It’s been a disappointing season for Jake Peavy, as he posted a 4.72 ERA with the Red Sox and although meaningless on its own, sported a rather hilarious 1-9 record. And it’s not even like he was simply suffering from poor fortune. His 4.33 xFIP was his worst mark since his first full season in 2003, as his strikeout rate was down and walk rate up. It became acceptable to drop him in shallow mixed leagues. But on Saturday, the Giants acquired the right-hander, resulting in Peavy’s return to the National League. Let’s find out if that is going to be enough to put him back on mixed league radars.
First, let’s start with the relevant 2013 park factors:
The first thing we notice is that Fenway Park played as a serious hitter’s park last year. The offensive friendly environment is primarily driven by the quirkiness going on in the outfield of course. The Green Monster results in a ton of doubles and fuels that high doubles factor, while singles and triples are also slightly boosted by the park conditions. AT&T Park, on the other hand, has played like a pitcher’s park, which is no surprise. While it inflates triples totals at the same rate as Fenway, likely due to the expansive right-center region, it’s relatively neutral when it comes to singles and doubles.
The biggest difference of course comes from the home run factors. Contrary to many people’s beliefs, Boston has always played as a park that reduces homers. However, it doesn’t do so as significantly as AT&T does. As a fly ball pitcher, Peavy will greatly enjoy the more pitcher friendly digs and its ability to keep his balls in the park. The strikeout and walk factors are nearly identical so we could ignore those.
Overall, it’s obvious that the park switch is a major positive. What about the change in defensive support? The Red Sox rank sixth in UZR/150, while the Giants rank smack in the middle of the pack at 15. All else being equal, that’s a downgrade. But over a relatively small sample, the difference is probably going to be negligible.
And how about the respective offenses? The Red Sox offense has been quite lackluster this year, ranking just 22nd in baseball in runs scored. And Peavy has been hurt by his offense, ranking sixth with the lowest run support at just 3.14 runs per game. The Giants, though, are only marginally better, ranking 20th in the league in runs scored, but of course that’s without the benefit of the designated hitter. So we’ll call the change in offense the slightly of upgrades.
Last, but not least, we move on to the league switch. Peavy should enjoy a bump in strikeout rate and a small reduction in walk rate. Of course, simply switching teams and leagues won’t help Peavy to throw more strikes — his strike percentage is at its lowest mark since 2008. That explains his increased walk rate. His looking strike rate is down as well, which combined with fewer strikes being thrown, explains the decline in strikeout rate. The league switch should help cover up these warts, but it’s clear Peavy’s skills are not where they had been.
I’ve stubbornly held onto Peavy all season in my local 12-team mixed league and was obviously happy with the move. I’ve barely started him in recent weeks though, but this is certainly a positive move for his fantasy value. If he was dropped in your league, I’d take a chance, as he’s shown good skills in recent seasons and could easily earn positive mixed league value again.
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