Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Tom Not So Terrific
By Ben Valentine

Well Zach has inspired me. After reading his post on the mystery of Joel Pineiro, I’ve decided to take a look of my own at a resurgent pitcher on my team, my favorite whipping boy, Tom Glavine.

Those of who read my posts on a frequent basis know that Glavine is by far my least favorite Met. As high as I am on Jae Seo, I’m just the opposite with Glavine. In my opinion he’s washed up, overpaid and detracting from the team by blocking a younger, more talented pitcher like Aaron Heilman, Jae Seo or potentially Yusmerio Petit and Brian Bannister. Naturally I want him out. And it seemed like after a miserable first half in which Glavine was 6-7 with a 4.94 ERA, I might just get my wish. If the lefty continued to stink it up in the second half, the Mets might just have eaten his contract in a trade or given him his outright release.

Well low and behold, Glavine found the fountain of youth. Apparently it’s pitching inside and using a curveball from time to time aside from just his change up. That formula has the lefty pitching to a 2.48 ERA in the second half. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t even rip him in good conscience anymore. Well as Zach did with Pineiro, it’s time to take a hard look at the numbers and see if Glavine’s turn around is for real.

First Half: 6-7, 4.94 ERA 102 IP, 137 H, 7 Hrs, 41 BB, 46Ks, .325 OppBA, 1.74 WHIP, 1.12 K/BB, 4.06 K/9

Second Half: 4-5, 2.48 ERA, 76.1 IP, 70 H, 4 Hrs, 15 BB, 36 Ks, .250 OppBA, 1.11 WHIP, 2.4 K/BB, 4.25 K/9

So in the first half, Glavine had a whopping WHIP of 1.74, while in the second half it is a very good 1.11. Like Pineiro he’s cut down on his walks, doubling his K/BB ratio. He has slightly improved his K/9, but its not anything to really write home about. The home run difference isn’t much, though he is giving up less (.62/9 vs. .47/9) Most importantly, opponents are hitting 75 points lower against him than they did in the first half.

I don’t believe the Mets defense has gotten much better, since while David Wright has definitely improved at third, Victor Diaz is a huge downgrade from Mike Cameron in right and whoever is playing first is a down grade from Doug Mientkiewicz. Thus it basically comes down too… luck. Glavine was very unlucky in the first half, while hurting himself with bases on balls, where as in the second half he’s been fairly lucky while helping himself by not putting extra runners on.

Now Glavine never has been a strike out pitcher, but in the prime of his career he routinely struck out close to six batters per nine innings if not more. However each of his years as a Met his K totals have been in the fours (4.03, 4.62, 4.13). Opponents BA: .288, .257 and .307 respectively. His ERA in those seasons; 4.52, 3.60 and finally 3.89 this season.

Bottom line, the Glavine we’re seeing now is a fluke. He wasn’t as bad as the pitcher he was in the first half, but he isn’t nearly the pitcher he’s been in the second half. His cumulative numbers now are actually pretty indicative of the pitcher he is in my opinion; a guy who’s going throw a fair number of innings, not strike anyone out, give up a good number of hits and give you about a 4.00 ERA in the NL. A decent 4th starter. Unfortunately the Mets are going to have to pay him 10 million next season since his option has already kicked in.

Still the Mets would be better served if they traded him away and ate most of the salary. The Mets could easy use Pedro Martinez, Kris Benson, Steve Trachsel, Jae Seo and either Aaron Heilman or Victor Zambrano in their rotation next year. It would be addition by subtraction. Any of those guys are likely to give you what Glavine would, if not more. Who knows? Maybe a team desperate for pitching might believe Glavine has something left and give up a decent prospect for him if the Mets ate the salary.

But I doubt its going to happen. So I’m going to gear myself up for another of year of getting frustrated while the Mets waste the talents of at least one of their young pitchers watching Tom Glavine be mediocre.


Blogger RotoAuthority said...

The Cubs have the same problem with Maddux, they're on the hook for $9MM in 2006. Maddux is worthy of a rotation spot but the Cubs could get equal production from Rich Hill or somebody.

As for Glavine owing his success to good instinct says you're right. On the other hand, his batting average on balls in play is .322, meaning he's actually been unlucky in that regard. You're still right though, he can't maintain an ERA under 3.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Ben Valentine said...

I was more referring to luck being the explanation of the difference in Opp BA in the second half when one could argue the Mets defense has gotten worse while his stuff hasn't gotten better. His first half was really unlucky. But I tend to think at this point his Opp Ba would probably be around .270 and .300 in a season at this point. Right now it's at .295 overall. Like I said, 4.00 ERA is about the best the Mets can hope for and they can do better, especially when they have better readily available.

Pretty ironic that Glavine and Maddux are in the same boat. Just watch, they end up getting traded for one another.

12:06 AM  

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