Nationals Baseball: Fister and the drifting apart

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Fister and the drifting apart

One of the more surprising things that came out of the ZNN re-signing back and forth was seeing that a lot of people want both ZNN AND Fister to re-sign. Ummm welll, let's just say I don't feel exactly the same way. To the fancy stats!

.262, .292 career

Fister has had years this good before - .271 and .272 years in the AL, and getting weak GBs is what he does. but still .262 is really low.  Could he repeat this? Sure When I looked, for example, at the Top 10 BABIP guys last year 3 had done roughly as well the year before. But that means 7 didn't, including Fister. Expect at least a minor correction here.

10.1%, 8.5% career

This is about right. If you want to jump and say "It could go down!" let's remember the parks he's pitched in. Safeco is generally a hard place to homer. Comerica is at best neutral.  A little bump moving to DC is probably right.

83.1% , 73.7%

Read this and picture a leprechaun wearing a rabbit foot dress dancing on a pile of winning wishbone pieces. That's Chris Young (seriously, what was up with that guys 2014?). To a lesser, but still important, extent Doug Fister also got lucky. Yes, D helps, but not this much, or else you'd expect to see higher rates on all those other Nats pitchers. Expect this to drop.

48.9%, 49.2%

A little more flyball than you would like and trending in the wrong way for a park that isn't flyball friendly. Still ok, just something to note.

K/9, BB/9
5.4 & 1.3, 6.1, 1.7

He's getting better at control but he's not striking people out. Here's the thing. He's got a lot more room to get worse striking people out than he does to get better at not walking. On some level you have to keep guys from putting the ball in play every time up.

What do we glean from all the above? It certainly looks like Doug Fister had luck on his side last year and by all accounts should see at least a moderate, if not large return to his historical numbers. These are still good numbers, mind you, but they probably don't demand a long term deal covering his mid 30s. Could he have learned to pitch better? I suppose. If you want to be super optimistic you can read the drop in Ks as a plan to induce far more weak contact which would also explain the drop in BABIP and rise in LOB%. There's a couple things that don't agree with that line of thinking though.

We didn't see more GBs we saw fewer. We did see a drop in LD% but then the take away is that Doug Fister is somehow getting more lazy flyballs? I'll buy weak grounders but I won't buy that. Especially without a decrease in HR/FB or increase in IFFB%. The other issue is the drop in FB speed 89.6 in 2011 to 89.1 to 88.6 to 87.9 last year. That doesn't seem like a guy choosing to strike out fewer batters. It seems like a guy who can't strike out any more than he has. Again, it could be a choice that's working marvelously, bBut I feel like that's something you have to convince yourself of not what the data is really saying.

Combine the above and Doug's age (he'll be 31 in less than two months) and I see a Fister contract as a time bomb. At some point in the next few years, could be 2 years, could be 5, he's going to blow up. That inability to strike people out is going to lead to even more batters making contact, they'll make better contact that HR/FB and BABIP rates will come back to the pack and at best he's a back of the rotation guy.

So you don't sign Fister, why not trade high? It's an option. I don't think his value is going to go up anymore. But I think about what the Nats would like to replace him with if he was traded.  Based on the Jackson/Haren signings they'd like a not old pitcher, who can fit in with the team, on a one year deal. Hey! that's pretty much what they have with Fister right now!

I say keep him then. The team wants to win next year. Fister helps them with that goal. Let him pitch and cross your fingers he doesn't blow up next year. Then let him walk (offering whatever you must in a one year deal of course) and get the draft pick when he signs somewhere.

Christmas Movie Reviews 

Holiday Switch
X(Mas)-Factor:  Medium-Rare. Could stay in the Easy Bake a little longer
Kids acting:  There, but not much and not terrible.  Good for you kids!
Watchability:  A little tough for wildly oscillating reasons.
"Hey it's"! :  Nicole Eggert! The guy that played John Ritter in the made-for-TV movie about Three's Company which you probably never watched but I did and the Glad girl who's now in Red Robin commercials was Janet and you know that movie wasn't that bad!

