Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Guessing Game
By Zach

We're playing a game here today: I've listed some of the top pitchers since the All-Star Break, and you're going to tell me who you'd most want on your team next year.

First, a few youngsters.

Player A has gone 5-2 since the All-Star Break with a 2.71 ERA. More importantly, he's struck out 78 batters in 66.1 innings while walking 29 (10.6 K/9, 2.7 K/BB). He's also allowed just 3 home runs (.41/9 IP). His L/R splits have been nuts.

vs. lefties: 13.9 K/9, 5.8 K/BB, .173/.232/.192, and a .87 WHIP
vs. righties: 9.6 K/9, 2.1 K/BB, .276/.361/.408, and a 1.54 WHIP
overall: 10.6 K/9, 2.7 K/BB, .254/.336/.363 and a 1.39 WHIP

Player B has gone 8-3 since the ASB with a 2.29 ERA. He's struck out 72 batters in 82.2 innings while walking 26 (7.8 K/9, 2.8 K/BB). He's allowed 3 home runs (.33/9 IP). He's also performed much better against lefties, with a WHIP of .87 (1.08 overall) and OPP AVGs of .160/.259/.200 (.212/.285/.290 overall), but curiously has inferior strikeout numbers against lefties (7.2 K/9, 2.4 K/BB).

Player C is 3-3 with a 2.33 ERA. He's struck out 55 batters in 58 IP and walked 13 (8.5 K/9, 4.2 K/BB). He's allowed 4 home runs (.62/9 IP). His performance has been more even against lefties and righties, or perhaps it's better to say he does different things well against each. He strikes out more righties (9.6/9 vs. R, 7.5/9 vs. L), but walks fewer lefties (1.5/9 vs. L, 2.6/9 v. R). His overall OPP AVGs are .187/.239/.271.

There's a common theme for the above players...they're not going anywhere anytime soon. But here are a couple of the top free agent pitchers:

Player A is 5-4 with a 2.44 ERA. He's struck out 58 and walked 21 in 85 IP (6.1 K/9, 2.8 K/BB). He's allowed 9 HR (.95/9 IP). He's been better against righties (3.3 K/BB, .199/.249/.355) than he has been overall (.241/.292/.389). He's had a 1.23 WHIP.

Player B is 7-5 with a 3.58 ERA. He's struck out 65 and walked 29 in 75.1 IP (7.8 K/9 IP, 2.2 K/BB). He's allowed 5 HR (.6/9 IP). Not surprisingly, he's been better against lefties, and has pitched to .251/.328/.364. He's had a 1.33 WHIP.

Player C is 7-1 with a 4.15 ERA. He's struck out 66 batters and walked just 13 in 82.1 IP (7.21 K/9, 5.1 K/BB). He has allowed a robust 15 round trippers (1.64/9 IP). His righty/lefty splits are shockingly different:

vs. righties: 8 K/BB, .200/.237/.324, .79 WHIP
vs. lefties: 3.8 K/BB, .302/.348/.517, 1.50 WHIP

His overall averages are .256/.298/.429, with a 1.14 WHIP.

So tell me who'd you want, because I already know.

4 Comments:

Blogger David Arnott said...

Of course, small sample size issues are the unsaid danger in drawing conclusions here. For purposes of the exercise, I'll ignore minor league track record and previous MLB track record. I'm guessing that Young Player A is Noah Lowry. The real story about him is that the dude's developed his curveball into a true out pitch to go with the killer change and deceptive slider. I'm gonna punt and say I'd be happy to have A, B, or C. As for the free agents, Player A is inferior to the others based on this info, and the splits on C are disturbing, so give me B if this is all I have to go on.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Ben Valentine said...

Seriously, I'm going to be sick. Player A is the illustrious Scott Kazmir. Everytime I see his lines all I can think about is "the Mets gave up one of the best pitching prospects in the last five years for... Victor Zambrano." Victor Zambrano. Victor FREAKIN ZAMBRANO.
I could see no logic for the trade then, and there's obviously less logic for it now.

The only way this Kazmir trade is ever going to go away is if the Mets develop a stud, steal one from a dumb team, (fat chance of that) or just win the World Series. But knowing them, they'll probably deal their top prospects to the Devil Rays for Danny Baez, like they almost did once already this season. Then next year we can do the same dance over again with Yusmerio Petit or Brian Bannister joining Kazmir.

12:28 AM  
Blogger David Arnott said...

Ben: To be fair, the principle of trading prospects for proven MLB players is not weak in and of itself. There are still real questions about Kazmir's future, especially if teams start hacking into his effectiveness by stacking the lineup with righties. While even Chuck LaMar knew he was getting a steal when the deal was made by getting rid of Crappy Zambrano, the logic of trading an unproven player for short term gains is perfectly defensible in many situations. That they traded him was not the blunder; it was that they traded him for so little, because his value was higher than it had ever been before. In hindsight, would Kazmir for Livan have been all that bad? Given the Mets' payroll abilities, I don't think losing Kazmir will turn out to be a catastrophe the likes of Gooden's/Strawberry's careers getting squandered.

1:18 AM  
Blogger Zachary Geballe said...

Two points:

First, David, you should know better. Ben will never admit that trading a prospect for a proven player is a good idea, because he likes to dream that every guy who puts up a sub-3.00 ERA or a .850 OPS at Binghampton will turn into a CY Young or MVP winner.

Secondly, while I'm in favor of trading prospects at times (I've long been angry the Mariners didn't trade guys like Ryan Anderson and Travis Blackley when they were challening for the playoffs from 2000-2003), with a guy who was as dominant as Kazmir was in the minors, you have to do two things. First, you have to make sure you're actually in a playoff race (which the Mets really weren't last year), and second, you still have to give him some sort of look in the Bigs. If you bring him up and aren't overwhelmed with what you see in a few starts then fine, you can consider trading him...but to trade one of the top pitching prospects in baseball without seeing how he looked in blue and orange? That's idiocy on a grand scale.

10:12 AM  

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