Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Mid-Season Grades: Starting Rotation

Pander:
DickDaStick:




Mark Buehrle







He's 9-6 with about a 4.00 ERA. I think that's about as detailed a summary as anyone would need, he's pitched slightly better than league average, and he get results slightly better than league average. 9-6 is nothing to scoff at, but the way he's gotten there is troubling, with recent struggles highlighted on his resume. Is he pitching too fast, and therefore too straight? Or has he lost his velocity, and therefore can't fool hitters? Nobody can really get a bead on why he's been struggling as he has, it's just evident the un-earned runs, severe climb in gopher balls, and ridiculously low K/9 rate are signs that Mark needs to either figure something out, or stop being too analytical. Yep, it's been that kind of confusing half for Mark, but he's still giving us innings and wins, so we can't grade him too harshly. C.

Rough finish to the 1st half lowers his grade. He is not nibbling as well as he used to - his pitches are not missing bats like they used to. Has given up 7 HR's in last 33 innings as opposed to 9 in first 90 innings. Also gives up almost 1.5 hits per inning in last 5 games. He doesn't rely on velocity - it is about location. He is a smart pitcher, so I'm confident he will figure it out. Still chews up alot of innings and has kept his team in games enough to win 9 of them. ( On this team, all the pitchers are lucky enough to be able to give up more than the average amount of runs and still be "in the game ")Hoping to see more of his former self in the 2nd half. I give him a C+.




Jose Contreras







He's 9-0 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. He typically stymes hitters, allowing only bloops and doing very well at avoiding hard contact. Plus, only a 2.64 ERA at home with a .211 BAA? At the Cell, that's beautiful. Still, he's a changed man since his DL stint, and nowhere is this more evident than his ability to go deep in games. Before the DL stint, he went 7 innings or deeper 5 of 6 starts. Afterward? Well, he hasn't even GOTTEN to the 7th inning over his past 5 starts. He still seems to pitch well enough, he has simply seemed to lose his ability to avoid big innings. But keeping ever cognizant of his ability to dominate as an ace should, there cannot be much fault delivered at his feet for this first half. A-.

Was Top Tier stuff end of last year and start of this, but has slipped to 2nd Shelf behind 7 or 8 other pitchers in the league with recent slide that has seen his ERA in last 5 games balloon to 5.34. Hopefully his back is not a recurring factor and he gets sharper again this 2nd half. I give him A-.




Freddy Garcia





Did the Sox overwork him last season? Did WBC lead to dead arm? What is wrong with Freddy? You'd think he was a cast member in Mommy Dearest with all the hangers he leaves around. I mean, when I'm supposed to be happy that he's only given up one in his past two starts, something is wrong (besides the fact he had roughly a 7.8 ERA over those starts). He's a workhorse, but he's not been a terribly good one, an outstanding start against the Cardinals aside. This year has been relatively free of pitching duels, so that was a relative bright spot. Otherwise, he's just pitched good enough to win when our offense strikes (and he seems to get worse offensive backing than most of our other starts, actually). 10-5? I'll take his 4.91 ERA for a 10-5 record, and simply hope he figures out how to give up less than a hit per inning. There are lots of better starting pitchers out there, and the problem is we don't have one of them. We have Freddy, and well, he's been winning mostly. C.

My least favorite guy on the staff. Hate his slow, annoying style and his body language and temperment on the mound. Seems to do just barely enough to get the win - can't ever hold a decent lead. Must be murder to play behind him. But has that knack for wins with team leading 10. And has been 2nd best pitcher for team in last 30 games. Begrudgingly giving him a B-.




