15 December 2014

Expanding on the Orioles' Rule 5 Acquisitions

In the major league phase of the December 11 Rule 5 draft, the Orioles acquired two players. They purchased pitcher Jason Garcia from the Astros after Houston had selected him from the Red Sox, and with their own selection they drafted pitched Logan Verrett from the Mets. You may decide that I'm a baseball freak in many senses of the term because I've actually seen both Verrett and Garcia pitch live in minor-league games. On June 7, 2013, after a rainy afternoon at the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, I saw Logan Verrett pitch for the Binghamton Mets against the Altoona Curve at People's Natural Gas Field in Altoona, PA. And on August 7, 2014, on my way to Atlanta, I saw Jason Garcia pitch three innings of relief for the Greenville Drive against the Augusta Greenjackets at Fluor Field in Greenville, SC.

I admit I don't remember Verrett or Garcia. However, as I have done at almost every baseball game I've attended since I was eight years old, I kept score and kept the scoresheets. So, I'll look back at those games to learn about the new Orioles.

Logan Verrett


The Altoona Curve didn't score many runs against Logan Verrett, and he was credited with Binghamton's 3-2 win. But it really wasn't because of how Logan Verrett pitched that Altoona didn't score:

IP
H
R
ER
BB
K
Game Score
6
9
2
2
2
3
51

Four Altoona runners were retired on the bases - one doubled off first base on a soft line drive; another picked off second by the catcher; a third thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double; and a fourth caught stealing. In an alternate universe with no baserunning errors and unchanged batter results, Altoona would have scored two more runs and won the game.

The Altoona batters consistently hit the ball in the air against Logan Verrett:

Ground Ball
6
Fly Ball
8
Line Drive
6
Walk
2
Strikeout
3

And Verrett wasn't missing bats. I can't state it as a fact, but I don't recall a starting pitcher having such a high percentage of pitches fouled off:

Ball
28
Called Strike
13
Swinging Strike
5
Foul Ball
27
In Play
20

Based on this game, I don't see what Logan Verrett brings to the Orioles. He looks like a generic minor-league starting pitcher, and even though he only cost $50,000 to acquire, I don't think he's worth a spot on the forty-man roster. Nor do I see what role he would perform on the Orioles better than other available pitchers. It's certainly possible that Verrett pitched better overall than in this one game, and it's also possible that he's improved over the past season. But it seems to me that Verrett is just starting pitching depth for Norfolk. For Verrett to fill that role, the Mets would have to not reclaim him when he's offered back; and it wouldn't be a surprise if the Mets didn't reclaim him.

Jason Garcia


If the Orioles' selection of Logan Verrett is puzzling, the Orioles' acquisition of Jason Garcia (via trade with Houston) is understandable although unlikely to pan out. The major reason the move is unlikely to pan out is that the 22-year-old Garcia has only reached Class A and has pitched only about eighty innings in the past two seasons. But it's easy to see him succeeding as a power arm in the bullpen.

While Garcia's pitching line isn't all that impressive, there are extenuating circumstances:

IP
H
R
ER
BB
K
Game Score
3
5
3
3
1
4
40

Again, this was as a relief pitcher. Garcia didn't allow a run in his first two innings; Greenville had a 5-0 lead going into the top of the ninth. In the ninth, the probably-tiring Garcia allowed three runs. Facing the potential tying run, he ended the game with a strikeout to get credit for a save. His apparent future is in the bullpen, so his tiring in his third inning isn't much of a problem.

But he's even more interesting. Of the thirteen batters he faced, one hit the ball in the air (a double off the left-field wall by the second-to-last batter he faced) and seven hit the ball on the ground. If Garcia can consistently get both ground balls and strikeouts, he can be a very effective relief pitcher.

The Orioles will have to offer Garcia back to the Red Sox if he isn't able to stick on the active roster all season. Garcia is simply not ready for the major leagues. Some teams will carry a promising young pitcher who's far from being ready, hoping to keep him and using him in mop-up roles. But those teams are usually not contenders (although Milwaukee did carry an inexperienced Wei-Chung Wang in 2014, getting him 17 major-league innings and 23 minor-league rehab innings around stints on the disabled list.) The Orioles are contenders and rely on every player on the roster. It doesn't seem likely that the Orioles will waste a roster spot on a pitcher like Garcia, limited to mop-up duty; and it doesn't seem likely that Boston wouldn't reclaim him if the Orioles offer him back. So while Garcia is worth selecting, it's doubtful that the Orioles will benefit.

