Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hong-Chih Kou: Arbitration

MLB Trade Rumors projects Hong-Chih Kuo getting 2.5 million dollars in arbitration. All Kuo would need to do is get a .83 WAR to meet the Halladay Standard. In his 7 seasons, he has a 4.1 WAR, or 1 WAR every 71 innings. So one would think if he pitches normally, he will get that .83 WAR in about 60 innings. In his 5 real seasons (excluding his first year, where he pitched just 5.1 innings), he averages about 57.1 innings, meaning that is very doable. However, 2011 was hardly a normal year for Kuo. He had a WAR of -1.4 despite only throwing 27 innings. He had a PE of 1.161 (which is not good for a reliever, gave up a .395 OBP, and a horrific TR of 3.3. It is hard to get by these numbers and it is tempting to scream "get rid of him". However, like most things in life, things are more complicated that this. His adjusted PE actually sits at -3.899, which is late inning type efficiency. He strikes out a ton of people at 10.62 K/9IP. He struggled with BABIP in 2011 at .323 (career .289), and that didn't help things. The big problem he had in 2011 was walks. He walked 7.67 BB/9IP, compared to his career average of 3.91. This is really strange. Very rarely do walk rates jump like this. Before the season ended, he went in to have elbow surgery. This is probably the best explanation, but it also makes health a serious concern going forward. When someone has an ERA of exactly 9, it is hard to tell people that he didn't actually pitch that bad. He did have a SIERA of exactly 4. He wasn't that bad I promise. The Bill James projections have his numbers returning to some kind of normality in 2012, giving him a -4.22 PE and a FIP of 3.2. I would pretty much agree, as long as Kuo is healthy and that is a big question. We have to realize that Kuo has basically no trade value after his terrible ERA 2011 and elbow problems. This is why it is smart for the Dodgers to hang on to him.

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