Projecting the Prospects from Smaller, Miscellaneous Trades

This was a crazy trade deadline. Dozens and dozens of players changed teams, including several stars who were dealt in the final days. I did the best I could to keep up with my KATOH posts for all of the trades, but still let a few smaller deals fell through the cracks.

In this post, I catch up on the guys I missed. There are no blue-chip prospects here, but a few of the players listed below have decent shots of being big-league regulars in the near future. I put together brief write ups on the more notable prospects from these deals, and then merely listed the guys who are unlikely to ever be impact major leaguers. (Note: WAR figures denote WAR through age-28 season.)

Zach Davies, Milwaukee Brewers, 5.8 WAR

Zach Davies has spent the 2015 season in Triple-A, where he’s pitched to an excellent 2.84 ERA and a similarly excellent 3.10 FIP. He doesn’t throw particularly hard, but he’s still managed to post average-ish strikeout and walk numbers in Triple-A, which is no small feat coming from a 22-year-old. Furthermore, he’s managed to induce plenty of ground balls (54% ground-ball rate according to MLBfarm), which helps explain how he’s allowed just four homers in over 100 innings on the year.

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NERD Game Scores: New York Area Baseball Contretemps

Devised originally in response to a challenge issued by viscount of the internet Rob Neyer, and expanded at the request of nobody, NERD scores represent an attempt to summarize in one number (and on a scale of 0-10) the likely aesthetic appeal or watchability, for the learned fan, of a player or team or game. Read more about the components of and formulae for NERD scores here.


Most Highly Rated Game
Washington at New York NL | 19:10 ET
Ross (32.2 IP, 67 xFIP-) vs. deGrom (127.1 IP, 79 xFIP-)
Were the author better at anything, he would integrate into the haphazardly derived NERD algorithm some manner of variable to account for those games in which division rivals — both possessing some non-negligible chance of winning that same division — face each other. I am not better at anything, however, and so what I’ve done instead is to alter indiscriminately the NERD score for this Washington and New York rencontre. Unaltered, it receives a score of 8 — or actually just one point fewer than the Angels-Dodgers game. For those readers, meanwhile, who count themselves among the nerd orthodoxy and are prepared to abide by whatever game the haphazardly derived algorithm dictates, then observing a couple hours of Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout oughtn’t prove very difficult.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: New York NL.

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The Best of FanGraphs: July 27-31, 2015

Each week, we publish north of 100 posts on our various blogs. With this post, we hope to highlight 10 to 15 of them. You can read more on it here. The links below are color coded — green for FanGraphs, brown for RotoGraphs, dark red for The Hardball Times, orange for TechGraphs and blue for Community Research.
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Cubs Look for Depth, Add Dan Haren and Tommy Hunter

During the winter meetings this past December, we heard about Dan Haren‘s fierce desire to stay in Los Angeles as a member of the Dodgers, with the right-hander even going so far as to say he would retire if he were traded. Dodgers’ GM Andrew Friedman called Haren’s bluff, shipping him to Miami with Dee Gordon in what turned out to be a chain of events resulting in the Dodgers nabbing Howie Kendrick from the Angels. With this trade deadline, there was no such threat of retirement from Haren: he’s now moving to Chicago to add depth to the Cubs’ rotation.

Though the Cubs kicked the tires on some of the better pitching help on the trading block, there was never really the sense that they needed to pull that particular trigger, as their rotation currently sits in the top five in baseball for ERA, FIP, and xFIP. With a starting four of Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Jason Hammel, and Kyle Hendricks — each of whom have made at least 20 starts this season while contributing at least 2.0 WAR — the Haren deal represents a depth move to fill innings in that fifth starting slot down the stretch. Given Haren’s impending free agency this winter, the move is also purely about 2015.

Haren should be an upgrade 0ver the Cubs’ current weak options for their fifth starting spot. Even though he’s dealt with a continued velocity decline (his average fastball velocity has fallen 4 MPH since 2011, down to 86 MPH this season), he’s found a way to make it work, relying on his curveball and cutter more to post numbers that, on the surface, look good (namely a 3.42 ERA in 2015).

The ominous news comes when we dig a little deeper: he currently owns the highest strand rate of his career (82.5%), the lowest BABIP (.248) and is showing extreme fly ball tendencies this season (he’s second-highest among qualified starters in fly ball rate, at 49.1%). That final issue could become a problem with the move to Wrigley, as he’s going from a very pitcher-friendly home park in terms of home runs to a more neutral home run setting. Giving up home runs has always been an issue for Haren, and they could pose a serious problem should that high fly ball rate mix poorly with a less forgiving environment.

