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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Belisle to the DL, Germano up; Reds Acquire Estaban Yan

The Yan Acquisition

Today the Reds acquired Estaban Yan for 26-year old Sarasota (A+) relief pitcher Kyle Edens. First, Edens is far too old to be pitching in High-A ball to be taken seriously as a prospect--especially as a reliever--so we clearly didn't give up anything here. The question is what we got:

Recent Estaban Yan Statistics:
2003/TEX 23.3 9.6 2.7 1.93 0.366 6.94 5.00 4.74 -2.30 0.41
2003/STL 43.3 5.8 3.3 1.66 0.317 6.02 5.76 5.77 -2.60 0.50
2004/DET 87.0 7.1 3.3 0.83 0.316 3.83 4.05 3.96 17.20 0. 54
2005/ANA 66.7 6.1 4.1 1.08 0.276 4.59 4.76 4.84 6.20 0.47
Yan, 32, is a power pitcher without eye-popping strikeout rates and with a history of control problems and an occasional tendency to give up the long ball. When he's good, for example, in his 2004 season, he keeps the ball in the park well, walks batters at a league-average rate, and strikes guys out at an above-average rate. When he's bad, he strikes guys out at a league-average rate, gives up a lot of home runs (see 2003), and is prone to walking batters at a very high rate (see 2005). He has struggled early this season, but I still think it's too early to make much of 2006 statistics, so I'm just ignoring those for now. One thing I do like about him is his relatively high ground ball/fly ball ratio (54% in 2004), which is a good fit for GABP. Unfortunately, his 2003 season's adventures with the longball indicates he sometimes is mistake-prone.

Overall, I think Yan's a decent gamble to make. At 32 he's past his prime, but still could have a decent season. I like him better than 37-year old Rick White, who Marc Lancaster indirectly hinted might be the guy to go when Yan arrives tomorrow. White's peripherals have been in a steady decline over the past several years, where as the same is not necessarily true with Yan (though there are some indications of that). Further, Yan's good recent season is understandable based on reasonable improvements in his peripherals, whereas White's good year last year was driven by a suspicious and uncharacteristicly low 0.36 hr/9 allowed.

Since White hasn't been working out well for us and has not shown me (for what little that's worth, which isn't much) an indication that he could improve, perhaps it's time to ditch him and try this other guy for a bit. To this end, I did think it interesting that White was permitted to pitch the entire inning tonight despite pitching rather poorly and effectively ensuring that the game was out of reach by giving up a few runs in his latest inning of work. Maybe it was a last look at him?

Regardless, I don't see this as a major upgrade for us either. Yan may turn in a good season (PECOTA ERA projection was 4.45 in 55 innings, with a good case scenario of 3.43 ERA in 61 innings and a bad-case scenario of 5.97 ERA in 46.7 innings), but he's a stop-gap until we can get some help from our minor leagues. And unfortunately, most of that help appears to be in AA at the moment, and therefore is probably a year or more off.

Belisle to the DL; Justin Germano called up from AAA

I'm surprised it has taken this long, but 23-year old Justin Germano, long thought to be in the mix for the #5 rotation spot prior to the Arroyo deal in spring training, has finally been called up. It looks like they plan to use him in a mop-up/long-relief role, which is appropriate given that he has been starting. Whether Germano survives the Yan acquisition remains to be seen. But let's check out his stats:
2003/SDN-A+ 110.2 6.4 2.0 0.33 0.327 4.23 2.94 4.46 -3.9 --
2003/SDN-AA 58.0 6.8 2.0 0.93 0.293 4.34 3.70 5.86 -1.6 --
2004/SDN-AA 32.1 5.6 2.0 0.84 0.268 2.51 3.82 4.99 4.1 --
2004/SDN-AAA 122.2 7.2 1.8 0.88 0.273 3.37 3.49 4.22 24.3 --
2004/SDN 21.1 6.8 6.0 0.85 0.380 8.86 4.91 4.76 -9 53%
2005/CIN-AAA 49.1 7.0 0.9 1.28 0.335 4.01 3.81 4.65 4.3 46%
2005/SDN-AAA 112.0 8.0 2.6 1.04 0.293 3.70 3.78 4.66 11.5 45%
Germano was one of the two pitchers we acquired in the excellent Joe Randa trade last July, and he has progressed reasonably well thus far in his career. He looks to have excellent control, keeps the ball in the park reasonably well, plus last year he started striking guys out at a good clip. All peripherals tend to take a hit when you move up to the major leagues, so I wouldn't look for him to do a lot up in the majors this year. Most of the scouting reports I've seen on him project his ceiling as a back of the rotation starter, but effective back of the rotation starters can be valuable guys to have. For now, long relief seems to be a good fit for him.