MLB Offseason Report: Joe Musgrove Traded to the Padres
Greg Jewett breaks down the trade of Joe Musgrove to the Padres in a three-team deal and what fantasy implications it has on each team for 2021
While most of the major league teams try to figure out how to save money, San Diego under the guidance of general manager A.J. Preller continue to push the chips in for 2021 acquiring Joe Musgrove from Pittsburgh:
Pittsburgh then flipped Joey Lucchesi to the Mets for a switch-hitting catcher prospect:
On the surface, San Diego owns a bevy of talent in its rotation even without Mike Clevinger , added at the 2019 trade deadline, out for the season. As it stands now:
The Padres' opening-day rotation is likely set. In some order:— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) January 19, 2021
Adrian Morejon and Ryan Weathers could now be candidates for the opening-day bullpen. MacKenzie Gore could be the No. 1 at El Paso or San Antonio.
It's apparent Musgrove's the headliner in this trade so his outlook needs to be explored for fantasy purposes. Last year, Musgrove made eight starts winning only one of his six decisions with a 55:16 K:BB, 3.86 ERA, 3.50 SIERA and 1.24 WHIP. A key part to his strong finish, Musgrove's final two starts featured 13 shutout innings with double digit strikeouts in each outing.
Delving into his data, Musgrove used his four-seam fastball less often during 2020 with success. Especially in September, he ramped up his slider and curveball usage with aplomb. Overall, here's his chart from Statcast representing his repertoire along with the percentage of each thrown:
Putting his pitches under the microscope yields the following:
Musgrove 4-seam Fastball: 27-percent usage, .295 xBA, .369 xwOBA, 17 whiff percentage, 12 put away percent, 14 K%
Musgrove Slider: 24.2-percent usage, .120 xBA, .187 xwOBA, 50.6 whiff percentage, 37.6 put away percent, 54.9 K%
Musgrove Curveball: 19.9-percent usage, .080 xBA, .148 xwOBA, 53.2 whiff percentage, 31.7 put away percent, 59.1 K%
Musgrove Sinker: 11.9-percent usage, .276 xBA, .294 xwOBA, 10.9 whiff percentage, 15.8 put away percent, 12 K%
Musgrove Change-up: 10.7-percent usage, .218 xBA, .332 xwOBA, 33.3 whiff percentage, 33.3 put away percent, 26.7 K%
Staying with Statcast, Musgrove owned a 3.23 xERA last year while increasing his overall whiff percentage by over eight points to 33-percent. He also produced a 47.3 ground ball rate which plays well with a strong defensive infield in San Diego. For a visual on how his fastball and curve work in tandem:
The #Pirates Joe Musgrove was one of the better mirror-ers in 2020; his FF/CB averaged 6-hr directional spin contrast (1:30/7:30) and a ~3% efficiency differential.— Augustine Visuals (@AugustineMLB) January 18, 2021
(Note- the example below has Musgrove putting some extra cut on the FF) https://t.co/SllX0RLC0M pic.twitter.com/ZMhspQYV98
According to Brooks Baseball, Musgrove notched a 25.7 swinging strike percentage with his slider and a 25 swinging strike rate with his curveball. It remains to be seen how the Padres plan to use Musgrove's diverse pitch cache, but if he keeps the trends from September during which he threw his slider over 25-percent of the time and his curve over 22-percent, his strikeout numbers should translate well going forward. It feels like Musgrove sits on the precipice of a breakout and how many innings he accrues may determine his value in 2021, but the seeds have been sown.
Mets acquire Lucchesi
Remember when targeting Joey Lucchesi in the end game last year made sense? He only worked five innings in the majors in 2020, so perhaps a new chance in New York enables him to rebound. This move also seems to cement Seth Lugo remaining in the bullpen for the Mets:
I'm told the Mets intend to stretch out Joey Lucchesi as a rotation piece, which makes sense given his recent history as a successful starter (4.14 ERA, 9.3 K/9 over 56 starts from 2018-19) in San Diego.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) January 19, 2021
Pirates rebuild continues
It's not what Pittsburgh fans wish to hear, but getting Hudson Head among other prospects plus Endy Rodriguez helps restock a system in need. This trade may keep Jameson Taillon with the Pirates all season but Adam Frazier may be next up on the trade block until the regular season when they hope to move Richard Rodríguez before the deadline. Wash, rinse, repeat.
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