Yesterday, the Twins announced that Kevin Slowey would begin the season in the bullpen serving as a longman, and various reports suggested that Slowey can be obtained for relief help. This prompted Dave Cameron of Fangraphs to say the following:
This guy ranks 56th in ERA among starters (again, 400 IP minimum) since 2008, one spot ahead of Josh Beckett. He ranks 41st in FIP, one spot ahead of Gavin Floyd. He ranks 48th in xFIP, just ahead of Paul Maholm. Yet, despite being peers with some pretty well regarded pitchers, Kevin Slowey has found himself slotted in as the Twins long reliever, if they can’t find anyone to trade for him.
Slowey would represent a legitimate upgrade over at least one member of nearly every rotation in baseball. Over the last three years, the only pitchers in baseball with a better strikeout to walk ratio are Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Dan Haren, and none of those three have pitched exclusively in the American League during that stretch.
Yes, Slowey is an extreme fly ball pitcher who gives up a good amount of home runs, thanks in large part to an average fastball that doesn’t quite crack 90 MPH. However, his secondary stuff is pretty good, he has terrific command, and he hasn’t shown any kind of real platoon split throughout his career. Slowey is a perfectly capable mid-rotation starter, doesn’t turn 27 until May, and is only owed $2.7 million in salary this year.
Dave makes a fairly convincing argument that Slowey is a solid pitcher who could help many teams, and a number of Yankees fans have since reached the same conclusion and asked me whether I want the Yankees to pursue the Twins’ righty. While I certainly would love for the Yankees to obtain another rotation option with a good track record, the Yankees could not be a worse fit for him, and I would pass unless the price was obscenely low. Let’s take a look at the relevant data, courtesy of Fangraphs:
As Dave notes and you can see from the table, Slowey is an extreme flyball pitcher who gives up plenty of home runs. Using Dave’s criteria of 400 IP over the last 3 seasons, Slowey is 7th-worst among all qualifying pitchers in HR/9, has the 3rd highest FB%, and has the 2nd lowest GB/FB rate. Although there are a few pitchers who have experienced success with similar profiles (Ted Lilly, for example), Slowey differs from them in that he also allows plenty of baserunners, which makes it more likely that the home runs he surrenders will knock in multiple runners. As such, although the total package is one of a solid pitcher, Slowey has an important flaw that needs to be considered by any team that is considering trading for him.
Homer-itis is a much bigger issue for the Yankees than it is for any other team. Although it is based on a small sample and needs to be taken with a grain of salt, the data shows that Yankee Stadium has a home run factor of 1.15, which is the highest in baseball, and I would guess that the factor is even higher for right-handed pitchers. Conversely, Target Field had a HR factor of .83 last season, last in baseball, and the Metrodome had neutral home run factors for most of its existence. Slowey would be moving from a ballpark that suppresses home runs to one that will greatly accentuate his most important flaw.
Just to do some very rough calculations (Many thanks to @Sky_Kalkman for helping with this portion of the post), the HR/FB multiplier for Yankee Stadium in 2009 was 130 (an admittedly small sample, but it is all we have). This means that Slowey’s career HR/FB of 10% in largely neutral parks would translate to a rate of 13% if all his games were played in Yankee Stadium. Because half of the games are likely to be on the road, let’s split the difference, use a multiplier of 115, and assume Slowey would have a HR/FB rate of 11.5% as a Yankee. Slowey has allowed 741 flyballs over 473 innings in his career, or 1.57 per inning. That means if he gave the Yankees a full 180 inning season at that rate, he’d allow about 282 flyballs. Using his career HR/FB rate, that would be expected to yield 28.2 home runs for the opposition, but as a Yankee he would be expected to allow about 32.43 home runs.
Now we need to use linear weights to figure out how many runs 4.21 homers are worth. For the sake or argument, let’s assume that 2.105 of those homers would have been doubles and 2.105 of them would have been outs. The linear weights for these states are: 1.42 for a home run, .79 for a double, and -.30 for an out. That means that on two of the HR, we will use a multiplier of 1.72 (1.42- -.30), and for two of them we will use a multiplier of .63 (1.42-.79). Using these figures, we can estimate that 4.21 more dingers would result in about 5 more runs scored against Slowey. While that does not seem like a lot, it actually would add .25 runs to Slowey’s ERA over a 180 inning season.
Suddenly, instead of an enticing arm who projects to provide and ERA around 4.25-4.50, Slowey looks more like someone who will give you a 4.50 to 4.75, which is pretty close to the projection for Freddy Garcia. Being that I have doubts as to whether he would be a significant upgrade over the choices the Yankees currently have, I would not give up a piece off the current roster to obtain Slowey, nor would I surrender a legitimate prospect for him. Slowey has more value to other teams than he has for the Yankees, and I expect that the Twins will get superior offers from one of those clubs.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- many dresses are especially for wedding or for other events2 on Chuck Johnson on Chase Whitley
- Brand bc on Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- http://2804lasela.wordpress.com/ on TYA Predictions: Bold predictions for 2012
- the tao of badass pdf on What about Austin Romine?
- Joey Parkhill on Dante Bichette Jr’s Swing
- lululemon factory outlet on Contact Us
- Cary on Will R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball Succeed In A Domed Stadium?
- Brenna on Links: Prospects, Support for A-Rod, Mariano is Love and Who’s in Center?
- Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale Singapore on The Monthly Prospector: April Edition
- Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store on The Monthly Prospector: June Edition
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees