Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

I don’t want them forget Ruth; I just want them to remember me. -Hank Aaron

21 Dec

Luckily, nobody had a heart attack

December 20, 2002 – Prospectus Roundtable: Jeff Kent, Kevin Millwood, and Erik Estrada

The Baseball Prospectus guys were as stunned as anyone by Scheurholz’s LSD trip of a trade.

5 Responses to “Luckily, nobody had a heart attack”

  1. 1
    bamadan Says:

    Another BP staffer gives us his opinion on Paul Byrd over at Rob & Rany on the Royals ~ the link for which, if I didn’t screw it up, is in my login info.

    The summary of their discussion is:

    1. “We’re talking about a 31-year-old pitcher (now 32) who came into 2002 without ever throwing 200 innings in a season, and with a career 4.59 ERA.”

    2. Looking at the Voros McCracken stuff — “We’re also talking about a pitcher who was inordinately hit-lucky this season. By my calculations, he gave up 33 fewer hits than should have been expected given the number of balls in play against him. This jibes with my own observation of him, which is that he got away with as many at-’em balls as any Royals pitcher I’ve ever seen.”

    3. “Here’s what Ron Shandler writes about Paul Byrd ….

    “Why there will be a huge drop-off in 2003 ….

    * 27% hit rate won’t last in KC
    * Dominance is getting worse
    * Homer prone
    * Heaviest workload ever and 88 IP increase from 2001″

    Well, Byrd’s 27-percent hit rate probably won’t last in Atlanta, either. Maddux, perhaps the Braves pitcher most similar to Byrd in terms of stuff, had a 29-percent hit rate last year, which of course is about what most pitchers will have. It’s true that Andruw Jones is better than Carlos Beltran, but Chipper Jones and Gary Sheffield aren’t what you’d call accomplished flychasers.”

    bd’s comments:

    We added a middle aged pitcher coming off a career year that, when you really look at the details, wasn’t all that impressive. For that, we are paying $10m for 2 years AND giving up a first round draft pick.

    Schtupid.

  2. 2
    Jeremy Says:

    Russ Ortiz in 2002 – 214 IP, 3.61 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 15 HR, 5.76 K/9
    Damian Moss in 2002 – 179 IP, 3.42 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 20 HR, 5.58 K/9

    Eerily similar ERA, WHIP, HR, and strike out rates. Moss’ workload was lower, but that’s not surprising in his first year in the league. Ortiz is a year and a half older, which must be why the Braves are paying him $4.4 million this year, as opposed to the quarter of a million owed to Moss. So Atlanta is shelling out over $4 million extra for what looks like identical performance in 2003, if they keep it up next year. The only differences between the two are the hand they hurl with, and the fact that Ortiz is a Proven Veteran, while Moss has just one year under his belt.

    Paul Byrd in 2002 – 228 IP, 3.90 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 36 HR, 5.08 K/9
    Kevin Millwood in 2002 – 217 IP, 3.24 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 16 HR, 7.38 K/9

    Identical WHIP and workload, impressive ERAs both. However, when you look at the disparity in strike out rates, along with Byrd’s craptastic propensity for giving up taters (and without prejudice – 18 at home, 18 on the road), you have to wonder why he’s the chosen one in Atlanta, while Millwood packs his bags for Phillie. I’ve heard Millwood’s arbitration figure estimated anywhere from $8-10 million, so let’s just say the Phillies pay him $9 mil next year. In paying Byrd $5 million for 2003, the Braves are saving $4 million, but with a noticable drop in quality.

    Next year, Ortiz and Byrd are going to cost Atlanta $9.4 million. Collectively, Millwood and Moss are going to cost approximately $9.25 million. So, with a negligible cost difference, the obvious question: Which pair would you prefer if you were building a rotation for 2003?

    Millwood is 28 and Moss is 26, while Byrd is 32 and Ortiz is 28. Atlanta got older while simultaneously managing a severe drop in performance from Millwood to Byrd. None of this even takes into account that Hampton is a downgrade from Glavine. Atlanta’s rotation has been significantly weakened this offseason, and I have serious doubts that they can win the NL East next year.

    Why did Schuerholtz do this? I understand that they needed to cut costs, which is why they replaced Glavine’s contract with Hampton’s, subsidized by Florida. But why sign Byrd and trade for Ortiz instead of just standing pat with Moss and Millwood for the same price? It just doesn’t make any sense.

  3. 3
    Brandon Says:

    I think it’s reasonable to assume that the downgrade to Byrd from Millwood is offset by the upgrade from Moss to Ortiz. The same critiques levied on Byrd can also be applied to Moss – like Byrd, Moss’ numbers are better than they should have been, judging from the peripherals.

    In no way am I defending any of the moves, as I agree, Schuerholtz has shot himself in the foot…it appears he’s acting busy for the sake of looking like he’s doing his job – signs of pressure from somewhere higher up. Before calling for Schuerholtz’s head, AOL/Time Warner should be informed by the fans that we want them out. I wonder if anyone in the Braves’ front office realizes that their cost-cutting is going to hurt them at the turnstiles?

    Maybe JS can make up for his follies by trading Vinny for Mark Bellhorn (who the Cubs have inexplicably given up on). John, if you’re reading this, my christmas wish is Bellhorn!

  4. 4
    Doug M Says:

    To Mac and all the fans who frequent this site:

    Have a wonderful Christmas holiday. Going to this site and reading the posts and comments of you intelligent, knowledgeable, and caring Braves fans has been a daily treat. Thanks.

  5. 5
    Sheila Doby Says:

    You go Johnny Estrada! Glad to see you come to Atlanta! We will be at the games to cheer you on!

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