I'm coming at you with a truth bomb right now. Nicole Eggert is not bad in this movie. I'll go a step further. Nicole Eggert is good in this movie. I know, right?  She's acually given a lot to work with and if not for the horrible non-lesson this movie might be one I'd tell you to watch. I'll get to that in a minute

The movie is all Eggert and she does good work being the put upon mom early on. Not put upon necessarily by a lout of a husband (he's actually way too nice and cheerful and you pretty much want to punch him in his smiling mug through his first couple of scenes), or uncaring children (they are pretty much normal), but just by a life that didn't turn out the way she thought it would. They don't have money and times are tough and to make things worse her ex-boyfriend became rich and famous at art which is what she loves to do (let's not forget the real lesson of Christmas movies - artisans are the best, office people are the worst) She ends up magically being transported through a clothes dryer (why not? we're talking magic here does it really matter?)  and living life as his wife. 

And here's where things break down. Minor point - despite her real-life husband marrying someone else, they still have the same exact kids? How the hell does that work? Major point - so you think she'll live this life and learn that money isn't everything and that she misses her family etc etc. But what really screws her up in the dream world is the fact she apparently was a raging bitch in this world and her marriage is ending. How is that a lesson? 

"Life would have turned out differently if only I hit that home run" 
"Ok you hit that home run! You're rich now! " 
"Also that home run hit your son in the stands and killed him and in grief your wife ran away with another man and you turned to alcohol and you are currently going to trial for a DWI crash that ran into a bus of orphans killing them all. Also your son would have come up with the cure for the coming plague so you're on the hook for those billion deaths, too"
"So I... shouldn't have hit that home run?"
"Good. You finally appreciate what you have" 

  I'll give it 6 elves doing the job they are supposed to be doing while Herbie daydreams. The real heroes.


Bote Man said...

A high LOB% tells me that he allowed a lot of baserunners in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Not to change the subject, but I'd be interested in when you think about signing Span and trading Souza or Taylor?

Lets say you offered him a 3/40 mil with an option for year 4/14 mil. Do you do that and trade one of the young bucks for a 2nd. I feel like this isn't being talked about at all.

Span hasn't really caught on with the Nats base of fans..and it's sort of mindboggling.. I'd say he's done everything right. I'm not saying that resigning him is right, but at somepoint does the math should work and the trade could net you a big positive.

JWLumley said...

I mostly agree with the Fister assessment, but I think a part of the BABIP decrease could be the much better defense. I love Fister though, so I hope they keep him.

Also Summer Quinn!

JWLumley said...

@Anon Seriously? Span had a career month last year that buoyed his stats, I'd like to see the Nats sell high on him and get Souza in the lineup.

Harper said...

Bote - not necessarily true. If I only allow 10 baserunners all year (BEST PITCHER EVER) but 3 score my LOB will be 70%. Amount don't matter

Anon - 3/40... hmmm. You're bidding high right now but still the defensive issues were likely fluky so the value will still be there and it's not a long deal.

This is a bridge deal. Like if ZNN and Desi are signed I can see doing this. If they aren't there's no reason to hang onto Span for a team dip season to get a couple wins more (maybe)

Of course the big issue is that Rizzo needs payroll flexibility and he can get some in the OF is Taylor or Souza come through

Harper said...

JW - Some of it is - but not enough for me to think he can repeat it. How can you love Fister? He just got here?

I admire the fact Eggert, well I won't say gracefully aged she's done something, but she falls right into that group that would have horribly mangled their faces by now and she hasn't done that yet.

Span has value - but Souza/Taylor really makes more sense for a number of reasons. Nats don't have a lot of minor league talent but they do have OF. If they aren't going to be big spenders, Span is first to go.

JWLumley said...

@Harper I love Fister because he's basically like a little leaguer out there trying to give his absolute all. Also, because he seems to appreciate how truly lucky he is.

