Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Yay or Nay: Devin Mesoraco, Jason Hammel

Devin Mesoraco:

The Reds may be off to a slow start but owners have been picking up their players (such as Alfredo Simon and Mesoraco). I wouldn't expect their struggles to continue as they have a solid Pythagorean record of 12-8.

Mesoraco has been one of those players that people have been expecting to break out (and been disappointed by a lack of break out) over the last couple years as he stumbled to a .238/.287/.362 line last year.

So far, 2014 has been another story so far as his first 42 plate appearances have led to a .541/.571/.946 313 OPS+ line. Going into this year, past history wasn't on his side as his most similar player through age 25 A.J. Hinch finished his career with an OPS+ of 65.

While it is clear that Mesoraco is in line for regression, the question is will he play good enough to be a value in fantasy and show off the promise that made him a first round pick and a top-25 prospect prior to the 2012 season. While I was expecting his BABIP to be high, I wasn't expecting it to be .630 which is more than 2 times higher than normal. Even if we cut the current batting average in half, that puts us at .270 which still passes as progress. As he does get older, I think he will make progress from the power department maybe into the 10-15 home run range. While he's not going to be a superstar, you can get decent value from him in the catching department as he appears in line for a solid but not an omg look at that crazy good line fueled by a .630 BABIP type season. On him, I say Yay.

Jason Hammel:

Hammel is coming off a strong start against Arizona last night which seems to have a lot of people in a hurry to pick him up. A 4-start sample (one of the few positives from what is looking to be another bad season for the Cubs) seems to have people convinced to overlook the last 8 years of slightly below average production and think that he could be breaking out and becoming a high level pitching option at age 31.

Me, i'm not convinced. His FIP (ability to prevent homers, walks, hit batsmen and induce strikeouts) is at 4.47 (which is actual higher than his career total of 4.33) and BABIP for opposing players is at a microscopic .132. In addition to basically being the same pitcher and being extremely lucky, his three wins have come against sub-.500 teams (Arizona, & two starts against Pittsburgh).

Hammel's strong early numbers appear to be more of a fluke than an indication that he figured things out as he moved onto the wrong side of 30. Let the opposition learn this the hard way as I say Nay.

All numbers, statistics, etc. found on baseball-reference.com