Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Researching Comments: Jeremy Hellickson what to expect & Catcher Options

Reading today's Closing Time, article on Yahoo! One of the reader comments is as follows:

"Hellickson is picking up the pace, is he a safe add for mixed leagues? "

Which raises the question of

How much stock can we take in Hellickson's recent performance?     

The short answer, not very much. Granted his surface stats indicate a possible mini-breakout season (2.03 ERA) but even during these good times there are some red flags to consider before putting him in your lineup.

His FIP/xFIP numbers paint a less rosy picture as these totals are 3.88 & 4.35 respectively. Combining these numbers (putting 1/2 emphasis on FIP, 1/3 on xFIP and the rest on his current ERA) indicates that his projected ERA going forward is 3.73 which is actually slightly higher than his career total of 3.63.

While he has improved his walk rate so far (2.91 career to 2.03 this season), he still is not someone you can rely on for strikeouts (6.75 per 9 this year).   

In looking at the pitch type available at FanGraphs, he hasn't really changed his repertoire much  and his fastball has actually lost about 0.4 mph.

While Hellickson's return is a major source of relief to a Rays team that has managed to get themselves within six games of the final wild card spot, there isn't much to indicate that he's any better or worse than he has been previously. Out of 108 pitchers I have ranked, he comes in at 74th in the rankings, indicating that he's not the best option available on the waiver wire.

Another question in the comment threads regards value comparision between specific catchers

"So does a stake in the A’s offense include adding Vogt as a starting C in a 12 team league? I have been flipping between Rosario (currently), Montero, Vogt, Flowers, etc. They are all available, as well as McCann. Who’s the preferred option ROS? "        

Which raises the question of?

How do these catchers compare to each other value-wise?        

My take on this is as follows:

Tyler Flowers is by far the worst option of the bunch. His already mediocre batting average is being held up by a high BABIP and I have him ranked 294th amongst batters.

Stephen Vogt is projected out to hit .280 and is capable of double figure home run power. His overall ranking is at 187 and is hurt by being in and out of the line-up (one of the factors taken into consideration is plate appearances this year).

Miguel Montero is having a nice bounce-back year and is projected to hit .275 with 20 homers over a full season, he is ranked 92nd right now, not a bad option but not as good as McCann and Rosario

Wilin Rosario is second on this list of five but not by much (literally by one spot). His numbers don't look that great on the surface but he's had lower than usual BABIP and HR/FB rate totals. I'm still high on his plus-power and think he could get his batting average which has always been his value downfall up to about .270

Brian McCann (assuming he can stay healthy) is the best option. While his surface stats seem like he's having an underwhelming start for the Yankees, he's being held back by a .249 BABIP and lower than usual HR/FB rate totals.

Bottom line, Flowers should be avoided at all costs. Vogt carries some value in daily leagues but not standard leagues and Montero, Rosario & McCann (to varying extents) are all solid options.