Monday, January 22, 2007

The Crystal Ball: Danys Baez

Fair warning here. I don’t like this signing much at all. On the surface it really looks bad. $6 million+ a year for three years. 5-6 with a 4.53 ERA for the Dodgers and Braves last season. That ERA is in the Todd Williams range.

But let’s look at the bright side here. We fans are stuck with this guy so lets see what value we can find in this signing.

For what it’s worth, he pitched much better than Todd Williams. His FIP for last year was 3.62, nearly a full run lower than his ERA. His K/9 was at 5.88, not bad but not overpowering. His BB/9 is 3.68 for his career and he will give up the occasional homer. The bottom line is that he is a guy who pitched fairly well last year but was let down by the fielding behind him. Since he is not an overpowering strikeout guy and has a tendency to walk a few batters, he needs his defense to be solid for him to be consistently effective.

So let’s look at the DER (the percentage of times a team’s fielders turn a batted ball into an out) for the teams he played for last year:

Dodgers .683
Braves .689

The Dodgers were tied with Philly for the second worst DER in the NL. Only the Pirates were worse. Atlanta was more respectable, in the middle of the pack, but still in the lower half of the league. Now, how do the O’s look:

Orioles .681

Ruh-roh, Raggy.

The O’s place 10th out of 14 AL teams. Baltimore will field roughly the same team defensively that they did last year so I’m not sure they will be turning what could’ve been an out in Atlanta into an actual out in Camden Yards.

In conclusion, given the difference made in the AL DERs due to the DH, I think the O’s are way closer to the Braves than the Dodgers as far as defensive efficiency but I am not sure this bodes well for Mr. Baez. Although he may have pitched better than his numbers, those numbers require a good bit of help behind him, help I’m not sure the O’s can provide this year.

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