Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Value of a Single Player

It's not related to the Orioles, but Joe Sheehan at Baseball Prospectus broke down the CC Sabathia trade today. Joe's analysis is typically fantastic, but I especially liked how his column today applies the basics of how run differential affects wins and losses:

The Brewers have 73 games left beginning tonight. Throw in the All-Star break and what that could mean, and Sabathia is probably looking at 15 or 16 starts for the Brewers. Let’s say 15; that means the Brewers have traded for 105 innings in which Sabathia will allow 35 runs. That replaces 15 starts in which the Brewers could have expected about 85 innings and 50 runs. The 20 innings difference would probably be filled by back end pitchers allowing at least what McClung and Suppan did, so add another dozen runs, for 62.

By trading for Sabathia, the Brewers have probably saved themselves between 25 and 30 runs over the course of the rest of the season, making them between two and three wins better than they would have been without the deal. The marginal value of those wins could be astronomical, as there’s an excellent chance the Brewers will reach the postseason by that margin or less, and a postseason appearance pays off in direct and indirect revenues for years. No matter how it actually turns out for the team, this deal was the right move at the right time for Doug Melvin.

Even though the Brewers replaced a replacement level pitcher with an true number one starter, they are only two or three wins better over the course of a half season. That's an important thing to keep in mind as the Orioles approach the trade deadline.

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