CAPS Profile: Gil Meche

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Gil Meche isn’t the most popular pick, but he may be just right for your fantasy team. (Icon/SMI)

Gil Meche is a guy you probably haven’t seen very many profiles of this offseason. He’s wholly unspectacular, throwing his fastball just 92 mph, pitching for the Royals, and amassing a pedestrian 4.36 career ERA. His 2008 fantasy line looked like this:

+------+-------+----+------+------+-----+----+
| YEAR | IP    | W  | ERA  | WHIP | K   | SV |
+------+-------+----+------+------+-----+----+
| 2008 | 210.3 | 14 | 3.98 | 1.32 | 183 |  0 |
+------+-------+----+------+------+-----+----+

Nothing to gawk at, but nothing to sneeze at either. Let’s take a deeper look at his numbers to see what we should expect out of Meche in 2009.

CAPS Profile

If you’re unfamiliar with CAPS (Context Adjusted Pitching Statistics), it’s a stat I invented and then improved upon earlier this offseason. It’s a stat that can’t be found anywhere else and can give us a much better picture of a pitcher’s true talent than unadjusted number. CAPS adjusts each of a pitcher’s component stats based on the following factors:

  • Past home ballpark
  • 2009 home ballpark
  • Past road ballparks
  • 2009 road ballparks
  • Past quality of opponents (neutralized)
  • League switch adjustments
  • Ground balls adjusted for league average line-drive rate (called xGB)

So what can CAPS tell us about Meche?

Note: In this table, the first line is Meche’s actual line for the season. The second line is his CAPS line for the season.

+------+-----+----------+-------+------+------+-----+------+---------+-----+
| YEAR | AGE | TEAM     | IP    | ERA  | QERA | K/9 | BB/9 | K/BB RI | GB% |
+------+-----+----------+-------+------+------+-----+------+---------+-----+
| 2005 |  26 | Mariners | 143.3 | 5.09 | 5.90 | 5.2 |  4.5 |   -0.63 |  39 |
| 2005 |  26 | Mariners | 143.3 | 5.09 | 5.88 | 4.9 |  4.3 |   -0.69 |  40 |
+------+-----+----------+-------+------+------+-----+------+---------+-----+
| 2006 |  27 | Mariners | 186.7 | 4.48 | 4.64 | 7.5 |  4.1 |    0.10 |  43 |
| 2006 |  27 | Mariners | 186.7 | 4.48 | 4.66 | 7.1 |  3.8 |   -0.03 |  44 |
+------+-----+----------+-------+------+------+-----+------+---------+-----+
| 2007 |  28 | Royals   | 216.0 | 3.67 | 4.25 | 6.5 |  2.6 |    0.11 |  47 |
| 2007 |  28 | Royals   | 216.0 | 3.67 | 4.04 | 6.9 |  2.4 |    0.21 |  47 |
+------+-----+----------+-------+------+------+-----+------+---------+-----+
| 2008 |  29 | Royals   | 210.3 | 3.98 | 4.20 | 7.8 |  3.1 |    0.31 |  39 |
| 2008 |  29 | Royals   | 210.3 | 3.98 | 3.96 | 8.2 |  3.0 |    0.44 |  41 |
+------+-----+----------+-------+------+------+-----+------+---------+-----+

We see that back in 2005 (and each year prior), Meche wasn’t a very good pitcher and wouldn’t warrant consideration in any mixed league. From 2005 through 2008, though, he has increased his QERA each year, culminating in a very solid 3.96 figure last season.

For the past two seasons, he’s posted a CAPS QERA around 4.00, pitched over 210 innings, and struck out over 150 batters. In 2008, his CAPS K/9 rose to a very good 8.2.

Meche is an interesting case because his actual ERAs have actually been better than his QERAs over the past two seasons, yet Meche gets little respect from most fantasy owners. If he could repeat his 2008 CAPS season, Meche would be worth roughly $16 or $17. He should definitely be expected to regress in 2009, but he’s not getting anywhere near that kind of play in 2009 mock drafts and rankings.

What’s interesting is the breakdown of the type of owners who like and dislike Meche, even if none like him as much as his 2008 season (and rightfully so).

As you’ll notice in the “Market value” section, the statistically-inclined guys seems to be split on Meche (RotoAuthority and John Halpin are high on him; RotoSavants, Razzball, and Rotoworld are low). The guys who are low on him are likely looking at his less-than-stellar pre-2008 peripheral skills. A 4.25 ERA pitcher on a poor team just isn’t a tremendous pick. Because we have CAPS and can look deeper, though, we know that Meche is actually better than his peripherals indicate. It’s interesting that some see him as a 4.00 ERA pitcher.

