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MLB 2019: The Good, The Bad, and The Mets

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What an odd move by the Yankees. I mean I’ll take it, but it just seemed to come out of nowhere. Is Frazier definitely gonna be dealt now? 

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I attended Cubs @ Dodgers and saw a total pitcher's duel between Bueller and Darvish only to see Rizzo hit a 2 run bomb to win it in the 9th.  It was disgusting.   

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8 hours ago, Ramsay B. said:

What an odd move by the Yankees. I mean I’ll take it, but it just seemed to come out of nowhere. Is Frazier definitely gonna be dealt now? 

Gotta figure the move was designed so they could trade Frazier for pitching.  There's no room for him and no logic to it otherwise.  Which kinda sucks - I'd really like to see him develop as a Yank.

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7 hours ago, Triskele said:

I attended Cubs @ Dodgers and saw a total pitcher's duel between Bueller and Darvish only to see Rizzo hit a 2 run bomb to win it in the 9th.  It was disgusting.   

Made my night better...

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20 hours ago, DMC said:

Gotta figure the move was designed so they could trade Frazier for pitching.  There's no room for him and no logic to it otherwise.  Which kinda sucks - I'd really like to see him develop as a Yank.

My thoughts exactly, I didn't every think they were going to keep him. Not with Florial lurking down there, with Judge, and then bringing in Stanton and extending Hicks.

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On 6/15/2019 at 1:20 PM, Demetri said:

How about those Braves?

They must fix the bullpen if they hope to challenge for a title, but yeah, the way they're playing lately is pretty exciting from the perspective of a fan. The prevailing wisdom is they'll pick up a closer (at least) by the trade deadline, but I'd rather they go ahead and make a move now if one is on the table. They can't afford for Jackson, Minter or whoever to blow 3 or 4 more games before the end of July. 

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1 hour ago, Ferrum Aeternum said:

They must fix the bullpen if they hope to challenge for a title, but yeah, the way they're playing lately is pretty exciting from the perspective of a fan. The prevailing wisdom is they'll pick up a closer (at least) by the trade deadline, but I'd rather they go ahead and make a move now if one is on the table. They can't afford for Jackson, Minter or whoever to blow 3 or 4 more games before the end of July. 

We have ample material such a trade. I think it is a mistake to trade too much for relief pitching, as it is such a crap shoot. Almost categorically, it has been a bad idea to sign relief pitchers. Minter looked great in his most recent appearance. Jackson...well he needs to get his head on straight if he's going to be the 9th inning guy. 

You're not wrong though, it is the obviously lacking bit of the Braves. But we have a lot of pitchers, hopefully Ynoa and other reinforcements can make only one closer necessary. We'll see over the next few weeks.

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32 minutes ago, Demetri said:

We have ample material such a trade. I think it is a mistake to trade too much for relief pitching, as it is such a crap shoot. Almost categorically, it has been a bad idea to sign relief pitchers. Minter looked great in his most recent appearance. Jackson...well he needs to get his head on straight if he's going to be the 9th inning guy. 

You're not wrong though, it is the obviously lacking bit of the Braves. But we have a lot of pitchers, hopefully Ynoa and other reinforcements can make only one closer necessary. We'll see over the next few weeks.

Agree on all. No need to give away too many of those young tradeable assets on bullpen help, but it still feels like something is needed and that the right guy at the back end could make a world of difference. Minter was so awful to start the year that I'm still not sure I trust him at this point to be the guy. 

Your point on Ynoa is a good one; someone needs to emerge from among all those power arms we have floating around AAA. I had, and still have really high hopes for Wright and Sobotka, but they've both struggled this year.

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1 hour ago, Arch-MaesterPhilip said:

Not with Florial lurking down there

If they could, I'd rather they trade Florial and keep Frazier.  But the latter probably has significantly more trade value right now.  Plus, Florial has the advantages of being a lefty and capable of playing center.

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1 hour ago, DMC said:

If they could, I'd rather they trade Florial and keep Frazier.  But the latter probably has significantly more trade value right now.  Plus, Florial has the advantages of being a lefty and capable of playing center.

I think you might be overestimating Frazier's trade value. First, he has less team control than Florial. Second, he is a terrible defender. Like, breaking the metrics bad. Most FOs are savvy enough to realize this. Despite his wRC+ of 118 (18% better than league average), ALL defensive metrics agree that he bleeds value defensively (it is super rare for multiple defensive metrics to paint someone as aggressively bad at defense.) That certainly mitigates his value moving forward. He is a liability in the field and, as a result, his fWAR is on pace for about 1.5 for the season. And that's assuming his offensive production stays on par, with most projections seeing him as playing well above his skill level.

