26 February 2011

Can Christensen win 300?

The top of the Capra career wins leaderboard currently looks like this:

Brett Tracy
303 wins

Brett Tracy: 303 wins

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Some other guys: less than 200 wins

Those "other guys" include a few active pitchers with 190+ wins. 35-year-old Ted Davis has 195 wins but has a 4-10 record in St. Louis this year. 41-year-old Tom Hudler sports 196 wins and a 1-5 record in S19. Although Hudler is an uncertain bet for 200 wins, Davis should crank out a few more productive years and could conceivably end in the range of 220 to 230 wins.

Neither has a prayer of reaching 300 wins.

Rick Christensen
145 wins at age 30
This is a little exercise about whether Rick "Bridesmaid" Christensen has a legitimate shot at 300 wins. First, a little background. Christensen was drafted in the first round of S9 as a 20 year old, junior college pitcher. He was called up in early June of S12 as a 23-year-old. In his six full seasons since then, Christensen has averaged 19.8 wins per season and is on pace to eclipse that this season (13 wins at the all-star break).

We're going to attempt to project Christensen's career. As comps, we're going to use Brett Tracy and Ted Davis. Neither is a perfect comp, of course, but Davis has a similar makeup and could help us to attempt to predict Christensen's decline phase and Tracy, while mostly incomparable, does serve as our only guidepost to 200+ wins, much less 300.

Davis has continued to pitch without any loss of effectiveness through his current age 35 season. Tracy, with lesser makeup, continued to have "top of rotation" performance and ratings through his age 36 season (S14) and was still very effective in his age 37 season. We'll assume that Christensen's higher makeup (18 points higher than Tracy) and the $20M training budget in Cleveland will extend Christensen's effectiveness at least one additional year.

Let's go to the numbers. We'll assume that Christensen finishes this year with 20 wins and then matches his average of 19 wins per season through age 37. We'll assume that despite 82 health he never suffers a catastrophic injury. After age 37 we'll assume a reasonably steep decline phase. We'll also assume that Christensen remains with Cleveland and that Cleveland continues to employ a team of similar quality.

(Guesstimate seasons are listed in blue italic).

Wins At Same Age

It appears as if Christensen does have a legitimate shot at 300 wins if he continues to go injury free. In the case where a minor injury leaves him just a few wins shy of 300 wins at age 40, Cleveland or some other team will likely bring him back at ages 40+ to reach 300 wins. This might give him a 15 to 20 win buffer on reaching the 300 win milestone.

If Christensen wins 20 games this year, he'll be 23 wins behind Tracy's pace, but he is projected to have an extra season of top-notch effectiveness at the tail end of his career. Christensen also benefits from the expectation that he'll finish his career with a top-tier Cleveland team while Tracy was hamstrung by spending parts of S11 on the 74-win Yanks and S13 on the 61-win Juggernauts, something - hopefully - Christensen can avoid.

Good luck, Rick!

14 February 2011

Monterrey adds Garciaparra

The Monterrey Campeónes have acquired veteran starter Enos Garciaparra from the Seattle Picards for two minor leaguers. Garciaparra will strengthen an underachieving rotation for Monterrey, as the club tries to claim its eighth consecutive AL South division title. Garciaparra was 2-7 for the Picards so far this year, with an ERA above six. "We think he's really much better than his performance so far," said Campeónes skipper Pépe Fuerte. "He'll be closer to what he's done the last five years once he gets settled in."

Garciaparra is likely to slide into the third starter role behind Livan Lee and Rock McCarty. Commenting on the deal, GM Onan Divine said, "We looked at what had happened the first third of the season, and it didn't measure up to where we thought we'd be. Our club has a history of very slow starts, but there were elements we saw that we weren't sure would bounce back. The back end of the rotation was one of those elements, and we're glad we've been able to shore it up." Fifth starter Benj Iannone was designated for assignment, and is ticketed for AAA Matamoros unless his agent can find him big league work elsewhere.

Garciaparra's salary comes along to Monterrey along with Enos, and reduces somewhat the payroll flexibility the
Campeónes enjoyed coming out of spring training. "We hated to lose Darren Owens, but as it turns out the same payroll money we offered to Darren was turned into Enos, Melvin [Hernandez] and Quinton [Bird]. In retrospect, those three players may have a bigger impact on our playoff chances than Owens would have had by himself."

Going to Seattle in this deal are catcher Charles Dunn and reliever Willie Segiugnol. "It's hard to part with good young talent," said Divine, "especially when our minors are weaker than where we want them to be. Enos is just an enormous talent, though, and we had to make this deal. We wish Chuck and Willie all the best out West."

05 February 2011

Gutierrez to Cleveland

Cleveland (AP) -- The Cleveland front office has just announced the acquisition of all-star centerfielder Yorvit Gutierrez. The 31-year-old Gutierrez is a lifetime .299 hitter providing an attractive blend of speed, power and defense. He is signed through season 20 at $6.5 millon per year.

Cleveland GM dcbove stated that the deal was the result of a season's worth of negotiations and that they are excited to acquire the centerfielder in exchange for two prospects.

"We've been actively pursuing Yorvit Gutierrez since the offseason," stated the GM. "It took a lot of hard work, but we think we've dealt from a position of organizational strength to improve our ballclub. One of the strengths of our minor league system is our depth of projectable bullpen talent. McCullough is a strong talent, but one with which we felt that we could part. Wilson is an exciting young centerfielder, but we definitely consider Guiterrez an upgrade."

The first prospect, Matthew Wilson, was a S13 sandwich pick that had played 31 games for the Spiders' big-league club in centerfield this year. He is primarily known as a glove-first player, showing exceptional range in the outfield, top-notch speed, and an advanced approach versus both left-handed and right-handed pitching. His flaw is a lack of power evidenced by his 7 home runs in 3,000 minor league at bats. Gutierrez will assume Wilson's spot on the roster and in the field.

The second prospect is Pat McCullough. A fifth-round selection in S15, McCullough turned the corner during his second year in the Cleveland system and bloomed into a solid major-league prospect. He was the last player cut from the Spiders' pitching staff this spring and projects as a solid 7th or 8th inning reliever. He went 15-2 with a 2.86 ERA for the Spiders' Double-A affiliate last season.