Padres Trade Catcher Nick Hundley To Baltimore

The Padres have announced that they’ve traded longtime catcher Nick Hundley and cash to the Baltimore Orioles for lefty relief pitcher Troy Patton.

Patton comes to the Padres with an unimpressive 8.10 ERA in 2014, which is quite a bit higher than his 3.28 career average. The 5.31 FIP and 4.73 SIERA are disconcerting. Career numbers of 3.94 FIP and 3.57 SIERA lead me to believe Patton is pretty much a replacement level pitcher with a “slightly-above-average” ceiling.

So what’s the problem in 2014? I don’t really know, I haven’t seen him pitch this season. Looking at the numbers, he pretty consistently throws a 2-seam fastball 50% of the time (or so), slider around 35% of the time, changeup 8-9% of the time, and a curveball less than 5% of the time. This year, the fastball remains similar, but he’s throwing his slider half as often (16.4%), his changeup a little bit more (11.8%), and his curveball significantly more frequently (18.2%). According to Fangraphs pitch values (Troy Patton’s Fangraphs page), Patton’s slider has been his most successful pitch over the last couple of seasons. Over that same span, his curveball has become his least successful. He’s also walking a lot more batters than he generally does. Is it due to the new pitching coach in Baltimore? Is it due to a health issue? It’d definitely be interesting to see if these trends continue in San Diego.

Is he a LOOGY? Everybody loves a LOOGY, it’s so fun to say! For his career, 314 LH batters have a  .243 AVG and .649 OPS against him while 353 RH batters have a .233 AVG and .719 OPS. I would say no, not a LOOGY.

Anyway, the trade itself? If you really look at Hundley, there wasn’t much value there. After his hot start, he’s down to a 79 wRC+. That’s pretty much who he is. He’s a great guy and an asset to the community, but he’s become surplus on the roster. Logically, the trade seems to be a wash. Two players in need of a change of scenery, and they help both teams address a need(catcher w/ Wieters out in Baltimore, ML bullpen depth in San Diego w/ every pitcher out).

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  • Patrick

    Could be more to the story for Patton, but it seems likely the ERA is simply a function of having a couple of bad outings in a row and only having 6 2/3 IP.

    • VM David

      Ha! Yes, that could also be it. His innings are also down due to a suspension for amphetamine use.