Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Perez Perhaps

The Nats have offered left-handed SP Odalis Perez a contract, and they expect to hear back today.

Not a great pitcher, obviously, but there's reason for a tiny bit of optimism... 1) he's youngish... just 30. Of course we said the same thing about Jerome Williams last year.

2) League/Park adjustments should 'improve' him. Using BBRef's neutralization feature, if we dump him in RFK to compare him to what we've seen, he looks a bit better... ERAs of 4.75, 5.58 (blech!) and 4.76 the last three years. Not great, of course, but basically he's Matt Chico.

3) Advanced stats say he's a bit unlucky. FIP, which looks at BB/K/HR rates to figure out a 'normal' ERA (assuming average defense and all that) has him at 4.77, 4.58 and 4.17 the last few years, all better than his actual ERAs. Bad defense? Bad luck? Just a fluke?

His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) the last few years has been terrible, and 30-50 points higher than his career totals. That could be because he was playing in front of a lousy defense or it could be a sign of his loss of stuff. Given that he's lost 2K per 9 over the last two seasons, it might be more the latter than the former. Still, if he rebounds to the high 5s in K rate, he's got a good chance to be useful.

4) The projection systems from the link above are mixed. Two have him in the 5.3ish range. One loves him, figuring his K-rate to rebound, giving him a 4.3ish ERA. PECOTA has him around 5.10 with a decent chance to break out or improve upon that. His top comps are Darren Oliver and the Pride of Glens Falls, Dave LaPoint.

  • It's a good no-risk signing... I've said all along, I think they need another veteran innings eater. I've been working on my projections, and there's about a 80-inning gap that we'd need to fill -- stiffs like Bowie and Speigner filled in last year, but we don't really have the mothballed guys this season.

    If he turns into Loaiza '05, terrific! If he turns into Willaims '07, who cares?

    Lannan could use some more seasoning in the minors... and if the team didn't feel beholden to Chico for what he did last year, the truth is he could probably use some more work -- hunch is that he's not going to take well to the new park... They'd be available when the first wave of injuries/ineffectiveness take hold, along with Battlestar and the rest of the prospects.

  • 16 Comments:

    • Fair point on Chico, Chris, but the quotes so far from Acta seem to suggest that they do indeed feel beholden to him for the fact that he was basically the "horse" of the staff last year. I'd like to see him start in AAA too, but I don't think he could see that as any thing other than a demotion. Totally agree on Lannan, though - not sure why he's penciled in as a regular starter. Perez could definitely start in that Bowie/Speigner role in the pen as a spot starter/mop-up man - and be #1 on the firing line for when somebody goes down.

      The only thing I'd say about that is that at some point (we hope) Balester, Mock, Lannan, or Detwiler are going to force their way into the discussion and it would be a shame if Perez takes innings from a guy who's earned the right to get a longer look.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/19/2008 10:49 AM  

    • He also has an offer from the Red Sox. Three guesses who he'll choose. And the first two don't count!

      By Blogger Ben, at 2/19/2008 10:49 AM  

    • Yeah, I know they do with Chico... maybe the best thing for him (and the team) would be for him to get rocked in spring training... a step back to take a bigger step ahead in the future.

      I doubt that the team's going to let Perez stand in the way if prospects are ready. It definitely won't happen if he's pitching so-so. And if he's pitching great, they could flip him pretty easily, even for a scrub minor leaguer.

      The team is going to need LOTS of innings from their SP this season... if you sit down and look at who they've got and reasonable expectations for what to expect from various SP, there's a decent-sized gap unless everyone pitches to the BEST of their ability.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/19/2008 10:51 AM  

    • Perez not only won't start in Boston, he probably wouldn't make the team. If he wants to play, it'll be here.

      I think this is a good move. Perez can help out around here, and if one o fthe youngsters does push his was into consideration, then you take things as they come. But having a "big league" pitcher at your disposal, regardless of how average he may be, shouldn't be taken for granted.

      The Nats have ALOT of pitchers on the roster that haven't thrown very many big league pitches, if any. and even though they have no expecations of competing this year, someone has to pitch on a nightly basis this season. might as well be Perez, until he gets hurt or somoene pushes him aside.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/19/2008 10:54 AM  

    • the last post was from me. i didn't mean to make it anonymous.

      By Anonymous Dave @ Bottomfeeder Baseball, at 2/19/2008 10:55 AM  

    • OPer: Total stiff. 178 hits allowed in 137 innings. ERA has risen to embarassingly high levels. Let's hope Boston "steals" him.

      To hear the spring training reports, one would think Patterson (semi-stiff) and Hill have 220 innings apiece locked up, Bergmann is the right-handed version of Sandy Koufax and Lannon and Chico are just waiting to bust out.

      Let's get real: this is the worst starting pitching staff in baseball with nobody proven. When Jon Rauch (whom I love) leads the staff with 8 wins -- eight! -- there's trouble here in River City.

      BTW, I drove around the ballpark this morning; if this place is ready to host a game in five weeks, I'm the shah of Iran. There is rubble everywhere within a five-block radius. It actually looked "more finished" around Christmas.

      No wonder the PR staff couldn't hold a caravan. Stan, crank up one of those earth-movers.

      By Anonymous Friend of STAN, at 2/19/2008 11:39 AM  

    • good signing for this team, definitely better to have a guy like this start a few games than the speigner / bowie games chris referred to. wouldn't be surprised if he left camp in the rotation. i still wouldn't be surprised if he stayed there all year. i wouldn't even be surprised if he did for us what livo does for the twins.

