Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine reports that Tom (Nasty) Mastny was sent to Cleveland to complete the trade for John McDonald.

It's a minor trade- a 23 year old pitcher who has just completed a successful year in the Sally League for a good glove, no hit shortstop. Digging a little deeper though, the trade seems to suggest to me that the Moneyball label does not always belong on these Jays, and sometimes could equally well be placed on the Indians.

Tom Mastny is 23 years old, and has 4 average pitches. He has very good control, and has demonstrated an exceptional ability to avoid the home run ball to date. There have been no reports of any injury. Pitching prospects are historically much more difficult to project than hitting prospects. The best ones (Dustin McGowan, Mark Prior) succeed much more often than the lesser ones like Mastny, but the ratio is on the order of 3-1, whereas it might be 10-1 or more for comparable hitting prospects. Mastny might have a 10-20% chance of being a major league pitcher. Mastny is also the kind of pitcher who traditional scouts do not like. He doesn't possess the 95 mph fastball or the sharp slider or the sweeping curve or the nasty change. That is why he was available in the 11th round of the draft, despite leading the NCAA in ERA in his last year of college.

On the other hand, the market for major league pitching awards even average pitchers with much higher salaries than average players at other positions. From a \"Moneyball\" perspective, Mastny is precisely the kind of pitcher who would be undervalued, albeit at a relatively low level.

John McDonald is a fine fielding shortstop, with a career major league line of .231/.270/.308. Traditional approaches to the game have often favored this kind of trade-off of defence for offence in a shortstop. It is easy to see this in Hall of Fame voting for shortstops, as described in a recent article of mine. Performance-based approaches would generally take the approach that it takes Ozzie Smith level defence to make up for a .231/.270/.308 line, unless it was possible to give him 150 defensive innings and 30-40 at-bats.

It has been commonplace to characterize the Ricciardi Jays as a \"Moneyball\" team, based on his prior work with the A's and the hiring of Keith Law. This seems to me to be an oversimplification; the team attempts to meld performance-based and traditional approaches to the game. In this case, traditional approaches seem to have taken precedence.

I would describe this as a poor trade for the Jays. I guess that means I find myself a little closer to the performance-based approach than to the traditional one.

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_PeterG - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 12:12 PM EST (#9103) #
I agree with everything said about Mastny but I think the value of McDonald is being underestimated. From what I saw in a few games last year it is not a stretch to suggest he may be the finest fielding ss in the AL. Not a bad player to have on your bench.
_Dean - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 12:12 PM EST (#9104) #
I consider this trade, like many of the other lessor trades, a wash. Another spare part for a spare part transaction. There are several guys who can fill Mastny's shoes - James, Core, Hill, Jannsen - and should Mastny make the show, I hope he does, I don't think his impact will be such that we will be crying in our beer over it.
_Rich Hacker - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 12:22 PM EST (#9105) #
I'm not sure if this has been posted before but here is Rotoworld's take on Tom Mastny.
_Ducey - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 12:36 PM EST (#9106) #
I was quite upset when I heard that Mastny was the player to be named later.

I think a large part of my sadness is that simply one of the minor leaguers whom I followed closely was traded and I acknowledge this colours my objectiveness. I guess he may have had a hard time making the 40 man next December given the number of other prospects from that 2003 draft. However, I still don't like this trade given minimal return. I guess we shall see.
_BguyRed - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 12:48 PM EST (#9107) #
I think this trade does fit in some what with the \"moneyball\" approach. McDonald is an above average defender at multiple positions, this allows the team to carry someone who is weaker defensively but fits more of the moneyball approach offensively. A moneyball team needs defensive replacements more than many other teams because the defense is not as highly regarded when putting the team together. I think this trade has a significantly better chance of helping the Jays rather than the Indians.
Gerry - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 12:59 PM EST (#9108) #
Mastny was never ranked by Baseball America as a prospect. Dick Scott, in his interview with Batters Box last fall, said that Mastny would have to prove himnself at each level on the way up. As others have written Mastny does not have any major league above-average pitches. Mastny was unlikely to start at Dunedin next year, Purcey, Jackson, James, Davis Romero, Isenberg and Core probably rank ahead of him.

The truth is that people who saw his numbers were his biggest supporters, those who saw him pitch were less convinced. I trust the scouts and managers on this one, the trade was a win for the Jays, turning a marginal prospect into a major league bench player.
Mike Green - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 01:20 PM EST (#9109) #
What Gerry says is true. I don't have the confidence that he has in the ability of scouts to identify control pitchers who may succeed in the majors.

I imagine that Mastny will be given an opportunity to succeed at a higher level than low-A next year in the Indian organization, and for this reason, the Jays may indeed be doing him a favour by trading him.
_MatO - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 01:42 PM EST (#9110) #
This reminds me of the Jesse Harper situation last summer. There was a lot of disappointment in here when he was picked up by Milwaukee. JP said that he was the one dropped due to recommendations by his player development people whose opinion he trusts. Harper was later dropped from the 40 man by the Brewers and didn't show up in any Rule 5 discussion (he may be injured). Mastny projects to be a Reimers/Baker type pitcher but I guess you never know.

