Things for You to Know About Brett Myers

We begin.

Brett Myers is on the Indians now

On a one-year contract, with a second-year club option. The whole deal is said to be worth $7 million, and Myers will go back to starting after spending all of 2012 in the bullpen. In two bullpens, as it were. Myers has done this before, as he was basically a full-time reliever in 2007, and then a starter between 2008-2011. If the Indians turn out to not like Myers as a starter, they can move him back to relief — he’s their player, after all, and he’s demonstrated his versatility — but he’s a starter first. And the Indians’ top starter is arguably Justin Masterson or Zach McAllister, so, yeah. There’s a need.

Myers finished 2012 with the White Sox, and the front office considered picking up his $10 million 2013 option. So that gave some idea of his perceived value, as did the fact that the White Sox ultimately declined the option. Sure enough, Myers settled for a year and a little less than $10 million. This a few days after it was reported Myers was seeking too much money. No idea how much Myers was seeking, but he probably didn’t get it.

The quick and boring analysis is this: the Myers deal is a fair one, with obvious short-term upside. Between 2010-2011, Myers started 66 games, logging just under 440 innings. His FIP over that span compared with the FIPs of Max Scherzer, Wandy Rodriguez, Ricky Romero, and James Shields. A concern is that Myers didn’t start in 2012, and he’s 32 years old. His average fastball as a starter has declined from north of 91 to just north of 88. He just broke 91 as a reliever, but, we all know about relievers and velocity. Myers’ strikeout rate has dropped, and it even dropped further last year in the bullpen, so it’s unknown just how much gas Myers has left in the tank. That’s why he wound up being so affordable, even for a team like Cleveland. He could be an effective innings-eater, or he could be a guy who used to be an effective innings-eater in the past.

Given that Myers has been a closer, it’s not impossible that he could end up closing again as an Indian. Chris Perez would have to go away, but that wouldn’t be an astonishing transaction.

Brett Myers has a weird platoon split

Myers is right-handed, and he always has been. He’s always thrown a fastball, a curveball, and a changeup, and you’d expect that he’d be more successful against right-handed hitters than left-handed hitters. Over Myers’ entire career, he’s allowed a .332 wOBA to righties, and a .324 wOBA to lefties. We’re dealing with sample sizes in the thousands, here, so there’s been plenty of time for regression to whatever mean. Myers has demonstrated a small reverse platoon split, and that’s unusual.

His strikeout rates against righties and lefties are virtually identical. His walk rate against lefties is quite a bit worse. But righties have homered once every 27 plate appearances, while lefties have homered once every 36 or so. Myers has historically done a better job of keeping lefties in the yard, and, accordingly, he’s done a better job of keeping lefties on the ground. This isn’t something that’s going to make a huge difference going forward, but it’s something to keep in mind. It’s something that makes Myers pretty well-suited for starting work, or long relief.

The dingers

Brett Myers debuted in 2002, just shy of his 22nd birthday. Since 2002, 108 major-league pitchers have thrown at least 1,000 innings. Now, a somewhat popular statistic is HR/FB, but I personally prefer HR/non-GB just because. Out of those 108 pitchers, the lowest HR/non-GB since 2002 belongs to Matt Cain, at 4.8%. The average of all the 108 pitchers is 6.6%. The highest rate belongs to Brett Myers, at 8.9%. He beats Ramon Ortiz, Bruce Chen, and everyone else in the pool. Out of those major-league regulars, Brett Myers has seen the highest rate of air balls clear the fence.

Myers’ groundball rate over his career is 48%, but one way of looking at this is that his “effective” groundball rate has been 30%. That is, he’s allowed homers like a 30%-groundball pitcher. He’s spent pretty much his entire career in dinger-friendly ballparks, which is a factor, but at home he’s posted a HR/non-GB of 9.0%, whereas on the road it’s been 8.7%. Home environment isn’t the answer to why this is. Myers just seems to be dinger-prone, so his xFIP is of only so much utility. Of course, Myers has survived in the majors despite the homers, which speaks to his overall talent. Teams have accepted that dingers are just a part of the package.

The timing of the dingers

Myers has faced more than 4,000 batters with the bases empty. One out of every 28 has gone yard, for a HR/non-GB of 9.2%. Myers has faced nearly 1,800 batters with runners in scoring position. One out of every 51 has gone yard, for a HR/non-GB of 6.0%. Myers doesn’t seem to have a special skill to reduce homers with runners on — there’s a difference between runners being on, and runners being in scoring position — but this suggests that, when there are runners in scoring position, Myers changes things up somehow. His groundball rate goes up, and his walk rate goes up, significantly. His FIP is actually higher with the bases empty than it is with runners in scoring position. Again, this isn’t need-to-know information about Brett Myers, but it is something that differentiates him from your average big-league pitcher.

Brett Myers has signed with the Cleveland Indians for one year and possibly two years. You might not care whether or not it works out, but if you’ve read this far, at least now you know a little more about Brett Myers. So you can cross that off your Wednesday to-do list.

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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

26 Responses to “Things for You to Know About Brett Myers”

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  1. APV says:

    Given Progressive Field’s HR-dampening effects, he might be a good fit for Cleveland

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  2. DavidCEisen says:

    Doesn’t Myer’s curveball somewhat explain the reverse split? It’s far and away his best pitch, and curves generally are split-neutral or exhibit a reverse split.

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  3. LA Dodgers says:

    I love adding things to my to do list after I’ve already done them, then crossing them off.

    It makes me feel just like I’ve achieved something

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  4. byron says:

    You forgot a big one: he hit his wife in the face in public.

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    • Cody says:

      Although a bad reflection of his character, it has nothing to do with his baseball talents. I am not sure what is accomplished by posting such information.