Jon Garland





Did the Sox overwork him last season? Did WBC lead to dead arm? What is wrong with Freddy? You'd think he was a cast member in Mommy Dearest with all the hangers he leaves around. I mean, when I'm supposed to be happy that he's only given up one in his past two starts, something is wrong (besides the fact he had roughly a 7.8 ERA over those starts). He's a workhorse, but he's not been a terribly good one, an outstanding start against the Cardinals aside. This year has been relatively free of pitching duels, so that was a relative bright spot. Otherwise, he's just pitched good enough to win when our offense strikes (and he seems to get worse offensive backing than most of our other starts, actually). 10-5? I'll take his 4.91 ERA for a 10-5 record, and simply hope he figures out how to give up less than a hit per inning. There are lots of better starting pitchers out there, and the problem is we don't have one of them. We have Freddy, and well, he's been winning mostly. C-.

Wanted to send him to the bullpen for McCarthy early in the year - but he is clearly our most effective pitcher over last month with 4-0 record and ERA of 3.38. Seems to be more agressively challenging hitters and more confident about his stuff.Needs to keep this up for a few more starts to convince me he has disposed of his demons for good. I give him a C and that is way up from the D- he had not too long ago.





Javy Vazquez




The king of run support, Javy seems to give up either 2 runs or 5+ runs per game, hitting 7 and 9 quite a number of times. And despite this all, a 9-4 record? Javy is yet another member of our inconsistent starting rotation who puts up a great record depsite completely pedestrian totals in every category. His K/9 are tad higher than most starters, especially on our non-power staff, but still there's no correlation between increased strikeouts and increased pitching performance (his last four 7+K games involved him racking up 19 ER over 24 IP). So, we just have to resign ourselves to watching the offense explode to cover his butt, and hope he can just keep things reasonable. C-.

My enigma on this staff. I have watched a number of his outiongs where he will have electric stuff going that is as good as anyone in this league - then 1 small thing doesn't go quite right and he morphs into a batting practice pitcher giving up shots left and right. Recent trend not good with ERA at 7.26 over last 6 starts and if he doesn't get more consistent will probably be the guy who gets replaced for McCarthy or some trade. I give him a C-.

Overall: I want to give out some D's, but the fact is, W is the stat that counts. You could argue you could get a league minimum starter to go in and pick up the W's for a lot less with the same 5.70 ERA Jon has, but I just don't think the universe would work that way. They get the wins, so I find I really can't give them the D's they'd get if they were pitching for, say, the Indians or Cubs.

My overall is that this staff is very lucky they have the bats behind them to cover their mistakes. They do have the talent to go out and get back to the effectiveness they showed in the playoffs last year. They may need to do just that if we want to overtake the Tigers and get home field throughtout again in the palyoffs. The pitching will determine our eventual outcome.

4 Comments:

Blogger Jonathan Kelley said...

Hmmm, Freddy Garcia #2 looks an awful lot like Javy V...

7/12/2006 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Pander said...

Mark Buehrle: He's 9-6 with about a 4.00 ERA. I think that's about as detailed a summary as anyone would need, he's pitched slightly better than league average, and he get results slightly better than league average. 9-6 is nothing to scoff at, but the way he's gotten there is troubling, with recent struggles highlighted on his resume. Is he pitching too fast, and therefore too straight? Or has he lost his velocity, and therefore can't fool hitters? Nobody can really get a bead on why he's been struggling as he has, it's just evident the un-earned runs, severe climb in gopher balls, and ridiculously low K/9 rate are signs that Mark needs to either figure something out, or stop being too analytical. Yep, it's been that kind of confusing half for Mark, but he's still giving us innings and wins, so we can't grade him too harshly. C.

Jose Contreras: He's 9-0 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. He typically stymes hitters, allowing only bloops and doing very well at avoiding hard contact. Plus, only a 2.64 ERA at home with a .211 BAA? At the Cell, that's beautiful. Still, he's a changed man since his DL stint, and nowhere is this more evident than his ability to go deep in games. Before the DL stint, he went 7 innings or deeper 5 of 6 starts. Afterward? Well, he hasn't even GOTTEN to the 7th inning over his past 5 starts. He still seems to pitch well enough, he has simply seemed to lose his ability to avoid big innings. But keeping ever cognizant of his ability to dominate as an ace should, there cannot be much fault delivered at his feet for this first half. A-.

