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…Is Another Man’s Treasure, Week 16

In the “One Man’s Trash” series, I’ve been looking at ESPN’s most dropped list all season long and it’s about time to dig into the most added list for some contrast. Are these hot adds sustainable sources of production or hot streaks destined to fizzle out? Let’s take a look…
 

Edinson Volquez +42 percent

Despite missing a huge chunk of time, having Tommy John surgery is almost a positive for a pitcher these days. Edinson Volquez returned from TJS, as well as a 50 game suspension, and looked as if he had never left. The velocity was certainly there as his fastball sat in the 92-94 mph range, touching 96. He ended his first Major League start since the surgery going six innings while only allowing one run on three hits, striking out nine and walking two.
 
If there was any negative it was in the command of his pitches. Volquez seemed “effectively wild” as you can see from the chart below (via BrooksBaseball.net).
 
 
Volquez induced several swinging strikes on pitches well outside the strike-zone.
 
Command is and will be the only risky factor going forward. Volquez’s career BB/9 rate is 4.59, which usually translates into problems in the long run. However, if Volquez can keep his strikeout rate high (as he did in 2008) he can help offset any issues with base on balls allowed.
 
Given that he was likely added off of waivers for little or no cost, this is an all-upside play.
 
Gordon Beckham +28.1 percent
Beckham was a hot commodity on draft day with an average draft position somewhere around rounds 10-12, but his production to this point in the season, needless to say, has been bust-o-rama. However, Beckham has been on fire in the month of July going 18-for-42 (.429 AVG) with two home runs and eight RBI.
 
This month, finally, Beckham’s line drive rate is over 20 percent after having peaked at 17.7 percent in May. The problem is that Beckham is still being ultra aggressive. He only drew two walks in all of June and only has one walk so far this month. While that aggressiveness has worked so far this month, it certainly didn’t work in June and a BABIP over .400 this month is sure to drop.
 
If you were able to snag Beckham as a free agent just sit back and enjoy the hot streak, but don’t look to him as your saviour just yet. I would take a serious look at all trade offers should other owners want to buy into a second half breakout.
 
Chris Perez +18.2 percent
when Perez started the season as the Indians’ closer, things didn’t go all that smoothly. Now, with Kerry Wood back on the DL, Perez gets another crack at the job. Having only allowed three earned runs in the last two months has lowered Perez’s ERA to the 2.48 mark. But buyer beware, overall Perez has been wildly inconsistent.
 
Split K/9 BB/9 K/BB BABIP FIP xFIP
Mar/Apr 4.05 8.10 0.50 0.275 4.92 6.97
May 10.80 3.09 3.50 0.323 5.60 3.90
Jun 6.39 1.42 4.50 0.183 3.67 4.80
Jul 8.44 11.81 0.71 0.091 5.18 6.46
 
His rate stats are all over the place showing huge variances from month-to-month in strikeouts and walks. Most notably, however, is that Perez doesn’t have an xFIP under 3.90 in any month.
 
That being said, saves are saves and teams in need of that particular stat have little else as an option. If you happen to be one of the Perez owners that is not in need of the extra saves, I’d start shopping him around now as the risk in his game is high.
 
Aramis Ramirez +17.1 percent
A-Ram is hitting .364/.390/.818 in July with six home runs and 17 RBI. Strikeouts were a huge problem at the beginning of the season for Ramirez as he was striking out way above his career average. Then, in June, his strikeout rate dropped to 14.7 percent and stands at 14.5 percent so far in July. His career average in that department is 15.5 percent. The line drive rate has also seen a huge jump from a miserable 14 and 15 percent in April and May to about 23 percent over June and July.
 
As long as Ramirez is healthy, this “back to normal” type of production should continue.
 
Geovany Soto +13.6 percent
I’ve been on the Geovany Soto wagon all season long and it’s finally starting to pay off. Soto started the season hot, but cooled in May, which caused sweet, but saucy Lou Piniella to cut back Soto’s playing time.
 
Since June 1st, Soto is hitting .329 with six home runs and his 13 RBI this month are more than his April and May combined. His BB/K rate has remained strong all season and for the most part, so too have his line drive rates.
 
Soto has already made appearances in the “One Man’s Trash” series one, two and three times in which a buy low was recommended each time. I’m certainly not going to change my stance now.
 
Jair Jurrjens +12.3 percent
Since returning from the DL, Jurrjens has thrown 12.2 innings allowing four earned runs, two home runs and eight hits with a 7/5 K/BB ratio. It’s that last part that should concern you. Jurrjens has a career 1.91 K/BB rate, which is below the Major League average. He’s anything but overpowering, he doesn’t have top-notch command or control and doesn’t get a high rate of ground balls. The one stat that keeps him successful is a low line drive rate against. However, that number can change fast from month-to-month, so the risk remains high for a pitcher that has more name brand value than actual fantasy value.
 
Vincente Padilla +10.8 percent
It has been a month since Padilla has allowed four or more earned runs in a game. During that stretch, Padilla has a 28/8 K/BB rate (five walks came in his last outing) and his K/BB rate on the season is a very good 3.67. Though hitters have been able to make plenty of contact on Padilla’s offerings, they haven’t exactly been making good contact. Opposing hitters have chased at over 30 percent of his pitches outside the strike-zone and managed to hit line drives at a meager 16 percent clip.
 
All of these positive peripheral stats are great, but they are also much better than his career numbers. Also, we are dealing with a relatively small sample size of 61.2 innings due to time spent on the DL.
 
Based on his track record and a declining strikeout rate each month of the season, this seems more like a hot streak than sustainable production.
 
Travis Wood +10.5 percent
Just keep in mind that when a pitcher throws a no-hitter or comes close to throwing a no-hitter it does not neccessarily reflect on the true talent level of that pitcher. Yes, there have been many great pitchers that have thrown no-hitters. There have also been many who have faded into obscurity. Armando Galarraga came within a blown call of a perfect game and found himself back in the minor leagues soon thereafter.
 
Wood now has four Major League starts to his credit and he has pitched well in each, allowing only six earned runs in 26.2 innings. He had improved his command at the upper levels of the minor leagues, which will be a key to his big league success as his stuff is not overpowering.
 
26.2 innings is not enough to truly judge Wood completely, especially when his BABIP against is a low .161. Due to the small sample size, numbers can change drastically and fast. Given that he is unproven at the big league level and was not considered an elite pitching prospect before this season, it would be wise to shop him around to teams desperate for pitching. If you can’t find a trade partner, just enjoy the ride while it lasts.