• The Chan Ho Park Mistake

    Posted by on June 22nd, 2010 · Comments (10)

    I was listening to Sweeny Murti on Mike Francesa today and he shared something interesting.

    Murti said that he talked to a scout who said the Phillies used Chan Ho Park in low leverage situations last year and that’s why his numbers were good. And, during the World Series, Park was throwing harder than usual and it was the combination of the good (but empty) regular season stats and seeing him in the World Series that duped the Yankees into signing Park.

    In any event, if you look at the worst RP to date in the AL (see chart below) you’ll see a lot of Yankees on the list – and Park is the worst of that group. Isn’t it time for Brian Cashman to admit he made a mistake on Chan Ho Park and just send him packing?

    Rk Player ERA+ G Year Age Tm IP ERA
    1 Sean White 55 20 2010 29 SEA 16.2 7.56
    2 Tony Sipp 57 30 2010 26 CLE 23.0 7.04
    3 Chan Ho Park 60 18 2010 37 NYY 21.0 6.86
    4 Chad Gaudin 61 20 2010 27 TOT 31.1 6.89
    5 Brian Fuentes 70 18 2010 34 LAA 17.1 6.23
    6 Aaron Laffey 72 20 2010 25 CLE 25.2 5.61
    7 Jamey Wright 74 18 2010 35 CLE 21.1 5.48
    8 Joba Chamberlain 74 31 2010 24 NYY 29.1 5.52
    9 Randy Choate 75 34 2010 34 TBR 17.0 5.82
    10 David Robertson 75 23 2010 25 NYY 21.1 5.48
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 6/22/2010.

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    Comments on The Chan Ho Park Mistake

    1. Raf
      June 22nd, 2010 | 6:48 pm

      Murti said that he talked to a scout who said the Phillies used Chan Ho Park in low leverage situations last year and that’s why his numbers were good.

      It’s not like the Yankees have been using Park in high leverage situations… And no one can say that the Yanks were “duped” into signing him. As Fangraphs assessed;

      It’s always a risk when a team signs an aging pitcher who showed signs of improvement in limited duty the previous season, but the Yankees are in a position to take the gamble. Adding Park to the bullpen gives the Yankees even more depth, allowing them to perhaps trade one of Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin, or otherwise send Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes to AAA in order to build up their innings, rather than sending one to the bullpen initially. If Park pitches near his 2009 level, they’ll benefit from a stronger bullpen. If he flops, the can afford to eat the remainder of Park’s $1.2 million salary, like they did with LaTroy Hawkins in 2008.

      After this was written, Gaudin was cut, Joba was moved to the pen, and Hughes to the rotation. As it is, Park may be cut when Mitre gets back.

      At any rate, there has been a spike in his hit ratios, he’s striking out more batters and walking less than he did last year. FWIW, he’s given up less line drives (19% down from 24%), less ground balls (40% down from 44%), more fly balls (41% up from 33%). Should be noted that there hasn’t been a drop in his velocity in any of his pitches, though I would think that he should probably select his pitches a bit better.

    2. Corey Italiano
      June 22nd, 2010 | 6:55 pm

      I’d rather see them try to play the hot hand and trot Albaladejo out there instead of Park. At his worst. Albaladejo is no different than Park. If it doesn’t work, send him back down for good and bring up Melancon.

    3. 77yankees
      June 22nd, 2010 | 7:45 pm

      It was an absolutely clueless signing – an aging pitcher who never had any success in the AL to begin with.

    4. jay
      June 22nd, 2010 | 9:35 pm

      Chan Ho Park’s xFIP = 3.92.

      Proceed with stat head quips and ‘you don’t know baseball’ remarks. The point remains that while the results haven’t been there, there’s a least as an expectation that he can be a useful reliever, which, as Raf pointed out, his peripherals indicate.

    5. Evan3457
      June 23rd, 2010 | 1:42 am

      Yeah, because nothing’s lower pressure than pitching in a World Series.

      Gave up a RBI single in his 1st appearance that made a 2-1 game a 3-1 game, then got out of his. Held a deficit at 2 runs with a scoreless inning in his 2nd appearance. Calmed down the Yanks 8th inning rally in Game 5, giving up only a sac fly after it looked like Lee might actually blow a 6 run lead, and pitched another scoreless inning in game 6, with the Phils already down 4….Park wasn’t fantastic in the World Series, but he didn’t do that badly.

    6. Evan3457
      June 23rd, 2010 | 1:55 am

      Park’s average Leverage Index was an exactly major league average 1.0, meaning the situations he pitched in were equal in importance to the average pitcher for the NL as a whole. According to the charts at Baseball Refernce, he pitched best in a limited number of PA in High Leverage Situations. About 500 of the batters he faced were in games where the lead was 2 runs, 1 run, or the game was tied. About 650 came in games where the lead was 3 runs or more.

      He was horrible with runners on base, less horrible with RISP, and less bad still with RISP and 2 outs, but still not good. He was atrocious with the bases loaded, but pretty good overall with 2 runners on base.

      What does all this mean? I’ll tell you what I think. I think it means that the Yankees scouted him based on what they saw, and what they saw, against the best-hitting team in baseball, at the highest pressure and stakes, impressed them. I remember thinking the Yanks would kill Park at any moment, but they didn’t really. I thought he looked pretty good, from what I could tell.

      As I recall, he came out of spring training with some minor health issue, got belted right out of the gate, started to improve, got hurt, and got belted some more when he came back. His main problem right now is that Girardi seems to want him to be a multi-inning reliever, where his pitch ceiling appears to be 25-30 pitches. Awfully tough to squeeze two full innings out of 25-30 pitches, nowadays.

    7. Evan3457
      June 23rd, 2010 | 1:57 am

      Oh, I see Joba at #8 on that list, and D-Rob at #10.

      Guess Cashman made a mistake on those two as well.

    8. Evan3457
      June 23rd, 2010 | 1:57 am

      OK, that last one overstates my case.

      A bit. Just a bit.

    9. Molon Labe
      June 23rd, 2010 | 6:58 am

      Park has a few other dubious distinctions, which were mentioned during the broadcast last night:

      4/23/99 — Surrendered two (2) grand slams to the same batter (Fernando Tatis) in one inning.

      8/11/06 — Gave up Andy Pettitte’s only career HR.

    10. GDH
      June 23rd, 2010 | 10:28 am

      The guy gives a great interview.

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