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Padres Negotiate With All, Strike Deal With None

Every season, teams play roughly 100 games before the trade deadline. During that time, there are two kinds of teams: buyers and sellers. As sellers, it is their job to give buyers a hard time to trade worthwhile players to the buyers in exchange for players to be used in the future or moving financial obligations that selling teams no longer wish to possess. By all accounts, the San Diego Padres were clearly in the sellers’ camp, yet they held on to all of their players, both potential short-term rentals like Justin Upton, Joaquin Benoit, and Ian Kennedy and longer-term players like Tyson Ross and Craig Kimbrel. The Padres have desirable players on their team, and the decision to hold onto all of their players is curious, although they did make a small move, acquiring lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski.

After the trade deadline passed, Padres general manager A.J. Preller was said to believe the Padres had a chance to make the playoffs this season:

The Padres, as presently constituted, do not look like a playoff team. They are 49-53 with a -53 run differential, and BaseRuns, which strips out sequencing, indicates the Padres have actually been pretty lucky, as their BaseRuns record is actually five games worse than their present one. Our projections do not seem to hint at any great improvement moving forward either, as the team is projected to finish with an 80-82 record. They are currently eight games out in their division and 7.5 games out of the wild-card spot. More troubling than the deficit in the standings, they would have to pass four teams that all appear to be as good or better than the Padres to make the postseason. Their current playoff odds are under 4% for this season. Preller is either delusional or he simply could not get the type of return on his players that he expected. Given the huge amount of rumors associated with the Padres over the last few days, it is fair to assume the latter.

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Projecting the Prospects in the Cespedes Trade

Just minutes before the non-waiver trade deadline, the Mets finally landed the offensive spark plug they were looking for. They swung a deal for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for pitching prospects Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa. Here’s what my fancy computer math has to say about these two minor league hurlers and their respective big league futures. Read the rest of this entry »

Pirates do Pirates at Deadline: Neat Little Moves

The Pirates seem to be perennial buyers at the trade deadline, and though there’s often pressure on the team to make the big move for an ace or a big first baseman, they usually make smaller moves that cost them less. So, in getting reliever Joakim Soria for infielder JaCoby Jones, lefty starter J.A. Happ from the Mariners for Adrian Sampson, and Michael Morse from the Dodgers for Jose Tabata, they spent this year’s trade deadline doing exactly what they’ve done in the past: working around the edges, making neat little moves.

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Deadline Day Transaction/Rumor Omnibus Post

At the winter meetings last year, there were so many concurrent trades that I literally couldn’t finish typing the news to one post before I had to start on the next, and finally, I just gave up and created an omnibus post for all the trade announcements at one time. Given that there are still a good number of potential deals on the table for today, I’m going to follow the same strategy today, but get a jump on things, putting the catch-all post up early, so we can use this to put up tidbits of deals as they come out. We’ll be continually updating this post, mostly with things from various Twitter feeds, throughout the day, and will be writing longer reactions to the trades after they happen.

Below, you’ll find a running list of “rumored deals.” Once they turn from rumor into deal, they will go to the bottom of the page, under “done deals.” The “rumored deals” will be updated with the most recent rumor moving to the top of the block. Got it? Good, keep it.


Dodgers Moving Alex Wood Already?

The Aroldis Chapman Market

Oh Boy — Or Not

Craig Kimbrel’s Market

All the Nerdy Teams Want Tyson Ross or Carlos Carrasco


Mets Get Yoenis Cespedes, Not Jay Bruce

A’s Get Felix Doubront

Twins Get Kevin Jepsen

Blue Jays Get Ben Revere

Cubs Get Dan Haren

Blue Jays Get Mark Lowe

Cardinals Get Jonathan Broxton

Orioles Get Gerardo Parra

Mets Finally Land Big Bat in Yoenis Cespedes

On the back of a terrific young rotation, the Mets are contender-ish this year, and so for the last few months, there has been a steadily increasing cry to improve the team’s feeble offense. After all, the Mets position players are 27th in wRC+, and even after acquiring Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, this was an offense that didn’t really inspire much confidence. And so, the Mets have been looking for a slugger they can stick behind (or maybe in front of) Lucas Duda, and after walking away from Carlos Gomez on Wendesday night, they’ve reportedly landed Yoenis Cespedes right before the deadline.

