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Friday, December 23, 2005

Let's Take A Deeper Look

In response to all the comments under the "Prior for Tejada??" post, I decided that this response deserved it's own post.

Pete and I spoke about this trade idea at length tonight. In the middle of the conversation, I mentioned my fear of Tejada and steriods. Since then, I have been thinking about it more, so I thought I would look at a little timeline.

August 1: Rafael Palmeiro tests positive for steriods.

Now, let's take a look at Tejada's season splits, by month:

April: .347 AVG 31 RBI 8 HR .394 OBP .684 SLG 1.078 OPS
May: .292 AVG 14 RBI 5 HR .333 OBP .504 SLG .838 OPS
June: .330 AVG 15 RBI 6 HR .377 OBP .631 SLG 1.008 OPS
July: .330 AVG 10 RBI 3 HR .377 OBP .557 SLG .934 OPS
August: .277 AVG 17 RBI 3 HR .314 OBP .411 SLG .724 OPS
September: .265 AVG 11 RBI 1 HR .317 OBP .368 SLG .685 OPS
October: .250 AVG 0 RBI 0 HR .349 OBP .515 SLG .865 OPS (in 8 AB's)

Quite a pattern. Couple this with the fact that Palmeiro said that he got a "Vitamin b-12" injection from Tejada in September--Jose Canseco said that Vitamin b-12 is a code name for steriods in his book--and where there's smoke, there's fire. That is a CONSIDERABLE drop in production, which started, oh, I don't know, the month that Raffy tested positive for steriods? Interesting.

And Mayfield--to say that Prior had one "good, not great" season is ridiculous...and again plays to my contention that you do not know anything about baseball. 2003 was his first full season in the Big Show (minus the 3 or 4 weeks he missed after colliding with Giles there in July, I believe), and here's all he did (keep in mind, he is 23 at this point):

30 G 211.1 IP 245 SO 50 BB 15 HR 57 ER 18 W 6 L 2.43 ERA 175 ERA+ 1.103 WHIP 10.44 SO/9 innings

(For those not familiar, ERA+ is considered a much more reliable way to judge a pitchers true ERA--from www.baseball-reference.com: the ratio of the league's ERA (adjusted to the pitcher's ballpark) to that of the pitcher. 100 is average. 175 is outstanding. Jason Schmidt led the NL with a 183 ERA+ that year, not much ahead of Prior. WHIP, walks+hits/IP, is also an excellent indicator. His 1.103 WHIP in 2003 was good enough for third-best in all of baseball, behind Schmidt and Pedro Martinez. His SO/9--stikeouts per nine innings--was second in the Majors to only...Kerry Wood. Prior led Major League Baseball in SO/9 last season.)

For those keeping track at home, that is a 4.9 SO/BB ratio. Which is remarkable. He went 10-1 down the stretch. A 23-year-old pitcher, in his first full year, putting a team squarely on his back and carrying them into the playoffs. He also finished 3rd in Cy Young voting.

Mark Prior has a career 3.24 ERA. He has pitched 613.1 innings in his career, and has 719 strikeouts. A career SO/BB ratio of almost 4. Oh, and he is now only 25.

Let's compare Prior's first four seasons to someone--how about Roger Clemens?

ERA: Clemens--3.27 Prior--3.24
SO: Clemens--694 Prior--719
BB: Clemens--216 Prior--195
Hits Allowed: Clemens--656 Prior--536
ERA+ (Average/Year): Clemens--137.25 Prior--131.5
WHIP: Clemens--1.169 Prior--1.192
SO/9: Clemens--8.14 Prior--10.55 (Just for fun: Nolan Ryan's was 8.95)
Innings Pitched: Clemens--767.4 Prior--614.7

So, there you go. Prior compares very, very favorably head-to-head against Roger Clemens in their first 4 seasons. Yes, Clemens pitched 150 more innings than Prior, and that is the main concern with Prior. On the flip side of that, Clemens pitched 150 more innings than Prior in his first four years, and Prior STILL has 25 more strike outs!

So, yeah, I guess being a retarded Astros fan and hearing all the hype about Prior, and how he was the second-coming of Christ himself, I guess he is a disappointment. But when you put things in *perspective*, it is clear that Mark Prior is having as good of a start to a career as anyone has had--extremely comparable to Roger Clemens, one of the top 2 or 3 pitchers of all time.

You guys talk about Mark Prior like he is some prospect playing for the Cubs Diamond-Jaxx farm club. Mark Prior is a Major League pitcher who has proven that he can pitch as well as anyone in baseball. Miguel Tejada, on the other hand, bloated out when he got up to MLB, and his power numbers steeply declined after his very famous teammate tested positive for steriods.

