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Thread: Article: Five reasons re-signing Mike Pelfrey could be a steal

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Bryz-Gornia View Post
    Here's the article I found that confirmed that Pelfrey was throwing a cutter rather than a slider: http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/news/art...k_nym&c_id=nym
    Per Pitcher f/x (in Fangraphs, cited above), the slider was thrown 10.2% in 2013 and the cutter 8.6%. The slider was at 86.2 mph, the cutter at 75.7 mph. Pitch classification is tricky. I am not saying you should necessarily believe Pitcher f/x.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
    I was with you until that last sentence. You're right about his stuff and his slider, but he's also shown he can be a valuable contributor. He's not the next All-Star ace, but he has plenty of opportunity to provide surplus value at his $5.5M salary. I think he'll definitely outperform his salary over the next two years and it was a smart signing.

    Everyone rode the Correia signing last year (myself as well) with a theme that signing him might be okay if he wasn't the "big" signing of the offseason. This year, Pelfrey (who is better than Correia) was the THIRD best signing. Let's keep the perspective straight here.
    Let's keep the perspective straight, you're right. Pelfrey is a back of the rotation starter. So yes, he might outperform his salary, but what does that get the Twins? He will still be a below average pitcher over the length of his contract. When your team has a dearth of front of the rotation options and a glut of back of the rotation options signing Pelfrey makes little sense. Will he be better than Worley, Deduno, Hendriks, etc... perhaps but what exactly do the Twins gain by having a marginally better #5 starter?

  3. #23
    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    The cutter/slider distinction is pretty semantic.



    I believe Pitchf/x calls Peflrey's pitch a slider instead of a cutter because its quite a bit slower than his 4 seem. But its a pretty straight pitch, most people would call it a cutter. In fact its pretty much the straightest pitch of anyone on Thrylos' list.
    Name Team SL-X (pfx) SL-Z (pfx)
    Matt Harvey Mets 1 3.7
    Anibal Sanchez Tigers 3.2 0.7
    Madison Bumgarner Giants 0.4 4
    Francisco Liriano Pirates 0.2 2.2
    Mat Latos Reds 2.7 1.3
    Justin Verlander Tigers 2.4 2.4
    Homer Bailey Reds 0.3 2.1
    John Lackey Red Sox 3.3 1.2
    Lance Lynn Cardinals 0.1 1.5
    Matt Cain Giants 1.2 2.2
    Yovani Gallardo Brewers 3 3.2
    Mike Pelfrey Twins 0.8 4.6

  4. #24
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer amjgt's Avatar
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    I think it needs to be said....

    This thread is awesome

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    diehardtwinsfan (12-26-2013)

  6. #25
    Good article Thrylos...I also like Pelfrey (especially on a reasonable contract).

    Next year is the second back from Tommy John--so we should see Pelfrey at his best like last July. Unfortunately, he is a fly ball pitcher and still dealing with Arcia, Parmalee, Willingham, etc. in the corner OF spots. That will mean a higher BABIP. The hope for Pelfrey is the maturity of Hicks and Buxton enabling the Twins to finally get to a decent OF defense.

  7. #26
    Owner All-Star John Bonnes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amjgt View Post
    I think it needs to be said....

    This thread is awesome
    You beat me to this by one an hour. I wholeheartedly agree. I like learning stuff about baseball and baseball players, and I'm doing so here.

  8. #27
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
    Let's keep the perspective straight, you're right. Pelfrey is a back of the rotation starter. So yes, he might outperform his salary, but what does that get the Twins? He will still be a below average pitcher over the length of his contract. When your team has a dearth of front of the rotation options and a glut of back of the rotation options signing Pelfrey makes little sense. Will he be better than Worley, Deduno, Hendriks, etc... perhaps but what exactly do the Twins gain by having a marginally better #5 starter?
    We won't be able to evaluate this contract for some time. I think you articulate the risks pretty well, though I don't think the three guys you mention are worth worrying about. Hendriks is on his second team since leaving the Twins. I'm sure there will be more. Worley and Diamond are heading for a similar fate regardless of whom they sign.

    If he blocks Meyer, then it is a worry. Gibson is a push at this point and could become a worry in the near future. If they earn it, you make trades to make room for them.

    If he outperfomrs his contract, he'll be very tradeable, as will Correia, when other teams start losing starters to injury. I think Thrylos articulated the likelihood of his outperforming the contract. In short, it's pretty good. I expect him to have decent trade value throughout his contract, which is another good source of talent long term. Short term, he'll give those guys a chance to develop.

    To answer your question, they could gain a lot. Stable starters who eat innings don't just impact the games they pitch in but the whole pitching staff, especially the bullpen. After three years of using the #4 and #5 spots as tryouts for talent, I welcome some stability back there.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  9. #28
    Senior Member All-Star Boom Boom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    To answer your question, they could gain a lot. Stable starters who eat innings don't just impact the games they pitch in but the whole pitching staff, especially the bullpen. After three years of using the #4 and #5 spots as tryouts for talent, I welcome some stability back there.
    Well... depending on where you rank Pelfrey among the Twins starters, he may be a 3 or even a 2. I think he's obviously a step down from Nolasco, but I'm not convinced he's worse than Correia or Hughes.

