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  1. You have to think Vazquez is going to pitch better simply based upon change in park and league. Even though CitiBank Park is somewhat of a mystery, every park in the NL East is skewed towards pitching except Citizen’s Bank. Also, with the elderstatesmen that have gotten injured, I think the Braves were desperate to obtain a guy who can guarantee 200 innings. That has tremendous value in itself. I think this is a win for the Braves right now.

    Typo: You meant Vazquez not Peavy in your 2nd to last paragraph.

    Comment by Conballs — December 3, 2008 @ 12:36 pm

  2. I think the “four young prospects” line is slightly misleading. Here’s who the Braves gave up.

    1. Tyler Flowers, C
    The centerpiece of the deal, Flowers has shown power, patience, and the ability to hit for average throughout his minor league career. He’s probably too big to stay behind the plate, so I’m thinking he’s a career 1B. That being said, he was old for his level (22 years old at High-A) and with his AFL dominance, his value is likely as high as it ever will be. Of the top prospects in Atlanta, he was easily the best candidate to be dealt for an upgrade. Think of it like this – as a first baseman, he’s nothing but a guy who mashed a league he was a bit too old for.

    2. Brent Lillibridge, SS
    To be honest, I don’t see him as anything but a utility man at this point. He is slick with the glove, but he’s struggled in the high minors as a hitter. Expendable.

    3. Jon Gilmore, 3B
    Impressive numbers, but he’s yet to play a month at the A level.

    2. Santos Rodriguez, LHP
    Like Gilmore, the numbers were impressive, but he was a 20 year old in the Appalachian League.

    To me, this is not a major package of prospects. Flowers is the most likely to make a major league team, Lillibridge hasn’t shown an ability to hit AAA pitching, and the other two haven’t even gotten past rookie ball yet.

    As to Vasquez, yes, I think he’s worth that. The going rate seems to be 5.5 mil/win over replacement, and at that rate I think Vasquez is reasonably worth about 15 million per year. In Atlanta, he’ll be in a friendlier park, pitching in an easier league, and in front of a better defense than he had in Chicago. He’s worth the money he’s making.

    Comment by BraveBronco0121 — December 3, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

  3. Dave:

    What is the average difference between a starter’s FIP and his ERA on any given year and what might be the expected difference for a starter’s career?

    Comment by Terry — December 3, 2008 @ 1:55 pm

  4. Just playing with some numbers for last season and the average difference between the FIP and ERA for all pitchers who threw over 120 innings was 12.3% of his ERA.

    The difference between JV’s career ERA and FIP is about 9% of his career ERA.

    Comment by Terry — December 3, 2008 @ 2:12 pm

  5. That doesn’t tell you anything, though – that’s just small sample variance.

    Try finding another pitcher with 2,000+ major league innings with this kind of disparity between his FIP and ERA. Good luck.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — December 3, 2008 @ 2:16 pm

  6. That’s what I’m asking Dave-you obviously have a handle on what an average disparity would be. What is it?

    Comment by Terry — December 3, 2008 @ 2:33 pm

  7. Just for fun I started plugging in a couple arms. The first two that came to mind who pitched over 2000 innings while also playing for several teams were Jamie Moyer and Charlie Hough.

    The difference between Moyer’s career FIP and career ERA was 5% of his career ERA. The difference between Hough’s career ERA and FIP was actually 14% of his ERA.

    Just playing with BR’s event finder to generate a list of guys with over 2000 IP though, looks like there will be a pretty tight relationship between FIP and ERA.

    Comment by Terry — December 3, 2008 @ 2:51 pm

  8. Here’s a crazy one (though maybe not a surprising one to those who watched Palmer). The difference between his FIP and ERA was a whopping 43% of his ERA (career ERA= 2.86; career FIP: 3.50).

    Comment by Terry — December 3, 2008 @ 2:58 pm

  9. Here’s another-Catfish Hunter (ERA: 3.26; FIP: 3.66).

    Comment by Terry — December 3, 2008 @ 3:04 pm

  10. Palmer may be an example of a gross difference in the run scoring environment of the 70s. I’m not sure if FIP is adjusted on a yearly basis.

    Comment by Scappy — December 3, 2008 @ 3:07 pm

  11. How do you convert FIP to runs above average?

    Comment by NickP — December 3, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

  12. Nick, do you mean runs above replacement level? For pitchers, what we do is take the projected FIP and IP, and compare it to those of the replacement level. Vazquez’s weighted projections would be for 200 IP at a 3.92 FIP.

    (200 * 3.92)/9 = 87 runs.

    A replacement SP would log 150 IP at a 5.50 FIP, or 92 runs. The other 50 IP would go to a replacement RP at a 4.50 FIP, or 25 runs.

    Put together, Vazquez at 87 runs is 30 runs better than the 117 runs of a replacement level pitcher. 30 runs above replacement = 3 wins above replacement.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — December 3, 2008 @ 4:47 pm

  13. That’s perfect. I appreciate it.

    Comment by NickP — December 3, 2008 @ 4:48 pm

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