(*) FACTS/FLUKES: McCann, Tillman, Moustakas, Santiago, Chisenhall

McCann’s power should surge in NYY…After spending the first nine years of his career in Atlanta, Brian McCann (C, NYY) takes his talents north. The Yankees didn’t get much production from their catchers in 2013; they’re expecting the perennial All-Star to solve that problem for the next few years.

Year   AB   BA    xBA  bb%  ct%  h%   G/L/F    OPSvL   PX  HR  hr/f  BPV
====  ===  ====  ====  ===  ===  ==  ========  =====  ===  ==  ====  ===
2009  488  .281  .291    9   83  30  38/21/41   .634  128  21   13%   73
2010  479  .269  .268   13   80  30  37/20/43   .783  122  21   13%   65
2011  466  .270  .252   11   81  29  38/16/47   .794  123  24   14%   65
2012  439  .230  .252    9   83  24  40/19/41   .673   98  20   13%   47
2013  356  .256  .273   10   81  26  35/22/42   .616  125  20   16%   69

There’s little reason to expect any drop-off in production from McCann:

  • He takes a lot of walks, and makes league-average contact, so he’s got a high BA ceiling. His h% has been low recently, which has limited his output.
  • McCann’s power dipped a bit in 2012, but he was dealing with a torn labrum, so we’ll give him a mulligan. He recovered in 2013, and he’s going to love the short porch in Yankee Stadium (+33% LH HR).
  • One area where McCann needs work is against LHP, where his performance has dropped off the past couple of years.

With the availability of the DH, it’s likely that McCann will still get ABs even when he’s getting a break from catching. It’s not a stretch to say that in his new home, McCann can top his career best HR total. Bid confidently on McCann; he’ll likely be one of the top AL catchers by the end of the year.

 

Tillman looks to sustain Dom growth…It looks like the Orioles finally found their ace. After struggling to find consistency early in his career, Chris Tillman (RHP, BAL) has gone 25-10 the past two years, cementing his place at the top of Baltimore’s rotation.

Year    IP   ERA  xERA  H%  S%  Ctl  Dom  Cmd  SwK   G/L/F    hr/9  hr/f  BPV
====   ===  ====  ====  ==  ==  ===  ===  ===  ===  ========  ====  ====  ===
2009*  162  4.37  4.85  32  73  2.8  6.8  2.4   7%  37/18/45   1.2   15%   53
2010*  175  4.56  4.61  30  70  3.1  5.7  1.8   7%  43/22/36   1.1   15%   40
2011*  138  5.94  6.08  32  68  4.1  5.9  1.4   6%  37/18/45   1.7    5%   12
2012*  179  4.02  3.95  30  72  2.9  7.2  2.4   9%  35/21/44   0.9   11%   70
2013   206  3.71  3.87  27  76  3.0  7.8  2.6   9%  39/22/40   1.4   14%   77
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
13 1H  100  3.68  4.18  27  79  3.4  7.3  2.1   7%  37/22/41   1.6   15%   54
13 2H  106  3.74  3.59  28  73  2.5  8.3  3.3  10%  40/21/39   1.3   13%   99
*- inc MLEs

Tillman looks like he’s ready to put together a strong season:

  • The ERA improvement over the past two years is fully supported by his skills. Low H% helped a bit last year, but he should be able to keep his ERA under 4.00 in 2014.
  • Despite little difference in his 1H/2H ERA, Tillman posted some breakout numbers after July 1. The Dom growth was supported by SwK, and he walked fewer batters.
  • Tillman is still being bitten by high hr/f. Not surprising, given that Camden Yards boosts LH HR +29%. If he can reduce the fly balls, he could be even more dominant.

Despite the Orioles bringing in Ubaldo Jimenez (RHP, BAL) and several other starting pitchers, look for Tillman to retain the #1 slot in the rotation. If he can maintain the profile he showed in the second half of 2013, the soon-to-be 26-year old will take the next step up in dominance.

 

Moustakas looking for consistency…We’re still waiting for the breakout, Mike Moustakas (3B, KC). After a strong 2012, it looked like it would come in 2013—but alas, he took a step back. Could 2014 be the year that the 25-year old Moustakas finally lives up to his potential?

