Thursday, December 16, 2010
According to Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record, the Yankees are “getting close” on Pedro Feliciano.
The rubber-armed left-hander has also drawn interest from the Red Sox and Phillies, among others.
Feliciano’s a lefty-specialist who throws a fastball that averages around 87 mph, but what makes him good is his slider, and to a lesser extent, his changeup. Over the past three seasons here are his splits vs. LHB and RHB.
|vs RHB as LHP||345||289||94||14||1||9||50||55||11||1||.325||.420||.474||.357||68.7||6.22|
|vs LHB as LHP||414||377||80||17||1||6||24||110||13||8||.212||.271||.310||.261||103.3||2.12|
That .420 OBP vs. RHB includes 18 intentional walks, so keep that in mind. Even if you take those out he has still gotten hit at a .325/.367/.474 clip against righties so you obviously don’t want him facing too many of them. But he’s definitely someone that can help the team versus lefties.
I’ve mentioned this in the past but it bears repeating. The value of a player like Feliciano can’t really be assessed using a simple runs saved above/below replacement. He’s a tactical option that can be utilized specifically in high-leverage situations in ways that can have a much bigger impact on win expectancy.
It’s almost certain that barring a significant trade the Yankees will project to be worse than the Red Sox heading into the season. However, the gap is probably not going to be huge. If Boston’s a 95 win team and the Yankees are a 90 win team, if they were the only two teams in the division then we’d expect Boston to have something like a 53% chance at the division compared to the Yankees at 47%.
If you assume a replacement-level reliever has a 6.00 RA against a lefty batter and Feliciano is 2.50, then in one PA the difference in run value is only 0.128 runs. However, if that situation comes up with the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on second in the eighth inning and with David Ortiz at the plate in a game in Fenway park, its leverage is huge. Not just in that game, but in the way we’d expect the season to play out. Boston should be expected to win those home games against the Yankees, and that’s part of the reason they would be favored to win the division. If Feliciano gets Ortiz out there, then now maybe the Red Sox are a 94 win team and the Yankees are a 91 win team. Suddenly Boston’s division winning odds are 52% and the Yankees’ are 48%.
It’s also worth noting that the Red Sox lineup is heavily left-handed with Crawford, Smellsbury,Gonzalez, Ortiz and Drew.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what Texas did at the end of the year and in the postseason, stocking their 40 man roster with relievers that they could pick and choose from in ways that would give them a slight edge in different postseason series depending on the matchups, and it’s another way I think the Yankees could pick up a win around the margins. Load up on lefties that you can move up and down from the minors depending on whatever space you have on the 40 man and then play the options game prior to a series with Boston. The Yankees have Boone Logan, Robert Fish, Steve Garrison and Damaso Marte as lefties on the 40 man roster right now(although there are indications Marte’s not pitching in 2011) so perhaps they’re thinking along these lines.
Of course the truth is Boston’s about a 130 win team and the Yankees are maybe an 80 win team, so Boston’s odds for the division would only drop from 81% to 80%, but hey it’s the holiday season so we can dream the unthinkable, right?
So yeah, I like this move if it comes to pass.
Previous entry: Sickels' Top 20 Yankee Prospects