Prospect Watch: Leonys Martin

Coming into the 2012 season OF Leonys Martin ranked as the third overall prospect for the Texas Rangers according to Marc Hulet of Fangraphs. With Josh Hamilton also headed for free agency the arrival of Leonys Martin seemed imminent. Unfortunately Martin hurt his thumb and is now out for 6-8 weeks. Martin only has a little over a year of experience is pro ball, but if the Rangers opted to not sign Hamilton, he would undoubtedly be the starting center fielder in 2013. Continue reading

Josh Hamilton: On the Way to a Big Payday?

Following the 2012 season Texas Rangers outfielder, Josh Hamilton, will hit the free agent market. The Rangers had a chance to sign him during the off-season, but if he finishes this season as the best season of his career, he may be playing elsewhere next season. Would it be in Texas’ best interest to let him walk, or try to sign him? Continue reading

Texas Rangers Take a Gamble on Joe Nathan.

Yesterday it was announced that the Texas Rangers came to terms with former Twins closer Joe Nathan. The deal was for 2 years with $7 million annually. There also was a team option for 2014.

$7 million dollars is a lot of money to pay a closer, it’s especially a lot for a closer who’s 37 years old and who had a down year after coming off of Tommy John Surgery. In 44 games last year Joe Nathan was worthe a wopping 0 WAR. That’s right, 0 WAR. His ERA, FIP and xFIP were 4.84, 4.28 and 3.96. Not exactly good numbers. His 22.5 K% was 4.1% below career average but his BB% wasn’t affected as a result. One thing that is concerning though was the spike in HR/9 that he gave up. For his career he gave up .86 HR/9 but this past year he gave up 1.41, not a number you want to see. Next season Bill James sees Nathan having a bounce back year, posting a 2.35 ERA and 2.97 FIP. While Nathan could do that I think it’s more more reasonable to see an ERA north of 3.

Relievers are never a sure thing though. In 2011 the top 5 relievers were as follows:

Craig Kimbrel: 2.10 ERA, 1.52 FIP, 1.94 xFIP

Jonathan Papelbon: 2.94 ERA, 1.53 FIP, 2.16 xFIP

Sean Marshall: 2.26 ERA, 1.86 FIP, 2.50 xFIP

David Robertson: 1.08 ERA, 1.84 FIP, 2.46 xFIP

Mariano Rivera: 1.91 ERA, 2.19 FIP, 2.64 xFIP

2010:

Carlos Marmol: 2.55 ERA, 2.01 FIP, 2.83 xFIP

Brian Wilson: 1.81 ERA, 2.19 FIP, 2.85 xFIP

Heath Bell: 1.93 ERA, 2.05 FIP, 2.98 xFIP

Matt Belisle: 2.93 ERA, 2.68 FIP, 2.78 xFIP

Sean Marshall: 2.68 ERA, 2.28 FIP, 2.50 xFIP

2009:

Jonathan Broxton: 2.61 ERA, 1.97 FIP, 2.02 xFIP

Matt Thornton: 2.74 ERA, 2.46 FIP, 2.74 xFIP

Michael Wuertz: 2.63 ERA, 2.37 FIP, 2.57 xFIP

Andrew Bailey: 1.84 ERA, 2.56 FIP, 3.20 xFIP

Brian Wilson: 2.74 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 3.18 xFIP

I could keep going but as you can see the top 5 relief pitchers vary year by year for the most part. There are some pitchers that did repeat, in this 3 year span it was Brian Wilson and Sean Marshall. Nathan didn’t even crack the top 5 in 2009 in 2011. I’ll give him see leeway for 2011 but in 2009 he was totally healthy and didn’t crack the top 10.

If the Rangers were that desperate for a closer they should have looked at other options. Some think Jonathan Broxton may be burnt out but on an incentive laden deal he probably would have been a much better option.

$14 million dollars is a ridiculous amount of money for a relief pitcher, especially a pitcher who performed as poorly as Nathan did last year. The Rangers pretty much expect Nathan to return to his early days as a Twin and I just don’t think that’s possible at this point. The one good thing that comes out of this situation is that Neftali Feliz will finally join the rotation.

Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Last night the St. Louis Cardinals clinched their 11th world series title. The series was nothing short of awesome. Game 6 was perhaps the most exciting baseball game of all time. Hometown kid David Freese had a heck of a game, hitting the game tying triple in the ninth and then the walkoff two innings later. Overall, he had a great world series and playoffs in general. His NLCS and world series MVP are a testament to that.

In game two Derek Holland pitched one of the best games that I’ve ever seen in a playoff game. He went 8.1 innings, walked 2, struck out 7 and had a 2.07 FIP. Keep in mind I’m only 18 but still he pitched a gem.

How can we forget about Pujols? He had one of the best games ever in the world series. He went 5-6 with three home runs. He is only the third player ever to do that in the game. The other two are Babe Ruth (twice) and Mr. October himself, Reggie Jackson. Not a bad class to be in.

The other four games were really good as well but those two really stuck out to me.

In the end this series came down to both bullpens due to the struggles of both team’s starting pitchers. C.J. Wilson had a really rough series but going in to free agency it shouldn’t affect him to much because of the small sample size. Chris Carpenter really stepped up when he was needed last night. He pitched 6 strong innings with 2 walks, 6 strike outs and only 2 earned runs all on three days rest.

