The Jays acquired J. A. Happ today from Houston as part of a 10-player trade.
I like it.
Here are seven reasons why.
Happ’s earliest FA year is 2015, so the Jays have him locked in for 2013 and 2014.
As this article notes, Happy’s 2012 SIERA was 3.63 – a full 1.70 earned runs less than his 5.33 ERA at the time the article was written. That is due in part to his 2012 BABIP (at that point) of .349. And sure enough - his ERA today is 4.83, a drop of half a run in the last month, and the BABIP has dropped to .315.
As this article notes, Happ’s 2012 strikeout rate, walk rate, fastball velocity, and ground ball rate are all better than his career averages.
And in the four games he pitched last month, he had a 3.86 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, and held opponents to a .232 average. A small sample, granted, but positive trends are always better than the alternative.
Not much fielding help
Sometimes a pitcher’s stats are inflated by an outstanding defensive team behind him. This year, Houston’s fielding percentage is 21st among 30 MLB teams. (The bad news? Toronto is 22nd)
Happ is earning $2.35 million in 2012. Not bad at all for a 3rd / 4th starter. He will likely get a raise under arbitration for 2013, but his 2012 stats will not likely justify an excessive increase.
Happ has 12 QS in 18 starts this season. That is one less than Cole Hamels’ 13, and ties him with Greinke and Bumgarner – thought Greinke has started 19 games and Bumgarner 20.
Clearly dominant at the Dome
Happ is a monster at the Rogers Centre! His career stats? ERA 0.00, WHIP 0.556, average innings per outing = 9, W/L percentage 100%! (OK, so he only pitched one game there [grin])
I think Happs was an excellent acquisition – good upside, controllable, not too expensive. If he could pitch at his SIERA of 3.63 (as he did in 2009 and 2010) he has #2 starter upside.