Year    AB   BA    xBA  bb%  ct%  h%   G/L/F    OPSvL   PX  HR  hr/f  BPV
====   ===  ====  ====  ===  ===  ==  ========  =====  ===  ==  ====  ===
2010+  484  .286  .316   5   85   29                   149  25         97       
2011*  561  .256  .249   6   82   29  38/20/41   .494   88  11    4%   39
2012   563  .242  .236   6   78   28  34/16/50   .704  115  20    9%   41
2013   472  .233  .241   6   82   26  37/19/45   .546   91  12    7%   37
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
13 1H  237  .215  .227   6   85   23  39/16/45   .461   74   5    5%   39
13 2H  235  .251  .254   6   80   29  34/22/44   .633  110   7    8%   40
+- MLEs
*- inc MLEs

Consistency has been a problem for Moustakas:

  • He doesn’t take a ton of walks, but that wasn’t the cause of the low 1H BA. When he was hitting .183 in April and May, he was saddled with a 19% h%. His 2H BA gives a better idea of what to expect.
  • Moustakas hits a lot of fly balls, but not many leave the park. His PX struggles to top league average.
  • In 2013, he took a big step backwards against LHP, although he did pick up the pace in the second half. He also hit more line drives.

General Manager Dayton Moore has said that Moustakas will be the every-day 3B, but the presence of Danny Valencia (3B, KC)—who hit .371 against LHP in 2013—should give you pause. Moustakas is doing his part by getting off to a hot start in spring training. If he can maintain the skills he flashed in the second half of 2013, that breakout could be on its way.

 

Walks, fly balls plague Santiago…There are openings in the back-end of the Anaheim rotation, and Hector Santiago (LHP, LAA) is gunning for one of them. Santiago, who came over from the White Sox via a trade, has been impressive early in spring training.

Year   IP   ERA  xERA  H%  S%  Ctl   Dom  Cmd   G/L/F    hr/9  hr/f  BPV  
====  ===  ====  ====  ==  ==  ===  ====  ===  ========  ====  ====  ===
2011*  89  4.34  4.06  31  71  4.7   6.4  1.4  60/13/27   0.6    0%   57            
2012   70  3.33  4.11  27  81  5.1  10.0  2.0  38/20/42   1.3   14%   60
2013  149  3.56  4.38  30  78  4.3   8.3  1.9  36/20/44   1.0    9%   46
*inc. MLE

Despite the outwardly impressive numbers, there are reasons to beware:

  • His ERA looks good, but he’s been helped by S% the past two years. xERA says this isn’t the skill set of a sub-4.00 pitcher.
  • Santiago’s manages good Dom, and it didn’t regress much when he transitioned to the rotation in 2013. But he still walks too many batters.
  • He gives up a lot of fly balls. Going from US Cellular Field (RH HR +38%) to Angel Stadium (RH HR -10%) will help. But if hr/f gets out of hand—as it did in 2012—he will still struggle.
  • Santiago’s fastball velocity is heading the wrong direction; it declined from 93.8 in 2011 to to 91.8 in 2013.

Another concern for Santiago is that he had a big IP boost from 2012 to 2013. Even with the move to Anaheim, beware. This is a risky skill set that could cause problems for your squad in 2014.

 

Chisenhall fights for regular playing time…Perhaps the Indians are tired of waiting for Lonnie Chisenhall (3B, CLE) to reach his potential; they’re trying Carlos Santana (C, CLE) at the hot corner. While Santana apparently looks “stiff and uncomfortable” at third, this should serve as a wake-up call to Chisenhall that it’s time to have a strong year.

Year    AB   BA    xBA  bb%  ct%  h%   G/L/F    OPSvL   PX  HR  hr/f  BPV
====   ===  ====  ====  ===  ===  ==  ========  =====  ===  ==  ====  ===
2010+  460  .246  .260    7   82  28                    88  12         44
2011*  467  .242  .246    6   78  29  38/20/42   .888  106  12   10%   44
2012*  260  .267  .275    4   80  31  43/25/32   .442  110   8   14%   46
2013*  394  .256  .263    6   79  29  38/20/42   .408  130  16   11%   65
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
13 1H  236  .279  .262    6   75  34  43/20/38   .307  137   9   11%   57
13 2H  158  .222  .268    7   84  22  35/20/45   .804  121   7   12%   78
+- MLEs
*- inc MLEs

There are some signs that Chisenhall may be ready to take that step up:

  • While his BA tanked in the second half of 2013, it was h%-driven. His skills were actually better; he had a big boost in ct%.
  • While he had only 50 AB vs LHP in the majors in 2011, it looked like he could handle them. That wasn’t the case in 2012, or the first half of 2013. But he did better vs them in the second half.
  • He also increased his fly balls in the second half, and PX was high all year.

Chisenhall is still just 25, so there’s still room for growth. Watch the Santana experiment to see if it will end up costing Chisenhall playing time. If he can sustain the second half ct% and see regular ABs, Chisenhall could produce some profit in 2014.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.