These observations are generally confirmed by the published scouting reports. While Dan Duquette has had some solid but unspectacular success with the Rule 5 draft with Ryan Flaherty and T.J. McFarland, I don't think it's likely that he'll repeat his success with Logan Verrett or Jason Garcia.

34 comments:

Jolly Roger said...

Agree with your take on Verrett.
Nothing more than a 5th starter.
According to scouts he mixes 4 pitches but none a plus offering.
DD brag about his polish/control [1.88BB/9IP] but he gave up 188hits in 166IP.

Garcia, IMHO, is worth shot.
Spike in velocity after TJ, from low 90's to mid to upper 90's.
O's saw first hand when he carved them up in instructional league [ 18 batters - 14K's] Command of slider/change is not there yet but that is to be expected after TJ.
He is a keeper if he shows improved command during ST since he carries better stuff than McFarland [who has options]

Anonymous said...

I don't really understand why a website that typically includes a lot of deeper analysis and sabermetrics would publish posts about single games witnessed by the author... These types of articles pop up periodically and I don't understand what they actually contribute to the discussion.

Joe Reisel said...

They are intended to contribute facts that are not reflected in summary statistics. You are certainly free to ignore them if you wish. Sabermetrics is not the only way to evaluate baseball.

Anonymous said...

Scouting reports or evaluation of a player's 'stuff' would be great if it's got any real analysis to it which would generally involve seeing a guy more than once and would certainly involve analyzing his mechanics rather than his one-game pitching line. This post was pretty much just 'Look at me, I've seen these two guys play.' It's great if you're trying to be a fan blog but I get the sense that Camden Depot is trying to be a bit more than that.

'Don't be a part of the story' falls somewhere below 'don't make shit up' and 'don't steal someone else's work' but probably above most other journalistic best practices.

That being said, I'll probably take your advice and read this less.

Joe Reisel said...

I apologize for having wasted your time.

Ken said...

This is sabermetrics. People have to think about scope. Also, people have to chill out instead of crapping their pants about having their time wasted for one minute. Your one minute really is not all that valuable.

Jon Shepherd said...

This is ground that has been covered here before, but I will try to reexplain. How does Joe's article contribute to the discussion of these Rule 5 picks? Joe provides a viewpoint from Norfolk and discusses what he knows as a BIS datacaster there. To me, that has value. He presents the data honestly and you can then take it as far as you wish. He writes "notes from the field". I think it makes sense that no site can ever fully satiate the reader with every article and it may be that some of this pin point descriptions are of little use to your interests. They interest others. They interest me.

Michael said...

I enjoyed the human aspect of this article. I vote that Camden Depot keep up the good work. In fact, until the Orioles do something and acquire somebody, I encourage you to do more articles like this.

Anonymous said...

Is there anything presented here outside of the scorecards for two games? I'm not seeing the relevance of his qualifications to anything presented in this article. He acknowledges at the beginning that he doesn't remember seeing them and just has his scorecard. What is gained by him having been there as opposed to picking any random other game and looking at the scorecard for that day?

To be honest I really don't see how this is anything more than "I saw these two guys pitch and here is what happened in those two games." That's perfectly fine for clickbait I guess but the fact that the author then tried to draw conclusions about the acquisitions is a joke.

It's not about every article satisfying every reader. It's about pretty basic journalistic best practices and whether you guys are trying to follow them or are trying to be a fan blog or something in the middle. It's obviously all up to you what you want the site to be but I've always had the impression that Camden Depot tries for the more serous analysis end of the spectrum and articles like this can affect credibility.

Jon Shepherd said...

This is one of many articles Joe has written. Some notes are more in depth than others. It is absurd that this is somehow improper in a journalism way. This site houses a wide spectrum of columns that may be episodic or one offs. Again I am confused why anyone would be dying on this hill. Maybe it is just about it being a slow winter in Baltimore.

Anonymous said...

Good on you for trying to defend your partner I guess but it'd be great to see any of the points actually be addressed instead of deflected. Obviously nobody is dying and I'm not sure what it being a slow winter has to do with anything.