Meanwhile, Florial still has some prospect hype. His value already has baked in his lefty status and defensive positive. At 21, he's just outside of top 100 prospect lists and is probably worth about $28 million in excess value as a 50 FV prospect. He's also trending towards increasing value, and moving from a 50 FV to 55 if his hit tool plays up nearly doubles that excess value.  That is a fair amount of value, especially if traded for a MLer and especially if that MLer signed a FA contract. 

Frazier is also likely to be overpaid in arbitration as his offensive stats look fine, and defensive metrics are less thoroughly examined than counting stats. Frazier is a nice piece, but he is NOT an attractive OFer, instead he looks decidedly like a liability. He would be a fantastic occasional DH, PH for interleague games, guy off the bat who can at least play as well as a cardboard cutout in the field. That's a fair amount of utility for one roster spot with questionable value. He also represents a ceding of trade leverage to the other team who can easily ask "So....what is Frazier to you moving forward? Why ya trading the guy?" and changing the asking price. 

 

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2 hours ago, Ferrum Aeternum said:

Agree on all. No need to give away too many of those young tradeable assets on bullpen help, but it still feels like something is needed and that the right guy at the back end could make a world of difference. Minter was so awful to start the year that I'm still not sure I trust him at this point to be the guy. 

Your point on Ynoa is a good one; someone needs to emerge from among all those power arms we have floating around AAA. I had, and still have really high hopes for Wright and Sobotka, but they've both struggled this year.

If you're a big Braves fan I highly recommend www.talkingchop.com . If you ask me, best single team sports blog around. We'd love to have ya.

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13 minutes ago, Demetri said:

If you're a big Braves fan I highly recommend www.talkingchop.com . If you ask me, best single team sports blog around. We'd love to have ya.

I think I'm a Facebook fan of that blog? I'll check it out.  I've been a fan of the team since '82. 

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Just now, Ferrum Aeternum said:

I think I'm a Facebook fan of that blog? I'll check it out.  I've been a fan of the team since '82. 

I can't overstate what a great community it is. Minor League recaps every week. Great prospect guys. One of the best analytics/statistically minded guys that writes as baseball stuff as a hobby. Really active both on posts and comments. I'm GumpBrave over there. Feel free to say hello. It can be a bit daunting to join in, but it is a really friendly group and most people are incredibly welcoming. It is fairly analytics driven, but it can be a great way to spruce up on that viewpoint of baseball understanding.

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3 hours ago, Demetri said:

I think you might be overestimating Frazier's trade value. First, he has less team control than Florial.

Strongly disagree with the notion Florial > Frazier in terms of trade value, or even that they're close to equal.  I'm well aware of Frazier's defensive woes and subsequent horrid metrics, but, first, defensive metrics are suspect and volatile for an individual player anyway - I still think they often don't comport to the eye test.  Second, we're really only basing this off his 319 innings in right field this year, that's not a lot to go off of.  Third, he clearly has all the physical tools to be a solid fielder, his problems this year are obviously in his head, which indicates he can improve considerably, especially because he's still only 24.  Fourth, he's always graded out as average defensively by evaluators - with a strong arm - which supports the expectation that his fielding can be considerably improved going forward.  Fifth, his metrics weirdly have graded pretty damn well in left this year (granted, in only 91 innings) while league-worst in right, which doesn't make much sense considering left is the much tougher position in Yankee stadium.

Offensively, Frazier demonstrated he can be an ~120 wRC+ in the major leagues this year.  He has an .843 OPS in 53 MLB games this year while Florial has a .758 OPS in 9 games at High A this year.  You're wrong that Florial's value is trending up.  He dropped off most top 100 prospect lists this offseason, then missed the first two months of the year to injury.  Hopefully he can regain that value by the deadline, but he still has yet to prove he can even make consistent contact against breaking balls and still has yet to face even Double A pitching.  As for years of control, the guy who's shown he can perform at the major league level (offensively, at least) and is still under control through 2023 definitely has significantly more value than a complete lotto pick like Florial, who may never even reach the majors.

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2 hours ago, DMC said:

Strongly disagree with the notion Florial > Frazier in terms of trade value, or even that they're close to equal.  I'm well aware of Frazier's defensive woes and subsequent horrid metrics, but, first, defensive metrics are suspect and volatile for an individual player anyway - I still think they often don't comport to the eye test.  Second, we're really only basing this off his 319 innings in right field this year, that's not a lot to go off of.  Third, he clearly has all the physical tools to be a solid fielder, his problems this year are obviously in his head, which indicates he can improve considerably, especially because he's still only 24.  Fourth, he's always grade out as average defensively by evaluators - with a strong arm - which supports the expectation that his fielding can be considerably improved going forward.  Fifth, his metrics weirdly have graded pretty damn well in left this year (granted, in only 91 innings) while league-worst in right, which doesn't make much sense considering left is the much tougher position in Yankee stadium.