    My point being that the back end of the rotation still isn't all that stable.

  10. #29
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
    Let's keep the perspective straight, you're right. Pelfrey is a back of the rotation starter. So yes, he might outperform his salary, but what does that get the Twins? He will still be a below average pitcher over the length of his contract. When your team has a dearth of front of the rotation options and a glut of back of the rotation options signing Pelfrey makes little sense. Will he be better than Worley, Deduno, Hendriks, etc... perhaps but what exactly do the Twins gain by having a marginally better #5 starter?
    Pelfrey has a stronger track record, albeit not impressive, than any of the other back-end options. There's still room for one of them to make it in the rotation if they deserve it. If these last few years have proven anything, I think it's that a lot of these guys are replacement level. WAR is an easy snapshot. If Pelfrey continues to average 1.8 WAR (2008-2013, TJ 2012 excluded), it's not hard to see how that's good for the Twins even at $5.5M compared to his replacement-level counterparts.

    The two-year deal makes this even more likely to turn out as a positive for the Twins. It also sets them up well with a departing starter for each of the next four years that they can fill from inside if there's a viable candidate.

  11. #30
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Bryz-Gornia View Post
    One thing about Pelfrey's slider though - it's actually a cutter. I discovered this when I did a "look at all the cutters the Twins' staff throw!" for Twinkie Town early during the 2013 season: http://www.twinkietown.com/2013/5/30...t-inefficiency

    Here's the article I found that confirmed that Pelfrey was throwing a cutter rather than a slider: http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/news/art...k_nym&c_id=nym
    That is a 2011 article and indeed in 2011 and 2012 when with the Mets he threw a cutter, in addition to the slider. Fangraphs also has him throwing both pitches those seasons with the cutter being the least favorite of the two. That cutter was 2-3 mph faster than his slider then. He did not throw a single cutter in 2013.

    Different pitches




    Edit: This is a great gif that shows the difference between a cutter and a slider. And this slider is a lot like Pelfrey's (and Harvey's; with more vertical than horizontal movement) . Hope it works. Cutter on the left panel, slider on the right panel:

    Last edited by Thrylos; 12-26-2013 at 02:40 PM.
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  13. #31
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    Loved the analysis, Thrylos, bertrecords, and Willihammer.

    I tend to agree with h2oface and Brock.

    And just watching Pelfrey - not knowing the stats - his balls were just plain very hittable.

    Would like to see him mix up the fastball a bit - I could sit 'dead red' at 72% of the time throwing a very hittable FB and come out somewhat OK. Which is probably why his ERA was over 5.

    I found it somewhat amusing that when he came to the Twins, and after TJ surgery, that he had his highest strikeout/9 ever. Dang Twins pitching staff! Pitching to contact all the time!

    In 2013, his GB% was the lowest of his career, 43.2%. His BABIP was a little higher, but he has a career .312 BABIP - so the .337 isn't too far out.

    All in all, I hope he's better. He'll need a few more Ks and his GB% needs to get back up over 50% if we want to see anything close to an ERA below 4.

  14. #32
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
    That is a 2011 article and indeed in 2011 and 2012 when with the Mets he threw a cutter, in addition to the slider. Fangraphs also has him throwing both pitches those seasons with the cutter being the least favorite of the two. That cutter was 2-3 mph faster than his slider then. He did not throw a single cutter in 2013.

    Different pitches




    Edit: This is a great gif that shows the difference between a cutter and a slider. And this slider is a lot like Pelfrey's (and Harvey's; with more vertical than horizontal movement) . Hope it works. Cutter on the left panel, slider on the right panel:

    Awesome! I was hoping someone would do that. I don't really think he meant to throw cutters last year. He threw good sliders and hangers. His slider was a work in progress last year because of the elbow. But it got better as the year went along. I presume the one on the right is from later in the year. The hope is that is the pitch he throws a lot more of in 2014.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  15. #33
    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    Awesome! I was hoping someone would do that. I don't really think he meant to throw cutters last year. He threw good sliders and hangers. His slider was a work in progress last year because of the elbow. But it got better as the year went along. I presume the one on the right is from later in the year. The hope is that is the pitch he throws a lot more of in 2014.
    That is a current MLB network analyst and HOF hopeful pitching in the gif. One Mr. John Smoltz. Not Pelfrey.
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  16. #34
    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
    Edit: This is a great gif that shows the difference between a cutter and a slider. And this slider is a lot like Pelfrey's (and Harvey's; with more vertical than horizontal movement) . Hope it works. Cutter on the left panel, slider on the right panel:

    And that's a depth Pelfrey's pitch didn't have, at least not consistently. His 4.6 inches of average rise was more than anyone else on your list. Fangraphs calls it a slider, I assume because of the 6.1 mph differential off his fastball. Brooksbaseball calls it a cutter, probably because of the lack of depth. Its pretty borderline IMO.

