Poll: Which Starter Would Provide Biggest Boost?

The addition of a player such as Zack Greinke or Matt Garza may mean the difference of making the playoffs or spending October on the golf course for a team like the Braves. With the non-waiver trade deadline looming, teams will be forced to consider the value of trading for a front-of-the-rotation starter and how that particular move may impact the remainder of the season.

The question becomes which available starting pitcher will contribute the most down the stretch to help a team reach its goals for the season. Will Ryan Dempster prove to be the second coming of C.C. Sabathia during his stint with the Brewers? Or will Cole Hamels flame out like Ubaldo Jimenez after he arrived in Cleveland last July?


Leave a Reply

75 Comments on "Poll: Which Starter Would Provide Biggest Boost?"


BVHjays
3 years 1 month ago

I think you forgot the poll, sir.

tmengd
3 years 1 month ago

well James Shields isn’t even on the poll but yet is talked about in this article. A little strange

MB923
3 years 1 month ago

Other – Jamie Moyer

dylanp5030
3 years 1 month ago

Cole Hamels and Ubaldo Jiminez should never be in the same sentence.

Gothapotamus
3 years 1 month ago

Jimenez is a flash in the pan malcontent. It’s almost criminal to compare the two.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 1 month ago

Not only that, Ubaldo was terrible before he got traded to Cleveland. He’s been living off that first half in 2010 for awhile now. He didn’t flame out with Cleveland, he was pitching to his talent level.

johnsilver
3 years 1 month ago

Anibel Sanchez’s name is missing in the article altogether, yet his numbers are better across the board than Shields this year…

Breck Lundin
3 years 1 month ago

Gotta go with Hamels ad his post season experience over the others. TO be a real difference maker, potentially, there has to be the ability to excel in the post season. Of course we never know until a guy gets there but for pitchers it seems even more significant they have been there before.

Sean Kelly
3 years 1 month ago

I’d say Jon Lester, when the Red Sox finally put him on the block.. he needs a change of scenery.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 1 month ago

Big Jon Lester fan and I think that any team (especially NL) would thrive with him at the top of their rotation, and we’d see some of the best numbers of his career in terms of ERA and WHIP.

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

The thing I keep hearing about Lester is that he’s bigger this year and is fighting his body/mechanics trying to get the same movement and command on his pitches (and he looks visibly bigger this year – not exactly fatter, but thicker everywhere).

Lunchbox45
3 years 1 month ago

watching him today was like watching a different pitcher. I grew accustomed to him tearing up my jays. but today, so many pitches up, let batters off the hook with 2 strikes.

it was a sight

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 1 month ago

I don’t get it either, but we all know the talent is still there. Trading Lester would be a pretty ironic decision IMO.

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

It would be a terrible decision, unless you could find someone who was willing to give you value like he was still the old Lester, and that’s obviously not going to happen.

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 1 month ago

There really isn’t that much of a difference. He hasn’t lost velocity, and his BB% is the best of his career, so the control and command is there too. He’s just not missing bats the same as he was, and for some reason he’s getting smacked around a lot more. Maybe he’s injured, maybe it’s the .331 BABIP, but he’s basically still the same pitcher with unusual results.

Should mention too that his LD% is at 23.5%, which is unsustainable when comparing it to the 16.9% LD% he had the previous 3 years.

EDIT: Yeah I knew I made a mistake in there, thanks for clearing that up MaineSox. Whichever between the two of command and control is the one where he can do whatever he wants in the strikezone is the one he’s having problems with (I think it’s command).

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

His command is still there, but his control isn’t (or is it the other way around? I can never remember. In other words, he can find the strikezone fine still, but doesn’t have as good of control within the strike zone).

I actually pointed out the BABIP thing the other day to someone (along with the career low strand rate), but part of the reason his BABIP is up is because he’s giving up quite a few more line drives, which I think is in part due to the lack of control; he’s leaving pitches out over the palte more and their getting hit hard. And his cutter doesn’t have as sharp of movement within the zone either, which also causes it to be more hittable.

Lunchbox45
3 years 1 month ago

they may not give you old lester value, but because of old lester, you’d get a lot more than his actual current value.

its a tough decision, but if he’s mentally checked out and quietly wants out of the limelight and media bubble, moving him now would be the wise decision..because things could get worse.

i still think they’d get a nice haul. A team that wants an upgrade, but doesn’t want to move a prospect for a rental, would probably love lester.

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

Yeah, if there’s an underlying issue with him in the city/team/market/whatever that would change things and make trading him more plausible, but short of that I think you ride it out and assume(hope) he turns it around for you.

