Yes, yes, we know everyone’s trade proposal sucks, but we can still have a bit of fun, no? Is this Russia? This isn’t Russia. IS this Russia?
Pelfrey for Joba: would you do it? I sure wouldn’t but Howard Megdal would:
“In essence, for the Mets, this is betting on the guy with twice Pelfrey’s strikeout rate in a more difficult league. Pretty easy choice for the Mets, a team in need of more upside with an eye on 2012.
In essence, for the Yankees, this is adding a durable ground ball machine to an ultra-thin rotation at the expense of a guy who is pitching the sixth inning for your team. Pretty easy choice for the Yankees, a team in need of more certainty out of the starting rotation to win in 2011”
Let’s break this thing down. Here’s my customized Fangraphs box for each pitcher:
From my perspective, Mike Pelfrey is a mid to back end of the rotation starter which likely is all he’ll ever be. He’s never shown the ability to miss bats (5.11 career K/9) and has been an 8 WAR pitcher over 683 innings in his career. Joba has been a 7.4 WAR pitcher in 330 LESS innings. Think about that- it’s more than a full season as a starter and several more as a reliever. Also for a sinkerball pitcher, Pelfrey doesn’t have an exceptional GB%- Chein-Ming Wang has a 60% career GB rate for comparison. Big Mike did pitch well in the first half of 2010 though benefited from low BABIP up until July where the wheels came off. He ran into some dead arm and neck injuries that threw him for a loop.
As for Joba, well, what’s really left to be said? His peripheral stats have always been impressive beyond 2009 and has that 1-2 starting pitcher upside with nasty stuff you can dream about. The Yankees though have not displayed a ton of confidence in his ability to be a productive starter going forward (to put it mildly). As for the fun intangible mess people like to throw around, Mike Pelfrey has had all the same sorts of “mental inconsistency” issues hang over his head. Once upon a time that was called young pitchers adjusting to the big leagues in New York, but I digress.
One other tool I like to use is Statcorner.com’s tERA+ which is adjusted for park, league and defense. It’s scaled just like OPS+ or ERA+ where over 100 is better than league average while under is below average.
As you can see Chamberlain has been a good deal better since 2007.
For the Mets I think this move would be a decent gamble. They’d be betting that Joba ultimately could become an effective starting pitcher and with his upside, he would be a top of the rotation candidate. Losing Mike Pelfrey who has been a durable mid rotation starter for them would hurt. If Joba does turn into that ace you dream about though, the move was certainly worth it. This is no slam dunk though. If we subscribe to the theory that no one knows Joba better than the Yankees do and they’ve already given up on him as a SP, that’s a bad sign for the Mets (and obviously seriously hurts his trade value, but that’s for another post).
On the Yankees side this move would likely be an upgrade over Sergio Mitre, assuming he’s the 5th starter in April. Would he be an upgrade over Ivan Nova? Tough to tell, I’m not sure. Again though, how would Pelfrey’s stuff translate in the AL East? Is that upside, a backend starter on the Yankees, worth trading Joba for especially with the deluge of pitching prospects on the way? Would the Yankees be willing to gamble on another sinkerball pitcher with no strikeout rate to succeed in the AL East?
In my convoluted and slovenly jumbled mind, this doesn’t work for either team. I don’t think the Mets would want to give away 200 innings with a 4 something ERA for a lottery ticket in their current position. I also don’t think the Yankees need to give up very much for a guy who will be stuffed into the backend of their rotation. So in my fantasy land where my opinion matters, I say thank you Mr. Megdal, but no thank you.
What’s everyone else think?