  17. #35
    Owner All-Star Parker Hageman's Avatar
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    Agreed, great discussion on this thread. Couple notes:

    (1) The only thing that is completely off-based is rating any future performance on slider velocity. While the above chart provided includes some impressive names, if you broaden that list over more years, you will find others that have not had as much success. According to TruMedia's list (via ESPN Stats & Info), since 2010 the hardest slider velocity list includes Kevin Correia (87.7 mph) among others. Yes, a lot of good pitchers have hard sliders but future success cannot be predicated on that.

    (2) That said, Pelfrey had a good slider (and Bryz, it was a slider) in 2013. The reason it was likely thrown at a higher velocity than previous seasons is because he was trying new things. According to the well-hit average, Pelfrey's opponents posted a .102 WHA, much better than the MLB average (.132). But, as Willihammer noted, it is "straight" when it comes to horizontal movement with it has a 4.7 inch vertical drop -- only Haren, Quintana and Wainwright had less vertical movement on their sliders (via TruMedia). The pitch was a below average swing-and-miss offering (25% compared to 32% league average) but hitter's contact was not good overall. Of course...this is all just based on a 60 plate appearance sample-size in 2013.

    (3) Yes, there is some defensive factors playing into the high batting average on balls in play but his well-hit average overall was .182 (10th highest in MLB). It doesn't matter if the ball was on the ground or in the air, he was hit hard. Now, that rate dropped significantly from the first-half to the second-half (shown here: http://twinsdaily.com/content.php/24...-Pelfrey-again) so there should be optimism that there is something to build upon from his second-half performance.
    Last edited by Parker Hageman; 12-26-2013 at 08:26 PM. Reason: clarification

  18. #36
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    I will just hope here. I will just hope. I don't know, man.

  19. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
    Pelfrey has a stronger track record, albeit not impressive, than any of the other back-end options. There's still room for one of them to make it in the rotation if they deserve it. If these last few years have proven anything, I think it's that a lot of these guys are replacement level. WAR is an easy snapshot. If Pelfrey continues to average 1.8 WAR (2008-2013, TJ 2012 excluded), it's not hard to see how that's good for the Twins even at $5.5M compared to his replacement-level counterparts.

    The two-year deal makes this even more likely to turn out as a positive for the Twins. It also sets them up well with a departing starter for each of the next four years that they can fill from inside if there's a viable candidate.
    If you look at bWAR then he averages .75 WAR per season. So, while he could exceed the value of his contract it is anything but a given. However, even if he does how does that help the team return to contention? Let's use your 3 WAR over 2 seasons. For the Twins, which won't sniff the playoffs, that is pretty much useless. He is just a filler while we wait for somebody better (which we could have signed this year or signed a 1 year contract and then signed a better pitcher next off season which looks like it could be a good crop of FA pitchers).

    But we could trade him you say! Just looking at recent trades, back of the rotation starters bring back very little of value (which shouldn't be too surprising). At best they seem to bring back a usable bullpen piece on a short contract like Joe Saunders in 2012. Of course they often bring back nothing of value, like Joe Blanton that same season.

    So, the upside here seems to be 3 WAR, a bullpen piece loaner or some combination there of.

    The downside is we are going to lose a young pitcher who could be just as good as Pelfrey. There is also the chance that this signing blocks Gibson or another prospect for a while. Finally, let's say he sticks around and we get a couple of WAR out of Pelfrey, we still aren't contenders and now we have a worse draft pick.

    Mike Pelfrey makes sense on a team with 4 good to great starters that is looking to shore up the back end of their rotation for a playoff push. For the Minnesota Twins, not so much.

  20. #38
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
    Mike Pelfrey makes sense on a team with 4 good to great starters that is looking to shore up the back end of their rotation for a playoff push. For the Minnesota Twins, not so much.
    I agree with a lot of your points, but will have to agree to disagree on the conclusion. Worst-to-first just doesn't happen all that often. We can't play the draft pick game forever. The farm is already stocked. It's time to strive for improvements where we can find them and that doesn't usually mean you're in the WS the next year. It's time to start building on some success, fill in from the farm, and make some targeted acquisitions. If it doesn't work, then you restart the cycle.

  21. #39
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
    That is a current MLB network analyst and HOF hopeful pitching in the gif. One Mr. John Smoltz. Not Pelfrey.
    No wonder it looked so good. :-)
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  22. #40
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    The downside is we are going to lose a young pitcher who could be just as good as Pelfrey. There is also the chance that this signing blocks Gibson or another prospect for a while. Finally, let's say he sticks around and we get a couple of WAR out of Pelfrey, we still aren't contenders and now we have a worse draft pick.
    I don't see it. You're talking about Diamond or Worley? Sure, they could be as good as Pelfrey for part of a season. But they're fifth starters on a bad team. I'd much rather take my chances on Pelfrey getting back to his good years with a healthy elbow than either of those two guys. The Twins have one slot open for either Deduno or Gibson. Deduno and could spend time on the DL. Gibson has options. They wouldn't lose either of those guys in any event.

    Your comment about the worse draft pick is asinine. If you polled 100 fans and asked them to choose between winning and getting a better draft pick next year, 99 of them would choose winning.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

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