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Article: Finding Positives in Pelfrey

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#41 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:04 AM

Although, Hughes and Pelfrey are both coming off ~5 IP/start averages, which is less than the the Twins overall average last year. Even in his "peak months" last year, Pelfrey was under 6 IP/start.

6 IP/start seems like the top end for these four guys, which is what it would take to throw just 100 more IP than last year's starters. And that's when they are all pitching well. If any one of them has an off year, they likely will fall short of that level of IP improvement.


I think we can expect to see an improvement from Hughes. Pelfrey, maybe not so much. Overall, the net gain should still be significant, even if it's only 50-60 innings. That's basically one season of the worst reliever in the bullpen.

#42 spycake

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:09 AM

One quick thought. We now have a log jam of guys who could go after the 5th spot. Worley, Diamond, Gibson, Deduno, Meyer and TBD all have a chance. This troubled me for a moment but now I think this is how it should be. For a few years we have seen the team have to dig pretty deep and hope for quality replacements at pitcher. This year the Twins will have that battle for the 5th spot and have others working in the high minors who have the potential to be quality arms. Its a nice surplus.


Agreed, although now I don't think Meyer has a chance until 2015, really. We already knew he had virtually zero chance of breaking camp in 2014 with the big club, but with four vets under contract and plenty of scraps for the fifth spot, I think Meyer will be seeing plenty of AAA action before being promoted.

But yeah, going into the last two years, you had to squint past injury and ineffectiveness just to project 5 starters. Even if the upside is low, it's good to have real depth for once.

#43 Nick Nelson

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:16 AM

You typically need to adjust .30 to .50 for an NL to AL shift. So his true career average should be in the 4.70 to 5.00 range. Now factor in TJ. 4.00 is not happening.


Pitchers routinely come back from Tommy John surgery and reach the same level (or better) as before these days. Pelfrey had essentially returned to form in the second half of last season and will now be two years removed. TJ is not a mark against him.

#44 Thrylos

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:16 AM

Calling this a decent gamble and the other story with the headline "betting against the house" has made me think about the risks/reward here. My conclusion is the Twins negotiated a really bad deal.



Actually this morning I sat down and wrote 5 reasons why this deal could be a steal for the Twins, and it is too long to reiterate them all here, that's why the link (and one of the 5 is what Nick mentions: His visible improvement as he got further away from the surgery) but another was that the risk was very small for the Twins.

To put the risk into perspective: This is exactly what the Twins paid Nick Blackburn not to pitch in 2013. How much did that hurt the Twins? Not. That. Much.
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#45 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:22 AM

Pitchers routinely come back from Tommy John surgery and reach the same level (or better) as before these days. Pelfrey had essentially returned to form in the second half of last season and will now be two years removed. TJ is not a mark against him.


Not to mention that adjusting for league ERA without the overall context of MLB runs per game is a mistake. In Pelfrey's career, this is what has happened to average runs scored per game:

2013: 4.17
2012: 4.32
2011: 4.28
2010: 4.38
2009: 4.61
2008: 4.65
2007: 4.80

Just tacking on a half run to his NL ERA totals is a mistake. Overall, teams are scoring fewer runs than they were in Pelfrey's NL seasons, which basically offsets the supposed "AL shift".

#46 Kwak

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:22 AM

The biggest effect of the FA signing is to eliminate the perception (reality?) of playing minor league talent and charging major league prices. Those signed aren't "all-star" caliber, but they have legitimate major league experience compared to most of those employed for the past two seasons.

#47 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:24 AM

Actually this morning I sat down and wrote 5 reasons why this deal could be a steal for the Twins, and it is too long to reiterate them all here, that's why the link (and one of the 5 is what Nick mentions: His visible improvement as he got further away from the surgery) but another was that the risk was very small for the Twins.

To put the risk into perspective: This is exactly what the Twins paid Nick Blackburn not to pitch in 2013. How much did that hurt the Twins? Not. That. Much.


And if Pelfrey falters as a starter, he's still a valuable bullpen arm. He should be able to ratchet that fastball into the mid-90s out of the bullpen.

As opposed to Nick Blackburn, who was basically useless if not starting games.

#48 JB_Iowa

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:31 AM

The biggest effect of the FA signing is to eliminate the perception (reality?) of playing minor league talent and charging major league prices. Those signed aren't "all-star" caliber, but they have legitimate major league experience compared to most of those employed for the past two seasons.


That's true. In addition, I think the Twins knew that fans were starved to see them open up the checkbook a bit. So perception has something to do with it.

But I also think (and hope) that performance has something to do with it. There's risk involved with any FA acquisition. There's no guarantees that Nolasco or Hughes or Pelfrey will work out -- but at least with multiples the risk goes down a little because SOMEONE (or more than 1 someone) should provide some stability in the rotation.

#49 ashburyjohn

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:32 AM

To be clear, I'm not a big fan of Pelfrey. Watching him pitch is a grind because he works slowly and uses tons of pitches. For the game-watching fan, he's kind of a drag. But that's secondary to the results he achieves.

Those haven't been good either


Agreed. Good article, though I had to stop reading at that point because I don't have time t

#50 amjgt

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 11:24 AM

I hope we don't sign Garza.

Sincerely,
All the people complaining about Pelfrey's pace of pitching

#51 Steve Penz

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 11:42 AM

Agreed, although now I don't think Meyer has a chance until 2015, really. We already knew he had virtually zero chance of breaking camp in 2014 with the big club, but with four vets under contract and plenty of scraps for the fifth spot, I think Meyer will be seeing plenty of AAA action before being promoted.

