Top stats to know: Winter meetings recap

AP Photo/John Bazemore

Baseball's winter meetings wrapped up on Thursday, capping a busy four days of player movement. What were the most notable stats for the most significant moves? Here's a look:

• The most notable free-agent signing was the Chicago Cubs inking Ben Zobrist to a four-year, $56 million deal. Cubs second basemen ranked in the bottom half of the National League in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage last season. Zobrist is one of four players to have a .350 on-base percentage and qualify for the batting title in each of the past five seasons. The others are Carlos Santana, Miguel Cabrera and Andrew McCutchen.

• The biggest trade of the winter meetings was made by the Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves, with pitcher Shelby Miller headed to the Diamondbacks and outfielder Ender Inciarte (and No. 1 pick Dansby Swanson and another prospect) going to the Braves. Miller’s 3.02 ERA and 205⅓ innings pitched were career bests. Diamondbacks starters averaged just over five innings per start and pitched to a 4.37 ERA in 2015.

Inciarte rated as a league-average offensive player in terms of OPS relative to ballpark (and ranked as the fifth-toughest to strike out in the NL), but greatly bolstered his value with his defense. His 29 defensive runs saved ranked second in the majors last season. He accumulated those by playing all three outfield spots, netting 13 in 539 innings in right field, 12 in 372 innings in left field and four runs in 152 innings in center.

• The New York Mets responded to losing out on Zobrist by trading Jonathon Niese to the Pirates for Neil Walker. Walker is an upgrade over Daniel Murphy both on offense and defense. He has totaled 12.3 Wins Above Replacement over the past four seasons to Murphy’s 6.6. Niese may benefit from pitching in front of a better infield defense. His 57 percent ground-ball rate ranked sixth among those who qualified for the ERA title. The Mets out rate on those ground balls was 68 percent, third-worst in the majors.

• The New York Yankees also made a move for a second baseman by trading Adam Warren to the Cubs for Starlin Castro. The Yankees used six different players at 2B last season and the production wasn't good -- a .223 batting average (28th in the majors) and minus-12 Defensive Runs Saved (tied for 27th). Warren can start or relieve. He had a 2.29 ERA in 35⅓ innings out of the bullpen last season and a 3.66 ERA in 17 starts. The past two seasons, Warren has done a great job keeping the ball in the ballpark. His home run rate (0.6 per 9 innings) ranks just outside the top 10.

• The Houston Astros significantly bolstered their bullpen by trading with the Phillies for Ken Giles. Giles ranks third among relievers in ERA over the last two seasons (1.56, minimum 100 innings pitched). He also ranked sixth in average fastball velocity (96.7 MPH) and 13th in strikeouts per 9 innings (11.8). Astros relievers ranked fifth in the majors in strikeouts per nine innings, but their closer, Luke Gregerson, averaged only 8.7.

• If Giles closes, Gregerson could move into a setup role. Gregerson’s 71 holds from 2012 to 2014 ranked fourth in the majors. The Astros also re-signed Tony Sipp to a three-year deal. Sipp was great against both lefties and righties. He held right-handed hitters to a .190 batting average in 2015, third-lowest among lefty pitchers.

• The Red Sox traded Wade Miley in a deal that netted Carson Smith. Smith had the third-lowest hard-hit rate in baseball (7.1 percent) among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched in 2015.

That rated behind only Chapman (5.8) and Zach Britton (6.7). Smith also ranked fifth in the majors with a 66 percent ground-ball rate.

• The Detroit Tigers made a pair of notable additions by trading for Justin Wilson and signing Mark Lowe to go with new closer Francisco Rodriguez. Lowe averaged 95.4 mph with his fastball, his best average radar reading since 2011 (96.7). His 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings pitched was a career high, and his 5.1-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio was far better than his 1.9 career ratio entering the season. Wilson will be the key lefty on a team whose lefty relievers allowed a .357 on-base percentage in 2015, fifth-worst in the majors.