In an effort to secure their pitching staff without taking on salary for 2015, the San Francisco Giants acquired Jake Peavy from the Red Sox for minor league pitchers Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree. While this is not an earth shattering trade on any fantasy scale, it could have a positive impact for Peavy owners moving forward. Much is being made of his career numbers against the Dodgers, but he will only face them once moving forward if the Giants stay on schedule with their starters. However, I will look at his upcoming opponents using his last 3 year stats (2011-2013) with a forecast on his outlook for the remainder of 2014.
As for the Red Sox, it is a sign that they may continue selling. The acquisition of Escobar and Hembree means they may have more moves on the horizon. Although Edwin Escobar has been a starting pitcher in the San Francisco minor leagues, the lack of development of his changeup has reduced him to a two-pitch pitcher, which usually translates to a bullpen arm. His profile suggests that he could be a left-handed specialist going forward and Peter Gammons has already reported the high amount of interest in Andrew Miller by teams as the deadline approaches. Hembree was great in his time with the Giants last September and the Red Sox can put him in the bullpen in low leverage situations immediately. While neither is a big time prospect, they could have two bullpen arms in the future for a two month rental.
Here are the fantasy angles for the players involved:
Jake Peavy 2014: 1 W, 124 IP, 100/46 K/BB, 4.72 ERA, 1.43 WHIP
These stats are not overwhelming to say the least. But Peavy has to get better moving back to not only the National League, but to a park that leans towards pitchers’ success. Also, put a competitor back into a pennant race and it seems like a good match. At first I was hesitant to endorse Peavy as a 12 team mixer add but the case can be made. There look to be three difficult matchups for Peavy ahead, though: at Milwaukee, at Colorado and at Arizona. However, there are also some promising ones: at Mets, two against San Diego and five other games at AT&T.
Here are his career statistics against the nine teams he can potentially face over his last twelve starts:
Dodgers: 14W, 167.1 IP, 155:41 K:BB, 2.21 ERA, 0.96 WHIP
Mets: 6W, 68.2 IP, 68:28 K:BB, 3.28 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
Brewers: (2) 3W, 60.1 IP, 60:25 K:BB, 2.54 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
White Sox: 1W, 13 IP, 12:5 K:BB, 2.08 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
Cubs: 7W, 90.2 IP, 92:28 K:BB, 2.78 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
Nationals: 4W, 74.1 IP, 79:18 K:BB, 3.87 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
Rockies: 5W, 123 IP, 110:48 K:BB, 4.10 ERA, 1.38 WHIP
Diamondbacks: (2) 14W, 181 IP, 201:73 K:BB, 4.57 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
Padres: (2) No Stats
While Peavy has yet to face his old team, San Diego, those are games in which Peavy is capable of succeeding in. Avoiding his start in Colorado is recommended but many of his potential matchups are favorable. Also, Peavy has shown slight improvement in the second half over his career lowering his ERA from 3.69 pre-All Star break to 3.44 post-break and lowering his WHIP from 1.20 to 1.18. Couple those facts with a move to the lighter-hitting National League and Peavy is worth a gamble.
Red Sox Return:
2014 AAA Stats: 18 Saves, 39.1 IP, 46:13 K:BB, 3.89 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
Hembree has been on keeper league radars as he was rumored to be the closer of the future for the Giants. His fastball (93 MPH) and slider (86 MPH) fit that profile. During his September promotion in 2013 he struck out 12 against only two walks over 7.2 IP. But this year in the minors his inability to get left-handed batters out had cost him a promotion even with all the volatility in the Giants bull-pen. To illustrate, here are his splits for 2014:
Against LH Hitters: 7.98 ERA, .349 BAA, 19:11 K:BB, 5 HR allowed
Against RH Hitters: 1.46 ERA, .202 BAA, 27:2 K:BB, 0 HR allowed
Although Hembree will not be a future closer with Boston, he can become a productive member of their bullpen. If the Red Sox continue to make trades, he could get a look in the majors at some point by year’s end. It is hard to dismiss any potential closer candidate, but until Hembree can get left-handed batters out, he will not be able to work in important late-game situations.
2014 AAA Stats: 3 W, 111 IP, 96:37 K:BB, 5.11 ERA, 1.49 WHIP
Taking into account that he is pitching in a tough minor league environment, Escobar has disappointed in his AAA debut this year. He is only 22 years old but like Hembree above, he suffers from an extreme split differential:
Against LH Hitters: 2.25 ERA, .188 Batting Average Against, 42:7 K:BB, 0 HR allowed
Against RH Hitters:6.72 ERA, .334 Batting Average Against, 54:30 K:BB, 16 HR allowed
Escobar is young enough that the Red Sox will probably allow him to develop another year as a starter but if he cannot develop a third pitch, he profiles as a left-handed specialist in the months to come. His repertoire includes a 92 MPH fastball, a 76 MPH curve and an 82 MPH changeup. His ability to toss his changeup for strikes that will ultimately determine his role in the future.
While neither is a high ceiling prospect, it is hard to imagine the Red Sox could have gotten much more for Peavy as a rental piece. Each could be a solid major league bullpen arm someday, but neither is as good as their ranking or pedigree suggests.
Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on Twitter @gjewett9!
Statistical credits: BrooksBaseball.net, Fangraphs.com, Yahoo.com, MiLB.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/hSzP0W