Who is really the best baseball team in the majors? I honestly don't know but I try to figure that out by using basic and advanced statistics. I live for talking about baseball, it's my biggest drive in my life and I will jump on the opportunity to talk baseball with anyone, even with people who I don't really like. For me, Baseball is a piece of art that sits in my mind all day, ready to be painted on at any point of the day.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A look at the recent Mat Latos trade

By Mike Moritz

Yonder Alonzo
On Saturday, we found out about the minor-blockboster-deal that sent Mat Latos to the Cincinnati Reds and in return, they would flip Edison Volquez, Yonder AlonzoYasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger back to the Padres. The ladder three players were three of Top 10 Reds prospects.The Reds have been known to have been looking for a pitching upgrade for most of the off-season and they essentially got a good fit.

Since coming up to the majors in 2009, he has produced 7.3 WAR, while posting a 3.37 ERA and 3.28 FIP. On another note, he has struck 8.65 per nine while walking 2.83. With the right handed pitcher moving from an extreme pitchers park to an extreme hitters park, we should take a look at his splits.

Surprisingly, Latos does not see much of a difference between his home run rate whether it be at home or away. Home career: .81 HR/9. Away career: .83 HR/9. That's a little bit relaxing that he won't be giving up many more dingers. On the other hand, he isn't an EXTREME ground ball pitcher- his 42.8% ground ball rate is right around average- which might hurt him a little bit, albeit not much. 

Great American Ball Park does increase homers by a lot (statcorner.com) but doesn't seem to do so for doubles and triples. The catch is that while it doesn't increase extra base hits relative to the league, it is greatly enhanced compared to Petco Park, where doubles were depressed by 14% and 28% for lefties and righties, respectively. So now, while Latos isn't necessarily moving to a extra-base-hit-haven, he is moving out of a stadium where any hitter goes to die. As it turns out, Latos gave up 1.5 doubles/9 on the road and just 1.09 doubles/9 at Petco. Not a huge deal but it is definitely something that will probably drive his ERA up a little but should not be by much.

Latos started the year on the DL. He didn't miss much time but it was shoulder  that sent him there. Normally, I wouldn't worry about this very much; it would normally be a little blimp on the radar but as we know, Reds manager Dusty Baker is notorious for ruining pitchers-especially young pitcher's-arms. So now all of the sudden, that shoulder soreness injury becomes a concern, at least in my eyes.

On the other side of the flip, the Padres are getting a really good deal. Personally, I think they are the winners in this trade.We've heard about Yonder Alonzo for a while now and as sad as it is- since he is a damn good player- I expected him to be traded. And so did the average baseball fan seeing that there's some dude named Joey Votto blocking him at first and Alonzo can't really play the outfield. He projects to be a 25 homer hitter on a year to year basis but that is completely up for change because we (or at least I don't) know exactly what kind of hitter he is in terms of hit placement. If he is dead pull hitter than 20 homers is probably his max on the other hand if he has more of a hitting skill set of Adrian Gonzalez, where he can spray the ball all around the field, then we might see 30ish homers from him.

As for Boxberger, he is probably the Padres' future closer. In terms of JUST statistical comparison, Mike Gonzalez seems to be a good comp.

Yasmani Grandal could actually end up being the best part of the deal. The switch hitting catcher can hit power from both sides of the plate while playing above average defense. He also has a 13.3% walk rate in the minors. The potential is DEFINITELY there to be a Jorge Posada but with good defense. Which means there is a shit ton of potential in terms of WAR value. Posada had a .258 career minor league batting average with an .804 OPS. Grandel: .303 and .888. You can also compare to Victor Martinez, another switch hitting catcher: .319 and .881. Just throwin' it out there. Grandal is legit. The Real Deal.

Overall, this trade is a certain Padre win. I wouldn't say by a land slide, but there is no doubt in my mind that San Diego go the better part of the deal.

(Statistics in courtesy of: fangraphs.com and baseball-reference.com)

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