The cost was a couple of solid but not spectacular prospects. Michael Fulmer is the headliner in the deal, and while Kiley McDaniel gave him a 45 FV grade before the season, he told me he’d bump him up to a 50 based on the improved slider and command he’s shown this year. Still, it’s mostly a toss-up whether he’s a starter or a reliever, and he’s sticking with his Joba Chamberlain comparison, so this isn’t exactly a premium pitching prospect that the Mets just surrendered. Luis Cessa, the second prospect, is more of just an arm-strength guy with average secondary stuff; Kiley mentioned he’s still a 40 FV and compared him to the pitching prospects the team gave up to get Uribe and Johnson last week.

The big concession here is that they only control Cespedes through the end of the season, as he’s not the multi-year player they were looking for earlier. After the Gomez deal fell apart, and they apparently decided not to meet the Reds asking price for Jay Bruce, rentals were really the only options on the table, so at least they got the best rental position player left. Cespedes is currently in the midst of the best season of his career, already putting up +4.2 WAR in the first 100 games of the year, though he shouldn’t be expected to keep playing at that level; the Mets are probably buying about +1.5 WAR over the remainder of the season.

In fact, for all the long-running talk about the Mets as a landing spot for Troy Tulowitzki, Cespedes actually projects to be a better player over the rest of the 2015 season. His combination of power and quality defense make him a well above average player even in a normal year, and the Mets are acquiring him when he’s performing at the peak of his abilities. And they got to keep most of the best parts of their future in tact in order to do it.

So, realistically, the questions are more about how Cespedes fits in New York than whether about this is a fair price to pay for a good player; it pretty clearly is, given the other trades we’ve seen this week. But while the Mets have long been searching for offense, Cespedes is still a bit of an awkward fit for New York.

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Mets Reportedly Acquire Cespedes

When the Tigers traded Rick Porcello to the Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes in December, they exchanged one player going into the final year of his contract for another (Detroit also got reliever Alex Wilson in the deal). Boston subsequently inked Porcello to a four-year extension worth $82.5 million. Detroit went in another direction, opting to hold their cards on Cespedes. Today, they dealt him to the Mets in exchange for a pair of prospects.

Exactly how much interest Dave Dombrowski and Company had in extending Porcello prior to moving him last winter is hard to say. Conversely, it’s safe to say they didn’t feel he was worth what it would take to retain him. Based on his performance in Boston, they were right in their evaluation. Read the rest of this entry »

Ben Revere the Newest New Blue Jay

This one isn’t yet officially official, but it seems on the verge: the Blue Jays are about to pick up Ben Revere from the Phillies. No word on the return, but for this:

Revere was long known to be available. He had next to no place on the Phillies, moving forward, and several contenders checked in, the Jays ultimately emerging victorious in the…well, I guess sweepstakes, if you want to call it that. Of some interest here is that Revere doesn’t have to be a rental, as he still has another two years of arbitration eligibility. He’s a little bit pricey, because he’s a Super Two player, but he is affordable in the future if that’s the way the Jays elect to go.

They aren’t doing this because of the future, though. This is clearly about another strengthening of the immediate roster, with the Jays fully committed to winning right away. As a player, Revere couldn’t be any less mysterious. He’s perfectly well understood, and his skillset is in the vicinity of average, regardless of which WAR you like to use. So this has nothing on the Troy Tulowitzki addition, but Revere’s still going to be an upgrade in left field. This morning, the Jays projected as one of the worst teams in baseball, as far as their left-field situation was concerned. Now Revere slides in, handling at least right-handed pitchers and relieving the team of Ezequiel Carrera. Danny Valencia will also spend less time hitting against righties, where he’s historically struggled.

Revere helps the outfield, basically, and he’s also fleet of foot, which you can’t say of many of his new teammates. Perhaps surprisingly, the Jays have been an above-average baserunning team, but the leader in steals is the departed Jose Reyes, with Kevin Pillar the only other guy with more than four. Revere preserves an element present with Reyes, and so he adds that element back with Reyes gone. Pitchers have already had enough trouble working with the Blue Jays’ power at the plate; now they’ll have Revere to worry about on the bases. It’s a very small thing, and maybe not a thing, but this’ll be just another way for the Jays offense to dole out unpleasantness. It won’t be all about dingers.

