Rangers Claim Roe
In their 2011 annual, Baseball Prospectus wrote this about the great nephew of 1960 World Series hero, Bill Mazeroski, “A supplemental pick out of an Ohio high school in 2005, tall, lean righty starter Roe failed to impress in his Triple-A debut in 2010. Bad luck on balls in play (.367 BABIP) played a large role in that, but Roe’s pedestrian peripherals fail to inspire much confidence. He looks like little more than an organizational arm at the moment, but he won’t serve in that capacity in Colorado, since the Rockies dealt Roe to the Mariners in December for Jose Lopez.”
What made me chuckle when reading BP’s evaluation of Roe is the fact he did not actually attend high school in Ohio, which is probably indicative of how mediocre and underwhelming Roe has been during his time in professional baseball. Both accounts do not speak too highly of Roe as he was essentially a non-prospect. He even spent the 2012 season with the independent Laredo Lemurs before signing with the D-Backs in September of 2012.
At first glance, nothing about Chaz Roe appears to be too interesting. In 22.1 innings in 2013, Roe yielded an ERA of 4.03, while walking 13 hitters unintentionally. However, Roe did generate an xFIP of 3.68, strikeout 24, and induce ground balls at a clip of 57.1%. Also, in 22 minor league innings in 2013, Roe struck out 23.0% of hitters, while only walking 4.6%. Roe has completely ditched the change-up Hulet was critical of five years ago, and is relying heavily on a two-seamer, which would explain the high ground ball percentage, and slider that is quite effective at prompting whiffs.
One has mentioned how xFIP has some predictive value, and Dave Cameron has written how teams are beginning to pay for pitchers who have posted solid xFIPshttp://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/tim-lincecum-and-the-slow-death-of-era/ , with Tim Lincecum being the latest example. Last off season, the Pittsburgh Pirates added two pitchers whose ERAs in ’12 were above average, but had still posted quality xFIPs. Both pitchers rewarded the Pirates faith in the xFIP statistic as Francisco Liriano and Mark Melancon produced outstanding seasons.
Pitchers who are able to induce ground balls and strike hitters out can be very valuable, and if Roe is anything similar to the type of pitcher he was in ’13, albeit in an extremely small sample, he could potentially be a contributor out of the pen in ’14. If Roe returns to previous form, then the Rangers do not lose anything of substance as Roe cost very little to add to the roster.
The best way to construct a bullpen is with cheap, cost-effective young hurlers, and minor league journeymen. General Manager Jon Daniels has struck gold in the past with pitchers similar to Roe in Darren O’Day, and more recently Neal Cotts. Claiming a Chaz Roe off of waivers, and seeing the possibility of potential value is the type of move an astute, shrewd general manager makes.