcher's park with a good defense. His DIPS ERA was 4.31 last year and I think he could improve because he'll be confident the whole year (You could tell how far he had fallen in the second half). Under 4.50 ERA is probably a little safer, if only because of what I saw from him the last two years on TV.

Miggy Batista signed by Toronto

One of my personal favorites to talk about this offseason and a guy that if the Mets are going to spend money on a pitcher, I would like to see them pick up. Hasn't thrown all that many innings for his age (32) and had a very good year last year. All his stats have been improving steadily since he started starting a few years ago. He is a groundball pitcher (1.64 career, over 2 last year) which might be a little dangerous on turf, but he is backed up by a fairly good defense. 3 years at 13.1 million is not all that much in today's market for a guy that could be a quality 2 pitcher this year and a very quality 3 or 4 by the time Toronto is truly ready to compete. If your looking for a good discussion on the move, head over to the Batter's Box thread on the signing.

That's all I got for today. Weekend posting will happen. When? I have no clue...

Thursday, December 11, 2003
 
A few things to get to...

First, there is another new Mets blog, Mets Analyst. Go check it out and show your support. And, as Avkash says, what is the over/under for Mets blogs on opening day...

Speaking of my Mets blogging buddy Avkash, he's now got comments! So go over there and speak out! Also, while your there, it would be nice to check out his article on money and budgets.

Andy Pettitte is going to the Astros. My first reaction is one of Yankees hating, but then I realize that this might not be so bad for the Yankees. Observe...

Player A: 208.1 IP, 4.02 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .91 HR/9, 2.16 BB/9, 7.78 K/9, 3.60 K/BB
Player B: 193.1 IP, 3.54 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .61 HR/9, 2.79 BB/9, 6.61 K/9, 2.37 K/BB

And some splits...

Player A
vs. Left: .321/.354/.429
vs. Right: .254/.294/.393
Home: .258/.653
Away: .284/.766

Player B
vs. Left: .269/.347/.410
vs. Right: .223/.283/.324
Home: .282/.781
Away: .254/.640

Player A is Pettitte. Player B is Miggy Batista. To be honest, that didn't come out as good as I wanted it to. But still, I can make my point. Pettitte has better K and BB rates and a better K/BB, but its not like Miggy walks a lot of people. With the questionable defense the Yankees have, you would like Batista to do a little better on the K/9. But, he does give up a few less homeruns, which helps. He also pitched better away form home, a good sign. He also had basically the same type of split for lefty/righty as Pettitte. Interestingly, Pettitte pitched a lot worse away form home... bad sign for the Astros (especially with him in the Juice Box).

But my point is that Batista wouldn't be a bad replacement. He's only a year younger than Pettitte and much cheaper... probably 10 million compared to 5 or 6 at most. Now, of course, money is no issue to the Yankees, but still, this wouldn't be a bad rotation with Batista.

1. Vazquez- Top 3 in Cy Young next year, I call it.
2. Mussina- Another solid number 1.
3. Batista- Solid three.
4. Contreras- Plenty of potential to be a number 2.

The five spot in interesting. Lieber is a possibility, coming back form injury. Wells wants to come back, but I don't know why they would want him. Weaver is always there, but I wouldn't expect it. If the Yankees were to make the Weaver for Brown flip (which if I was the Dodgers I would do. Weaver would go to Dodgers Stadium, a pitcher's park, with a good D. Very nice match for a rebuild in confidence), they would get a potential one starter, though he is very injury prone. But if he were to get injured, Lieber is there.

Overall, I don't think this is as big of a problem for the Yankees as it seems the media is making it. Pettitte is replaceable, though he is a lefty, which means they could have none in their rotation next year.

I'm not going to touch most of the Mets rumors because well, they are mostly just rumors that will never come close to happen. But I don't have to say one thing...

No way in hell do I want Jay Payton back in a Mets uniform.

He's 31 (31! How in hell is he 31!). Here's how he's done the last few years...

2000- 488 AB, .291/.331/.447
2001- 361 AB, .255/.298/.371
2002- 275 AB, .284/.336/.415
2002- 170 AB, .335/.376/.606
2003- 600 AB, .302/.354/.512

Why is 2002 split into two? The first half (and the years before) would be with the Mets. After would be in Colorado.

I don't have fond memories of Jay Payton. At all (almost worse than my Alex Escobar memories). But I can back this up statistically. First of all, just look at the numbers with the Mets. Next, 2002...

