Daily Notes: How 2012’s Best Relievers Were Acquired

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Daily Notes.

1. Table: How 2012’s Best Relievers Were Acquired
2. Of Note: Evan Gattis’s Past Week in Venezuela
3. SCOUT Leaderboards: Venezuelan Winter League

Table: How 2012’s Best Relievers Were Acquired
On Sunday, the Boston Red Sox agreed to send youngish corner-type Jerry Sands, right-handed prospect Stolmy Pimentel, and (likely) two others to Pittsburgh in exchange for closer Joel Hanrahan and (likely) one other. It represents the third not-insubstantial trade — after last year’s deals for Andrew Bailey (which required conceding Josh Reddick and Miles Head) and Mark Melancon (which cost them Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland) — the third not-insubstantial trade the Red Sox have conducted over the last two seasons in search of quality, high-leverage relief.

It raises the question, of course: are quality, high-leverage relievers generally acquired by means of trade? And, if not by trade, then how are they acquired?

Below is a (sortable) table of 2012’s best relief pitchers, as measured by the differential between shutdowns (SD) and meltdowns (MD). For each pitcher, I’ve included how he was acquired by the team with which he concluded the 2012 season — either by draft (DR), free agency (FA), trade (TR), or waivers (WV).

Here are the results:


Name Team IP App xFIP- SD MD Diff Acq.
Jim Johnson Orioles 68.2 71 88 46 3 43 DR
Aroldis Chapman Reds 71.2 68 50 41 6 35 FA
Craig Kimbrel Braves 62.2 63 23 37 4 33 DR
Fernando Rodney Rays 74.2 76 64 34 2 32 FA
Vinnie Pestano Indians 70.0 70 90 37 7 30 DR
Ryan Cook Athletics 73.1 71 84 37 8 29 TR
Rafael Soriano Yankees 67.2 69 91 36 7 29 FA
Grant Balfour Athletics 74.2 75 92 37 8 29 FA
Chris Perez Indians 57.2 61 88 34 7 27 TR
Jared Burton Twins 62.0 64 90 31 6 25 FA
Luke Gregerson Padres 71.2 77 86 34 9 25 TR
Jonathan Papelbon Phillies 70.0 70 72 34 9 25 FA
Jonathan Broxton – – – 58.0 60 89 33 9 24 TR
Eric O’Flaherty Braves 57.1 64 85 28 5 23 WV
Sergio Romo Giants 55.1 69 67 28 5 23 DR
Joe Nathan Rangers 64.1 66 62 30 7 23 FA
Huston Street Padres 39.0 40 70 23 1 22 TR
Steve Cishek Marlins 63.2 68 97 29 7 22 DR
Tyler Clippard Nationals 72.2 74 106 32 10 22 TR
Mitchell Boggs Cardinals 73.1 78 94 30 9 21 DR

Some Notes
• Of the 20 pitchers included here, seven (7) were acquired by free agency, six (6) by the draft, another six (6) by trade, and one (1, O’Flaherty) by means of waivers.

• Of the seven players acquired by free agency here, Jonathan Papelbon‘s four-year, $50 million contract is the largest.

• Of those same seven free-agent signees, Jared Burton‘s one-year, $0.75 million and Fernando Rodney‘s one-year, $2 million deals for 2012 were the smallest.

• Of the players acquired by trade, the one which sent Ryan Cook, Collin Cowgill, and Jarrod Parker from Arizona to the Oakland for Craig Breslow, Trevor Cahill, and cash was likely the most substantial — although one could argue with some ease that Cook wasn’t precisely the centerpiece of the deal.

Craig Kimbrel, taken by Atlanta in the third round of the 2008 draft out of an Alabama community college, was signed for just $391 thousand and made only slightly more than that amount in 2012.

Contract and acquisition data courtesy Cot’s Contracts and Baseball Reference, respectively.

Of Note: Evan Gattis’s Past Week in Venezuela
On last Monday’s iteration of the SCOUT batting leaderboards for the Venezuelan Winter League, Atlanta Braves catching and outfielding prospect Evan Gattis had a 128 SCOUT+ in 182 plate appearances. Now, as one will note below, Gattis has a 147 SCOUT+ in 211 plate appearances — which is to say, Gattis has increased his regressed offensive production relative to the rest of the league by about 20 percentage points in 29 plate appearances.

