Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Welcome to the Blue, Brandon McCarthy!

Oh Boy!  The Dodgers did another deal.

The Dodgers have signed free agent starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy (UPDATE: Apparently, it's not official yet, via a tweet by Alanna Rizzo).  Via a tweet by Ken Rosenthal:

McCarthy should slot in nicely as the Dodgers #4 or #5 pitcher.  He is a nine year Major League veteran with a career record of 52-65, a 4.09 ERA, 4.00 FIP and WHIP of 1.291.  Not too thrilling, eh?  I assure you though, these numbers are deceiving.  What you really want to pay attention to is what he did for the Yankees once he was traded to them by the Diamondbacks in July of this year.

Brandon McCarthy rebounded mightedly in pinstripes.  He went 7-5 with a 2.89 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 1.151 WHIP.  He also saw his strike out to walk ratio jumped to a career high of 6.31.  If that's not convincing enough, check out what Daniel Brim wrote at Dodgers Digest about him in early November:
The two biggest numerical changes for McCarthy after he was traded, partially due to the different pitch arsenal described above, were regressions in his BABIP and HR/FB. His BABIP with the Diamondbacks was .345, possibly sustainable by the league’s best hitters but generally well beyond what a pitcher will allow with a large sample. His HR/FB ratio also fell significantly, from 20% to 12.8%. The lower HR/FB rate in New York almost precisely matches what the earlier calculation says his ratio should have been, which is extremely encouraging.
Put all of this together, and it means that McCarthy’s 83 FIP- in New York wasn’t entirely luck. His 74 ERA- had a lot to do with an unsustainably high strand rate, but the smart change in repertoire and regression of numbers which are commonly more variable in small samples point to positive things.
In celebration of McCarthy's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photograph grabbed from a photo from USA Today and the 1970 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are the career stats for Brandon McCarthy, via Baseball-Reference:

UPDATE II (12/16/2014):  It's now official.  Per a Dodger press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the signing of free-agent right-handed pitcher Brandon McCarthy to a four-year contract.

McCarthy, 31, established career highs in wins (10), strikeouts (175) and innings pitched (200.0) last season with the Diamondbacks and Yankees, going 10-15 with a 4.05 ERA in 32 starts. He ranked ninth among MLB starters with a 5.30 strikeout-to-walk ratio and averaged only 1.49 walks per 9.0 innings, the eighth-best mark in the Majors. Beginning with his final two starts with the D-backs and through his 14 starts with New York following his July 6 trade, McCarthy was one of the game’s best pitchers, going 9-5 with a 2.80 ERA (32 ER/103.0 IP) from June 27 to the conclusion of the season.

The 6-foot-7, 200-pound McCarthy has a 52-65 career record with a 4.09 ERA in nine seasons with the White Sox (2005-06), Rangers (2007-09), Athletics (2011-12), Diamondbacks (2013-14) and Yankees (2014). Since his first big league season in 2005, McCarthy ranks 16th among MLB starting pitchers by averaging only 2.23 walks per 9.0 innings and has a 2.85 strikeout-to-walk ratio during the course of his career.

The Glendale, CA, native was originally selected by the White Sox in the 17th round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.

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