Eveland and Smith Paying Dividends

This offseason the Diamondbacks struck gold in winning the Dan Haren sweepstakes. The young, 27-year old ace looked mighty fine when placed right next to Brandon Webb. Billy Beane decided it was time to rebuild and sent Haren to the desert for six prospects: Dana Eveland, Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Gregory Smith, Aaron Cunningham, and Chris Carter. Many had only heard of Eveland and Gonzalez but, as usual, concluded that the other four must have solid value because they attracted the attention of Beane.

Haren has pitched quite well in the early going, legitimately posting a 4-1 record with an FIP of 3.26. Further west, though, Gregory Smith and Dana Eveland have been flying under the mainstream radar and paying dividends to a surprising Athletics team. Of course the season is still young, but these youngsters deserve some credit.

Smith has pitched at least six innings in four of his five starts, and is yet to surrender more than three earned runs in any of them. He currently sports a 1.06 WHIP and an LOB of 75.5%. His line drive percentage of 17.2% expects a BABIP of around .292, yet it currently sits at .226. Additionally, his ERA of 2.73 translates to a 4.20 FIP. He has not been as steady with the luck-based indicators as Eveland but ranks 9th among AL starters with a 0.73 WPA/LI.

Eveland’s ERA of 3.13 translates to a still quite good 3.46 FIP. Allowing 16.8% line drives we would expect his BABIP to be around the .288 mark; it is currently .291, so he has not been unlucky in that regard. He currently ranks 16th among AL starters with a 0.52 WPA/LI, just slightly ahead of teammates Chad Gaudin and Joe Blanton. Yes, four-fifths of the Athletics rotation ranks in the top twenty. His K/BB of 1.86 is nothing to write home about but he has pitched quite well for a 24-year old with just six major league starts entering the season.

Though Eveland pitched poorly last night. based solely on April performance, this trade has definitely benefited both teams, and the Athletics still have four more prospects yet to scratch the surface.

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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

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Tom Au
Tom Au

When Billy Beane proposes the trade of X players for X-plus-Y players (Dan Haren and Connor Robertson in this case), he will get back the value of X with the first X players (Smith and Eveland in this case), and earn the difference, Y, (the four remaining prospects). Likewise, when he traded Mark Mulder to the St. Louis Cardinals, he got back at least the equivalent in Haren, as well as Kiko Calero for “free” (no extra cost). That’s why Oakland is a perennial contender for a playoff spot, including this year.