Monday, February 16, 2009

Would You Trade David Price For Matt Wieters?

David PriceVictor Wang at The Hardball Times would. He makes the case that Matt Wieters is worth twice as much as David Price:
Now, let me pose to you a hypothetical question. Say you are in Andrew Friedman's shoes and suddenly you get a phone call. It's from Andy MacPhail, and he offers you a trade: Matt Wieters for David Price, take it or leave it. What would your answer be? Of course, these types of trades never get offered, and there are reasons why both teams would reject. But let's just pretend for now this is a legitimate offer.
However, in this situation, the decision is easy. It's a no brainer decision to take Wieters for Price. All existing data shows that Wieters has much more projected value than Price going into 2009, enough to make the trade an easy decision.
To put it simply, Wieters has about twice as much value as David Price. Yes, both players are regarded at about the same level by most prospect experts. So how can I say Wieters is so much more valuable? It has to do with the prior probabilities. The track record for pitching prospects is just so much worse when compared to hitters. Could Price turn into one of the top players in baseball? Absolutely, that's why he's one of the top prospects in baseball. However, when we deal with prospects we are dealing with risk management. The risk in this case leans heavily towards Wieters' side.
Make sure to read the entire article to see the statistical analysis he uses to support his conclusion. He also discusses the most productive way to build a team.

Ed Valentine at Bugs and Cranks compares the bullpens of the Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees:
A bullpen is only as good as the guy closing the door in the 9th inning. That, automatically, makes the Rays bullpen No. 3 in this discussion. Troy Percival will be 40 this season and is, obviously, on his last legs. He has not pitched at least 50 innings in a season since 2002. Besides which, his 4.53 ERA last season leads you to think he wasn’t that effective, anyway. Dan Wheeler (13 saves) and Grant Balfour (4 saves) each closed some in 2008, but the Rays can’t think they can win it all with one of them pitching the 9th inning.
His conclusion may or may not be right (that the Rays have the 3rd best bullpen), but it's his statement at the end that I take issue with. He says 2009-Percival will be injury prone and not very good, just like 2008-Percival. Ok. He says the Rays will have to use Wheeler and Balfour in 2009, just like they did in 2008. Ok.

So he thinks the Rays bullpen will be pretty much the same as 2008, when they won the AL East, ALDS, and ALCS. But then he says "the Rays can't think they can win it all" in 2009. Huh?

1 comment:

  1. In re: Wieters, I thought it was a bit iffy that he'd compare Wieters to the top 10 hitters when catchers seem like a different breed of prospects(Young Catcher Stagnation Syndrome and all that). I e-mailed him about it and he said:

    "I've read John Sickels stuff on the young catcher stagnation syndrome and it's very interesting, but I didn't do anything in particular to account for this. Ideally we could take a prior of catchers who have been rated in the top but obviously there are sample size issues with this. One thing to consider though is that Wieters' bat is so advanced that even if he stops developing he's still probably at least a major leaguea average hitter. I do have a draft database from 1990-1997 and one thing I plan to do is to look at attrition rates by position (since this has more data than my prospect database). This will hopefully provide us with a little more data."

    I agree with him about Wieters bat being so advanced, and obviously the sample size issues are very real, but personally, I'd think his %bust chance would be higher than .07.