Do you actually not see how a single game that the author attended and doesn't remember is a pretty terrible basis for posting an analysis? Do you recognize that by mentioning his attendance in a piece with no first hand observations the author is unnecessarily inserting himself into the story? Do you see how a reader would perceive these things as more appropriate for a fan blog or message board than a site that generally seems like it tries to offer real analysis?

Pat Holden said...

Anon, You've dedicated an impressive amount of your day to 1) being anonymous and 2) complaining about something you don't like.

I love the stuff that Joe writes. It's often a very different scope than my own and I feel like a more well-rounded baseball fan for having read his stuff.

Sorry you don't like every article we do here. But you've made your point and, at this point, it's coming across, at least to me, as simply criticism for the sake of being critical that you're going to keep at until someone tells you you're right,

Joe Reisel said...

Anonymous: I am basing my analysis on having kept score at a pair of games, supplemented by other things I have read. Is it a terrible basis for posting an analysis? To you, obviously. Others may think it interesting that Verrett got five swinging strikes and 27 foul balls, or that Garcia got mostly ground balls. That's the information I have. Many other writers don't have that information.

Point two - this isn't, nor is it meant to be, an impartial reporting site. This article shares MY experience, not some experience of an anonymous impartial observer. As such, I, my biases, and my experiences am an integral part of this "story".

And it's absurd to say that there are no first-hand observations in the piece. The entire article is my first-hand observations - I saw the games and recorded what I saw. It's no different than a writer referring to notes or doing research.

On point three, we're not going to come to an agreement. You have your own standards for what's appropriate and what's not. I think there's real information in what I wrote, information that I haven't seen anywhere else. I'm not going persuade you of that, and you're not going to persuade me otherwise.

Jon Shepherd said...

Eh...I am not answering your points because I think they do not pertain to this article.

Anonymous said...

I'm anonymous because I'm too lazy to sign up for an account but if it makes you feel better my name is Dan Higgson. I'm lucky enough to have taken a sick day today but the real reason I keep responding is that instead of addressing, responding to, or disagreeing with the actual comments I made the responses simply try to deflect attention away or back onto me. I couldn't care less if you agree with me or not. Camden Depot is one of the few places to get good orioles analysis and I had read it for a long time. This is the first time I've posted and is really sad to see that you guys can't really seem to take criticism as a chance to potentially improve and instead go defensive and deflect it away from you. Not a single response from any of you has addressed anything I've said but at this point I'm done and will no longer be visiting Camden Depot.

Anonymous said...

Joe just saw your response. I think it popped up while I was typing the previous one to pat. Thanks for posting that. It all seems fair enough. I think I just had a more professional impression of the site than I guess I should have and that led to incorrect expectations. That's fair enough I guess.

Pat Holden said...

Sorry you feel that way.

I think your point was acknowledged, we just didn't agree with you.

I think everyone here has and can take criticism. But your point had been made and continuing to hammer it home, because we didn't agree with you, made it more than just feedback or criticism. It became complaining.

Jon Shepherd said...

Dan, feel free to send in your address and the current operators will refund your subscription fees.

Luis Torres said...

It was a fine article, Joe. It's basically an amateur scouting report. It lacks the information you'd generally see from a pro, such as arm slot and action, command, and the type and quality of the pitches thrown, but it's my understanding that Joe did not go to scout school.

He did do a good job of reporting what he saw and how he evaluated it. That is definitely interesting and useful. Joe even said that his observations lined up with scouting reports, which gives me more confidence in his accuracy.

This may be a sabermetrically driven site, and I love that, but scouting is an important and essential component in player evalution. For prospects and minor leaguers, I'd say it's even more important than the numbers.

I enjoyed Joe's article and found the scouting type content to be a nice change of pace. Even if I didn't, I would never condemn a website or writer over one bad column.

CalFan said...

Wow that's a lot of comments for a Depot article and was mildly disappointing to read. I've been coming here since whenever you guys got the ESPN orioles page to start linking your articles and considering you guys got the site to be included in their blog network, I do expect a level of professionalism higher than other Orioles blogs.

