The So What? - Gray, Darvish Traded, Piscotty, Weaver Recalled (8/3/17)

By Ryan Fowler

Sonny Gray traded to the Yankees

Gray was damaged goods this time last year when he landed on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow and forearm. Lowlighted by a 5-11 record, confounding 5.69 ERA and career-worst 3.23 BB/9, it was obvious he wasn't healthy. However, before the ugliness that was Gray's 2016 campaign, he was once the apple of Oakland's eye. Through his first 74 games, he boasted a 33-20 record, sub-3.00 ERA a solid K/9 rate, which flirted around 8.00.

Gray returned to the rotation healthy and “back to normal” in May. He left the Athletics with a 6-5 record, 3.43 ERA (3.30 xFIP) and 8.72 K/9 rate, which would be his highest since his 12-game cup o' coffee in 2013.

What does it mean?

Well, considering how poorly CC Sabathia pitched over his last two starts (8 ER in 10 1/3) and how Masahiro Tanaka fears pitching in daylight more than a vampire, Gray is basically neck-and-neck with 23-year-old Luis Severino as the Yankees' ace. Because he took the place of a replacement level pitcher after the loss of Michael Pineda, Gray is worth one win the rest of the season assuming ~10 starts.

Yu Darvish traded to the Dodgers

As of August 2, the Dodgers had won 40 of their last 46 games and were 14.5 games ahead of the Colorado Rockies for second place in the NL West without Yu Darvish. Los Angeles is all in on its World Series ambitions because the former Rangers pitcher is now a three-month rental with no guarantee he'll resign this offseason.

Granted, 2017's Darvish has regressed somewhat as he left Texas 6-9 with a 4.01 ERA in 22 starts. To be fair, two bad starts in July caused his ERA to soar. Through his first 17 starts, Darvish's ERA was 3.11. By the end of July it swelled to 4.01, which is due, in part, to a career-high 15 percent HR/FB rate. Darvish still ranks among the top 15 starters in strikeouts per nine innings (9.72). Plus, with the trade, he gets to avoid the launching pad that is Globe Life Park in Arlington during the dog days of summer.

What does it mean?

Kenta Maeda has allowed 2-or-fewer runs in nine of his last 10 starts. Hyun-jin Ryu has allowed 2-or-fewer runs in eight of his last 10 starts. Both will remain in the rotation, which means Brock Stewart (~0.5 win value rest of season) is out and Darvish (1.5 wins value) is in.

Looking ahead, the Dodgers will boast a postseason rotation of Kershaw (2.04 ERA), Darvish, Alex Wood (2.38 ERA) before needing to decide between Rich Hill (4-0 w/ 1.45 ERA in July) and Maeda with Ryu a long relief option. Wow.

Piscotty activated, Weaver called-up

After a few weeks on the disabled list with a groin strain, Stephen Piscotty returned to the Cardinals lineup Tuesday. He struggled through his first 69 games of 2017 before the injury; lowlighted by a paltry .236 batting average. The regression was somewhat surprising after an impressive 2016 – his first full campaign - which saw Piscotty hit .273 with 22 homers, 86 runs and 85 RBI.

With Adam Wainwright on the DL (back), 23-year-old prospect Luke Weaver was called-up and took his place in the rotation this week. A J.D. Martinez grand slam drove in the only runs allowed by Weaver in five innings of work, but they were enough to tag him with the loss. He'll face the Brewers on Wednesday night.

What does this mean?

Nudging replacement level player Jose Martinez out of the picture, Piscotty is worth 0.7 wins the rest of the season. Weaver, who owns a sub-2.00 ERA at every minor league level, is worth 0.8 wins above a replacement level pitcher over his next 10 starts should Wainwright miss more time.