Michael Wacha: Buy Or Sell?
Is Michael Wacha man or machine? Seriously, who faces Clayton Kershaw twice under any circumstance and comes away with a pair of wins? Without a doubt, Wacha’s dynasty league owners woke up this morning with Wacha-wood. Based on his college profile, Wacha likely slid down prospect draft boards and was taken later than his actual draft slot. People took him because there was nothing better left. At the time, the pick was uninspired and safe.
Now, not so much.
Wacha has pitched like an ace in September. It’s the stuff of legend for sure. But is this the sign of seasons to come, or your chance to cash in on an asset whose value will never be higher?
A year ago, would these trade offers be laughable or ludicrous?
If any of those deals were offered to me prior to the 2013 season, it would have been an insult. Now, a Wacha owner might consider him untouchable.
With each passing year, it becomes harder for me to consider any pitcher untouchable. Due to Tommy John surgery, Matt Harvey, Dylan Bundy and Taylor Guerrieri all saw their values take a hit. Stephen Strasburg is more than two seasons removed from Tommy John surgery and still hasn’t logged a 200 inning season. Yes, most pitchers are 100% after Tommy John, but it does set timetables back.
Wacha may throw 15-seasons of injury free baseball, but a veteran scout’s comment that “every pitcher breaks eventually” is always in the back of my mind.
Another reason to sell Wacha is the league hasn’t had enough time to make adjustments to him. At present, Wacha is a two pitch guy. Of qualified right-handed pitchers who feature two pitches including a fastball averaging 93-plus, Shelby Miller is the best. Cubs Edwin Jackson and Brewers Wily Peralta are the other two who fit the profile.
Speaking of Miller, wasn’t he as awesome as Wacha about a year ago? Yes, he had a great rookie season, but it was due in large part to first half success. In the second half, Miller’s xFIP rose by a full run to 4.33.
Peralta’s FIP was 4.30 in 2013
Jackson’s FIP was 3.86 in 2013
Eventually, the league will adjust to Wacha and he’ll need to develop a consistent third offering. The decision to buy or sell will depend on how much trust one has in Wacha’s ability to do it. As for me, the downside of Peralta or Jackson is too much for me not to sell. Cash in the chip now and add a potential juggernaut for the future.
3 Feb 2014 / Mike Newman /
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