Interestingly enough, this lumps our (and RotoAuthority and Halpin’s) assessment of him in with the less-statistically inclined guys (CBS and ESPN) who are probably looking at his actual ERAs. Very interesting.

What to expect in 2009

The best case scenario is this: Meche posts a K/9 over 8.0 as he did in 2008 and a BB/9 around 2.5 and a GB% above 45 percent as he did in 2007. A line like that would see his QERA approach 3.50.

A more likely (and not unreasonable) scenario for Meche is a 12 wins, 4.05 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 150 strikeouts (given 185 innings). That would make Meche a $12 pitcher, putting him in the top 25 or 30 starting pitchers. $12 isn’t anything great, but when you consider that you should be able to get him for $5 or in the 19th round of some drafts, he could provide good value. And if he reaches his best case scenario (as unlikely as it may be), his value could surpass $20, so there is a little bit of upside.

I will say that I don’t generally select guys like Meche late in a draft. Instead, I tend to go with higher-upside players. Depending on the strategy you’re employing and the way your pitching staff has shaken out, though, Meche could make a lot of sense.

Market value

FOX Sports – John Halpin: 42nd SP
Mock Draft Central Expert Mock Draft #2: 40th SP (R16)
ESPN: 41st SP
RotoAuthority: 43rd SP
Mock Draft Central Expert Mock Draft #3: 48th SP (R17)
CBS Sportsline: 54th SP
Mock Draft Central Expert Mock Draft #1: 54th SP (R18)
CBS Sportsline Expert Draft No. 1: 58th SP (R18)
CBS Sportsline Expert Draft No. 2: 60th SP (R19)
Razzball: 62nd SP
RotoSavants: 70th SP
CBS Sportsline Mock Draft No. 1: 75th SP (R23)
Fantasy Baseball Express: 88th SP
FOX Sports – Mike Harmon: Not in top 50 SP
Rotoworld ADP: Not in top 53 SP
Rotoworld: Not in top 57 SP

Meche’s market value is all over the place. Where you can get him in your own league will depend upon the specific owners in it. He went as high as Round 16 in some mock drafts to not even being draftable according to our friend Tim Dierkes at RotoAuthority. If you’re targeting Meche, you’ll need to know a bit about your opponents to find the most efficient pick to use on him.

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Comments

  1. Mike Podhorzer said...

    Just to throw in another comparison of market value, it appears I’m the most bullish on Meche out of everyone. I have him 35th among starting pitchers, with the following projected line:

    210-4.01-1.32-12-177

    I guess I’m the only stats guy who likes him, besides you Derek. Weird! Funny that just by looking at my projection, it’s not like I’m particularly optimistic. I actually expect a slightly worse season than 2008, yet he still ends up ranking much higher than everyone else.

  2. Troy Patterson said...

    I was actually going to use Gil Meche as my sleeper suggestion this week, but saw on couchmanagers.com that he is going in the 16th while he is much later in MockDraftCentral.com.  Mainly this comes from the preset rankings affecting how people get drafted.

    I would prefer to get him closer to the 20th round or later, but the uptick in K/9 last year was very nice to see.

  3. Death Magnetic said...

    Derek,

    Did you have to created that ‘Market Value’ information specifically for Meche here or do you have/track all that data for all the players. I think a spreadsheet that tracked that many points in the market for each player would be extremely valuable.

    And of course I am too lazy to create one myself!!!

  4. Derek Carty said...

    Rotodog,
    I agree.  200+ innings two years running is a good sign and adds some extra value.  Even with a low-7s K/9, 200 innings means the total Ks will be pretty high.

    Mike,
    I wasn’t able to check your rankings.  That would definitely put you at the top of the pack.  I find this to be a very fascinating situation.  Most of the stat guys dislike him, yet you and John Halpin are opposite.

    Troy,
    I agree.  I don’t know if he’ll be able to fully sustain that K/9, but it’s a great sign.  Any time after the 20th round is a great value.  Round 16 would probably be too early for me.  He’s more of a guy I’d pick because he seems to be lower-risk and can round out a staff nicely as a #5 or #6.

    Death Magnetic,
    Unfortunately, I don’t have a database of this data.  For each player article, I have to dig through and pick them out.  Putting a database together is something I’ve considered doing in the past, and if I can find some time it might be something I do before the season starts.  We’ll have to see.

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