MLB Hot Stove: Boone Logan signed by Indians

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The Cleveland Indians front office was not done quite yet. Rajai Davis, Juan Uribe, and Joba Chamberlain were late signings that helped the 2016 ballclub have the needed depth to navigate the first 162 games well enough to make the postseason. The Tribe added outfielder Austin Jackson and designated-hitter Wily Mo Pena but continued to scour the market for value deals. The Indians found one when they signed left-handed specialist Boone Logan to a deal Thursday (pending a physical) as reported by Ken Rosenthal.

One glaring need for the Indians was a LOOGY (Left-handed One-Out GuY). Andrew Miller might be redefining how MLB uses relievers, but his usage against all types of batters meant the Tribe could still use a left-handed specialist. There just happened to be a southpaw on the market who fit the need perfectly; Boone Logan.

I’ve opened the way for others to make saves but a save myself I never was after

The sidearm delivery of Logan helps create major action on his slider, which is his dominant pitch that breaks away from lefties. He also throws a 93 mile per hour fourseam fastball though he is much less successful with it. His sinker and changeup are used with much less consistency.

On first glance, it might appear that Logan was much worse in 2015 than 2016. However, a big portion of his statistical advantage last year was proper utilization. He had almost as many innings against right-handed batters as left in 2015, which is a dumb way of using his skillset. In 2016, he had twice as many innings pitched against southpaw swingers, which is somewhat better. Still, his splits are so strong they suggest he should rarely get the opportunity to face right-handed bats.

statistics courtesy of Fangraphs

statistics courtesy of Fangraphs

Logan just dominates his platoon advantage. Having a K% above 30 with a BB% below 10 just sets him up to be incredibly useful.

It isn’t how you die. It’s what you live for.

It might be a luxury to have a guy in the bullpen who is only called upon to set down lefties, but Logan is the perfect guy for a contending team with that particular need. The Indians are such a team.

Another way of looking at Logan’s platoon advantage is in Exit Velocity (EV) and Launch Angles (LA). Baseball Savant even has a fantastic visual to demonstrate it.

courtesy of Baseball Savant

courtesy of Baseball Savant

Right-handed hitters get more elevation with more velocity on their batted balls than left-handers do, which leads to much better overall results (for the hitter). Boone Logan’s ability to keep the ball on the ground is also shown in his batted ball profile. He was able to induce ground balls over 60% of the time against lefties, but only just over 30% of the time against righties. With the Indians good infield defense, Logan would have another dominant platoon advantage key.

Heaven must be a Cleveland type of place.

The Cleveland Indians did what they needed to do to sign Boone Logan. These are the types of small deals that can make a huge difference come October. In fact, Logan deserves his own song to celebrate his signing with Cleveland.

Boone Logan is a man
Yes, a left hand
With strike from a slider
And 93 on his heater is he

Boone Logan is a man
Yes, a left hand
Pitching fast, pitching sidearm
And yes tough as a mighty LOOGY

From the baseball cap on the top of ol’ Boone
To the spike of his leather cleat
The rippin’-est, roarin’-est, fightin’-est man
The bullpen should ever meet

Boone Logan is a man
Yes, a left hand
And he could pitch for the Tribe
To win the World Series

What a boon, what a doer
What a dream come-a-true-er is he