Why is Alex Wood only the 15th most expensive pitcher today? With a price tag of only $11,219, he represents a nice value today for several reasons, the first of which is that he is good. And we’ll discuss that more in a moment. But there is also the fact that he will be facing the Nationals who have the 4th worst wRC+ against left-handed pitching like Wood. And the weather conditions in Atlanta will be favorable for pitchers. Game time temperature is projected to be fairly low at 70, and the wind will be blowing in from right at 7 mph.
But Wood being good is the most important factor. Kevin Correia has a good match up and favorable weather conditions today, but that isn’t enough to make you ignore his below average ERA and strikeout rate. The quality of the pitcher is obviously still a factor.
Wood got to the majors via the fast track after debuting in A ball last year and pitching just 62 innings between AA and AAA before getting called up this year. In the minors he posted an elite ERA with above average strikeout and walk skills, and he’s done essentially the same thing in the majors. In 45.1 innings at the big league level, he has a 2.78 ERA (2.83 SIERA), an above average strikeout rate (26.7 K%), an almost exactly league average walk rate (7.9%), and an above average ground ball rate (53.9%). As a starter he has a 3.08 ERA with a 25.2% K% and a 8.4% BB%, so it’s not like he killed it as a reliever and been average as a starter.
Admittedly, we’re only talking about 45 innings and just over 100 batters faced as a starter. But his big league performance is right in line with the minor league numbers. One other thing you could quibble with is Wood’s quality of competition. He has faced the Mets twice (101 wRC+ vs. LHP), Rockies (90 wRC+), Phillies (96 wRC+) and Marlins (75 wRC+). However, as mentioned, the competition today is fairly weak itself. With Wood’s talent and the other factors going for him, the 15th most expensive pitcher seems like a mistake in pricing to me.
The Daily Five
Derek Holland, $16,002 – The Mariners are 9th in the league in wRC+ vs. RHP. And that makes sense given that they can stack a lineup with lefties. Over the last 30 days, the Mariner hitters with the most plate appearances are either left-handed or switch hitters. But against left-handed pitching like Holland they have the 5th worst wRC+ and the 4th highest strikeout rate.
Felix Doubront, $12,488 – Rather surreptitiously Doubront has been a good pitcher this year. His ERA is 3.66, he’s allowing fewer home runs, and he still has an above average strikeout rate (albeit only slightly). But he’s not without warts. He still walks batters at an above average rate, and he has a SIERA over 4.00. But with a price under $13,000 and a matchup against the Yankees (3rd worst wRC+ vs. LHP), the good might outweigh the bad today.
Nate McLouth, $7,926 – Juan Nicasio is bad. Therefore, McLouth could get a hit or two. Wilin Rosario is below average at preventing steals (-2 rSB). Therefore, McLouth could get a steal or two. Plus, last time I picked McLouth he hit a grand slam. Analysis.
Brandon Moss, $6,401 – I know Oakland isn’t the greatest place to hit home runs, but I just had to pick a guy with the platoon advantage against Brad Peacock who is an extreme fly ball pitcher and one who has let fly balls fly out of the park at an above average rate in his young career. I chose Moss because he is the cheapest Oakland lefty with power.
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