As we inch closer and closer to the 2014 MLB trade deadline, players keep moving. The most interesting part of all of this to me is how the public, both writer and fan, have reacted to the multitude of trades so far; with almost unanimous belief that sellers are owning the market.
In keeping w/market trend of this trade deadline: Good return for seller. (In this case, BOS). Price for Lester, Price undoubtedly massive.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 26, 2014
Whether it be the Huston Street trade, the Chase Headley trade, the Joakim Soria trade, or now the Jake Peavy trade, the world has decided that teams are giving up to much in prospect value for the worth of the major league players acquired. That brings us to now; Jake Peavy being traded by the Boston Red Sox to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for LHP Edwin Escobar and RHP Heath Hembree.
One thing that needs to be kept in mind above all else, is the type of systems that these trades are coming from. Fairly predictably, a team that is a buyer, is often a team that doesn’t have a top tier farm system because it is easier to stock a system with talent when you’re picking near the top of the draft. The Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees, and Detroit Tigers are all considered in the worst 10 farm systems in baseball.
The Giants are no different.
San Francisco Receives Peavy
What does a team with the 12th best ERA+ (103) and the third best FIP (3.44)1 want with a pitcher that features a 83 ERA+ and a 4.81 FIP? They want a proven pitcher to replace Matt Cain in both the short- and possible long-term.2 In the interim, Yusmeiro Petit was starting in place of Cain, but was not receiving great results, despite a 3.19 FIP he has an 82 ERA+.
Peavy was tied for first with David Price in the AL for most home runs allowed (20). His pitching ratio stats are all fairly similar to recent seasons, with the main exceptions being a lower strikeout percentage of 18.6% and a higher home run rate (obviuosly) of 3.7%.
Though Peavy comes off as a more reliable pitcher, and he might be when playing at home in a more friendly pitcher park, he certainly represents risk in letting two prospects go to replace an underperforming Petit. The upside of Peavy certainly outweighs the upside of Petit of course, if Peavy can put it all together again.
The 33-year-old righty is still a fastball pitcher, throwing a fastball variant about 73% of the time.3 Although, he hasn’t seen his fastball velocity drop much over the years after settling at around 91-92 MPH in 2008. Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy will be hoping for a bounce back from Peavy to combine with their quality rotation, including a resurgent Tim Lincecum.
Boston Receives Escobar & Hembree
It has been pointed out that Escobar is listed in the top three Giants prospects depending on your source, leading many to believe that this is a great haul for a 33-year-old pitcher that has had a very down season. Don’t forget that all farm systems are not created equal. Neither Hembree nor Escobar were on top 100 lists at the beginning of the season.
That was before Escobar began to struggle in the offensively tilted Pacific Coast League and after a great statistical season in High-A and Double-A. Despite the bump of being a left-handed starter, Escobar profiles as a mid-rotation arm on the high side and much more likely will slot into the back end of a rotation…if he makes it to the majors. While a useful piece undoubtedly, this isn’t an absurd headliner to acquiring a veteran pitcher like Peavy.
Hembree, at 25 years old, is likely the safer and more “exciting” of the two prospects, with a possibility for late inning relief. The righty features a mid-90’s fastball and slider for the most part.4
I was able to get in touch with Baseball Prospectus prospect king Jason Parks via twitter about how the media has felt about the prospects traded so far this season. I couldn’t agree more with his sentiment and don’t forget, this comes from one of the most prospect loving baseball people on the planet. Perspective is key.
@Colby_OL I think most people overvalue prospects and fail to find the significance of what winning at ML is worth
— Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) July 26, 2014