Wednesday, February 14, 2007

John Patterson, Part II - Timing Matters

'Matt' commented that since Patterson usually gets injured anyway, if he's going to draft someone for half a season, he'd rather get Clemens. On the surface, this makes sense, but there's a problem with thinking this way. Let's make some assumptions (some of which may not be true):
1. Patterson will get injured half way through the season and be out for the year.
2. Clemens will come back halfway through the season and be healthy.
3. They will go for equal prices on draft day.
4. Clemens is better than Patterson.

So we should obviously pick Clemens, right?

Not necessarily. At least in leagues with relatively shallow benches. Clemens is going to take up a roster spot for the first half of the season while he sits on the bench. Patterson can be dropped as soon as he blows out his arm halfway through the season. This will allow us to pick up a replacement. In a league with shallow benches, for example Sportsline Public leagues with a two man bench and no DL, this is a big deal. It means that our choice is really between a half season of Clemens or a half season of Patterson + a half season of some replacement level pitcher.

2 comments:

MO Boiler said...

Clemens is a freak of nature, but I'm not sure you can assume that any 44-year old pitcher is going to be completely healthy. And I'm also not sure that you can assume Patterson is going to get hurt. Both of these things may happen, but in my opinion it's just as likely that they don't. With Patterson, you're at least getting the chance he will be healthy for 25-30 starts. Clemens will only make 20 if he's completely healthy.

On a side note, as an O's supporter, I'd be interested to hear your take on John Maine. Especially in the wake of the Kris Benson injury, since they were traded for each other before last season.

Matt said...

I think you've made the wrong assumptions on the second two. You need to go with the following:

1. Patterson will get injured half way through the season and be out for the year.
2. Clemens will come back halfway through the season and be healthy.
3. Clemens will go for significantly less on draft day. (Not that they are the same value.)
4. Clemens is as good as Patterson. (Not that Clemens is better.)

With these assumptions (and a big enough bench to support his dead weight), the logical choice is Clemens. Getting him for a smaller investment is too good to pass up, if you're willing to take such a risk.

But of course with a smaller bench, Patterson is a great choice until he gets hurt, and using his slot to stream good matchups.

I don't know - maybe these are two different discussions. They're not mutually exclusive picks, since they're going to be separated by several rounds in a draft. I'm not sure about Option C - drafting both of them - but both should be mentioned when talking about mid-late value.

But you main point is very valid - Patterson's perceived baseline is 100 IP, and is drafted accordingly, and this is draft-day folly. His high-end upside is that of a Cy Young contender, which is hidden behind the injury woes.