Earlier today the Baltimore Orioles traded relief pitcher Matt Lindstrom and a PTBNL for lefty starting pitcher Joe Saunders. Saunders is expected to help the team in the rotation down the stretch as the Orioles continue their surprising run towards the playoffs.
Saunders is thirty-one years old and a local boy, having grown up in Northern Virginia and he attended college at Virginia Tech. He was drafted in the first round by the Los Angeles (then Anaheim) Angels in 2002 and made his major-league debut for them in 2005. He pitched in 115 games, all starts, for them between 2005-2010 when he was traded mid-season to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of the package that made Dan Haren an Angel.
Joe Saunders has been the very definition of league average in his time in the majors. While with the Angels he pitched to a 4.29 ERA (ERA+ 102) with a 5.2 K/9 and a 3.0 BB/9. In 34 starts with the Diamondbacks, Saunders has been slightly better, with an ERA of 3.96 (ERA+ 105) and a K/9 of 5.2 and BB/9 of 2.5. Throughout his career, including this season, he's averaged over six innings per start, which is something I always like to see.
As he is a lefty, it's expected that Saunders would be better against lefties than righties, but Saunders is very good against lefties. In his career they hit .245/.295/.339 with a K/BB of 3.18. This year he's been even better as lefties have an OPS of just .472 against him.
Unfortunately, right-handed hitters are another story. Saunders has given up 17 home runs this season, all to righties. In his career they hit 284/.341/.462 off of him. So that'll be something that needs to be taken into consideration.
To read some quotes from Saunders about his trade to Baltimore, check out Britt Ghiroli's blog. Not that it really matters, but I do always love to see something like this:
I was an O’s fan growing up, I went to a lot of their games when I was a kid.
Welcome to Birdland, Joe Saunders! Here's hoping you help your childhood team to the playoffs.