Offensively, Frazier demonstrated he can be an ~120 wRC+ in the major leagues this year.  He has an .843 OPS in 53 MLB games this year while Florial has a .758 OPS in 9 games at High A this year.  You're wrong that Florial's value is trending up.  He dropped off most top 100 prospect lists this offseason, then missed the first two months of the year to injury.  Hopefully he can regain that value by the deadline, but he still has yet to prove he can even make consistent contact against breaking balls and still has yet to face even Double A pitching.  As for years of control, the guy who's shown he can perform at the major league level (offensively, at least) and is still under control through 2023 definitely has significantly more value than a complete lotto pick like Florial, who may never even reach the majors.

I'm not very sure that either really has tremendous value at this point, my point was not so much Florial > Frazier. His defensive metrics have been very consistent over his piecemeal playing time. They also stabilize more quickly than you might think, so while full year sample sizes would be preferable, he has sufficient information to judge.

And even aggregated, his defensive numbers really bear out the positional adjustment from LF to RF. He has had a decent 91 innings in LF, but also has 236 additional LF innings that grade out as very bad. The LF number are probably anomalously bad, but he hasn't shown the ability to be even an average defender yet. Additionally, various metrics agree that he has been bad and almost agree on how bad (which is super duper rare and suggestive.) The problem appears to be that he isn't fielding all the really high percentage plays and doesn't field any of the low percentage plays. Normally, the profile for a defender set for improvement is that he makes some of the really unlikely plays but also misses some of the easier plays, suggesting that raw athleticism and mental errors are being reconciled. Not so for Frazier.  Sure, there is a possibility to improve, but that's as speculative as Florial's value. 

I don't really think either has tremendous value and I think if Frazier is traded, that unless a team gets had, you'll probably be disappointed by the return. Frazier is on pace for either about 1.5 fWAR or 1.0 bWar. There is not a lot of excess value there, whereas a generic 50 FV position player is valued at around $28 million (just outside of top 100, as you mentioned.) That is a prospect valuation general rule of thumb, irrespective of distance from minors. Florial's hit tool is certainly questionable, but I think Frazier has plenty of question marks of his own and only 3.5 years of team control for a player who, as you cede, is a project at least defensively doesn't make for an attractive trade candidate. Maybe a AL team will take a flier, but I don't think NL teams would be that interested. That further limits his trade value.

I personally think Frazier is actually over-performing at the moment. His BB% is ghastly, his K% remains super high, he's simply gotten quality contact that has allowed a high ISO to prop up a .330 OBP. Combine those concerns with very legitimate concerns about his glove, and I think lots of ML clubs view him as a known commodity. Defensive awakenings at age 24 (soon to be 25) are rare. Even rarer when you consider that he has a sufficient sample size at the ML level and both UZR and Total Zone basically agreeing on how bad of a fielder he is (and even why). He might be more valuable than Florial, but he isn't going to get back more than a 50 FV prospect (precisely what Florial is) unless someone overpays. Frazier has yet to suggest that he's anything more than a sub at this point. Only an overpay gets you more value than that, to be honest.

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2 hours ago, Demetri said:

He might be more valuable than Florial, but he isn't going to get back more than a 50 FV prospect (precisely what Florial is) unless someone overpays. Frazier has yet to suggest that he's anything more than a sub at this point. Only an overpay gets you more value than that, to be honest.

Well, that was basically my point.  Overall, you have far more faith in the defensive metrics than I do, and I think many evaluators believe Frazier's defense is perfectly capable of improving to at least only slightly below average - it's simply wrong to suggest someone with as few innings as he does (which is compounded by him switching from left to right, as you note) and is only 24 does not have a good opportunity to improve his performance considerably.  

I'm not saying he can net a big-name pitcher by himself, but he's certainly could (and almost certainly now will) be part of a package to shore up their rotation.  Generally, I'm saying he has rebuilt his trade value, which was basically kaput when the season started after lost season last year.  And I think teams value him significantly higher than Florial because he has that big league success at the bat, whereas Florial has a very glaring hole that quite possibly could prevent him from reaching the majors even with his arguably four 60+ tools.  