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      • rusty says:

        Even if we accept your premise that we aren’t interested in off-field conduct or questions of character… to the extent that the post addresses front-office interest, contract valuation, and career history, I would say that the history @byron mentions is relevant.

        Did Alex White’s DUI make the Rockies more inclined to flip a potential starter for a known-quantity reliever? Did character questions affect Yunel Escobar’s 2012 and then his offseason? Maybe and absolutely, respectively.

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    • PL says:

      Furthermore, in beating his wife in the face he joined the embodiment of the deplorable man-child temper-trantrum-having-because-he-didnt-get-own-way athlete who earns more money than 99% of the population, alongside Michael Vick and every other wife beater.

      If you want to point out what’s wrong with America, its that men get paid millions to do one thing that has no importance in society while the rest of the nation struggles making America run, while making under $40K, or less than a days salary of said idiot with a rare skill that pays too much.

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      • byron says:

        Actually, he joined the group of sub-humans who try and control their partners through fear and violence. That’s slightly worse than receiving fair-market-value for the services that generate billions of dollars in revenue.

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      • jsp2014 says:

        byron wins

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      • PL says:

        Great comment Byron, love your work.

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      • clark duke says:

        What about all the fans that beat their wife when their team loses? Reports of domestic violence increase by 10 percent in areas where the local NFL team lost a game it was expected to win.

        Society CARES about sports. My opinion is that people care way too much about sports but that is not the point here.

        The reason these “idiots” get paid so much is because they entertain millions of “idiots” who are paying too much money to watch a sport that has “no importance in society”. There are stadiums packed with “idiots” “overpaying” to watch a ballgame in person. There are millions of “idiots” commenting on sports blogs and playing in fantasy leagues thus stirring up even more controversy and interest in the sports that the “overpaid idiots” play. There are millions of “idiots” spending their days watching the games on TV and driving up ratings that earn the teams better TV deals and more money to pay their “idiot” players. You are most definetly one of the “idiots” that help the “idiot” athlete get overpaid in the first place.

        Next time 60,000 people show up to watch you do your job , I’m sure you won’t mind being an “overpaid idiot” as a result.

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    • Touche Mr. Toupe says:

      How are you doing, Mr. Moral Crusader? See Howard Becker.

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  5. rusty says:

    By HR/non-GB, are you still only referring to balls in play? I mean, I assume that’s the case (while lumping in IFFB seems a little silly, including Ks is more like an issue), but that Beyond the Boxscore series on xHR reminded me that batted-ball taxonomies still aren’t “settled”.

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  6. Myers is right-handed, and he always has been

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    • wobatus says:

      Mr. Myers forced a rattle into young Brett’s right hand, even though he showed a preference for left when he popped out of his mother’s womb. Which may explain the reverse platoon split, wife-beating in public, and high home-run to non-groundball rate.

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  7. btl05 says:

    He fits in well with Mark Shapiro’s grand plan of building around young pitching and bringing in high character guys.

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  8. Highball Wilson says:

    This pitching staff has some pretty interesting characters. Myers, the wife-beating starter/reliever. Bauer, the head-case prodigy. Ubaldo, the guy who plunks former teammates in spring training. Perez, the guy who hates his own fans. All they need now is Rick Freakin’ Vaughn.

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    • PL says:

      Despite my feelings as Myers as a person, if they can sign Marcum, then trade Ubaldo for anything, but preferably a DH (are the Royals dumb enough to trade Butler for Ubaldo? All signs point to yes, unfortunately), or even just trade him for 19 year old prospects and sign Thome or Berkman to DH…they will have a pretty formidable roster. Love their bullpen and can’t wait to see Bauer finally get to do his thing instead of AZ trying to ruin him.

      No team won a trade more than when they got an everyday plus-D CF, a ready-now elite prospect who’s ceiling is an ace and two very good relievers for Choo and non-essential AAAA guys (Did anyone even know Lars Anderson was on the Indians?). The Jays made the most noise with their deal, but they gave up very good prospects. The Indians filled 4 holes while getting rid of Choo, and replacing him with virtually the same player in Swisher. Very heady moves by Cleveland this year, can’t wait to see how they pan out. They could easily be the Orioles of 2013.

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      • Marco says:

        This team lost 94 games last year, and the only real additions of consequence are Bauer and Myers (Choo/Swisher is roughly a wash). Those two guys will help, but the starting pitching was realy bad last year (5.1 WAR, *combined*)

        They made some smart moves, but I think they’ve got a ways to go.

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    • Ruki Motomiya says:

      Delmon Young!

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  9. gareth says:

    I’m hoping they get marcum too. You can never have enough pitching.


    This is your starting point. Injury and innefectiveness is bound to play a part in a long season.

    if masterson proves that 2012 was not a horrible fluke, ubaldo continues to be all over the place, marcum shows his injury plagued 2012 is not behind him, McAlister isn’t any good and myers shows he belongs in the bullpen – well, that would suck.

    To me though it looks like a solid group with carrasco and bauer waiting in the wings should any of these guys falter or break down.

    I’m sure the myers addition will fuel more chris Perez rumours, but I am pretty sure he will be the tribe closer on opening day. Not because they desperately want to keep him. Which team is really in great need of a mouthy expensive closer?

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  10. CJ in Austin, TX says:

    Myers spent almost three years in Houston, and he was, by all accounts, a solid citizen during that time. The volatile personality that seemed to bother him previously didn’t create problems. If anything, he seemed to enjoy the role of mentor for the younger players. Myers may have had temper problems early in his career, but it appears that he has may have undergone some changes that make the “character issue” less of a concern for front offices.

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  11. Yelof Nadnerb says:

    How did we get this far without a reference to “Boom! Outa here.” ?!

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