All in all this was a great series. Both teams played very well but in the end only one team can win and last night it was the St. Louis Cardinals.

In the mean time I will try and put some posts up about free agency and as we get closer to the season I will do some team evaluations. In the mean time, The St. Louis Cardinals are the champions of major league baseball.

Until next time,

Mauerfan

Game Three Preview

Tonight in the third game of the World Series Kyle Lohse is set to face off against Matt Harrison. The line-up for the visiting St. Louis Cardinals is:

Furcal Bats Both, as R vs L:

8.5 BB%

 9.6 K%

.115 ISO 

.237 BABIP

84 wRC+

Craig Bats R vs L:

4.3 BB%

17.1 K%

.343 ISO

.320 BABIP

.424 wOBA

175 wRC+ (SSS)

Pujols Bats R vs L:

7.3 BB%

9.7 K%

.313 ISO

 .255 BABIP

 .392 wOBA

153 wRC+

Holliday Bats R vs L:

20 BB%

18.2 K%

 .209 ISO

 .290 BABIP

 .387 wOBA

 149 wRC+

Berkman Bats Both, as L vs R:

 8 BB%

18.8 K%

.178 ISO

 .316 BABIP

 .353 wOBA

 126 wRC+

Freese Bats R vs L:

 7.1 BB%

16.7 K%

 .160 ISO

 .383 BABIP

 .389 wOBA

 150 wRC+

Molina Bats R vs L:

13.4 BB%

10.1 K%

.176 ISO

 .291 BABIP

 .366 wOBA

 135 wRC+

Jay Bats L vs L:

 5.8 BB%

 15.4 K%

.106 ISO

 .333 BABIP

 .320 wOBA

103 wRC+

Theriot Bats R vs L:

5.8 BB%

 5.8 K%

.103 ISO

.331 BABIP

.339 wOBA

116 wRC+

When Harrison is facing lefties he posts much better stats. He has a 3.38 FIP, 19.8 K%, 5.8 BB% but he also gives up more home runs, .84 HR/9. When facing lefties he has a higher GB%, 51.3% and a lower FB%, 26.9%.  Against righties he struggles a little more. His FIP is 3.57 he has a 15 K% and 8 BB%. He does give up less home runs though, .54 HR/9. His 46 GB% is lower then when he faces lefties but his 34.3 FB% is higher.  The Cardinals line-up is stacked with right handed hitters who mash lefties so it wouldn’t be surprising to see if he struggled tonight.

The line-up for the Texas Rangers is:

Kinsler Bats R vs R:

11.6 BB%

9.9 K%

.213 ISO

.245 BABIP

.357 wOBA

 119 wRC+

Andrus Bats R vs R:

8.2 BB%

11.5 K%

.083 ISO

.314 BABIP

 .316 wOBA

 92 wRC+

Hamilton Bats L vs R:

8.6 BB%

15.4 K%

.220 ISO

 .336 BABIP

 .377 wOBA

 133 wRC+ 

Young Bats R vs R:

 6.9 BB%

11.2 K%

.135 ISO

 .354 BABIP

 .362 wOBA

 122 wRC+

Beltre Bats R vs R:

 3.3 BB%

10.8 K%

.234 ISO

 .274 BABIP

 .357 wOBA

119 wRC+

Cruz Bats R vs R:

 5.7 BB%

 24.3 K%

 .216 ISO

 .268 BABIP

 .323 wOBA

 96 wRC+

Napoli Bats R vs R:

 12.1 BB%

18.5 K%

 .316 ISO

 .335 BABIP

.443 wOBA

178 wRC+

Murphy Bats L vs R:

7.5 BB%

13.4 K%

 .165 ISO

 .316 BABIP

 .350 wOBA

115 wRC+

Torrealba Bats R vs R:

 4.4 BB%

 16.7 K%

 .154 ISO

 .317 BABIP

 .324 wOBA

 96 wRC+

Kyle Lohse is a pretty solid pitcher. Against righties and lefties he posts pretty similar stats. Against righties he posts a 3.66 FIP and a 3.68 FIP against lefties. His xFIP against righties is 3.98 and against lefties it’s 4.10. Against righties he has a 13.5 K% and a 5 BB%. He can give up home runs, he had a .78 HR/9 versus righties. Against lefties he has a 15.3 K% and a 5.9 BB%, almost identical when he faces righties. Against lefties he gives up .75 HR/9, again almost identical to righties. Cruz really struggles against righties and Hamilton is hurt so Lohse might have a slight advantage but Young, Cruz, Beltre and Napoli crush righties. Lohse is a solid pitcher but Texas’ line-up doesn’t struggle too bad against right handed pitchers.

I think the low scoring affair ends tonight, the bullpens should have a big factor. I’m not sure if Ogando is available tonight but he may be needed if Harrison blows up. Same goes for Jake Westbrook of the Cardinals.

If you want you can follow a WPA graph that I will try to get up around game time. You can use these to see how certain moments in the game affect the probability of the Rangers or Cardinals winning. It’s pretty cool, if I don’t get it up in time you can see them at Fangraphs under the scoreboard tab.