Friday, November 14, 2008

Quick Hits -- From Frank Wren to Warren Buffet

Hey y'all, unfortunately, my laptop is still out of commission, but I'm finally heading into a soft spot in my schedule and hopefully I'll have it up and running soon. I've also got some things on my mind I'd like to get out there and see what you all think.

  • Frank Wren isn't who he thinks he is and neither is Tommy Hanson. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Wren and the Braves have broken off trade negotiations with the Padres concerning acquiring Jake Peavy. It's been reported that the Padres were asking for either Tommy Hanson or Jason Heyward in a deal that would also include Yunel Escobar and a few other low talent prospects. Wren apparently thinks highly enough of both Hanson and Heyward to completely eliminate them from the equation, and at least when it comes to Heyward I agree with him. The guy has way too much potential to let go, especially when you consider the current state of the Braves outfield. However, I think Hanson is way overvalued, and it's the perfect time to sell. I realize that the Braves and Braves fans across the country are counting on Hanson to replace the likes of John Smoltz over the coming years, but it just ain't gonna' happen folks. Though he has decent control and good strikeout stuff, his ground ball rates have languished in the mid to high 30% range, and his first few years in the majors will be a rude awakening when major league hitters find comfortable seats in the outfield for some of his offerings. We need look no further than Kyle Davies, Jo Jo Reyes, and Chuck James, who were all coasting through the minors, but have seen their homerun rates (and consequently their ERAs) skyrocket at the major league level. Then again, it's almost a lose-lose situation for Wren. If he actually traded Hanson for Peavy, Hanson would benefit from pitching in perhaps the most pitcher friendly stadiums in the country, while Peavy's stats would take a hit following the move to a more conventional ballpark, and it would seem to the average fan that Wren let a young ace go for an aging has-been. On the other hand, by not trading Hanson for Peavy, the Braves will have to explain for the next 3 years why Hanson is struggling at the major league level, while Peavy continues to carve up hitters out west. Either way, Wren will come out looking like a chump.
  • In other news, the stock market is down. But just as in baseball, buyers and sellers in the stock market tend to make decisions based off of perceived value rather than any verifiable real market value guage. Enter guys like Warren Buffet and Billy Beane, who know that you sell when everyone else is buying, and you buy when everyone else is selling. It's my opinion that 95% of the population generally doesn't know anything about whatever it is they think they know something about, and if you want to be successful, you'd better not do what everyone else is doing. Case in point, the Yankees. They are constantly buying when prices are at their peak (C.C. Sabathia), and refuse to make moves on players in lower price ranges.
  • Speaking of Billy Beane, I'm still not sure about the Matt Holliday trade. Beane isn't giving up much in the deal, and he's getting a good player in the process, but it's a short term hold with the only upside being a flip for young talent halfway through next summer. I don't really see the A's being a true contender until 2010, and Holliday will walk when his contract is up, so either Beane trades him early, or takes draft picks when he walks. It's a good strategy, but I think it's too obvious, and there's got to be something else going on just beneath the surface here that I'm not quite seeing.
  • Tim Lincecum. Hope you got his autographed rookie card off eBay while prices were still somewhere inside the stratosphere. If you're thinking of buying now, just remember the Warren Buffet approach. If everyone else is buying, you should.......

Well, that's all for now. I'm keeping an eye on the Winter Leagues, but usually all those stats are too erratic to get worked up about. Let me know if you've got your eye on an under the radar player you think might have an impact in '09.


James said...

Ouch Adam, I see that you are still an Hanson doubter. I personal don't blame Wren for sticking with his players because I see this as a similar situation as Hudson trade.

For one, we gave up 0 sure thing in that trade. The LHP in the minor (Meyers I think) was the closest thing to a prospect.

In this potential trade, we were offering Escobar, who could become an AS SS ASAP :) Adding another blue chip prospect would've been overpaying for a player since I have a hard time believing that we will contend next year.

Anyways, I'm still holding onto my Hanson Blue Ref until he gets called up and throw a No Hitter :) haha I think Gross Anatomy is killing my brain cells

Adam G said...

Hey James, how's school? I'm just about to finish up my year of anatomy, and I'm kind of sad about it. I really like the cadaver lab and have really enjoyed the course, but like you said, sometimes I think it killed a lot of my brain cells.

Anyways, I can appreciate everyone's enthusiasm for Hanson, and I can certainly see why Wren would rather keep whatever young talent he has. But I am extremely concerned about Hanson's low ground ball rates, which to me indicate an inability to keep the ball down in the zone. At this point in his career he can leave a fastball high in the zone and usually come away with a swinging strike or pop up at worst, but in the majors those same pitches will be crushed, along with Hanson's confidence. A young shell-shocked pitcher who has yet to be truly challenged usually results in 2 or 3 years of hardships.

On the other hand, Hanson's stuff is good enough that once he gets called up, he'll have a handful of starts where he'll look like a pitching protege. But once "the book" gets out on him, we'll see him settle into more of the problems I've described, a la Kyle Davies (remember when he first came up and pitched something like 23 straight scoreless innings?).