Monday, July 15, 2013

Stock Report: Midseason Edition (Part 1 of 3)

With Atlanta reaching the All-Star Break, the Braves have a lot to be thankful for.  A four-day break to hopefully get some of their outfielders healthy is chief among them.  In addition, it allows them the opportunity to evaluate the stock of their roster in preparation for trade considerations.  Today, I start a similar effort and over the next three days, we will go over 37 players, 35 who have played this season and two more that would have if not for injury.

Starting Pitchers

Brandon Beachy
2013 Salary: $510,000
2014 Status: Arbitration-Eligible for the First Time

Entering the season as a wild card, Beachy was on target to make it back to the Braves a few weeks ago before a setback kept him out of the picture.  It also gave Atlanta a reprieve on a decision that has been quite difficult to this point.  With no starters truly struggling, where Beachy fits into the picture for the 2013 Braves is still a confusing option.  Regardless, his future remains considerable as a pair of starters are free agents.  With that in mind, the news that Beachy threw three innings for Gwinnett in a rehab start last week is promising.  Getting him back will allow Beachy a chance to shake off the rust.  While his 2.00 ERA from last year is a little concerning considering his 4.14 xFIP, if his first 237.2 innings in the majors is any indication, Atlanta's rotation is in line for a big boost.

2014 Projection: One-year deal through arbitration

Tim Hudson
2013 Salary: $9,000,000
2014 Status: Free Agent

The writing has been on the wall for Huddy.  Four young starters who have some level of success in the majors, arbitration-raises on the horizon, and Huddy's advanced age (just turned 38 on Sunday) decrease the chances that Hudson will be a Brave in 2014.  I wouldn't say the door is closed because depending on his price tag and willingness to come back, Hudson could continue his reign as an Atlanta Brave in 2014, but the likelihood is definitely low.  Huddy has remained quite consistent during his time with the Braves, pitching around his career numbers with astounding regularity.  This season is no different.  With a good deal of certainty, you can expect a K/9 rate around 6, 2.5 BB/9, 55% groundball rate, and an xFIP in the neighborhood of 3.80.  The going-rate for that seems like it might be out of the Braves' budget.

2014 Projection: Likely leaving via free agency.

Paul Maholm
2013 Salary: $6,500,000
2014 Status: Free Agent

Like Hudson, Maholm is heading to free agency.  Also like Hudson, Maholm has been fairly consistent as far as full-season numbers go.  Unlike Hudson, Maholm has done it for less time and after a promising start to this season, he has looked like the fifth starter he was before 2012.  Still, considering he's essentially a Huddy-Lite from the left-hand side, he is on target for some good money in 2014.  Depending on how Beachy looks, Maholm seems like a possible trade possibility.

2014 Projection: Likely leaving via free agency, though I would not be too surprised if he is traded before the deadline.

Kris Medlen
2013 Salary: $2,600,000
2014 Status: Arbitration-Eligible for the Second Time

What's to make of Medlen?  At times, the name of Greg Maddux gets thrown around as a comparison?  Last season, he was a budding ace after a tremendous two-month run.  This season, he has been a middle-of-the-rotation guy, often not terrible but rarely superb.  His K/9 is down, his BB/9 and HR/9 are up, and even his groundball rate is down.  Outside of his changeup, none of his pitches have been difficult for the opposing hitters.  I imagine 2014 could be an important catalyst for Medlen to either be a Brave long-term or a trade piece.

2014 Projection: One-year contract through arbitration.

Mike Minor
2013 Salary: $505,000
2014 Status: Likely Super Two, Arbitration-Eligible for the First Time

The expected Super Two cut-off line was 2 years, 119 days and Minor will finish 2013 with 2 years, 138 days so he is likely to reach arbitration this season.  Minor, like Maholm, has seen his numbers fall.  While he still carries a 3.02 ERA, his FIP of 3.34 and xFIP of 3.60 gives a better glimpse of how Minor has pitched this season.  He is on pace for a big strikeout number considering is 8.48 K/9 number.  If Minor has reached his ceiling, he's a solid guy in the staff.  If he still has room to grow, it's going to come from a develop of a breaking pitch.  While Minor throws both a curveball and slider, both have been below-average throughout his career and especially this season.  Developing one or the other could be the difference in Minor being a star in this game or a just a good one.

