Jump to content
  • Welcome to AngelsWin.com

    AngelsWin.com - THE Internet Home for Angels fans! Unraveling Angels Baseball ... One Thread at a Time.

    Register today to join the most interactive online Angels community on the net!

    Once you're a member you'll see less advertisements. Become a Premium member and you won't see any ads! 

     

Comparing Lester, Scherzer, and Shields


Angelsjunky

Recommended Posts

Some numbers to consider. I looked at two statistics of all three pitchers over the last three years: WAR (the Fangraphs version) and RA9-WAR, which for those of you not familiar with it is, if WAR is based upon "What should have happened based upon the player's fielding independent peripherals," RA9-WAR is more ERA-based, that is based upon what actually did happen - how well the pitcher prevented runs. Both are useful and to get a good sense of a pitcher, you really need to look at both (Jered Weaver is the classic example of a pitcher whose value isn't adequately depicted by WAR, and his RA9-WAR is always significantly better).

 

Anyhow, I looked at those two numbers and averaged them up, coming up with what we could call "WAR Average" (WARA). I then averaged the last three years of WAR Average in two ways: straight up average and weighted, with 2014 having 3x value, 2013 2x value, and 2012 having 1x value. Here is what I came up with:

 

Player (2015 age, month.year of birth)

2014 WARA, 2012-14 average WARA, 2012-14 weighted average WARA

 

JON LESTER (31, 1.84)

6.0, 4.2, 4.8

 

MAX SCHERZER (30, 7.84)

5.5, 5.3, 5.5

 

JAMES SHIELDS (33, 12.81)

3.8, 4.2, 4.3

 

I put the last number--the weighted average WARA--in bold because I think that is the most accurate in terms of current value. As you can see, Scherzer comes out ahead by a solid margin, with Lester right in the middle and Shields half a run behind Lester.

 

Other factors to consider:

 

Age: As you can see, Shields is just over two years older than John Lester and two and a half years older than Scherzer. The age difference between Lester and Scherzer is negligible.

 

Wear-and-tear: Major league innings pitched:

Lester: 1596.0

Scherzer: 1239.1

Shields 1910.1

 

Shields has pitched quite a few more innings and leads the majors in innings pitches over the last several years. Of course this could also mean that he's reliable, but...

 

Draft pick: As far as I can tell, Lester wouldn't require the Angels losing their first round draft pick while the other two would.

 

Contract: predictions according to MLB and Fangraphs crowdsourcing:

 

Lester: 6/$130M, 6/$132M

Scherzer: 7/$185M, 7/$168M

Shields: 5/$90M, same

 

Postseason experience/Grit: I think you have to consider small sample size, although I was a bit surprised at Shields' poor performance. Lester is clearing the closest thing among the three to "Bumgarnerian."

 

Lester: 84 IP, 2.57 ERA

Scherzer: 62.2 IP, 3.73 ERA

Shields: 59.1 IP, 5.46 ERA

 

Likelihood of Future Performance/Injury threat:

I don't feel like I can answer this one. Not only do you just never know, but there are just too many factors to take into account. But given that all three pitchers have made it to their 30s without significant injury, chances are they'll all remain relatively healthy (TJ surgery usually happens earlier).

 

VERDICT:

While Max Scherzer is probably the best pitcher of the three, when all is said in done, Jon Lester is the best target among the three. Shields would be tempting for a 4/$75M contract, but he'll likely get the five years that's predicted. Scherzer is a great pitcher, but seven years is risky. All that said, I'm guessing that someone offers Lester a seventh year and/or $140M+. It might require the Angels to swoop in and offer 7/$150M to get him. Hard to see that happening, but stranger things have happened...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The current insistence of free agents to want more than 5 year contracts in declining years says ignore the over 30 crowd and look for more cheap solutions and let other teams take the hit after three years into their mega deal.

 

The Angels are in a situation where they are in top payroll handcuffs and eventually will have to choose luxury tax or thinning the herd in terms of high salaried players to afford even the most reasonably priced free agent. I'm in the camp of let the big fish go and look to fill the payroll with cheaper solutions that are easily disposable if they don't work out.

 

A window of opportunity to reach the playoffs put the Angels in this situation where deals were made thinking that would be the tipping point to get back into the post season. They didn't pan out. 

 

Last season no big free agent signings coupled with some very smart trades put the Angels back on track both in terms of stability on the field and on the books. Signing any of those three candidates would screw up half of the gains they made last season.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

AJ,

 

Like the thought process but I'd question your weighting using the 3x, 2x, and 1x. It is too arbitrary and I doubt there is that wide a margin between seasons.

 

Also James Shields had serious shoulder surgery where he missed most of 2002. To me out of the three he is the one we likely want to stay away from.

 

Other than that I liked what you did.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ettin, I weighted it simply because in terms of projecting forward, I think 2014's results are worth more than 2013, which are worth more than 2012. If you disagree, the second number is the average of the three years without weighting them. The big difference is that all of a sudden Lester and Shields are tied (4.2) with Scherzer still about the same (5.3).

 

notti, I kind of agree with you, especially considering that without any free agent signings the Angels are still in decent shape in terms of their rotation - good shape if Richards is ready by Opening Day. That said, there's no denying that adding one of those three greatly improves the starting rotation for the next few years. But yeah, there's a lot of frozen money on this team. Consider how much money they have in big contracts ($15M+ per year) locked up into a few players:

 

2015: $85.4M for four players (Pujols, Hamilton, Weaver, Wilson)

2016: $113.5M for five players (same plus Trout)

2017: $78.5M for three players (Pujols, Hamilton, Trout)

2018: $61.1M for two players (Pujols, Trout)

 

I imagine that Arte won't want to be taking on another big contract until 2017, at least not without shedding excess elsewhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The current insistence of free agents to want more than 5 year contracts in declining years says ignore the over 30 crowd and look for more cheap solutions and let other teams take the hit after three years into their mega deal.

 

The Angels are in a situation where they are in top payroll handcuffs and eventually will have to choose luxury tax or thinning the herd in terms of high salaried players to afford even the most reasonably priced free agent. I'm in the camp of let the big fish go and look to fill the payroll with cheaper solutions that are easily disposable if they don't work out.

 

A window of opportunity to reach the playoffs put the Angels in this situation where deals were made thinking that would be the tipping point to get back into the post season. They didn't pan out. 

 

Last season no big free agent signings coupled with some very smart trades put the Angels back on track both in terms of stability on the field and on the books. Signing any of those three candidates would screw up half of the gains they made last season.

 

Agree. This is the way I see it also.

 

No more huge contracts for older players. Find the young up and coming guys and have a deep farm to back it up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have weird feeling in my gut their target is Scherzer. 7-years for a starter is incredibly risky, losing the draft pick would hurt too. I might be willing to do 6-years for Scherzer. Trade CJ and consume some of his contract to get an at least decent piece. Arte might have to suck it up and pay a little bit of the tax penalty. Patch up the last depth moves (utility infielder, controllable lefty reliever, lefty DH bat, and maybe a veteran catcher on a minor league deal to go to Salt Lake) and wait for Tempe. 

Edited by nikkachez
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm likely in the minority but, I'd much rather the Angels keep their powder dry and then try to sign a FA pitcher next offseason.  Price, Latos, Zimmerman, Cueto, Fister, Iwakuma, Gallardo, Leake, Porcello, Samardzija, Detwiler, Estrada and potentially Grienke.

 

That's a lot of arms, some of them may re-sign, but..  a lot of arms.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...