Re: Starters Like Felix Doubront Hinder the team
posted at 6/16/2013 12:55 PM EDT
In keeping with the profile of a .600 team, we have no material weaknesses right now. On the position players, our biggest weakness is 3B, unless we continue to play Iggy there. That's pretty murky with no right answers, so I don't see a trade, unless we want to trade for UIF and send MBR down.
Teams with better winning percentages that .600 always look to upgrade their weakest link, even if the "weakest link" is league average or better.
We obviously have a weak link on offense vs LHPs. We have more than a 100 point lower OPS vs LHPs than RHPs. We can hold out hope that Middy gets his act together and that SV & Gomes continue improving vs lefties, but I'd rather be proactive about it.
Here are our current numbers vs lefties: there are weakness at several positions in this area:
Gomes .760 (normally one of the leagues best)
Naps .700 (just 1 HR and 6 RBI in 81 PAs)
As you can see we have only 2 guys above .780. That is a huge weakness that can and should not be ignored. My guess is we will improve on those numbers over time, but not by a whole lot. I don't expect Iggy to stay over 1.000 either. We have no catcher above .728 vs LHPs. Our best OF by offensive numbers is Carp, Nava and Gomes which will never happen, so at best we will have 1 OF'er out there below .665 (Ellsbury). If we use Carp at 1B, then we need 2 below .665. Our best SS/3B OPs (wherever Iggy doesn't play) is .719 (Middy) or Drew (.607).
On the pitching side, the biggest weakness is Lester and the lack of a second true ace. If the RS could figure out how to replace Lester with someone like Lee, I'd be full on board. Past that, Bailey would be my concern. That's why I mentioned Paps earlier.
We will likely face another starting pitcher issue before the season ends besides Lester. It is always worth looking into improving the rotation or adding depth. Right now, we seem to be OK on depth, but as you pointed out, weak at the top. Finding a top of roatation starter is very hard to do and very costly. It may be easier to find a solid #3 type starter that is dependable, goes deep into games and is better than Lester (right now) and Doubront (assuming he repeats his first few starts productivity).
Doubront has had one bad start out of 11 starts. He's had 10/11 starts with 3 runs or less. On a percentage basis, that's probably the best in the league. Verlander has 12/14, Felix 11/15, Sanchez 11/13, Shields 12/14.
That is a nice stat, but those other guys let up 1-2 runs more often, and when they did let up 3, probably went deeper than Doubie. I'm not downplaying those numbers. Doubront has done a good job not letting up earned runs with such a high WHIP. I just am not sure how sustainable that feat is.
Past that, he's pitching excellently recently with a 3.48 ERA over his last 6 starts.
Very true, but you can also know that other GMs know these facts as well as we do, and his value is rising then, right?
Maybe I'm missing something, but to me, he looks like one of our most conistent pitchers.
It is very rare for a pitcher to continue a low ERA with such a high WHIP, just as it is for a batter to continue great numbers based on a super high BAbip number that is bound to catch up sooner or later. I'm not discounting Doub's ability to improve on his WHIP, but I see little signs of that happeneing.
Last 6 starts:
33.2 IP 11 ERs
48 H + BB in 33.2 IP = 1.43 WHIP (Better, but still not really close to optimal)
Add the 2 HBP and it's 50/33.2 or 1.49.
And FWIW (SSS), his ERA against our three main competitors is 3.58 (BA), 2.52 (NYY), and 3.86 (TB). It's too small a sample, and mostly unproveable, but Doubront also looks like one our most clutch pitchers as well. I'm not bagging on Lester with this one, but would anyone prefer to see Lester against the NYY instead of Doubront?
Right this minute, no, but I still think Lester has an equal chance at Doubront to put up better numbers over the rest of this season. I haven't given up on Lester. He is trying to reinvent himself after losing some steam on hisd FB. It takes time. Sometimes a pitcher never can return to glory after losing speed, but Lester had a long stretch of pitching very very well... as good or better than Doubront's 6 game sample size.
My point is with Lester and Doubront still having issues or concerns, and the possibility of injury or decline by the other 3 (Buch is already showing fragility issues), we can use another quality starter. We don't have to trade Doubront to get one, but he seems like the most valuable commodity we have to try and upgrade at that position.
I undertsand if you or thers disagree that the player we get is or is not better than Doubront, of that a shorter term of a better pitcher does not outweigh the longer control of Doubront, but it certainly is logical to think we can improve on our SP'ers and in particular Doubront or Lester.