ETA: 

Quote

Frazier is on pace for either about 1.5 fWAR or 1.0 bWar. There is not a lot of excess value there, whereas a generic 50 FV position player is valued at around $28 million (just outside of top 100, as you mentioned.) That is a prospect valuation general rule of thumb, irrespective of distance from minors. Florial's hit tool is certainly questionable, but I think Frazier has plenty of question marks of his own and only 3.5 years of team control for a player who, as you cede, is a project at least defensively doesn't make for an attractive trade candidate. Maybe a AL team will take a flier, but I don't think NL teams would be that interested. That further limits his trade value.

I also think you're fundamentally mistaken in terms of his valuation.  Just because he has a fWAR (I prefer fWAR for hitters) of .5 in 53 games doesn't peg him as 1.5 guy for the next three and a half years.  If he improves he defense, that'd become a.7, or maybe even a .9, which means he could definitely be a 2-3 WAR guy for three years.  That's certainly more valuable than a fringy lotto pick with basically no experience above High A like Florial.  Mike Axisa, at least, thinks Frazier could be the centerpiece of a deal for Trevor Bauer:

Quote

The Indians desperately need outfield help and a Frazier for Kluber or Bauer framework could make sense -- Cleveland originally drafted Frazier and sent him to New York in the Andrew Miller deal -- depending whether the Indians actually sell. The Yankees did ask about Kluber and Carlos Carrasco over the winter, though that was due diligence more than anything. With the Indians falling out of it and the Yankees needing a starter, they could rekindle those talks in earnest in the coming weeks. 

Now, yes, Axisa is biased as a lifelong Yankee fan, but he's always strived to be pretty fair in his trade proposals I think.  And he certainly knows as much about analytics as you or I.  You're treating Frazier like teams perceive him as a fourth outfielder type.  I do not think that's the case.

ETA II:  Also, just to clarify, Frazier has 4 and a half years left of control, not 3 and a half, according to spotrac.

Edited by DMC

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So quite the gem from Tanaka tonight, that was nice to see.  Didn't follow the gamecast religiously, but looks like he's got his splitter going again.  Also, Boone said before the game that he expects Judge back "in a few days."  Sound like he may be up for the Astros series.  Any other Yank fans here (or anybody) have any thoughts on how the "A" lineup should look when both he and Stanton return?  Here's what I got:

  1. Hicks
  2. Judge
  3. Sanchez
  4. Stanton
  5. Voit
  6. Encarnacion
  7. Didi
  8. Torres
  9. LeMahieu

This is assuming Hicks returns to form, which he hasn't as of yet - although his June has been much better than his May (in almost exactly the same plate appearances).  May seem weird to demote DJ all the way from 1 to 5, but 2017-18 Hicks is an on base machine, and even with LaMahieu hitting .311 his OBP is only .355.  He can serve as the "second leadoff man" that Torres served as last year.  Five righties in a row isn't ideal, but damn that's a lot of power.  I don't expect this to be the lineup though.  Boone seems to prefer Voit over Sanchez (at least IRT higher in the lineup), and I doubt he's gonna demote LeMahieu even though his wRC+ is lower than everyone else's (except Hicks right now).

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9 hours ago, DMC said:

So quite the gem from Tanaka tonight, that was nice to see.  Didn't follow the gamecast religiously, but looks like he's got his splitter going again.  Also, Boone said before the game that he expects Judge back "in a few days."  Sound like he may be up for the Astros series.  Any other Yank fans here (or anybody) have any thoughts on how the "A" lineup should look when both he and Stanton return?  Here's what I got:

  1. Hicks
  2. Judge
  3. Sanchez
  4. Stanton
  5. Voit
  6. Encarnacion
  7. Didi
  8. Torres
  9. LeMahieu

This is assuming Hicks returns to form, which he hasn't as of yet - although his June has been much better than his May (in almost exactly the same plate appearances).  May seem weird to demote DJ all the way from 1 to 5, but 2017-18 Hicks is an on base machine, and even with LaMahieu hitting .311 his OBP is only .355.  He can serve as the "second leadoff man" that Torres served as last year.  Five righties in a row isn't ideal, but damn that's a lot of power.  I don't expect this to be the lineup though.  Boone seems to prefer Voit over Sanchez (at least IRT higher in the lineup), and I doubt he's gonna demote LeMahieu even though his wRC+ is lower than everyone else's (except Hicks right now).

I was at the game last night and thought they were going to pull him after the strikeout to end the eighth inning. I am glad I was wrong about that, best pitched game I've ever seen in person. I like your lineup just like that. LeMahieu should get tons of RBI opportunities like that. 

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