Shea Stadium Park Factors: Hits 99; Runs 96; HRs 96
(100 is average, under 100 is favorable to pitchers)
Values ~ 2000: $21 2001: $15 2002: $9 2003: $1
Known to have outstanding stuff, Leiter has been tough to hit throughout his career. He struggled with his control for a number of years but has become one of the league's dominant pitchers in recent years after achieving much improved plate command. Last year, however, his walk rate jumped over 50%. He pitched better in the second half despite an inflamed knee. He has an unusual capacity for a lefthander to dominate right-handed hitters. He throws a hard cut fastball in on the hands and a slider that he likes to drop in on the knees. He thoroughly established the inside of the plate and can then put a fastball on the outside when he needs a strike. There's a pronounced decline in value over the last few years for this 38-year-old, so don't bid like it's still Y2K. Leiter has had some shoulder tendinitis this spring.
Values ~ 2000: -$2 2001: $5 2002: $5 2003: $9
Trachsel followed up a strong second half of 2002 with a solid 16-10 season for the last-place team. He throws a slow curve with a big break, a cut fastball, sinking fastball and splitter. Trachsel primarily works low in the zone, but will come up with his high 80s fastball on occasion. However, his K rate dropped 10% last year after a 27% decline the year before and he began to yield a lot more flyball outs, which is notable because Trachsel had very high HR rates earlier in his career. I wouldn't bank on a repeat.
Values ~ 2000: $25 2001: $7 2002: $17 2003: -$7
Glavine blamed QuesTec, which certainly could have been a factor for a guy who lives off the plate, but I think age and being a Met rather than a Brave had more to do with it. We noted here last year that he collapsed in the second half; no NL pitcher lost more value in the second half of 2002 than did Glavine. Glavine's works his 90 mph fastball and circle change up and down the outside corner throughout the game. He will come inside only as frequently as necessary to keep hitters honest. He mixes in an occasional slider. Glavine throws a relatively high percentage of balls and tends to run relatively deep counts as he looks to get ahead of hitters early in the count and then work off the plate, forcing hitters to swing at balls. While the Mets attempt to improve the defense up the middle may help, don't expect a return to a double digit value.
Values ~ 2000: -$16 2001: NA 2002: -$12 2003: NA
Erickson has had a number of surgical procedures on his elbow, has missed two of the last three seasons and it's legitimate to ask if he can stay healthy and if he has anything left. When he was on his game, he was one of the most pronounced ground-ball pitchers in the league. He had one of the best sinkers in the game complemented by very good breaking stuff. He appears to have won the #4 job in NY. Very, very much a longshot.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: NAYates pitched himself into the starting rotation this spring. He's interesting because he throws a fastball that reaches 95 and has a good breaking pitch, but he unusual in that he worked in relief before having TJ surgery in 2002 and was converted to starting upon his return. His ratios last year as he worked his way back are good (Hit Rate = .89; K/BB Ratio = 2.00; HR Rate = .093) but were primarily compiled at A level although he also saw time at AA and AAA. Wait and see.
Values ~ 2000: -$1 2001: $1 2002: $5 2003: $2
Roberts reputedly throws in the mid 90's and has a sinker, slider and change in his repertoire. Roberts has been inconsistent with his secondary pitches in the minors and has had a tendency as a result to rely on the fastball. He had elbow surgery in '98 and some believe that slowed his progress. The Mets moved him to the bullpen and he responded well. Unfortunately, injuries have continued to slow his progress; he missed 4 months last year to shoulder and biceps tendinitis. There once was some thought that he could close down the road, however he has had trouble pitching on back-to-back days and is now a candidate for the #5 spot in the rotation. I'd take him as a bench pick if he gets bypassed in the draft; his health makes him a risk, but I think there's an upside here. Roberts is having a good spring and could win the fifth starter role.
Values ~ 2000: $2 2001: $4 2002: $10 2003: $16
Looper was unable to secure the closer job in Florida but has a two-year contract here and another chance. His strikeout rates and K/BB ratios were impressive in the minors, but he has given up more than a hit an inning every season except 2001-02. Looper keeps the ball on the ground and usually has an excellent HR rate. Given his recent travails, he should go for a relatively low price. But Petersen has had good success with his pitchers so this could be a good buy.
Values ~ 2000: $6 2001: $13 2002: $5 2003: $3
A few years ago, Weathers found a way to retire LH hitters and emerged from a journeyman reliever into an effective set-up man and occasional closer. Weathers is a sinker/slider pitcher who gets a lot of outs on the ground. He went through a spell of ineffectiveness in May but was effective throughout the second half.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: $0
Moreno was expected to be the Royals closer of the future, but he had reconstructive elbow surgery and missed both 2001 and 2002. He surfaced last year in the Mets system, pitching primarily at AAA (Hit Rate = .69; K/BB Ratio = 3.41 with better than a strikeout an inning; HR Rate = .019). These are the kind of outstanding ratios he had earlier in his career. Watch this spring, but I would have this guy on my list somewhere on draft day.
Values ~ 2000: $0 2001: -$3 2002: NA 2003: $2
Wheeler was serviceable for the Mets last year out of the bullpen. He throws a slider that is his best pitch and when I've seen him, he throws it a lot, a low-90's fastball and a change. He has shown good control, but is hittable and gives up a lot of flyballs that can turn into HRs. No interest.
Values ~ 2000: $3 2001: $11 2002: $11 2003: $4
Stanton throws a mid-90's fastball from the left side and mixes in a complement of secondary pitches. His 2003 season was hampered by ligament surgery on his knee mid-season; it should be noted that he pitched better in August and September. He turns 37 this season.
Values ~ 2000: $9 2001: $4 2002: NA 2003: $3
Franco is 43, but came back from reconstructive elbow surgery to assume the role of elder statesman on his home-town club. Even prior to his surgery, his stuff was not as dominant as it once was and last year his K rate was just .47. He gets his outs by pitching to spots just off the plate. He's very savvy on the mound and should continue to get outs, but won't build much value.
Values ~ 2000: $12 2001: $9 2002: $4 2003: $2
Strickland primarily relies on sliders that have late downward movement and mixes in a low 90s fastball. His value took a dip in 2004 after joining NY where he did not receive as many save opportunities. He dominates RH batters, holding them to a .192 average. LH hitters, though, hit .283 off him. Strickland had Tommy John surgery last year and will not be back until May at the earliest. Pass.