The Jays thought they had their solution in Michael Saunders. He was supposed to be a pretty good left fielder, until injuries conspired to eat up almost all of his season. Right now, Saunders is still looking to return in several weeks, so he’s not out for the remainder, but the Jays have learned they can’t count on him to provide anything consistent, so they opted for Revere and will deal with Saunders when they need to. Maybe that means he’s a bench bat. He could be a decent one. Think of it as even more potential depth, for a team that’s accumulating it.

The Blue Jays still aren’t in playoff position. If they come up short, they can’t say they never saw it coming. But what they are now might be the best team in the American League. They’ve got two months to get to where they want to be.


Trade’s official now. Going to the Phillies: Jimmy Cordero and Alberto Tirado. Cordero’s a 23-year-old righty reliever who’s moved into Double-A this season. Tirado’s a 20-year-old righty reliever/long man in High-A. Before the year, Kiley had Tirado as the Jays’ No. 17 prospect, while Cordero was filed under “others of note.”

Projecting the Prospects in the Carlos Gomez Trade

Days after acquiring Scott Kazmir, the Astros went out and bought more players last night. This time around, they acquired Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers in exchange for four prospects: Brett Phillips, Domingo Santana, Adrian Houser and Josh Hader. Let’s take a look at how this quartet of minor leaguers projects. (Note: WAR figures denote WAR through age-28 season.)

Brett Phillips, 3.7 WAR

Brett Phillips, 21, has split the 2015 season between High-A and Double-A where he’s hit .320/.377/.548 in 97 games. Phillips hit for gobs of power (.268 ISO) at the former location, but it’s yet to show up (.142 ISO) at the latter. Still, his ability to get on base has enabled him to post a 133 wRC+ since his promotion. Phillips also has above-average speed, which shows up in his stolen-base numbers.

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Gerardo Parra: Changed Man?

Here’s one way to figure the Orioles did well in adding rental Gerardo Parra on Friday — so far this year, he’s recorded a 140 wRC+. That ties him with Todd Frazier for 22nd overall, and it puts him also in the company of names like Albert Pujols and Manny Machado. You don’t have to look deep if you don’t want to. The Orioles added Parra to their outfield. Why? Parra has been a really good hitter. Look how simple baseball is.

But hey, this season has been a little out of character for a guy who’s previously been a tweener. Understandably, the market wasn’t totally buying Parra’s offensive breakout. And you don’t have to, either, but I thought I’d at least introduce some numbers. Here’s Gerardo Parra, pulling the ball, by wRC+ over his career:

2009: 124
2010: 39
2011: 151
2012: 106
2013: 73
2014: 107
2015: 239

And, his groundball rates when pulling the ball:

2009: 73%
2010: 82%
2011: 69%
2012: 77%
2013: 78%
2014: 74%
2015: 59%

Obviously, numbers bounce around. And Parra’s big season hasn’t been all about hitting the ball to right and right-center. But this is at least curious, and at best an indicator of real change. Parra’s hitting a career-low rate of groundballs, overall, with a career-best hard-hit rate, and what might follow from that is that he’s gotten better about selectively lifting the ball. And also doing so with authority. Could be a change to his swing. Don’t have time to look at that now, but Parra was always more of a speedy sort. Keep in mind that Carlos Gomez was more of a speed-and-slap hitter until he went to Milwaukee, where they unlocked his strength. The Brewers let Gomez become a power hitter, and maybe they saw something similar in Parra. Last year, after he joined the Brewers from the Diamondbacks, his grounder rate dropped almost immediately.

It’s just something to think about. And Parra, even now, is only 28, so he could have some good years left. Looking at the rest-of-season projections, and normalizing them all to a per-200-plate-appearances basis, Parra projects about as well as Corey Dickerson and Randal Grichuk. He projects short of Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton, but if you buy Parra’s offensive improvement, he closes that gap quickly. This year, Parra’s out-hit them both. And, historically, he’s been a good defender.

Is Gerardo Parra sort of the new Carlos Gomez? Just maybe. He was already a useful player, but now the Orioles also found some upside. And they have a chance to sign Parra to an extension, if they want, and if they’re buying his improvement. The Brewers extended Gomez for three years and $24 million when he was fresh off his first strong offensive year. He only got better, and the deal looked like a bargain immediately.

