Week Three Trade Possibilities

Here are seven players for your consideration to either acquire or send packing.

BUY

Yovani Gallardo – It has been an ugly beginning for Gallardo, as he has allowed 12 runs (11 earned) in 18 IP. His BABIP is a normal .296 and his K/9, which jumped from 8.24 to 9.89 last year, is back to 7.50 after three starts in 2010. But Gallardo has been hurt by a below-average strand rate and some early problems with gopher balls. He has a 64.2 LOB% and an 18.8 HR/FB rate. Gallardo has a lifetime 76.4 LOB% and a 10.3 HR/FB rate. His xFIP of 3.89 is right in line with last year’s 3.76. Other positive signs for Gallardo so far include an increased GB% (50.9) and a drop in BB/9 (down 0.56).

Casey McGehee – There are going to be no shortage of McGehee owners looking to sell high, figuring that neither his .366 BABIP nor his 21.1 HR/FB rate is going to last. But there are reasons to be encouraged about McGehee’s start, too. He has nearly tripled his BB/K ratio, thanks to a more patient approach at the plate. McGehee has a 35.7 Swing% as he has swung at fewer pitches both out of the zone (20.1 to 12.2) and in (64.0 to 58.7). His increased patience has led to an improved Contact%, and his 88.3 rate puts him in the top 20 percent of batters in baseball. Last year McGehee hit fastballs well but struggled against off-speed pitches. This year he is punishing both curve balls and sliders. Acquiring McGehee now will take some finesse and certainly an owner should not pay based on his current numbers. But I like his chances to exceed his (prorated) preseason projections going forward.

Mark Reynolds – Perhaps no player in recent fantasy baseball history had more naysayers coming off a 44-HR season than Reynolds. Even those who expected Reynolds to maintain his power were less sure of his ability to match last year’s AVG or SB totals. The end result was Reynolds being one of the players with the biggest discrepancy in draft results. Some considered him a first-rounder while others had him as the eighth-best third baseman. After 14 games he sits with a .220 AVG and just 1 SB. But Reynolds is not going to maintain either of those paces going forward. His BB/K rate has increased to 0.59 after a 0.34 showing last year. And with a lifetime .338 BABIP, Reynolds will definitely increase his current .207 mark. His HR, R and RBI numbers prorate to similar totals as he had last year. Expect Reynolds to pick up 35 points of average going forward. And while he will not match last year’s SB totals, he should once again reach double digits.

SELL

Chris Coghlan – Owners drafted last year’s Rookie of the Year expecting him to provide a healthy AVG. But a .179 BABIP has produced just a .140 AVG. While Coghlan is certain to increase his BABIP, it is unlikely he can come close to matching last year’s .321 AVG. RoS ZiPS projects him to hit just .278 the rest of the way. And if Coghlan continues to struggle at the plate, a drop in the batting order will come, hurting his R and SB numbers. He has already lost the leadoff spot to Cameron Maybin.

Tommy Hanson – In his rookie season Hanson outperformed both his FIP and xFIP by substantial margins. He is doing it again so far in 2010, perhaps enough to encourage people that it is a repeatable skill on his part. But Hanson is giving up more walks and home runs this season. Right now he is being saved by an 89.1 LOB%. Last year only three qualified pitchers had a LOB% over 80, led by J.A. Happ and his 85.2 rate. Hanson strikes out a ton of batters but once his strand rate regresses, look for his ERA to head towards 4.00 territory. Even with an ERA that high, Hanson is still a valuable commodity. Still, look to see if you can leverage his name value and hot start into a good return.

Luke Hochevar – Last year Hochevar had horrible results despite solid peripherals, which led some analysts to tout him as a sleeper for 2010. And sure enough, he is 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA after three starts. But now his luck is good and his peripherals are so-so (or worse), making him a trade candidate. While Hochevar is getting a bunch of ground balls, his strikeouts are down, his walks are up and he is getting fewer swinging strikes. Hochevar is thriving because his HR rate is one-third of what it was in 2009 and his strand rate is 11.6 percent higher than his career average. Hochevar’s FIP (4.14) pegs him as a below-average pitcher and his xFIP (4.69) shows him as one to avoid.

