Buehrle Surprises the MLB

I haven’t been writing a lot lately, but plenty has been going on the world of sports. Obviously, the Heat and Spurs are playing for the Larry O’Brien Trophy, and the Rangers and Kings are playing for the Stanley Cup. If these series are as good as their Game 1’s, then they will be great.

While all of this has been going on, the MLB season keeps chugging along. I have been watching and seeing a ton of surprises. Over the next week, I am going to be posting about these surprises and trying to explain them, if I can. I will also be giving you the best free agency signings this season. They will be in no particular order.

Mark Buehrle pitching against the Astros (Photo Cred: Steve Russell/Toronto Star)

Mark Buehrle pitching against the Astros (Photo Cred: Steve Russell/Toronto Star)

The first surprise I am going to talk about is Mark Buehrle. You know, that guy who was consistently average/mediocre in the AL Central and NL East.  Thats the same guy that is 10-1 this year with a 2.10 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. His statistics are unreal, and the Blue Jays win almost every game he pitches. But why is this happening?

The biggest reason he keeps winning is his run support. The Blue Jays are a great offensive team and score roughly 5 runs a game, which is second in all of baseball (Oakland is first). However, the Blue Jays are scoring, on average, 6.08 runs during his starts. He is getting a little bit more than a run of extra support from the team over the other pitchers (1.22 runs per game). With that type of support, it is no wonder he is 10-1.

However, the reason Buehrle’s numbers, excluding record,  look spectacular is his ridiculously low HR/FB%. It is 2.4%, which is 7.3% less than his career mark. He cannot keep this up, and he will start to give up some dingers especially in his home ballpark. Rogers Centre is 3rd in home runs allowed and runs allowed. While this will probably be his career year, he will most likely regress some. Expect his ERA and FIP to rise, and it could all happen at once, which would be bad for fantasy owners and the Blue Jays.

The first free agent signing I will talk about is Michael Morse. Morse is a pretty decent outfielder with a .282 batting average, .818 OPS, and HR/FB% just below 20%. However, the big knock on him is that he is very injury prone. He could never stay healthy, but when he did, he performed.

Well, he is healthy this year for the Giants and out playing his career numbers. He already has 13 homers, a .286 average, and an OPS of .916. His HR/FB% is 27.1% so that will likely regress towards 20%, but he should still end up with at least 25 homers. This is a great season for any player, but the Giants got away with signing him for just $10.5 million over 2 years. For a comparison of how good of a deal this is, I will use Derek Jeter.

Derek Jeter will eventually make $45 million from 2012-2014.

Including his good 2012 season where he had 200  hits, Jeter has had a combined fWAR from 2012-2014 of 2.6. That is definitely not living up to his contract considering this offseason teams payed only $6 million dollars per win above replacement. Morse is actually outperforming the price point for fWAR as he already has a fWAR of 1.1 this season.

The Giants got a great deal even if Morse gets hurt, but if he doesn’t get hurt, the deal will look even better for the MLB-best San Francisco Giants.

Greg Danchik

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