So, I ask again--who you takin'?

Mikey, that's a good post. One reason that I think this trade is a no brainer for the cubs (I actually don't see the O's ever doing it) is Bedard. Erik Bedard is going to be a great pitcher. He's young and in my opinion might have close to as much potential in the future as does Prior.
I slept on it, and I officially will be furious if this deal is made.

Grandpa Pete was on Mike & Mike this morning, and basically said all the things I said in this post (minus the steriod allegations).

What I'm trying to say is that I am on the same baseball-intellegence level as Peter Gammons. Only I made the argument 8 hours earlier. So I am smarter than Peter Gammons.
Ga what are you smoking...i listened to Mike & Mike as well and he didn't say the same thing as you did...he said the O's would never do becuase they aren't getting enough in return...
He then went on to say that he cannot understand why the Cubs would trade away Mark Prior.
Lets hear it for the Royals who out bit other teams to pick up a 38 year old Reggie Sanders for 2 years and 10M. Youth movement my ass
Now there are reports that this could be a three-way deal with Oakland.

O's get: Prior, Patterson
A's get: Cub prospects, Erik Berard
Cubs get: Tejada, Zito

I could get on board with this trade. I am not sure if I would do it if I were running a team, but it does make sense. A Cy Young (lefty) Winner and an MVP for prospects and Prior.

I just do not want to see Greg Maddux, Part II.
Comparing Prior to Clemens is stupid on multiple levels. The first and most obvious I guess would have to be the fact that Clemens was an AL pitcher. So Prior is a little ahead in ERA and SO but he also doesn't have to face a DH which makes a huge difference. Also it is easy to only average 131 runs per year when you only start 20 games and then get hurt and spend the rest of the season riding the pine. But all that is even pointless when you look at how many pitchers have had similar starts to their careers and fizzle out. Why didn’t you compare Prior’s stats to Doc Gooden? Or Steve Avery? Or Rick Ankiel? There are hundreds of pitchers who have started their careers out similar to Clemens and not one of them has even came close to him. Prior is going into his 5th year and all he has to show for it is the one year where he put together a good second half? And that happened two years ago. At what point do you finally realize that this is Mark Prior. Is it when he is signed by the Royals 5 years down the road similar to the career of Scott Elarton who also had an ERA of 3.32 and a K/9 of 8.89.

When I look at a lineup and see Priors name facing the Astros, I am not scared or worried. I automatically think this game is going to be 5-0 by the 3rd inning. I guarantee no one ever had those feelings against the Rocket or any other top pitcher in the Majors.

As far as this being Maddox part II , Maddox was 20-11 with a 2.18 ERA and had won over 15 games 5 times before he went on his way. Prior has won more than 15 games once and has never won 20.

I don’t believe Tejada is on Roids either. I think his numbers dropped because his team was down, they were out the playoffs and it was August when most players numbers do drop due to the wear and tear of the season. Also look at his RBI’s, he had 17 in the month of August. So you are telling me he got off the juice and then went on to have his best RBI month of the year? In the past 6 seasons he has averaged 119 RBI’s from the SS position.

I pray the Cubs don’t get Tejada.
It's M-A-D-D-U-X.

It is pointless to even have this debate with you if you cannot admit that Prior had a GREAT year in 2003. If you cannot even get past that, then fuck it, there is no point talking with you about it.

Being the third-best pitcher in all of baseball for a season constitutes a GREAT season, not a kind of good, not a good second half--a GREAT SEASON.
A great Season is being good from start to finish. He was 8-5 to start the season and THEN he had a great second half.

The guy put together a great second half one year out of his career two years ago. Because of that you are not going to pick up the best SS in the league?
And I am not the only one who thinks this way. The Baltimore Sun reported the reason the deal hasn't gone through is because the O's don't want Prior, (they must not have seen your comparison between Prior and Clemens) they want Zambrano. The Cubs are unwilling to trade Zambrano so that is why Oakland has gotten involved because Zito is also a pitcher the O's would like.

The O's would prefer Zito or Zombrano over Prior. And I agree.
I want Z-A-M-B-R-A-N-O, too. I would trade Prior over Z.

And the whole point of that post, jackass, was to point out CAREER NUMBERS, and how they compare to the greatest pitcher of our time--highlighted by his best year, 2003.
I still think the two best players out there right now are Bobby Abreu and Tejada. I would love the Astros to get one and hate the Cubs to get either one.
Dammit Kyle, stop making me agree with everything you say.

Sorry Mikey. We have to do this if possible.

(awaiting Gage's opinion)
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