      By Blogger Bill, at 2/19/2008 11:52 AM  

    • Last year was the year they needed to sign guys like Perez. Perhaps that would have prevented wannabe starters like Bascik, S-chi, and relievers forced to be starters like Bowie and Speigner from getting starts when everyone was getting injured. Those were very poor backup choices. This year they have Balester, Mock, Clippard, Lannon, O’Connor, and perhaps Detweiler to fill in as starters if guys go down. Those are the kind of guys you want to give a chance to fill in and start which makes signing Perez not nearly as helpful this year as it would have been last year.

      By Anonymous Tulsa Fan, at 2/19/2008 12:55 PM  

    • I was with you up until "O'Connor". I'm not really sold on Mock either. those Hit numbers look like they'd be ugly in the majors.

      We're going to need about 900 innings from SP this year. Where are they going to all come from, given that it's likely that a number of the kids are going to get their brains bashed in, even if one or two of them battle like Chico did last season.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/19/2008 12:58 PM  

    • I liked O'Connor in 2006 and thought he acquited himself quite well given the jump from A until his arm started to bother him in mid June or July and he crashed and burned. He was doing just fine. We'll also get to see if Mock will be able to do better now that his knee has been repaired.

      By Anonymous Tulsa Fan, at 2/19/2008 1:26 PM  

    • Ok, Chris - my assuptio-guesses. 900 innings is a slight improvement over last year, but let's work with that, since I'd really like Rauch and Rivera's arms not to snap off at the new barn.

      Let's start at the top - I think it's a fair assumption to say that we go 50% on Hill and Patterson - one will be healthy, one won't. So let's say ~250 for the two of them combined - one makes his 200 innings, the other doesn't.

      That leaves 650: Chico gives you another 30+ starts of mediocre quality, but does a little better than last year, and gets to 180 on the year.

      470: Jay Bergmann was injured part of last year and managed to put up 115. Let's stay he stays healthier and that flash in the pan in May was the real deal, and he gives you 30 starts, at 5.x innings per - that's another 160-ish.

      310: Tim Redding made 30+ starts last year split between Columbus and Washington. Let's keep the split, but shade it a bit more towards the Nats and call it 120. This also allows for him to be hurt, or for one of the above to be hurt, with Redding to pick up slack.

      190: Ok, now it's getting tough. Last year at this point, we're well into Bacsik, Simontacchi, Bowie, etc. territory. Let's say 75 for Lannan, who starts in the rotation, flames out, and gets sent down. Clippard comes up, gets a look, gives 80 himself of so-so, gets sent down. Balester comes up for a September call-up makes 5 starts and gets 30IP, and then, the last game of the year, needing one win to finish 81-81, Mike Bacsik gets the callup, just to hear the explosion coming from CP and pitches 5IP of perfect slopball.

      So, we may not "need" Perez, but I take your point. This doesn't assume any more than one, maybe one and a half "serious" injuries. That said, I'm counting heavily on Chico, too - if he gets exposed in the new park, we might "need" Perez more than I think.

      By Anonymous Marc, at 2/19/2008 3:11 PM  

    • Great post, Marc.

      That's roughly my line of thinking... I'll have my official projections at some point in the coming weeks, but theyr'e along the same line of yours.

      I'm not convinced that Chico is going to be able to replicate last year's IP totals... and I'm not really sold on Bergmann as a SP bc of his arm injuries. If one of those falters in your projections, there's a pretty big gap to fill.

      I like having the safety net of someone like Perez (assuming he shows he's capable of being an ok#4-type). If the kids show they're ready, he's disposable.... but penciling him in for 100 innings gives us a little reassurance going forward!

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/19/2008 3:16 PM  

    • Fair point - it's a nice cushion - I think in my line you could ramp Redding up a bit, but you could also argue that he's not really any better than Perez, either. It's also worth remembering that whatever you think of Chico, Lannan was working out getting ready for A-ball at this point last year. I'm not sure why people are counting on him as a starter, either. All in all, I think the Perez signing is much better than Livo, though, since it's not a guaranteed roster spot, and it's one year. Even if Irish Mike or Mock prove out, then Perez can be the Columbus staff ace.

      By Anonymous Marc, at 2/19/2008 3:32 PM  

    • It's better to look at Perez as this year's Simontacchi. (or even Jerome Williams).

      they're the guys who are likely to break camp because of their contract status (ie: they can't really be sent down, barring something unusual), so you've gotta start the season with them til they break down or suck. (or both!)

      If Perez shows them ANYTHING in spring training, he comes north with the team to the detriment of Chico or Lannan.

      Because of contracts, it's almost guaranteed to be Hill/Patterson/Bergmann/Redding/Perez when we come north.

      By Blogger Chris Needham, at 2/19/2008 3:35 PM  

    • Well, I think I see him more as the Bowie/Speigner than the Jerome Williams (what happened to Southeast Jerome, anyway?), but I think he's probably on the staff. I just think Chico's got a rotation spot locked down until he gets hurt or pitches his way out of it.

      By Anonymous Marc, at 2/19/2008 3:40 PM  

    • I agree with Marc. Chico doesn't have to "make the team" this year. He could still "un-make" it if he does extremely poorly in the spring or gets hurt though. Someone like Lannan or Balester has to pitch significantly better than OPer in order to come north though -- assuming that the DL doesn't get too full in March.

      By Anonymous Simon Oliver Lockwood, at 2/19/2008 4:20 PM  

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