Shea: 150 AB, .273/.337/.387
Coors: 74 AB, .473/.524/.892 (That would include 18 extra base hits... 18!)

As you can see, his overall numbers (.303/.351/.488) were affected by Coors.

As for 2003, he actually had decent home/road splits...

Home: .322/.377/.540
Road: .281/.330/.483 (.269 GPA)

Yes, still, I'd rather pass. It was one year, and while being decent on the road, we can except low numbers at home at Shea next year, bringing his overall totals way down, making him clearly not worth it.

That's all for today, see you on the flip side...

Wednesday, December 10, 2003
 
Not much today, as today is the day of the week my focus goes to my research paper (And I did a good job deciding on a day that was slow on the news side).

That said, I did get an e-mail from Bob Parlapiano about my suggestion of Glendon Rusch...

"I'm a 49-year-old Mets fan, and I've been a fan since 1962. I had season tickets through most of the 80s and 90s. I often visit ultimatemets.com and so I wanted to repeat a post I made there a few months ago under the "Memories of Glendon Rusch" section:

"Holy cow, is there any reason to think that Glendon's 2000 season was anything but a fluke? He has just finished a 1-12 season for the Brewers to drop his career record to 42-76. If that's not bad enough, take away 2000 and he is 31-65.

I just don't see Glendon as part of a solution, short term or long term. I know there are gazillions of lefties who have come into their own later in life, and maybe Glendon will be another one. But I think he has shown us nothing to this point to indicate he is worth a gamble. While I will agree that he has pitched some very good games, he seems to be one of those pitchers who is not capable of throwing an "average" game. he is either very good (rarely) or very bad (usually). And to be honest, I would rather have Trachsel."


First, let me explain on Trachsel. I like Trachsel as much as any Mets fan, but I'm being a realist. He'll be traded by midseason. He's in the last year of his contract and some team will need a starting pitcher and will take a middle of the rotation guy. So, its no slight against Trachsel, its just business.

As for Rusch, the theory that 2000 was a fluke is viable. It might have been a fluke. But I see a 29 year old lefty who has good stuff, won't cost much at all, and has shown signs of being very good. He also seems to be very unlucky. The Mets defense might not help much there (in the outfield, of course. The infield will be good), but 29 year old lefthanders with good stuff don't come along for 750K everyday.

Maybe I liked Glendon too much, as I actually have fond memories of him. Whatever the case, I still would like to see the Mets give him a shot, because we all know someone will.

So, thanks to Bob for the e-mail and thanks to him for his glowing endorsement of my blog.

I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully with something new I can talk about.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003
 
Yesterday, I said this...

"The only free agents I want the Mets to sign this offseason are Vladimir Guerrero and Glendon Rusch."

With Lil' Matsui's signing yesterday, the Vladimir Guerrero thing went out the window (at least the way I see it). But, Glendon Rusch didn't. And today, I defend my position on him.

Why the Mets should sign Glendon Rusch

Let's start simply. Glendon will be in his age 29 season next year. He has pitched with the Royals (97-99), Mets (99-01), and Brewers (02-03). To say he was downright pitiful last year might not describe how bad he was.

123.1 IP, 1-12, 6.42 ERA, 171 hits, 11 HR, 93 K, 45 BB, 68 ERA+

That's just plain out bad. But, he was also moved out of the starting rotation at one point. Here are his starter/reliever splits...

Starter: 100.1 IP, 1-12, 7.36 ERA, 145 hits, 9 HR, 41 BB, 77 K
Reliever: 23 IP, 2.35 ERA, 26 hits, 2 HR, 4 BB, 16 K

And now, here they are in rates...

Full Season: 1.39 H/IP, .80 HR/9, 6.79 K/9, 3.28 BB/9, 2.07 K/BB
Starter: 1.45 H/9, .81 HR/9, 6.91 K/9, 3.68 BB/9, 1.61 K/BB
Reliever: 1.13 H/9, .78 HR/9, 6.26 K/9, 1.57 BB/9, 4 K/BB

What does this all mean? A few things.

