Reviewing the bullpen additions for Padres this winter via free-agency

Padres Drew Pomeranz

Credit: AP Photo


Three men signed Major League free-agent deals with the San Diego Padres this winter.

The San Diego Padres had a rather quiet offseason in the free agency market, signing a multitude of players to minor league contracts.

They continue their consistent strategy of signing veteran talent to pair with incoming prospects in an attempt to optimize overall bullpen success.

Bringing in Drew Pomeranz, and Pierce Johnson from the open market as well as re-signing Craig Stammen will only improve the unit.

Here is a review of each player.

Drew Pomeranz:

In a relief role in the National League, Pomeranz’s numbers should improve from an unsteady 2019 campaign. While he struggled in San Francisco, the left-handed pitcher found a home in the bullpen in Milwaukee, posting an ERA of 2.39 in 25 appearances. His advanced metrics, in some areas, were also great, as his fastball spin (2,436 RPM) and strikeout percentage (30.1%) ranked in the 84th and 85th percentiles respectfully. This performance garnered a $34 million contract in free agency and a projected $6 million in 2020. However, based on the Player Prediction Model (PPM), it projects that he should have commanded only the veteran’s minimum in 2020 ($563,500). Pomeranz had a lackluster start in 2019 with San Francisco, so the model projects that his actual value is lower than the contract that he signed.

Craig Stammen:

Stammen has been highly productive and consistent for San Diego over the last three seasons, posting a 3.06 ERA in 209 games with the franchise. His sinker is highly effective, as opposing hitters had a combined 0.237 batting average and a wOBA of 0.289. This offseason, the pitcher re-signed a $9 million contract that will pay $4 million in 2020 for the Padres. According to the PPM, Stammen’s projected salary is $3.32 million in the first year of his new contract, based on last year’s performance. As this is a difference of only $680,000 in 2020 value, this is a logical signing to add bullpen depth.

Pierce Johnson:

After not pitching in the 2019 season, the Padres signed Johnson based upon his upside, as he will make a projected $2 million in 2020. He last pitched in 2018 with San Francisco, where his rate statistics were lackluster. However, his spin rates on both his fastball and curveball were rather impressive. In 2018, Johnson’s fastball spin rate placed in the 85th percentile, while his curveball spin rate placed in the 98th percentile. According to the PPM, his projected free agency contract value is $272,500 and could be another value add in free agency. However, with this type of stuff, Johnson will be used as a specialist in relief roles as he continues to develop his pitch arsenal.

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Nicholas Fichtner
Nicholas Fichtner is a baseball analyst and researcher, and Founder and Editor of The Launch Angle. His previous experience includes working as a Quantitative Analyst with the Northeastern University Huskies baseball program for the 2019 season. While in this role, he worked closely with the coaching staff in developing an analytics department that assisted in impacting overall strategy and player evaluation using advanced data analysis and metrics.

Before Northeastern, Fichtner served in previous roles with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod Baseball League as an Assistant General Manager consulting on in-game strategy, roster management, and quantitative based player development, and as a Student Director of Analytics with his alma mater, Endicott College and their baseball program. His Thesis, entitled "Free Market Navigation in Major League Baseball," details the development of a highly sophisticated model that accurately predicts free agent player salaries based on various quantitative variables. He currently resides in Beverly, Massachusetts.

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