Who Should Sheets Replace?

After only two starts in Double-A Mississippi, the Braves are ready to welcome Ben Sheets to the major league rotation. In those starts, he compiled a line of 10.2 IP, 12H, 6ER, 1BB, 10K.

As I mentioned back in my original post of the Sheets signing, it would be important to focus on his K/BB, the velocity and command of his FB and the movement on his CB. As you can see, in the small sample we have he had a very good K/BB ratio. Reports were his FB topped out at 93 and sat in the low 90’s throughout his starts. The word on his CB was he was able to show fairly good command and had nice bite to it. I think it is a good idea to give him a shot now and find out how necessary it will be to acquire another starter as the trade deadline nears.

Now the Braves must send down a starter. It will most likely be either Mike Minor or Randall Delgado, while the other remains in the rotation. Going from a strict numbers standpoint, Delgado would probably get the slight edge to stay in the rotation. This is one instance where I do not believe the decision should be based straight off numbers, or at least many generic pitcher stats we like to look at.

Minor has shown more flashes of brilliance this season, he’s also shown innings of complete destruction. He’s shown a pattern of being very effective the first couple times through the lineup. Whether it is pitching out of the stretch of facing batters for the third time, he tends to struggle. Check out how obscure the differential is in his numbers, especially compared to the league average.

* MM = Mike Minor, L = League, BE = Bases Empty, MOB = Men On Base

2012 Career 2012
MM-BE MM-MOB MM-BE MM-MOB L-BE L-MOB
IP 57 1/3 34 2/3 117 1/3 98 12650 2/3 10507 1/3
AVG 0.233 0.299 0.280 0.271 0.250 0.251
OBP 0.294 0.411 0.335 0.356 0.309 0.333
SLB 0.425 0.602 0.471 0.483 0.399 0.415
wOBA 0.312 0.415 0.350 0.351 0.310 0.323
K% 24.6% 11.4% 23.8% 17.4% 20.6% 18.4%
BB% 7.7% 14.1% 7.1% 10.5% 7.2% 9.3%
HR/9 1.73 2.08 1.30 1.38 1.06 0.97
FIP 4.48 6.99 3.82 4.94 3.83 4.21
xFIP 3.82 6.09 3.60 4.66 3.85 4.19

I have put the men on base in red mostly to help break up the columns and hopefully make the chart easier to follow. To be clear, I am not comparing Minors numbers to the league average with each split. I am comparing the difference between how he does compared to the difference in league average.

Minor’s numbers with men on base seems to be quite an extreme in 2012. His numbers with the bases empty on the other hand are more respectable. In my opinion, his numbers with the bases empty in 2012 are closer to the pitcher he will be going forward. Minor has done worse in 2012 with men on base than what his career numbers would suggest. This is still a small sample so I compared them to league average numbers. If you compare them to the difference in the league average, it seems eventually things will click for Minor out of the stretch and those numbers will regress. Yes, it is expected for a pitchers numbers to be worse with men on base, but not close to as bad as what Minor has been in 2012. For instance, Minors K/BB ratio is ~4x worse with runners on base while the league average is ~1.4x worse. I’m not saying Minor is “league average” or will come down to league average numbers, but he is an extreme right now. Even if assuming those numbers only come down only a bit, he will be a better choice than Delgado going forward. His previous numbers also suggest this will change.

That is my spin on the debate between Minor and Delgado. It is my first time analyzing a player this way (comparing v. league average numbers), so please feel free to comment below on whether you believe it is effective or not. As always, I would love to hear any feedback possible and include your own opinion.

Be sure to follow on Twitter: @decisions_brave

UPDATE (8:00 PM): Dave O’Brien has tweeted that Randall Delgado will be sent down to Triple-A Gwinnett to make room for Ben Sheets. However, he will be called back up Saturday to make one of the doubleheader starts against the Nationals.

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5 Comments on “Who Should Sheets Replace?”

  1. JNick says:

    Wow, those are some pretty striking splits with MOB in 2012 for Minor. Is it something mechanical with his stretch delivery? Seems odd since pitching from the stretch tends to simplify your delivery…wonder if he’s focusing too much on the runners and not enough on the hitter or what.

    I would lean with keeping Delgado – I think Minor could benefit from a trip to AAA to sort out whatever it is that is hindering him with MOB.

    Should we expect a follow-up blog for the Braves’ options at SS now (Trade, Josh Wilson, Rev, Prado, hope that Jack can play soon, etc)…? :)

    • Andrew Sisson says:

      I updated the last blog after finding out TP will not be the permanent fix (he’ll probably be called up for now), Wilson is now hurt, and Simmons will be out longer than I personally anticipated. With those three things, I am definitely changing my stance on a trade, it is necessary. I would now agree with Ben that we should acquire Ryan. He would be my top target… right now a defensive SS would provide more value than a bat and should be way cheaper.

    • Andrew Sisson says:

      I’m honestly not sure how much of it is mechanical and how much is mental with Minor.

  2. JNick says:

    Looks like it was Delgado that drew the short straw….

  3. [...] Sisson of Brave Decisions gives his argument for Mike Minor over Randall Delgado in the [...]


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