Lunchbox45
3 years 1 month ago

well given bostons playoff aspirations I’d agree with you.

unless there was someway to get back mlb ready talent, which would be tough in this situation. I was actually thinking the red sox were about to turn the corner and go on one of those torrid runs where they win 18 of 20.

I don’t know that there is an underlying issue, but I do know that boston is a terrible place to play if you’re struggling. The media is intense and I actually felt really terrible for him when he was booed off the field today. Thats got to be really tough for a guy who has been as successful as he has been

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

I was thinking the same thing 3 days ago…

3 years 1 month ago

agreed, it totally depends on what you get back. If the red sox think that he will only be able to get back to 90% of what he was and they can get someone to offer close, then why not take that trade? (one reason might be the amount of money sunk into this team to contend now)

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

I just don’t think it makes enough sense unless there is an underlying off field issue causing the problems. With the way the last two seasons have ended (and the way this one has gone so far) people are getting to the end of their ropes with this team/ownership/front office (right or wrong, they are) and moving a fan favorite like Lester isn’t going to help that (even if you get 100% value for him), especially when he inevitably goes back to pitching the way he has in the past for some other team.

LazerTown
3 years 1 month ago

Personally i don’t think he is a dominant ace. It is often talked about that he wins alot of games, but that is because boston is consistently one of the best offenses in the league. That said though, if he becomes available, I think that he would probably get the biggest package, and would be the 3rd best acquisition for this year along, behind hamels, then greinke; and possibly better than greinke. Better than garza.

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

Lester has always walked a few more guys than you would generally like (but still not an unreasonable amount; 3.31 career BB/9 is completely acceptable), but he’s been a better pitcher than Hamels since the start of the ’09 season (even with his so-so [for him] year last year, and disappointing year this year).

3 years 1 month ago

It is interesting that he is imploding at the same time as Romero. Both are/can be really good #2’s, but are not legit #1s.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 1 month ago

Cole Hamels. Easily. Other than my homer bias, his numbers in the post season speak for themselves.

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

Post season numbers are tiny sample sizes and in no way indicative of future performance. Hard for me to say anyone other than Greinke in that poll, his numbers are pretty significantly better than anyone else on there.

LazerTown
3 years 1 month ago

I would take Hamels, only because of consistency. Hamels you know what you are getting if you trade for him. Greinke on the other hand is sometimes inconsistent. Sometimes he is way better in the second half, sometimes he falls apart in the second half. And year to year he is inconsistent. Greinke is a dominant pitcher months, some months h doesn’t have anything together.

cubs223425
3 years 1 month ago

That’s TYPICALLY the case, but we’re talking about 13 starts that average out to a very good pitcher, with Hamels’ postseason ERA and WHIP at 3.09 and 1.053, respectively. It’s not like he’s only got a couple of starts under his belt, he has been to the postseason in 5 differnt season.

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

13 starts is less than half a season, so it’s still not a statistically significant sample size. Plus, ERA and WHIP aren’t good ways to evaluate a pitcher (and those numbers are wrong anyway; 3.20 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, and his postseason FIP is 3.51).

cubs223425
3 years 1 month ago

Yes, it is, but it’s also occurred over 5 years, so we’ve seen him perform against top-quality teams (I mean, do most starters get 13 starts against playoff teams in a season? Probably not.) at varying times. He’s consistently performed well against those top team (not to say he’s been perfect–he’s had 3 ugly starts), and considering the compeition, that’s more noteworthy than 13 random MLB starts, where probably half or more would be against non-playoff teams.
As for the incorrect numbers, I got those from baseball-reference.com. I looked at FanGraphs, and they list Hamels has having allowed 3 ER in the 2010 postseason, while B-R says that he only allowed 2. I’m not sure why there is a discrepancy.

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

The fact that it’s 13 games spread out over 5 seasons makes it even less reliable, not more.

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
3 years 1 month ago

I voted for Hamels too. Great poise, smart pitcher, and I happen to think he’d shine even more the next time the bright lights hit him.

3 years 1 month ago

real question, How much drugs do you have to do to think Hamels is actually better than Greinke? only thing Hamels has that is worth more than Greinke is he is left handed instead of right.

Clayton Wilson
3 years 1 month ago

Really? You honestly think Greinke is the better pitcher? Hamels is not only the better pitcher, but his postseason success really does speak for itself…..

3 years 1 month ago

sample size alert.

see B.J. Upton.

Lunchbox45
3 years 1 month ago

i agree a bit on the sss. but players aren’t robots.. there is definitely something to being a big game player and being able to handle stressful situations. Especially in pitching, where extra adrenaline can be extremely counterproductive.

