M’s Recent Acquisitions

In its most recent sequence of off-season moves, Seattle swapped Brandons with the Jays, and effectively traded utility player, Bill Hall, for first baseman, Casey Kotchman. So let’s see what they got.

Casey Kotchman, who will be 27 this February, has played much of his 6-year career with the Angels, while also seeing short stints with the Braves and Red Sox. His career OPS of 0.742 leaves something to be desired, though he is still young and has already turned in one season with an OPS well over 0.800.

Kotchman is a contact hitter; he hits dingers at a rate just below the league average while striking out half as often. It’s not surprising, then, that many of his outs are productive, moving runners along the base paths. In fact, with runners on base and less than two out, Kotchman is about 1.5 times more likely to make a productive out than a league-average player.

While his ability to make contact is excellent, his walk rate is a little on the low end, and his career OBP is only 0.337. On the defensive side, thanks to his trusty glove, Kotchman has saved his teams some runs over the course of his career. Putting it all together, according to my Run Values statistic (RV), he has been worth about 13 runs above average per every 162 games thus far in his career. Entering what are generally peak years for hitters, ages 27-29, it would not be merely wishful thinking to hope for 15-20 RVs.

Reliever, Brandon League has had some success in Toronto coming in from the pen, but doesn’t have the upside of the man he was traded for, Brandon Morrow. His expected ERA, derived from the statistics he directly controls (HR, BB, and Ks), is 3.93, while his actual ERA sits a little higher at 4.09. With just 6.9 K/9 on his career, he has not been an overpowering pitcher, and his walk rate still hovers north of a healthy figure. However, last season at 26 years old, we saw Brandon League strike out 9.2 batters per 9 innings and turn in a 3.62 K/BB stat, well above the league average! While it’s not likely that League will see the starting rotation any time soon, he will remain an above-average middle reliever, especially if he retains his improved K/BB ratio.

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