Meddling With Kris Medlen’s Value
From my last FanGraphs Chat:
NEVER PAY FOR PITCHING WITH BIG PROSPECT BATS. When I die, please put that on my grave. You can always find league average pitching to keep you treading water while you dominate in other areas. Honestly, I’ve taken over a handful of TERRIBLE teams and always finish in the top-3 in ERA/WHIP because of shrewd moves. I’d rather spend time identifying sleepers instead of finding trade matches.
This statement resulted in a question from a newsletter subscriber worth discussing at length.
With that in mind, and knowing you can’t accurately calculate value without knowing the nature of the league and other variables, is it safe to say that you would call me crazy for entertaining trading Wil Myers for Kris Medlen and another higher end prospect I could dream on? Medlen helps me now and I still get a higher pick to find another budding superstar.
How does one accurately value Kris Medlen in 2013? If anybody has the answer, I’d accuse them of being some sort of voodoo high priest or something. Nobody could have predicted his meteoric rise to Greg Maddux reincarnate from bullpen arm, turned starter, turned TJ rehabilitator, turned Triple-A reliever, turned bullpen arm, turned starter. In truth, I respect the opposing owner for trying to cash in at peak value.
While recovering from TJ surgery, I owned Medlen in every league. Prior to 2012, he was the poster boy for the type of pitcher I described in my initial statement. However, Medlen could be had for the cost of a spare DL slot. He’s obviously much more valuable now.
For argument’s sake, let’s concede he’ll be a 4.5 win pitcher in 2013 which is higher than his fan projection on FanGraphs. This would have left him tied for the 15th most valuable starter with Cole Hamels last season. Awesome, right? Maybe.
In 2012, Medlen surpassed 150 innings pitched for the first time in his professional career….at 26. If one accepts a widely used organizational rule of increasing a pitcher’s workload by no more than 25%, this leaves Medlen with a cap of 190 innings (including playoffs). Should Medlen remain healthy all season and toe the rubber 33 times, his average innings per start would be 5.76 not including playoffs. This means one of three things.
- The Braves skip a few regular season starts
- Medlen is shut down late in the season
- Medlen has a number of 5-inning starts where he’s pulled “prematurely”
Of those options, number two is the least likely considering their playoff expectations. This means Medlen’s workload is likely to be managed carefully throughout the season. In a traditional 5×5 points league, this isn’t a big concern. Counting stats in April have the same value as those accumulated in September. The best 1250-1500 wins. Period. However, what about non-traditional leagues?
In leagues where quality starts are used instead of wins, I’d be weary of Medlen. With O’Flaherty, Walden, Venters and Kimbrel, the Braves have the ability to shorten a game. I already envision a number of five inning, one earned run starts where Medlen is pulled with a 4-run lead. Frustration much?
The same may be said for head-to-head leagues as a Braves team maneuvering for a World Series run may skip a couple of Medlen starts at a time where those innings mean the most. The Kris Medlen which helped you make a championship push would be absent championship week. In those leagues, invest in September, not May.
As for the specific trade mentioned, I’d probably pass for now. From the question, I assume the full deal is:
Lower first round pick
Higher first round pick
When assessing these sorts of deals, I like to ballpark the players expected to be there with these picks. Let’s assume:
For me, the difference between picks is not enough to warrant trading a potential impact prospect bat with 5-years until he enters his prime for a pitcher entering it now. At the MLB level, Shields-plus for Myers-plus makes sense given how difficult it is to develop a pitcher like Shields from within. In fantasy, it doesn’t make nearly as much sense considering what’s generally available on the waiver wire.
24 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
Tags: Fantasy Baseball Trades
1-On-1 ROTO Strategy Session
The Best Of RS
- Can Alex "Chi-Chi" Gonzalez Crack the Texas Rangers Opening Day Rotation?
- Fantasy Baseball Trade Deadline 101: A Former MLB GM’s Take
- Felix Hernandez and Solo Home Run Situations: A Blueprint For Longevity
- JR Graham: Is He Still An MLB Arm For The Atlanta Braves?
- Mason Williams: Is It Time To Label Him A Bust For The Yankees?
- Mike Newman's Top-50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects Scouted in 2014
- Nick Kingham Scouting Report (2014)
- Rangers Joey Gallo, Marlins Giancarlo Stanton And Strikeouts
- The ROTOscouting Baseball Podcast
- Top-10 Fantasy Baseball Prospects By Team
- Will Mike Moustakas Finally Put It Together Next Season?