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

I know leverage index isn’t really the same as playing in the playoffs, but Greinke has historically pitched better in high leverage situations and Hamels has historically pitched worse. Since ’09:

Greinke: low = 3.00 FIP, 3.06 xFIP (.288 wOBA against) – high = 2.81 FIP, 2.88 xFIP (.238 wOBA against)

Hamels: low = 3.40 FIP, 3.18 xFIP (.290 wOBA against) – high = 3.33 FIP, 3.73 xFIP (3.07 wOBA against)

Lunchbox45
3 years 1 month ago

ya but those are leverage situations within a game, they don’t take in to account the magnitude of a game.

I’m not saying grienke isn’t a big game pitcher or hamels is, I was more speaking in general terms, that especially in pitching, some players will find it easier in preparing for a more important start.

Pitchers are all about routine, playoffs are (can be) a different routine. I could never sleep before a big game, being tired leads to a whole bunch of performance issues.Or alternatively the heightened intensity of the crowd could lead to an adrenaline rush, that if not controlled properly can lead to mechanical issues.

Not saying this has anything to with the hamels vs grienke debate, just merely dismissing the notion that we should dismiss the fact that hamels has performed well in the playoffs.

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

Maybe we shouldn’t completely ignore it, but we should definitely take it with a massive grain of salt. He hasn’t pitched enough postseason innings for it to be statistically meaningful, and while situational leverage and ‘game’ leverage, if you will, aren’t exactly the same, there has to be some correlation between pitching in high leverage situations and pitching in high leverage games. So until they have pitched in enough postseason innings for it to be statistically meaningful I can’t completely ignore how they have performed in high leverage situations, and I can’t say that Hamels does well specifically in the postseason, or that Greinke does poorly specifically in the postseason.

Lunchbox45
3 years 1 month ago

I agree that you can’t say that grienke performs poorly is the postseason, that was never my intent to suggest as much, one start against a really good team cannot be looked at beyond that start.
agree to do disagree on hamels though, I think he proved himself as a starter who is able to show up when it counts. I know that sounds cliche and moving forward I’d still take Grienke longterm on my team, but I think who ever lands hamels won’t be disapointed. Remember they may only make 10 or so starts on their new team, the sample size won’t be big. anything can happen

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

I just think that talking about Hamels’ playoff experience doesn’t accomplish anything. Everyone knows he’s a good pitcher, but it has no bearing on the question about whether he is better than Greinke or not (because neither one has anywhere near enough playoff innings to say who they really are when it comes to playoff games).

I think a team trading for Hamels will be pleased with what they get, but I also worry about how it works out for a team who signs him as a free agent (assuming he really ends up getting a Sabathia type deal like some people expect). I don’t think Hamels is on the same level as Sabathia (I think Greinke is the only potentially available true #1 pitcher; Hamels is more in the Beckett/Sanchez/Price good #2 category statistically).

Lunchbox45
3 years 1 month ago

I agree with everything you said..
I would take him as a rental for the rest of the season, aslong as he didn’t cost too much in prospects. but next year, i’d prefer my jays go after grienke as opposed to hamels.

melonis_rex
3 years 1 month ago

True, although greinke’s had exactly one chance at the playoffs while hamels has had 5. that’s far beyond either of their controls, and if (big if) playoff performance is a skill and not sample size, having more chances should conclude in the player being better at controlling adrenaline and being more mentally composed.

Lunchbox45
3 years 1 month ago

agreed. experience definitely has a lot to do with it.

I’m not saying that Grienke should be penalized for his lack of playoff performance, I just don’t think we should discount hamels playoff success.

sdsuphilip
3 years 1 month ago

It’s really not close, Greinke is significantly better he has just been unlucky with the defenses he has had to face behind him.

Lunchbox45
3 years 1 month ago

I think its debatable to a certain degree, but its no where near as drastic and foolish as you make it seem. Kind of a weird stance on your part

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

I was shocked to see Hamels that far ahead of Greinke. I figured people would discount Greinke to a certain degree because of the anxiety issues (which I still maintain aren’t actually an issue other than possibly with his willingness to play for large market teams), but Greinke is actually the better pitcher, so I figured it would at least be close.

LazerTown
3 years 1 month ago

Greinke may be the better pitcher, but Hamels puts together better performances.