I'm surprised anyone on here would defend a single game sample size when drawing conclusions on a player, especially when the game observations are pretty much just pitch count and hit sequencing without even a mention of what pitches they throw, let alone analysis of how they use them. I'd love to see you guys do more scouting in addition to the more analytic approach but I don't think this is anything close to a scouting report. It felt like Joe just naturally leans toward a statistical approach and still went that way when the only information available was a single game scorecard. The percentage of called strikes and swinging strikes may be useful information but only with a larger sample than one game. Same thing with the ground ball rates and so on. Those are meaningful statistics that lose their meaning for a single game. While I agree that this post doesn't add any real information, I wouldn't go so far as to call it unprofessional or 'journalistic malpractice' or whatever he was saying. It does make me question why you guys think that one game's stats is enough to write an article on anything beyond the pitcher's performance in that particular game but that would only be enough to make me question your articles a little harder from now on, nothing more. It certainly doesn't make me question your integrity or anything like that.

That being said, responses from Pat and Jon got to be really, really unprofessional. I can see why you guys would be defensive based on what Anon was saying but Joe was the only one who seemed to actually address his comments at all (though I can imagine being mildly annoyed by the "Sabermetrics is not the only way to evaluate baseball" comment). Your initial reaction of not getting into was probably a good call with that guy and then when you did respond at the end, you addressed his comments as best as you could.

Pat and Jon should be ashamed of themselves. Sorry, I don't normally look at the bylines and was just barely aware there are multiple writers here, let alone who writes each article. Pat and Jon, I assume you guys are contributors? Pat, when you started questioning how much time he spent on it this and called him out for being anonymous, you abandoned any sense of professionalism that you guys had. If you are going to comment on your own blog, you really can't be acting like some typical internet message board poster. As much of a dick as he was, I actually got the sense he was someone who liked this site and wanted to take you guys seriously as analysts enough that he clearly thought of you as a step above most orioles sites out there. However, you got so defensive that you went and made it personal and started attacking a reader. Jon, the 'refund your subscription fees' just comes across like a 12-year-old trying to get in the last word. We all know it's free but I'm pretty sure readers are still allowed to form and voice an opinion on it. If you don't want that, you should probably disable comments.

TL;DR I've been coming here expecting a certain level of professionalism because you guys got added to the ESPN blog network. This article didn't seem very valuable to me but wasn't enough to drive me away from the site. Comments by Camden Depot contributors directed one of your readers were absolutely enough to drive me away.

Jon Shepherd said...

Cal, I do not write here anymore. The commenter personally attacked the writer and questioned my integrity. I think the progression of my comments were on point. The refund remark was scaling the complaint and how this whole conversation is rather pointless.

Jon Shepherd said...

To be clear this site has always embraced criticism. Also, this site has never tolerated unfair attacks on anyone, authors and commenters. For the work done here on everyone's spare time, the site wants good baseball conversation, not folks questioning our credibility and integrity. Please, come to our house if you like the work. Engage in conversation. Disagree if you wish. But, do not come here looking for a fight. That is disrespectful and will not be tolerated. Save that for the message boards.

Joe Reisel said...

I write for this site hoping that readers will be entertained, or informed, or that they will be provoked to thought. Unfortunately, it is inevitable that some readers will be irritated or bored; I'm not blaming them but simply acknowledging that I can't and won't please everyone. With the benefit of hindsight, I would have clarified what I was trying to do in the post; I will try to do so in my future posts.
I am grateful for my readers and, as much as possible, I want to treat them with respect. All of them deserve that. Anon/Dan, thank you for your gracious response of 12/15, 6:33 PM.

CalFan said...

Joe I think you've generally been respectful and I'm curious if you may have had a more productive discourse without Pat and Jon. I'm not sure how often I'll be coming back to Camden Depot but you are at least acting like an adult.

Jon, you say that Anon personally attacked the writer and that made me curious enough to go back and actually reread the entire thread and I don't think he ever said anything personal. It may seem like a minor distinction but I think everything he said was criticising the article and not the writer. His first comment questioned the value of the article and what it contributes to the discussion, which strikes me as reasonable. The second comment was about whether a writer should insert them self into an article (Joe is this the part where you felt that he personally questioned your integrity? Also, is your integrity so fragile that you can't handle it being questioned?). While I can see how you might take that personally I don't think it really looked like a personal attack or at least it wouldn't if you just look at the text without actively looking for negative subtext.