HUNCH

Jon Garland – The move to San Diego has gotten off to a rough start for Garland, who is 0-2 with a 3.60 ERA. And both FIP (6.41) and xFIP (5.45) think he is even worse. His cutter and curve, which were such effective pitches last year with the Dodgers, are getting hammered. But I like Garland to rebound. His current BB/9 of 6.00 is over twice his lifetime mark and should regress significantly. Meanwhile, Garland’s K/9 is the highest it has been since his rookie season. And playing in Petco makes it unlikely his HR/FB rate will continue to be at its current career-high of 16.7 percent. My hunch is that he beats his projected RoS ZiPS in W (9), ERA (4.25) and Ks (100).




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22 Responses to “Week Three Trade Possibilities”

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  1. DavidCEisen says:

    Why do so many sports writers misuse the word prorate? Both times that you used ‘prorate’ you seem to have meant something along the lines of ‘expanded based on playing time,’ but prorate means to divide proportionately. i.e. if a player signs a prorated $20 million contract halfway through the season, he will relieve a proportional $10 million for his services.

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    • Jimbo says:

      And if a player earns $10 million for half a season, his prorated annual salary is $20 million no? In that context I don’t see the problem with how it is used above.

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        No, you are doing the exact opposite of what Brian is doing. You are taking a larger number (the whole) and dividing it proportionately. Brian is taking a number and extrapolating it.

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    • alskor says:

      Seems like you’re using it as a term of art from another industry.

      Many sports analysts have a legal background. Pro rata simply means “in proportion.”

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      • CCW says:

        Perhaps “extrapolated” would have been slightly more appropriate, but the concept of “pro-rata” is certainly broad enough to make its usage here logical. See wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pro_rata.

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        Sorry I forgot about this thread. The term prorated is derived from the term pro rata, which does mean ‘in proportion,’ however in order to be in proportion to a whole, the whole must be known. Proportion is defined as “the relation of one part to another or to the whole with respect to magnitude, quantity, or degree.” However the whole of the season is yet an unknown. It is impossible to know how many more games a player will play.

        As CCW stated, extrapolated is likely the best term.

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  2. Quakers Fan says:

    I think it is going to be just as hard to acquire Reynolds as it is McGehee. No owner is going to sell low on Reynolds right now after the year he had last year, especially given his strong production in three categories.

    And DavidC, if you are going to criticize someone on grammar, you better be sure your nitpick is on target. Prorate can be used to divide, distribute, or calculate proportionately.

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  3. Brain of G says:

    So Hochevar’s HR rate and strand rate will normalize, but his K’s and BB’s are going to continue in the wrong direction? Is there a reason for this? That first game looks like an outlier as far as the velocity on his fastball is concerned, but it looks like he’s still averaged around 92-93 the next two games.

    I’m just curious if anyone thinks he has a chance at a solid season or if everyone thinks he is due to be shelled.

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    • Southsider says:

      I’m leaning shelled, prorated to PetCo standards of course. ;)

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    • Brian Joura says:

      On the whole, HR and Strand Rates usually fall into a narrow range, given enough innings. Last year only five qualified pitchers had a HR/FB rate less than or equal to Hochevar’s 5.9 – it can be done but it would be an outlier.

      Neither BB or K rates show such strong tendencies to regress around a certain number, although few pitchers last a full season allowing a bunch of walks.

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  4. philosofool says:

    Question: Buy on Billingsley? He was bad in the last half of last season and he’s been bad so far this season. Real issue or simple randomness?

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  5. mymrbig says:

    Funny to see you recommend selling Hanson based on xFIP since last year you and I had some disagreements over using xFIP as applied to Randy Johnson early in the season. Of course, his injury ended any further evaluation, and you are right about Hanson from last year. What you are missing about Hanson last year are his monthly splits. Small sample size and all, but he showed drastic improvements after his first few months:
    June – 5.80
    July – 4.39
    August – 2.87
    September – 3.24
    That progression was backed up by more strikeouts and fewer walksafter June/July. So a better question is whether you think he can maintain what he did in August/Septemeber 2009 (63.2 innings with an xFIP just over 3) or whether his whole 2009 season is a better bench mark.

    I am perfectly fine tossing out his June numbers where he was probably making some adjustments or nervous and running with his August/September production. He continues to strike guys out, so the question is whether he will get his BB/9 back around 3 (I think he will). I expect an ERA under 3.50 with plenty of K’s and will not be selling.

