Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Money Well Saved

(Editor's note: the bulk of this post was written before Rzepczynski walked Vlad Guerrero. All bets are now off.)

After my monocle came back from the cleaners, I impatiently waited for my pool boy to finish detailing my ornate encyclopedia collection. With my other houseman on a errand run (fetching foie-gras taco fixins) I took a break from shooting toonies with my Desert Eagle to read a Grantlands article from start to finish. Despite needing a shave halfway through, it was quite interesting.

This article was about the Moneyball revolution and what constitutes the new inefficiency. Building a bullpen on the cheap is key in this, as most of the people reading this site already know.

I later "saw" Scott Downs pitching for the Angels in an early-morning highlight pack (his name came up as my staff pantomimed each clip for my amusement, as per our morning routine). Heading over the Downs' Fangraphs page, I saw Scott Downs is doing Scott Downs-shaped things once again.

Downs currently owns a 65% ground ball rate, 3.25 FIP and strikeout to walk ratio of 2.2. Pretty good, yes? Interesting that Marc Rzepczynski's numbers are better across the board.

Rzep's 65.3%, 3.65 FIP, and 2.17 K/BB are pretay, pretay good. His swinging strike rate nearly doubles his former teammate. His numbers look even better when your consider 50% of his walks came in 2 outings and he's really a starter taking lumps as a reliever for the first time.

His numbers look worse when you play the arbitrary endpoints game and realize his June has been as bad as his May was good. But, do his credit, he works for free!

So few teams require high-priced relief talent to get them over the proverbial hump. Getting such talent below market price is hardly "the new Moneyball"; it just makes sense to keep costs low for roles which are easily filled without paying a premium.

As good as Scott Downs was (and is), wading into the free agent market to acquire a player like Downs just isn't smart. Which explains precisely why the Angels went ahead and did it. A middling team (sorry) like the Jays is fine with young player like Rzepczynski providing very similar service at a discounted price.

Image and life inspiration courtesy of Birds with Arms.. They are the wind beneath ourwings, amirite?


  1. So few teams require high-priced relief talent to get them over the proverbial hump.

    which is why the unnecessary acquisitions of Dotel, Rauch, and FF are especially annoying at this point in the season. It's reasonable to believe that the value they collectively provide is less than would have been provided by in-house solutions. When you factor in the value of "finding out what you've got" by giving your young arms a chance to perform at the ML level, these acquisitions look even worse.

    AA gambled on having one of these guys turn into a valuable trade asset. Right now that is not looking likely. I'm not sure he would do these signings again if he knew they would yield at best a sandwich pick.

  2. 1) The sandwich pick alone makes it worth it. teams don't often send high upside talent for those kind of relievers.

    2) The way the starters have pitched it has turned out to be useful to have reliable veterans. The alternatives were guys like purcey, roenecke, richmond.

    If the frasor/dotel/rauch turns into an above average regular in 3-5 years isn't that worth it?

    Fransisco is another story since it was a trade.

  3. I'll have my people contact your people. We really should attire ourselves in pinques and breeches and organize a good ole fox hunt sometime soon.



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