Here’s what Gattis has done in those same 29 plate appearances:

• Hit five home runs.
• Walked four times.
• Only struck out four times.
• Stolen a base.
• Probably saved someone — like, either from danger or from their own self.

SCOUT Leaderboards: Venezuelan Winter League
Below are the current SCOUT leaderboards for the Venezuelan Winter League. (Ages as of July 1st, 2012. Players listed with most recent team. Click here for more on what is SCOUT.)

SCOUT Leaderboard: Venezuelan Winter League Hitters
Below is the current SCOUT batting leaderboard for the Venezuelan Winter League. SCOUT+ is calculated using regressed home-run, walk, and strikeout rates, where 100 is average and above 100 is above average.


Player Team Age Pos PA xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+
Luis Jimenez Mariners 30 DH 203 3.4% 18.2% 13.8% 148
Evan Gattis Braves 25 C 211 6.0% 7.6% 14.2% 147
Carlos Maldonado Nationals 31 C 198 4.7% 14.6% 20.7% 140
Chris Nowak IND 29 3B 132 3.2% 12.7% 15.4% 127
Luis Valbuena Cubs 26 2B 200 2.4% 16.0% 15.5% 127
C.J. Retherford Dodgers 26 3B 250 3.0% 12.0% 13.6% 126
Jose Lopez White Sox 28 2B 188 2.5% 12.6% 12.2% 124
Carlos Rivero Nationals 24 3B 232 3.8% 11.6% 19.0% 124
Salvador Perez Royals 22 C 136 3.9% 7.0% 12.3% 123
Justin Henry Tigers 27 OF 106 1.4% 14.4% 10.4% 120

SCOUT Leaderboard: Venezuelan Winter League Hitters (Prospects)
Here is the SCOUT batting leaderboard for the Venezuelan Winter League, but only populated with players who are 25 or under — i.e. something more like “prospect” age relative to the league.


Player Team Age Pos PA xHR% xBB% xK% SCOUT+
Evan Gattis Braves 25 C 211 6.0% 7.6% 14.2% 147
Carlos Rivero Nationals 24 3B 232 3.8% 11.6% 19.0% 124
Salvador Perez Royals 22 C 136 3.9% 7.0% 12.3% 123
Darwin Perez Angels 22 SS 179 2.2% 19.5% 24.6% 117
Ezequiel Carrera Indians 25 CF 116 2.0% 11.9% 13.3% 114
Darin Ruf Phillies 25 1B 137 4.5% 11.4% 29.5% 110
Dave Sappelt Cubs 25 CF 124 2.9% 7.5% 14.3% 110
Yangervis Solarte Rangers 24 OF 180 1.5% 9.4% 9.4% 109
Jairo Perez Twins 24 3B 119 2.6% 6.8% 12.3% 108
Rossmel Perez Diamondbacks 22 C 27 2.0% 10.6% 14.2% 108

SCOUT Leaderboard: Venezuelan Winter League Pitchers
Below is the current SCOUT pitching leaderboard for the Venezuelan Winter League. SCOUT- is calculated using regressed strikeout and walk rates where 100 is average and below 100 is above average.


Player Team Age G GS IP TBF xK% xBB% SCOUT-
Alex Torres Rays 24 13 13 55.1 240 32.5% 9.4% 60
Enrique Gonzalez NPB 29 26 0 26.2 104 27.8% 8.0% 68
Danny Farquhar Mariners 25 21 0 24.0 98 25.8% 8.4% 75
Deolis Guerra Twins 23 20 0 26.0 107 25.4% 8.1% 75
Austin Bibens-Dirkx Nationals 27 12 10 53.2 226 25.3% 8.0% 75
Seth Etherton N/A 35 6 6 27.1 112 24.9% 7.7% 75
Jarrett Grube Mariners 30 7 7 27.2 120 24.7% 9.5% 80
Ryan Reid Rays 27 21 0 22.0 94 23.6% 8.7% 81
Cesar Jimenez Mariners 27 22 0 19.2 85 23.3% 8.5% 81
Josh Schmidt Marlins 29 10 10 57.2 240 23.4% 8.7% 82

SCOUT Leaderboard: Venezuelan Winter League Pitchers (Starters)
Here is the SCOUT pitching leaderboard for the Venezuelan Winter League, but only populated with pitchers who’ve made at least half of their appearances as starts.


Player Team Age G GS IP TBF xK% xBB% SCOUT-
Alex Torres Rays 24 13 13 55.1 240 32.5% 9.4% 60
Austin Bibens-Dirkx Nationals 27 12 10 53.2 226 25.3% 8.0% 75
Seth Etherton N/A 35 6 6 27.1 112 24.9% 7.7% 75
Jarrett Grube Mariners 30 7 7 27.2 120 24.7% 9.5% 80
Josh Schmidt Marlins 29 10 10 57.2 240 23.4% 8.7% 82
Eric Berger Indians 26 9 9 45.0 191 19.9% 7.8% 89
Sergio Perez Astros 27 13 13 65.0 278 19.8% 7.9% 89
Donovan Hand Brewers 26 7 7 34.1 148 18.9% 8.0% 92
Thad Weber Tigers 27 5 5 23.1 106 18.9% 8.3% 92
Paolo Espino Indians 25 6 6 26.0 112 18.2% 7.9% 93



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Bip
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Member
Bip
3 years 8 months ago

I’d be interested to know in how many of those trades were the relievers the centerpiece, the way they all have been in the Boston trades. Clearly Cook was not the centerpiece for that trade.

1. Chris Perez and Jess Todd from the Cardinals for Mark DeRosa: Yes he was, but with only 65 big league innings at the time, he was hardly an established name like the ones Boston is going after

2. Luke Gregerson sent as the player to be named later with Mark Worrell from the Cardinals for Khalil Green: Being the PTBNL is about as far from the centerpiece as one can be, though looking at the career paths of each of the three since, he’s made himself into a centerpiece. Hadn’t pitched in the majors at the time. It looks like the Cardinals luck with giving up unestablished relievers is about as good as Boston’s luck acquiring established ones.

3. Huston Street and cash from Rockies for Nick Schmidt: Not sure I understand this one, as it seems like the Rockies got almost nothing for their established closer. Clearly the Padres got a comparable guy to ones Boston has targeted, but at a much lower price, and with much greater reward. But, to be fair, the Red Sox division and park are not designed to make pitchers happy and comfortable, whereas that might be exactly what Petco is designed for.

4. Jonathan Broxton from Royals for Donnie Joseph and J.C. Sulbaran: Since this occurred part way through the season, the Royals were out of contention and Broxton has a bit of a “damaged goods” reputation, the Reds probably got him cheaper compared to Boston. Now that they’ve signed him to a real major league contract, I expect him to fall apart.

5. Tyler Clippard from Yankees for Jonathan Albaladejo: Clippard had been a starter in the Yankees system and seemed to show some promise. Albaladejo also showed promise, but as a reliever, so it appears the Yankees traded away the high-leverage reliever right under their nose for a guy who would end up throwing less than 60 innings for them over 2008-2010. As Clippard had only thrown 21 big league innings, all of them as a starter, this clearly wasn’t a deal for an elite reliever.

So except for the Huston Street deal, I don’t see a single deal that is comparable to the deals the Red Sox have been making based on the reliever being traded for. Though we can’t conclude that trading for a good reliever won’t work out, it strikes me that we might conclude that it works out with substantial infrequency as to be not worth the price that Boston has been willing to pay. On the flip side, the best relievers usually seem to come from unexpected places. Unfortunately, knowing that relievers come from unexpected places is not useful from a team-building perspective.

rusty
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rusty
3 years 8 months ago

Rockies traded Street as a straight salary dump, iirc.

BlueJays
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BlueJays
3 years 8 months ago

Where Is Casey Janssen?

Eric
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Eric
3 years 8 months ago

did you rtfa?

bcbryan
Member
bcbryan
3 years 8 months ago

There are just two quick things I wanted to say here.

1. Kimbrel posted an xFIP- of 23.

2. That is ridiculous.

cthabeerman
Member
cthabeerman
3 years 8 months ago

Gattis is 26, but he’s also not a conventional prospect. I do agree with his inclusion in the 25-and-under group, however, since he spent a few years away from the game. Great story there and I hope to see El Oso Blanco in an Atlanta uniform sometime next season.

-C

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