1. He's ungodly cheap for a starter who has had solid years in the league (more on that in a second). Probably 600K for a year. If I were the Mets, I'd try to get him tied up to a 2 years at1.5 million dollars.
2. If worse comes to worse, and he still sucks as a starter, he'll be a fairly cheap and quality lefty arm.
3. His rate stats aren't as bad as his ERA would suggest. Well, actually, one does suggest why his ERA was so bad. The H/IP. Want an explanation? Instead of me explaining it all, go back to Aaron Gleeman's NL Bizarro All-Star column and scroll down to Glendon Rusch. Not to say he would be Barry Zito, but he would at least be slightly above league average in most places.

So, basically, I'm saying this year is an aberration. Well, let's look at his stats from before this year (rate only)

Minor League stats (Baseball Cube doesn't seem to have HR numbers)

93, Age 18, Rookie- 62 IP, .69 H/IP, 6.97 K/9, 1.60 BB/9, 4.36 K/BB
93, Age 18, A- 8 IP, 1.25 H/IP, 9 K/9, 7.88 BB/9, 1.14 K/BB
94, Age 19, A- 114 IP, .97 H/IP, 9.63 K/9, 2.68 BB/9, 3.59 K/BB
95, Age 20, high-A- 165.2 IP, .66 H/IP, 7.99 K/9, 1.85 BB/9, 4.32 K/BB
96, Age 21, AAA- 169.2 IP, 1.04 H/IP, 6.2 K/9, 2.12 BB/9, 2.93 K/BB
97-98, pitched 20 innings in AAA ball
99, Age 24, Rookie- 6 IP, .5 H/IP, 13.5 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, 3 K/BB
99, Age 24, AAA- 114 IP, 1.25 H/IP, 8.05 K/9, 2.61 BB/9, 3.09 K/BB
2003- 21 innings in middle of year
Career totals- 679 IP, .94 H/IP, 7.8 K/9, 2.29 BB/9, 3.40 K/BB

*NOTE*- All AAA numbers are in the PCL, which you know, is a hitter's league.

Looking at those numbers, he projected to be a solid three who gets an added bonus by being lefty. Very good control, nice strikeout rate.

Major League Numbers

1997, KC, 22- 170.1 IP, 1.21 H/IP, 1.48 HR/9, 6.13 K/9, 2.75 BB/9, 2.23 K/BB, 86 ERA+
1998, KC, 23- 154.2 IP, 1.24 H/IP, 1,28 HR/9, 5.47 K/9, 2.91 BB/9, 1.88 K/BB, 84 ERA+
2000, NyM, 25- 190.2 IP, 1.03 H/IP, .85 HR/9, 7.41 K/9, 2.08 BB/9, 3.57 K/BB, 109 ERA+
2001, NyM, 26- 179 IP, 1.21 H/IP, 1.16 HR/9, 7.84 K/9, 2.16 BB/9, 3.63 K/BB, 89 ERA+
2002, Mil, 27- 210.2 IP, 1.08 H/IP, 1.28 HR/9, 5.98 K/9, 3.25 BB/9, 1.84 K/BB, 85 ERA+
2003, Mil, 28- 123.1 IP, 1.39 H/IP, .80 HR/9, 6.79 K/9, 3.28 BB/9, 2.07 K/BB, 68 ERA+

His best, and only year above average, was 2000, the magical subway series year. But, looking at his stats, he pitched a couple of good years with the Mets. He kept his BB/9 low and had a good K/BB . His HR/9 were decent, though he fell below average when that and his H/IP went up. What I see in Glendon, especially the last two years, is a guy who became afraid to throw it over the plate (resulting in more walks) for fear of giving up the longball. Who knows if that's really true, but that's what I can read by the stats.

So, why sign him?

1. I believe Aaron Heilman needs more Triple-A polishing. Steve Trachsel gets traded middle of the year, bring him back up.
2. Rick Peterson. I believe Rick can get him back his control where he's putting up those nice 7.5 K/9's and 2.5 BB/9. I also believe he can help him get his HR totals down to an acceptable level.

With that, I see him as an above average pitcher, in the 3.75 ERA mold. Maybe I'm pushng it, but for a lefty who is only 29, give it a shot. He'll cost 750K for 2 years, and could end up as a reliever in the bullpen. Not a lot to spend on a reliever either.

So, in final, Mets fans, send letters to your GM, Jim Duquette, and demand the signing of Glendon Rusch. Right now!

Monday, December 08, 2003
 
David Bloom has gone from D-Rays blog to YaGottaBelieve. Updated on sidebar.