What the Orioles gave up isn’t nothing. Zach Davies is a real prospect, starting every few days in Triple-A. While his fastball is underwhelming, he features a real good changeup, and those are the sorts of pitching prospects who tend to get underrated by the overall scouting community. With a few more strikes, or a step forward with his breaking ball, Davies could be a big-league starter soon. Congratulations to the Brewers! Davies should help them in 2016. Parra will help the Orioles now, as they try to compete with the Yankees and the extremely flashy Blue Jays. And maybe, just maybe, Parra will stick around. He might’ve become a special player.

Trade Deadline Chat-A-Palooza

Dave Cameron: With the deadline coming up in a few hours, but a lull in significant moves, let’s spend a bit of time talking about what might go down.
Dave Cameron: I’ll be around for a bit, but will have to bail to go write if anything major happens.
Dave Cameron: So let’s talk trade stuff until then.
Comment From Brandon
What will the Haren return look like?
Dave Cameron: I bet the Cubs are giving nothing of consequence but agreed to cover some of the money that was already covered by the Dodgers. So Marlins might just be double dipping to get even more cash.
Dave Cameron: Just speculation, but would be a Marlins thing to do.

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Blue Jays Get New Old Mark Lowe to Shorten Games

The Blue Jays’ bullpen hasn’t been terrible this year, but there are two important names ahead of them if you rank the American League’s relievers by teams: the Yankees and the Orioles. But with the additions of Aaron Sanchez, LaTroy Hawkins, and now Mark Lowe, things might change a bit for the Blue Jays.

If you haven’t checked in with Mark Lowe recently, you may not have noticed that he’s returned to some of his former glory. In the results category, yes, but also in a more important category:

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Kiley McDaniel Prospects Chat – 7/31/15

Kiley McDaniel: Running out to the car to get the charger for my laptop. Will answer questions alongside my Chipotle bowl in moments.

Kiley McDaniel: I’m here!

Comment From AJ Preller
Can Javier Baez stick at short?

Kiley McDaniel: I don’t think so, but some people think maybe. I think at best it’ll be like Corey Seager where it’s fringy and you put up with it for a few years if he hits, then eventually move him before he makes the big money.

I mentioned the whispers about Baez’s makeup when I was lower on him than the other publications two years ago and it seems like those whispers are getting louder. In general, iffy makeup guys that have trouble with their bread and butter (hitting for Baez) can’t be asked to also do another thing slightly out of their comfort zone, skills-wise (play shortstop). I’d hope for second, settle for third and hope it isn’t right field.

Comment From Pale Hose
Oh, look it’s Kiley.

Kiley McDaniel: It is.

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Recent History’s Biggest Trades Within the Division

Here’s one of baseball’s ol’ conundrums: to trade within the division or not. On the one hand, every team, in theory, participates in a trade only because they believe their team will ultimately reap the greater bounty. So who better than to reap great bounties from, then, if not one’s divisional foe?

But then again, if one is positioned as the “seller” in the trade, receiving future prospective talent in exchange for future veteran experience, aren’t you boosting your rival’s odds of making the playoffs? Which thus raises your rival’s odds at reaping the previously unavailable bounties, i.e.: increased revenues the following season, attainment of status as a desirable free-agent destination, glorious championship booty?

But then again, if you are truly reaping the greater trade bounty, won’t these additional spoils be, in due time, gloriously available to you?

I will not attempt to answer any of these questions. Instead, with some notable shifting around within their division during this most manic of weeks — Scott Kazmir, Jonathan Papelbon, Juan Uribe — I wanted to know which intra-division deal (completed before the July 31 non-waiver deadline) of the last decade saw the most WAR changing hands in that season. I’m looking at the most impactful trade within each division, and without considering value from the trades that came in future seasons or transactions. (Also: I’m using Baseball-Reference WAR here, as B-R splits up WAR by team played for within the same season.) Ordered by the divisions that saw the least to most WAR shifting hands:

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JABO: The Tigers Turned a David Price Profit

We know that the Tigers aren’t pleased to have wound up in this position. They’ve been one of baseball’s most win-now organizations in recent years, and nothing about the 2015 roster construction really conveyed an impression of “building for the future!” Rather, there’s been concern that the Tigers are headed for a cliff, on account of all the money they have tied up in declining players. And when that’s what the future looks like, you at least hope that you can win soon. This year, the winning hasn’t happened. The Tigers had to acknowledge their situation, and sell. There’s no way that was an easy call for them to make.