Agree on Eggert. I can't believe that she's in her 40's makes me feel quite old. But not as old as it makes Hasselhoff feel MIRITE.

Trade Span and toss in MW to sweeten the deal.

John C. said...

Is Span available for the right price? Sure! If there is a team that wants to pay a significant price for a player who is only one year from free agency. Doubtful. But there really isn't such a thing as a player who can't be traded if enough is coming back the other way.

That said, the faith in Souza and Taylor is touching; it's like the love for a backup QB or something. I do think that one of them takes over an OF spot in 2016 (although if they both faceplant and Span continues on his current pace the door will be open). But the number of AAA monsters that have flopped at the MLB level is significant. Sure, Souza might outperform Span in 2015. It's unlikely, but possible. But the chances of a flop are so much higher on Souza because he hasn't been put through the MLB mill yet (teams don't have a book on him, etc).

That's a helluva risk for a team with WS ambitions. Do you take that risk if Span gets you enough in return to justify it? Yep. Is it likely that Span is going to get enough to justify it? Nope.

Harper said...

My official Span stance is simply hold ground. Let him play this year - see what comes out of Souza/Taylor in 4th spot.Maybe someone gets injured and they shine or maybe they get exposed.

If forced to sign or trade TODAY... I guess I trade as a realist in that the Nats aren't going to be the NYY/LAD/BOS when it comes to payroll. They have to cut somewhere and this is one spot they might be able to (and 1 SP)

But again - I really say do nothing. It's working now, another year to evaluate minor guys would be great

DezoPenguin said...

I've loved Fister ever since he was with Seattle; does that count? (I especially loved him when he was traded to Detroit for a bag of balls and then outpitched Verlander in 2011.)

Seriously, I'd resign him in a heartbeat, though I wouldn't give him ZNN money/years. Especially the years.

Thinking outside the box, how about Clippard and one of Souza/Taylor to Detroit for Ian Kinsler?

JWLumley said...

Nationals should probably trade Span for Mike Trout. That's what I would do if I were GM.

Seriously though, Span should be dealt for a good catcher because I don't trust his bat. Souza is very good and he is not Tyler Moore. Moore struck out a ton in AAA, Souza had a great OBP. One indicates a 4A player, the other usually indicates someone who'll be successful at the next level.

Also, I am no more a robot than I was the last time

Anonymous said...

So if we trade Span, who plays CF? Bryce? C'mon, Jason does not cover the ground he did a few years ago. Souza has yet to learn the OF. Taylor is at least a year away from everyday, as is Goodwin. Span stays, despite the inconsistencies at the plate.

Froggy said...

We've seen the No Span in CF movie before, it's called Bernadina, Ankiel, and whatshisname who we traded to the Astros. Nope, don't need to see the sequel staring Souza, Taylor or even Bryce.

CF ain't broke so don't fix it.

JWLumley said...

@Chaos The Nats--like the Angels did as well--are robbing themselves of value by placing their young star at a corner outfield spot. (SSS Alert) Bryce has not only been good, but very good, according to the numbers in CF. He's young, fast and has a plus plus arm. One thing people often overlook about defense is that arms matter. Span has a below average arm, yes he gets to a lot, but he gets run on a lot too. What's more is that the Nats have lots of strikeout pitchers, which makes defense less important for their team. Still, the one resource in the greatest scarcity in baseball right now is power. If the Nats have an opportunity to increase their offense and power, they should do it.

Harper said...

Dezo - no way Tigers trade Kinsler this year. Why re-sign Martinez then? Trade for Greene (slightly more ready than Ray) suggest same thing - in for 2015. They might sell off but not until season is decided.

JW - Bryce's CF acumen is debatable. Stats were good for one year but eyes said no and hasn't proven that to be wrong idea in corner. Still I think he COULD do it but LF (or really RF because Werth should move) replacement needs to be a great glove just in case, add that to the fact that replacement already needs to be a plus bat to make pulling Span make sense and that's a tall order.

I agree the Nats should default to Souza/Taylor but I think it can wait a year.

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