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  1. I love flashbacks to terrible decision making.

    Comment by Not David — September 15, 2010 @ 10:06 am

  2. +1.

    Comment by Michael — September 15, 2010 @ 10:17 am

  3. How come xFIP is just scaled to the league-average HR/FB% without considering the HR factors of the given parks? We wouldn’t expect a flyball pitcher like Saunders to be unaffected by the move to Chase Field, so why does xFIP pretend that he is?

    Comment by Kevin S. — September 15, 2010 @ 11:03 am

  4. Moreover, why do we pretend it’s simply luck? If a guy is giving up bombs to the deep bleachers, I’m not inclined to think those are “unlucky” fly balls going for hrs. It’s certainly a useful tool, but too many people aren’t familiar with the limitations of these formulas and trumpet them around as gospel. A lot of fg readers are just as dense as old school media pointing to wins and losses.

    Comment by Joe — September 15, 2010 @ 11:23 am

  5. Maybe a little harsh to say the Skaggs is ‘unimpressive’. If you mean that he’s more projection than performance then that’s fair, but he does have the ability to redeem this deal a bit.

    Comment by blackout — September 15, 2010 @ 11:38 am

  6. Hey, Michael. Psst. Let me let you in on a little secret. If you like someone’s comment, you can click on that little green thumbs up. That way you don’t have to say trite things like “+1”. It’s faster, easier, better! But keep it under your hat. Hush hush, big secret.

    Comment by Kevin — September 15, 2010 @ 11:52 am

  7. I have to be honest, I never use xFIP at face value anymore. Sure, it works for a large number of pitchers, and is shown to be as predictive as FIP (or maybe more, not sure). But in my mind there’s just way too many pitchers that come in way below the league average of HR/FB (and way above, although they are fewer because they tend not to last in the league) for it to be straight luck.

    Matt Cain, Cliff Lee, Ubaldo, Josh Johnson, Justin Verlander all run way below year after year.

    Conversely the reason Kirk Saarloos and Josh Towers aren’t in the majors this year is not due simply to bad luck, and I doubt Brett Myers is going to throw up 8 more seasons after this one to counteract his tendency to give up the long ball during the entire first half of his career.

    Comment by The Nicker — September 15, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

  8. At least this balances out the Hudson-Jackson trade. If Kenny Williams would stop sending good young pitchers into the NL West for has-beens that would be great

    Comment by quincy0191 — September 15, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

  9. Matt Cain and Verlander post consistently lower FIP than xFIP’s because they play in highly pitcher friendly ball parks. Homeruns anywhere else end up being mere fly ball outs, if Matt Cain ever has to pitch in Texas, NYY, Cincy, he’d be exposed badly.

    Comment by TFK — September 15, 2010 @ 12:18 pm

  10. Que?

    Comment by Anon — September 15, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

  11. Perhaps Moore was talking about Patrick Corbin and Rafael Rodriguez and didn’t factor in Skaggs. Either way, I wouldn’t consider Corbin an unimpressive prospect, either.

    Comment by Andrew — September 15, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

  12. Yeah, I hate that people use the term luck. Even if they are referring to statistical variance, in reality they are discounting the possibility of equations inability to capture everything in the game. Some of the models are getting better, but until they incorporate everything (which won’t happen for a long long time) calling the unknown aspect entirely luck is quite foolish.

    Comment by Joe — September 15, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

  13. Further proof of the inferiority of the AL. He just can’t cut it in the NL West.

    Comment by LD303 — September 15, 2010 @ 2:01 pm

  14. This article contrasts nicely with the following analysis clipped from Keven Baxter’s National Baseball column in the Los Angeles Times on September 11:

    “The Haren deal was especially lopsided — in favor of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who acquired Saunders, a 29-year-old left-hander still two seasons from free agency, then had to fight the urge to burst out laughing when the Angels agreed to throw in reliever Rafael Rodriguez and minor league left-handers Tyler Skaggs and Patrick Corbin, two of the team’s top 12 prospects according to Baseball America.

    It was a curious trade, one in which the Angels took on more than $33 million in salary obligations over four seasons. Yet, Reagins says he would make it again if had the chance.”