In the big Mets news, Kazou Matsui has been signed, for something around 20 million for 3 years. It's the talk in the Mets blogosphere and I really agree with Avkash's thoughts. I don't feel like wasting time repeating those thoughts over again, mulling on the signing, and complaining about how much I'm against it, so let's look at a few of the positives...

1. He doesn't cost a draft pick.
2. He plays a mighty good defensive shortstop (apparently). Of course, Jose Reyes should be... sorry, told you I wouldn't mull over it.
3. He'll be an above average hitter at SS (unfortunately, for almost 7 million dollars).
4. It does create a very good up the middle defense and just a good defensive infield.

So, yes, this isn't all bad. He's also 28, which means at least he won't be old and shouldn't fall completely off the table. But still, I want to see Jose Reyes at short and I don't want to spend 7 million dollars, basically, on a 2B, since we already had the shortstop. And not on a guy who won't hit like a 7 million dollar man should.

But that's enough talk on that, just because I don't feel like moaning and groaning about it. What's done is done, and nothing can be done about it.

In other quasi-related Mets news, Mike Cameron was not offered arbitration by the M's (Go over to USS Mariner to read all about it. Just scroll down, there's a lot to be said).

What does that mean? He doesn't cost a draft pick. That also makes him slightly more appealing. Now, the Mets have offered him 3 years, something in the range of 5 to 6 million. Without the loss of the draft pick and the fact that Oakland is going after him (in another park that spacious and where flyballs die... Billy Beane always knows something), I might accept this move. I wouldn't be overjoyed, but it wouldn't be terrible.

For one, he plays a mean centerfield and would make the Mets very solid up the middle (except when Piazza is playing catcher).
For two (I know, that's not an expression), his hitting numbers have to be better than in Safeco, only cause that place kills rigthies. And I think his numbers, overall, could shoot up to .275/.360/.490 (.285 GPA, which would be 8th in the league this league at CF and a good 29 points over the league average for centerfielders), very solid for a CF.

Now, I hate how much he strikeouts. I just don't like guys who whiff that much. It's just a personal thing.

But, overall, on these two moves, the Mets would spend around 13 million dollars a year for 3 years. That's about what Vlady could expect (who, by the way, was not offered arbitration... no draft pick...), though he might get 15 million and 4 or 5 years. So, spending money that could have been Vlady's for Cameron and Matsui... well, let's just look at the projected lineups with both (I hope you know by now I want Vlady bad).

Cameron/Matsui Lineup
1. Reyes- 2B
2. Phillips- 1B/C (I don't care about speed)
3. Piazza- C/1B
4. Floyd- LF
5. Cameron- CF
6. Matsui- SS
7. Wigginton- 3B
8. Right fielder (Cedeno... Timo... T-Long?...)

Vlady lineup
1. Reyes- SS
2. Phillips- 1B/C
3. Piazza- C
4. Guerrero- RF
5. Floyd- LF
6. Walker- 2B (Yes, Todd. Not offered abry, only cost 2.5 million for 2 years... wouldn't really block up Diaz/Garcia too bad)
7. Wigginton- 3B
8. Center Fielder (Lofton? Duncan?...)

The top 7, overall, is more solid in the first lineup. But, the first lineup doesn't contain that dynamic bat that the second one does, a bat that makes a huge difference. The bottom of the lineup (6-8) can be worked on, considering this team won't win next year anways (you know, like Carlos Beltran next offseason). I like the Vlady lineup. I would much rather spend 13 million dollars (or 15) on Vlady than overpaying Cameron and Matsui.

What does that all mean? The only free agents I want the Mets to sign this offseason are Vladimir Guerrero and Glendon Rusch (keep Aaron Heilman down at AAA for awhile. Trachsel will be traded by the middle of the year, you can bring him back up. At most, he'll cost 600K and he's only 29 and his best years were at Shea. Why not take a shot?). Not Matsui, not Cameron. But, since Matsui is already signed, Cameron, whose contract length would run from 30-32, would not be a bad signing for 5 or 6 million. Or at least not as bad as Matsui.

Just caught this article by Rob Neyer on Matsui situation. He says teams should be leery of him, that he wouldn't move Reyes, and agrees with a projection somewhere around .275/.326/.450, which is unimpressive.

Sunday, December 07, 2003
 
One thing of note...

Ducks on the pond, a new Mets blog by Adam. Go over and say hello and welcome him to the Mets blogging family.


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