But yeah, going into the last two years, you had to squint past injury and ineffectiveness just to project 5 starters. Even if the upside is low, it's good to have real depth for once.



You may end up being correct about Meyer. For the sake of his and the team's 2015 I hope very much that he gets a could chunk of MLB experience this year.

#52 mcrow

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 11:45 AM

You may end up being correct about Meyer. For the sake of his and the team's 2015 I hope very much that he gets a could chunk of MLB experience this year.


I'm sure both he and Gibson will see significant time in the majors. There are always injuries and pitchers who end up being disappointing.

I think Hughes and Pelfrey both will hold a spot for the year but they could very well go the other direction as well.

#53 spycake

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:42 PM

I'm sure both he and Gibson will see significant time in the majors. There are always injuries and pitchers who end up being disappointing.


I have no doubt there will be innings available for Meyer in 2014, but I don't think he gets many of them. Remember, he has yet to pitch in AAA, so he's probably a lock for a half season there at least, and he might be on a bit of an innings limit still from the shoulder issues this year (only threw 78 innings plus AFL time in 2013).

#54 jokin

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:49 PM

Pitchers routinely come back from Tommy John surgery and reach the same level (or better) as before these days. Pelfrey had essentially returned to form in the second half of last season and will now be two years removed. TJ is not a mark against him.


I'm generally leaning to the notion that the late-season trend tends to augur well for Pelfrey to produce at something better than his overall 2013 numbers.

But disturbingly, his 2013 SIERA doesn't confirm his sub 4.00 FIP going forward. The projecting services are not convinced that he turned it around, either. Steamer and Oliver have his ERA and FIP significantly above his career averages and/or worse than his 2013 numbers, ZIPS goes even further to the downside:

5.01 ERA/4.71 FIP, an ERA+ of only 80 (he was 78 ERA+ in 2013) and a WAR of only 0.1 http://www.fangraphs...innesota-twins/

I think Brock has it about right, he's going to be paid like Blackburn for the next 2 years, but can easily step aside from the rotation to make way for Gibson/Meyer should he be ineffective and slide into an effective reliever role.

Edited by jokin, 17 December 2013 - 12:56 PM.


#55 tobi0040

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:55 PM

There's still going to be a spot for one of the young guys to make the rotation unless they sign Arroyo. The fact of the matter is we don't have many prospects that are good enough to pitch in the majors and the couple that might be ready are iffy proposistions.

Pelfrey had a rough first half but was significantly better the second half which typical of people coming off of that surgery. Also, I don't really carry what a guy is doing on the mound so long as he's getting outs.


The Twins are not going to contend next year and 2015 will likely be the first full year of Sano, Buxton, and Meyer. So we should be better but we may not contend in 2015 either. Wouldn't it make sense to give reps to Gibson, Meyer, and Deduno over Pelfrey? Nolasco, Correa, and Hughes are going to start. I think Meyer has a spot in June, his stuff is filthy and the best in our system. Does it make sense long-term to have Pelfrey instead of Gibson or Deduno? Aren't they more likely to be part of the next contending team? IMO, they have an even shot at having the same ERA as Pelfrey next year anyway and we have other holes.

#56 JB_Iowa

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:59 PM

Wouldn't it make sense to give reps to Gibson, Meyer, and Deduno over Pelfrey?


I never know the answer to that. Is it better to promote too soon (assuming the team isn't good anyway) or is it better to let them get their reps at the appropriate level?

#57 mike wants wins

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:01 PM

If they are ready, they should pitch in the majors, imo. Actually, if they are almost ready.....since there are a limited number of pitches in an arm. Not everyone agrees with my contention.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :) Also, I am NOT trying to convince anyone I am correct, I'm just talking here, not arguing.


#58 jokin

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:04 PM

I never know the answer to that. Is it better to promote too soon (assuming the team isn't good anyway) or is it better to let them get their reps at the appropriate level?


"Appropriate level" is a loaded phrase in this instance. For example, ZIPS projects Meyer as far and away our second best pitcher in 2014....and May and Gibson as having essentially the same projected value as Correia, Pelfrey, Diamond, et al.

http://www.fangraphs...innesota-twins/

#59 jokin

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:06 PM

If they are ready, they should pitch in the majors, imo. Actually, if they are almost ready.....since there are a limited number of pitches in an arm. Not everyone agrees with my contention.


Excellent point, and true per season, as well as in terms of a career, ie, Gibson didn't get his call up until his arm had pretty much been used up (purportedly in finding his "consistency").

#60 JB_Iowa

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 01:10 PM

"Appropriate level" is a loaded phrase in this instance. For example, ZIPS projects Meyer as far and away our second best pitcher in 2014....and May and Gibson as having essentially the same projected value as Correia, Pelfrey, Diamond, et al.

http://www.fangraphs...innesota-twins/


That's paper. Real life can be a lot different. It really depends on what they see, how players develop and what happens on the injury front.

I don't think the Twins will block Meyer and Gibson if they felt they feel they are really ready (Gibson, in particular, is old enough that there's not much use worrying about years of team control).

I just don't think they want to get caught in the same misery as last year. Maybe the pitching gods will smile on the Twins and they'll have a number of starters who belong in a major league rotation. But my gut feeling is that it will all shake out.