    Comment by JGrinnell — September 15, 2010 @ 2:45 pm

  15. I don’t understand

    Comment by Gina — September 15, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

  16. Since the deal, the “unimpressive” Corbin has put up a 1.38 ERA in eight starts at High-A, striking out 10.4 per 9IP, and the 19-year old Skaggs has a 1.69 ERA in four starts, with an even better strikeout ratte, and K:BB ratio of 5:1.

    But it says a lot about Moore’s analysis that he even gets the number of players ion the deal wrong. There were THREE players sent to AZ in addition to Saunders, not two. Given this sloppy fact-checking, difficult to take his analysis of the deal too seriously, especially since he thinks Saunders was the centerpiece of the trade for Arizona.

    Comment by Jim McLennan — September 15, 2010 @ 3:22 pm

  17. I’m sure all we have to do is give Joe Saunders some time.

    That pedigree talent in in there somewhere….

    Comment by ThundaPC — September 15, 2010 @ 5:22 pm

  18. I like to use xFIP to compare a pitcher against themselves, not so much for comparisons against peers.

    The HR/FB normalization can be awfully brutish.

    Comment by Not David — September 15, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

  19. Yeah, the author failed to make any case that the two lefty prospects (Corbin, Skaggs) are unimpressive. In fact, the peripherals on both look outstanding.

    Haren is a very good pitcher, but he also costs $13M per year over the next two seasons. He’ll have to remain very good, and very healthy (as he has been in recent seasons, to be frank) to deliver on that cost. Arizona may have chosen to pass on that risk.

    Saunders is a mediocre pitcher, but he comes at $6-8M less than Haren, and Skaggs/Corbin are arguably the two best pitching prospects the Angels obtained in the 2009 draft.

    I think the misleading description of the prospects and the deliberate omission of Haren’s contract cost makes this bit of analysis more opportunistic and self-congratulatory than it could have been.

    Comment by Turks Teeth — September 15, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

  20. Agreed that these are embarrassing oversights for the author.

    It’s clear he didn’t bother to look the prospects up. Saunders was just backfill for this deal — it was really about the prospects.

    This trade won’t be truly assessable for another three or four years.

    Comment by Turks Teeth — September 15, 2010 @ 6:04 pm

  21. Meaning AZ stole Hudson from ChiSox for Jackson, which balances out with them getting rooked by getting Saunders for Haren.

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — September 15, 2010 @ 7:26 pm

  22. I was against this deal from that get-go, but if Tyler Skaggs develops into a solid MLB pitcher, it won’t look quite as retarded on the part of Dipoto.

    Comment by Joltin' Joe — September 15, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

  23. Is Saunder’s really going to come in at 6 to 8 million less? He’s making 6 million this year isn’t he? And will likely get a raise.

    Comment by Gina — September 15, 2010 @ 10:51 pm

  24. This deal really isn’t about Saunders as it is the prospects, unfortunately the author completely ignored that to slander the diamondbacks. Meanwhile, Daniel Hudson has been the best pitcher in the national league since the dbacks acquired him from the white sox.

    Comment by Jason — September 15, 2010 @ 11:02 pm

  25. Um, do any of you citing Corbin’s stats actually know what kind of stuff he has? He is basically another Joe Saunders, folks. That was also one of his comparisons. Look at Saunders MiLB stats, especially I think his 2005 season in AAA, where he pitched dominantly in the hitter friendly PCL. You’d think he was a stud lefty

    Corbin is a future 4/5 pitcher. The only saving grace for this deal is Skaggs, who could(if all things go right) develop into a low end #2 pitcher, or a good #3. The RP they got is garbage, and RP are a dime a dozen anyway…

    Comment by sausagemcbiscuit — September 16, 2010 @ 5:34 am

  26. Wow. I like Skaggs, and Corbin could be a viable major league starter, but I don’t know if it’s necessary to defame the author this vigorously. Nice to know Fangraphs commenters haven’t lost their edginess.

    Comment by blackout — September 16, 2010 @ 10:23 am

  27. Most obviously, Corbin is three years younger than Saunders was in A+ ball. I think you mean 2006 Triple A for Saunders, but even there – as a **25-year old** he struck out a feeble 6.5 per nine IP. That’s not “dominantly”. The only time Saunders was even above 7.1, was in 2007. when he was optioned to Triple-A in his third major-league season. He never even approached the 9.8 K rate Corbin has shown this year, while still in his teens.

    Comment by Jim McLennan — September 16, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

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