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    • mymrbig says:

      I should have said I expet an ERA around 3.50, not under 3.50. 3.25 to 3.75 with lots of K’s is a good expectation, and is in line with pretty much all his projections.

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  6. Reuben says:

    Can’t get the prospects – play for this year or next
    article to come up properly?

    Some sort of error.

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  7. AngMohClay says:

    How exactly do you sell a guy like Hochevar who is 6% owned in Yahoo leagues. What exactly can you get for someone who in most leagues is indistinguishable from what’s available on the waiver wire.

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    • Brian Joura says:

      That’s a valid criticism, especially since we are using Yahoo! numbers in our Waiver Wire series (we use Yahoo! because the ownership numbers are easy to see for all players, not because those leagues are the best). In this case, you can look at Hochevar as someone not to pick up.

      At CBS Sports you can find weekly ownership rates for individual players with a couple of clicks. At the beginning of the year, Hochevar was owned in 14 percent of their leagues. Then it went to 24 then 26 and now 29. So, he has doubled in ownership, although still available in most leagues.

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      • Big Oil says:

        It may be a valid criticism, but it is a weak one. At some point the people making comments concerning whether or not a player merits “buy” “sell” “pick-up” “start” “sit” or any other judgment call have to temper the advice here with the parameters of one’s individual league and not some sort of universal knowledge of the dynamics of all leagues. It isn’t reasonable for the writers to write articles concerning exclusively 16-team, 25 man AL only rosters with head to head categories on the one hand and articles for 10 team 30 man mixed roto leagues. Debates about whether performance is sustainable or may be in line for regression is great, but sometimes all you need to do is use your head.

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  8. skoerner19 says:

    Offered Kevin Slowey for Gallardo and the sucker bit! I will definitely miss Slowey, but I think I got away with murder on that one.

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  9. AngMohClay says:

    The tone of my post was a bit more harsh than I intended, a side effect of posting when I need to get up for work 5 hours later.

    That being said, I think Big Oil misses my point. A “buy/sell” distinction is based on premise that a player’s real or true value is out of synch with their perceived or market value. This deviation results in a market inefficiency which can be exploited with a timely maneuver. But this all depends on some perceived market value, and that is really hard to assess for Hochevar, which was my question.

    Obviously if someone wants to pay for him as if he were a #1 overall pick who is off to a great start, then I’d love to deal him, but it’s unlikely I’ll find that – the luster has really worn off his prospect status. I don’t think he’s a good sell high because quite frankly there is too much upside and not enough reward right now. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the guy is going to have a great year, but two more decent starts and his perceived value skyrockets from “not necessarily a top 120 SP” to the “Andy Pettitte Tier” of fantasy SPs.

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    • Big Oil says:

      Fair enough.

      I think you’ll agree that in any case one still must take overall player population, scoring and depth of league into account when determining both true value and market value; i.e., Hochevar has greater overall worth in a deep AL only league than he would in a shallow mixed league. In the latter, his true value and market value are both insignificant, whereas in the former, because of his performance, one side may be able to exploit the inefficiency (as you mentioned).

      So, some of the half-baked comments (not yours) that question the motivation behind recommendations here would do well to frame those suggestions within their league parameters is all. That is a different, and much less productive, thing than asking what an appropriate return would be in a deep AL only league given Hochevar’s recent performance.

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      • AngMohClay says:

        Absolutely agree. My situation straddles the two extremes, a deep mixed league which counts QSs so SPs have inflated importance.

        And I’ll make it clear that I agree with Brian’s original post that he is a candidate for regression, just that I don’t think the timing is right to move him. IMO he could hit a value tipping point with another good start and is worth holding onto because his value is still pretty limited even in a deep AL only league. I mean who could he even buy right now? Could you get more than a decent set up man in a no Holds league like Scott Downs?

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      • Big Oil says:

        Good question re: who he could buy; frankly, I’m not sure either and just assume hold on to him longer as you suggested.

        I do know this: Smoak just got called up and I found out shortly thereafter to snatch him up in my 30 man mixed 12 team league. Because ESPN has swisher at 1b, and I was maxed at 1b, swish had to go.

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