Lunchbox45
3 years 1 month ago

that actually makes no sense.

cubs223425
3 years 1 month ago

It actually kind of does. Compare the ERA and FIP of both guys in each season.
Greinke 2011: 3.83 ERA, 2.98 FIP
Greinke 2012: 3.57 ERA, 2.56 FIP
Hamels 2011: 2.79 ERA, 3.05 FIP
Hamels 2012: 3.23 ERA, 3.55 FIP
Greinke has led in FIP both times, yet Hamels ends up with the better ERA. It’s probably got a bit to do with the defenses behind them and the VERY different BABIPs, but the idea that Hamels has produced more is somewhat true, in terms of PAST production. FIP is a predictor, but it doesn’t matter what your FIP or WAR (which is FIP-based) was if you posted an ERA a full run higher than it, like Greinke’s doing now.

Lunchbox45
3 years 1 month ago

you answered your own question, its defense.

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 1 month ago

I see what you did there..

Actually.. no I don’t.

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

Generally I would go with 3-4 full seasons worth of performance to prove this point, but going back to ’09 would include Greinke’s best season and (arguably) Hamels’ worst season, so in trying to be as fair to Hamels as absolutely possible I’m only going to go back to the start of the ’10 season:

Greinke: 3.04 FIP, 76 FIP-, 3.07 xFIP, 3.42 tERA, 3.17 SIERA, 3.90 K/BB

Hamels: 3.40 FIP, 86 FIP-, 3.17 xFIP, 3.54 tERA, 3.19 SIERA, 3.88 K/BB

If I were to include 2009 (like I normally would) it would favor Greinke by a considerably wider margin.

LazerTown
3 years 1 month ago

Yet in actuality Hamels has been better every year. Hamels is very good almost every year, whereas greinke fluctuates alot. Greinke’s era over 3.91 vs Hamel’s 3.00. Stats are nice and all but in terms of actual production it is not even close.

“Greinke may be the better pitcher, but Hamels puts together better performances. “

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

ERA is a terrible stat to evaluate pitchers with. There are simply too many other factors involved for it to be useful at all: luck, fielders behind the pitcher, official scorer’s rulings, random BABIP variations…

Based on literally every other statistic available Greinke is better.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 1 month ago

How many drugs did you do before you posted that?

In all seriousness though, it depends on what numbers you look at.

Clayton Wilson
3 years 1 month ago

Has to be Hamels….

3 years 1 month ago

Greinke seems to have better stats in just about every category that counts. Am I missing something?

3 years 1 month ago

Well Hamels…if he can be had. This may not turn out. Greinke is more likely to be traded so him.

sdsuphilip
3 years 1 month ago

Greinke not that close

sdsuphilip
3 years 1 month ago

Since 2008 (I will give Hamels the benefit of the better year statistically to start)…. Greinke FIP: 2.98, xFIP 3.21, WAR: 26.8…… Hamels FIP: 3.54 xFIP: 3.35 WAR: 19.1…. it isn’t close

Robb Logan
3 years 1 month ago

I picked other. Historically it is usually a small name that blows up for a trade. One of those ho hum things that pays off. More often than not those are where the crunch time wins come from. CC being the real lone exception in recent memory as a star who propelled a team into the playoffs as a trade deadline acquisition.

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
3 years 1 month ago

Hmm….Doug Fister was that guy last year.

BlastRadius
3 years 1 month ago

Oh please, it’s obvious the real difference make will be J.A. Happ.

cderry
3 years 1 month ago

Who will provide the biggest boost is only part of the discussion, really. Teams also care about signability and whether or not a guy will just be a rental. Because of this, the player that most teams should want is Garza. All of these guys will provide a boost, but I believe he’s the only one under contract for next year.

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

Except that the exact question is “Which Available Starter Would Provide The Biggest Boost?” So, who will provide the biggest boost is the entire discussion.

cderry
3 years 1 month ago

The pitcher who would provide the biiggest boost is Hamels, then. Problem is, that’s not the only thing teams will care about.

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

That’s fine, and I agree that that’s not all they care about, but that wasn’t the idea of this poll.

PClark91
3 years 1 month ago

How doesn’t Hamels have 100% of the votes? Garza is mediocre at best. Dempster is way past him prime and probably bullpen bound in the next few years. Greinke is on a verge to be the next Dontrelle Willis, a complete head case.

3 years 1 month ago

Like: oddly Dempster has the best era in the league right now, better than the likes of Grienke, Hamels, and CC Sabathia?

Seemed like a reasonable sentence.

BlueSkyLA
BlueSkyLA
3 years 1 month ago

You had to put them in the same sentence to make that point. Go figure.

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

Yeah like I said, short of some underlying issue with the city or team or something, holding on and hoping for the best is pretty much the only sensible course of action at this point.

Nick Daniels
3 years 1 month ago

No one will ever do what Randy Johnson did in 1998 again… ever.

MaineSox
3 years 1 month ago

What did he do in 1998? Johnson himself was better 7 or 8 other years in his career…