The third post is the only one that could really be construed as a personal attack on the writer where he calls the conclusions a joke. It's tough to tell from a text comment but I could see that being intended as a criticism of the article again though I guess I could see how one may look at it as criticism of the writer. His fourth post was entirely about the article and whether it is appropriate. That's when Pat jumped in and did make it 100% personal. Even after that, Anon actually complements Camden Depot in his response. It reads to me like he has high expectations of the site which I would assume are based on positive experiences he has had before this.

Looking back through the comments I'm actually pretty impressed with Anon for focusing on the content of the article the entire time despite most of the responses from Jon and Pat being to either deflect attention from what he said or make it personal about Anon instead of the merits of the article. I dunno. Maybe I'm old-fashioned but I actually think it seems like random internet man is trying to hold your blog to the high standard that the people running the blog should be using. Instead of taking it for what it was (like Joe seems to have done), Pat and Jon appear to have felt personally attacked and then turned the discussion from being about the quality/value of the article to being about the value of Anon.

Anyhow, I generally do enjoy Camden Depot pieces and I don't know if I'll be coming back as often as before but you can bet I'll be looking at bylines from now on.

Jon Shepherd said...

CalFan, I do consider several statements to be personal attacks. He made reference to journalistic best practices, click bait, and then called me a liar is that I was supporting Joe simply because he was a writer I once brought on (I am no longer a writer at this site). Those are heavy words to throw at a writer. If someone wished to understand how this article fit into the greater sphere of understanding baseball, it could have been done in a much more respectful and polite way. I think you are giving him more understanding than is reasonable in claiming the comments were presented in a way that were solely about the article and not the individual creating the article.

I hope you find the articles here in the future to be worth your while. I hope it imparts information that you find valuable. We embrace disagreement here and discussion. Bylines really should not matter. It is the information that, I think, should direct readership.

This site, as always, has been academic and has no ad revenue. We have repeatedly rejected ad revenue on principle. Ignoring a writer or two is not going to impact anything.

Anyway, I think that is all I have to say. Back to Baseball Prospectus for me. Articles should be coming out around April, feel free to ignore me there. Money is involved with that.

Pat Holden said...

CalFan,

While I think it's out of line to tell me that I should be ashamed, I understand some of your perspective. But I disagree. No real point in hashing that out though, is there?

As Jon said, there's a difference between criticism and looking for a fight. Given that everyone here donates their free time to writing, I think it's fair of us to discourage what we feel like is the latter.

Eric said...

I posted a comment yesterday around 7:0 PM yet I do not see it here. Was there just an issue on my computer's part or was it for some reason deleted?

Matt Kremnitzer said...

I did not delete any comments in this thread, and I only delete spam comments or offensive comments.

The problem is most likely on your end, Eric.

Eric said...

Matt, thanks for the response, didn't think any was deleted but always a decent idea to check if it is a personal computer issue. Thanks for writing back.

Pat Holden said...

Eric, I've had issues with comments saving if I use IE, could be that..?

Matt Kremnitzer said...

No problem.

Matt Perez said...

I've had issues with comments breaking also when I haven't used my google account.

Matt Day said...

I'm sorry, but I don't agree with you here Calfan.

They have no reason to be ashamed of themselves. They did not attack the aggressor and rather tried to agree to disagree. It was in part of its intent, a comment from anon, that wanted simply to assail the writers integrity. All writers should be so inclined to defend themselves of such regardless of the venue. It could national media and they still hold the responsibility for defending themselves. In abense of a network with PR reps I see no problem here.

As far as the content of the article, I believe everyone here agrees that one game is a small sample size. Maybe if the writer included a statement about that in his paragraph about not remembering the specific pitchers, it would have been better. However with that said, as has already been mentioned, the reader could have decided to stop reading at any time if he wanted more depth.

Put simply, they can posts these types of reports right along beside each other if they want. Anon, or anyone else, can start their own blog and control the content if they do desire.

The fact that this blog has received the accolades and attention it has is testament in itself to at least a standard following of journalistic professionalism. I would think anything other than that would have been found long ago by all those paying attention. The rigors of the depth of that professionalism can be debated in the appropriate venue. I have no connection what-so-ever to these writers, but I don't like my integrity questioned any more than the next man.

Anonymous said...

I am a huge Oriole fan and am not a sabermetrics guy, just love reading anything about my O's. This was without a doubt the silliest chain of emails I've ever read. you need to all grow up.