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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Ground Outs Galore No More

Jason Grimsely is the second player to be moved since GM Allard Baird's announcement that he was selling off the team in parts. Grimsely was traded to the Orioles for minor leaguer Denny Bautista, a hard thrower with lots of potential who is only 23 years old (Baseball Prospectus had him listed as 21 with a birthdate of 10/23/82. I'm told he was another Latin player caught lying about his age). Baseball Prospectus liked him when he was thought to be 21, not so sure now (he's also a good friend or cousin of Pedro for what its worth) although he needs to develop some control - 70 walks in 137 innings last year and 33 in 62 2/3 innings this year. I'd put this trade in the win column for Baird.

On the down side the Royals handling of the release of Curtis Leskanic seemed a bit strange. Although Baird swore to Leskanic it was a baseball and not a financial decision, it seems clear to most everyone (and Leskanic if the story in last Sunday's KC Star is accurate) that it was purely financially motivated since Leskanic was due to start earning roster bonuses that would eventually equal around $1M. In addition, Leskanic was throwing better and it seems like Baird might have been able to make a deal similar to the Grimsley trade if Leskanic could have been showcased and seen to be healthy again. Certainly Leskanic's age works against him in a trade scenario but it seems other teams already have an interest.

Finally, my brother alerted me to this unusual statistic related to Grimsely. Here are his ground and fly outs and ratio since the stat started being tracked in 1999.

Year Team GO FO GO/FO
1999 New York Yankees 104 52 2.12
2000 New York Yankees 145 89 1.74
2001 Kansas City Royals 128 45 3.18
2002 Kansas City Royals 107 45 2.53
2003 Kansas City Royals 125 37 3.57
2004 Kansas City Royals 55 6 9.83

Grimsely has always been a ground ball pitcher and is therefore valuable in double play situations. His ratio typically ranges between 2 and 3, which of itself is quite high. However, I've never seen a ratio of 9.83. Although the same size is 26 and 2/3 innings, that's still remarkable.

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