There is a silver lining, though, one other than simply understanding that sports are frivolous entertainment and there are far more important things in the world. That’s the steady and constant silver lining in the background. There’s a particular silver lining to the Tigers having dealt David Price to the Blue Jays. If the Tigers had their wish, they would’ve given the ball to Price in Game 1 of the ALDS. They got him for two years for a reason. But the return package the Tigers got from the Blue Jays is strong. The group, headed by Daniel Norris, instantly helps the Tigers’ system, and the return seems at least equivalent to what the Tigers gave to get Price in the first place. Which was a year ago, when Price was available for two playoff runs, not one.

Put it another way: Dave Dombrowski traded for Price. Price helped the 2014 Tigers win the AL Central by one game, and then he pitched in the playoffs. Granted, the Tigers got swept, but they got to use Price for their opportunity. Then they had Price for another four months. Now he’s been traded, for a strong group of young players. Even though Price himself has lost some value, given his imminent free agency, it looks like the Tigers managed to turn a profit here, overall.

Read the rest at Just A Bit Outside.

NERD Game Scores: Johnny Cueto Referendum Event

Devised originally in response to a challenge issued by viscount of the internet Rob Neyer, and expanded at the request of nobody, NERD scores represent an attempt to summarize in one number (and on a scale of 0-10) the likely aesthetic appeal or watchability, for the learned fan, of a player or team or game. Read more about the components of and formulae for NERD scores here.


Most Highly Rated Game
Kansas City at Toronto | 19:07 ET
Cueto (130.2 IP, 92 xFIP-) vs. Hutchison (108.0 IP, 100 xFIP-)
In reality, the present game receives a NERD score of 7 — which is to say, tied with a pair of other games on tonight’s schedule and actually a point behind the Angels-Dodgers game featuring Clayton Kershaw. Unaccounted for by the metric’s haphazardly derived algorithm, however, is how Johnny Cueto‘s start for Kansas City this evening represents his debut for that club following a noteworthy deadline trade. In reality, projecting Cueto’s performance over the course of the season is a matter largely of weighting and combining data from his past performances — of which sort of mathematical alchemy Steamer and ZiPS are the product. Owing to how the dumb human mind works, however, this start — for better or worse — will function as a referendum on the wisdom of Dayton Moore’s decision to acquire Cueto at all. (Until Cueto’s next start, at least, at which point the process will repeat itself.) Accordingly, what the author has done is to alter indiscriminately the game score for this contest — to alter it sufficiently such that it becomes the most highly rated game.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Toronto Radio.

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Giants Add Mike Leake, Aim to Keep Pace With Dodgers

After a few days of being linked to top-line starting-pitching help like David Price and Cole Hamels — though never showing serious enough interest to land either player — the Giants have gone a less conspicuous route. Although the trade netting them Mike Leake from the Reds for two prospects (one of whom is was at the top of the Giants’ prospect list) only materialized late last night with little forewarning, the Giants have nonetheless added upside and depth to a rotation that has struggled this season. In doing so, they’ve positioned themselves to make a potential run at the division.

And why not? Sitting only a half game back from the Dodgers in the NL West, the Giants are probably closer than a lot of people thought they would be to the top of the standings, and having to go through a Wild Card play-in game isn’t fun. And, with only two of their five regular starters currently possessing ERAs or FIPs under 4.00, San Francisco has gotten to this point largely without the help of most of their pitching staff. With Leake, they’re counting on having a third reliable starter to go with Madison Bumgarner and Chris Heston, which at this point wouldn’t be too much to ask for: just take a look at the Giants’ record when Bumgarner and Heston have started compared to anyone else in the rotation, along with each pitcher’s WAR:

 Starter Team W/L WAR
Bumgarner/Heston 22-10 4.7
All Others 23-24 0.1

This is a crude but effective way of showing the serious dichotomy between the top and bottom of the Giants rotation. With Leake, the goal is to bridge that production gap, all the while hoping that Matt Cain and Jake Peavy can find some of their former magic during the second half of the season. Tim Hudson, who has pitched only one game out of the bullpen in his entire career, will now be adding to that singular tally as the odd man out.

There’s an upside consideration with Leake as well. He’ll now move from one of the most hitter-friendly parks to one of the most pitcher-friendly, with his ground-ball and limited swing-and-miss skill set lending itself well to the spacious nature of AT&T Park. His total effectiveness (considering he has had to pitch around half of his innings at Great American Ballpark) should cause us to wonder if the Giants might be in store for even better performance than we’ve seen out of Leake the past few years; let us consider a few statistics on the matter.

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