Note that former Rule 5er Matt Ford was also not on the Brewers' 40 man and also not mentioned in any Rule 5 previews.
_Marc - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 01:48 PM EST (#9111) #
Both Harper and Ford indeed battled injury problems, which led to their exclusion from any Rule 5 consideration.
Ford actually turned in some decent numbers out of the pen with Milwaukee, but things fell apart when he was inserted into the starting rotation. He's biggest plus though, is that he is left handed, where as both Mastny and Harper are righties.
_Peter - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 01:58 PM EST (#9112) #
I think that from Mastny's numbers his value is a bit inflated, but i think that for someone with those strikeout numbers he must have good command of his pitches. As for Macdonald, hes a defensive super sub, and i guess that never hurts. Macdonald will help the big leauge. We will never now what Mastny could have done for teh Jays organization, and all the same , he will be replaced.

I think he was definitely a sleeper in the minors.

All teh best to him.
_Peter - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 02:06 PM EST (#9113) #
In regards to a transaction, who picks the player to be named, ie Mastny , Toronto or Cleaveland?

Mike Green - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 02:20 PM EST (#9114) #
Matt Ford and Jesse Harper (or Ismael Ramirez) are nice examples. They all had (have, in Ramirez' case) probably modestly higher chance of success than Mastny. Like I said, Mastny's chances are probably 10-20%. But, if he makes it, the value even as an average major league pitcher is very significant.
_Sean - TBG - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 02:20 PM EST (#9115) #
Peter - it depends. Sometimes the receiving team gets a list of two or more players and they pick the one they like. Other times teams have agreed on a player ahead of time and have to wait to announce it, if a guy is on the DL for instance. With MacDonald Cleveland had to deal him before the rule 5 draft so the teams might have just needed more time to haggle.
_Spicol - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 03:05 PM EST (#9116) #
I was quite upset when I heard that Mastny was the player to be named later.

He's 23 and spent the full season in Low-A. As Gerry said, he wouldn't have started next year in Dunedin and certainly wouldn't have jumped to New Hamphsire. Had he remained a Jay until the end of '05, he'd have been a 24-year old middling middle reliever in A-ball on the fast track to becoming a 6-year minor league free agent in an organization that has too many similar or better arms for its 40-man roster. To turn him into a semi-useful spare part/AAA depth in John McDonald is completely understandable.
_OFF - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 03:38 PM EST (#9117) #
Someone needs to tell JP that Joe McEwing is available...
Coach - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 03:47 PM EST (#9118) #
It's not a particularly glamorous trade. Mastny was a sleeper here and remains a sleeper. They Indians know what they are doing, and the smart clubs keep coming up with win-win scenarios. This one swaps excess talent in the present (Cleveland infield) for excess talent in the future (Toronto RH control pitchers). The Jays flipped an 11th round pick, less than two years later, for immediate help, filling a need at the major-league level with a longshot prospect.

McDonald provides an enormous upgrade over Berg in terms of bench flexibility. If the opponent brings in a LOOGY to face Adams in a tight situation, Gibby can use his pinch-hitter and send in his glove man. Too bad McDonald doesn't hit as much as Mike Bordick, but he's a sixth infielder with actual value, which is an improvement, and he can only help Adams' development.

My biggest complaint last season was that Woodward, Gomez, Menechino and Berg were so redundant. The Jays kept the best hitter, added a defensive specialist and are giving a multi-talented rookie his big shot. That opens a roster spot for a serious RH bat to DH. Someone capable of playing 1B and LF reasonably well is preferable to a one-dimensional slugger, because as 2004 proved, you can never have too much depth.
_Ryan C - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 06:37 PM EST (#9119) #
My biggest complaint last season was that Woodward, Gomez, Menechino and Berg were so redundant.

Excellent observation. This is going to sound silly, but that's my number one headache when playing as the Jays on Baseball Mogul. They give you Woodward, Gomez, Menechino, Berg, Clark, Hinske, Hudson, and Bordick to cover three infield positions but no 4th OF to be found anywhere.
_CaramonLS - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 07:19 PM EST (#9120) #
Berg, Cat were the backup OFs.

Johnson, Gross, Wells, Rios were the 4 Regulars.
_Ryan C - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 08:18 PM EST (#9121) #

In real life yes. In Mogul '05 no such luck. Rios and Gross dont exist and Berg is considered an infielder. Wells, Johnson, and Cat are the only Jays OFs.
robertdudek - Wednesday, December 15 2004 @ 08:41 PM EST (#9122) #
Let me point out that there are very few serious power hitters below AA in the minor leagues, so a low HR allowed rate at that level isn't unusual. If a pitcher gives up a lot of homeruns in A ball it's a strong indicator that he's never going to be a successful big league pitcher.
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