2014 Projection: One year contract through arbitration, but a possible 3-4 year extension might be discussed.

Julio Teheran
2013 Salary: $450,000
2014 Status: Not arbitration-eligible

The Braves need a cheap option in the staff and Teheran is that guy.  Fortunately for them, he might be their best.  Teheran has shown almost ridiculous control this season and after a troublesome beginning, he has a season mimicking the year Minor has put up.  A few less strikeouts and more hits allowed, but amazing K/BB rates and quite a few homers allowed.  You can win while giving up homers if you keep runners off base.  It seems reasonable to expect the hits allowed to fall and with that, Teheran's numbers will look even better.  Also like Minor, a better breaking ball could be the difference for Teheran.

2014 Projection: Renewed contract

Relief Pitchers

Luis Avilan
2013 Salary: $491,500
2014 Status: Not arbitration-eligible

As the bullpen depth became a true concern, Avilan stepped up and has performed quite admirably.  Despite what seems like one of the strangest K/9 rate in baseball considering that it has been under 5 for most of the season, Avilan has seemed capable of taking on an important role in the bullpen.  There are concerns.  His xFIP is a good deal higher than his FIP which is a good deal higher than his ERA. His groundball rate is over 50% and he typically handles lefties so there is value there, but I just don't know if I can yet trust Avilan.

2014 Projection: Renewed contract

Luis Ayala
2013 Salary: $1,000,000
2014 Status: Free Agent

Acquired early in April, Ayala missed considerable time this season with an anxiety disorder.  When the Braves traded for him, his primary value seemed to be in the Chad Durbin role from 2012, a veteran for low leverage situations.  Those guys stick around, but often find themselves hearing the words "designated for assignment" at some point.

2014 Projection: If he's a Brave for the rest of the season, he leaves as a free agent

David Carpenter
2013 Salary: Unknown, likely prorated minimum
2014 Status: Not arbitration-eligible

A surprise so far this season, Carpenter has finally broke through while a member of his fifth organization after Atlanta claimed him off waivers last November.  A power arm with bouts of wildness, Carpenter seems like a lucky guy so far this season with a .278 BABIP and a 90.6% LOB%.  Still, you take your chances when a guy is striking out well over a batter an inning and keeping his xFIP under 4.00.

2014 Projection: Renewed contract

Cory Gearrin
2013 Salary: $491,250
2014 Status: Not arbitration-eligible

Gearrin got off to a good start in 2013 and looked like he might finally replace Peter Moylan.  However, things got bad and bad got worse and Gearrin was optioned earlier this month.  The glimpses of success from 2012 that made him intriguing as a bullpen option (20 K's in 20 innings, 2.25 BB/9) quickly disappeared this season.  At 27, Gearrin lacks youth and (I believe) Atlanta used his last option.  Chances are, Gearrin will find a new home soon.

2014 Projection: Designated for Assignment.

Craig Kimbrel
2013 Salary: $655,000
2014 Status: Arbitration-eligible for the First Time

I have wrote about Kimbrel twice this week, most extensively here.  There must be a growing interest in locking up Kimbrel long-term.  To that, I preach patience.  How often are closers truly healthy for a five year period?  Since arriving four years ago, and becoming the full-time closer in 2011, Kimbrel has shown a tremendous ability in the late innings.  His 2012 campaign was truly historic.  But the attrition rate on relievers is high, on closers even higher.  I'm not sure Atlanta would be smart to lock up Kimbrel long-term just yet.

2014 Projection: One year contract through arbitration

Cristhian Martinez
2013 Salary: $749,750
2014 Status: Arbitration-eligible for the Second Time

I believe Martinez's abilities have been undervalued by Braves fans.  Maybe I just think the value of a low-leverage, multiple-inning guy is higher than it may seem.  However, you can't go into arbitration with Martinez after two games and a shoulder surgery, especially when he is a Super 2 guy.  Thanks for the memories, Lispy.

2014 Projection: Non-Tender

Tomorrow, I will go over the rest of the relievers and start in on position players.

No comments:

Post a Comment