Freddy Garcia: Did the Sox overwork him last season? Did WBC lead to dead arm? What is wrong with Freddy? You'd think he was a cast member in Mommy Dearest with all the hangers he leaves around. I mean, when I'm supposed to be happy that he's only given up one in his past two starts, something is wrong (besides the fact he had roughly a 7.8 ERA over those starts). He's a workhorse, but he's not been a terribly good one, an outstanding start against the Cardinals aside. This year has been relatively free of pitching duels, so that was a relative bright spot. Otherwise, he's just pitched good enough to win when our offense strikes (and he seems to get worse offensive backing than most of our other starts, actually). 10-5? I'll take his 4.91 ERA for a 10-5 record, and simply hope he figures out how to give up less than a hit per inning. There are lots of better starting pitchers out there, and the problem is we don't have one of them. We have Freddy, and well, he's been winning mostly. C.

Jon Garland: With an ERA or 5.71, you'd think most Sox fans would be seeking to disembowel Kenny Williams for such a lapse in judgement regarding his sparkly contract extension. However, look over his last 5 starts: 0 Homers. With relatively low run support (Compared to the other starters), he's been able to keep his numbers much more sane (4.50 ERA in June) than before (19 ER in 32 IP in May and a ridiculous 25 ER in 32 IP in April), and he keeps showing more and more confidence in his 2-seamer. His numbers generally suck, but his plate presence has been improving, and he should not be expected to do any worse than a 4.20 ERA the rest of the way out, which I think we'll all agree upon as a completely livable number. For the first half? An improving work in progress, a trend in the RIGHT direction, as opposed to Javy/Freddy/Mark. C-.

Javy Vasquez: The king of run support, Javy seems to give up either 2 runs or 5+ runs per game, hitting 7 and 9 quite a number of times. And despite this all, a 9-4 record? Javy is yet another member of our inconsistent starting rotation who puts up a great record depsite completely pedestrian totals in every category. His K/9 are tad higher than most starters, especially on our non-power staff, but still there's no correlation between increased strikeouts and increased pitching performance (his last four 7+K games involved him racking up 19 ER over 24 IP). So, we just have to resign ourselves to watching the offense explode to cover his butt, and hope he can just keep things reasonable. C-.

Overall: I want to give out some D's, but the fact is, W is the stat that counts. You could argue you could get a league minimum starter to go in and pick up the W's for a lot less with the same 5.70 ERA Jon has, but I just don't think the universe would work that way. They get the wins, so I find I really can't give them the D's they'd get if they were pitching for, say, the Indians or Cubs.

7/12/2006 8:45 PM  
Blogger DickdaStick said...

Buerhle: Rough finish to the 1st half lowers his grade. He is not nibbling as well as he used to - his pitches are not missing bats like they used to. Has given up 7 HR's in last 33 innings as opposed to 9 in first 90 innings. Also gives up almost 1.5 hits per inning in last 5 games. He doesn't rely on velocity - it is about location. He is a smart pitcher, so I'm confident he will figure it out. Still chews up alot of innings and has kept his team in games enough to win 9 of them. ( On this team, all the pitchers are lucky enough to be able to give up more than the average amount of runs and still be "in the game ")Hoping to see more of his former self in the 2nd half. I give him a C+

Contreras: Was Top Tier stuff end of last year and start of this, but has slipped to 2nd Shelf behind 7 or 8 other pitchers in the league with recent slide that has seen his ERA in last 5 games balloon to 5.34. Hopefully his back is not a recurring factor and he gets sharper again this 2nd half. I give him A-

Freddie: My least favorite guy on the staff. Hate his slow, annoying style and his body language and temperment on the mound. Seems to do just barely enough to get the win - can't ever hold a decent lead. Must be murder to play behind him. But has that knack for wins with team leading 10. And has been 2nd best pitcher for team in last 30 games. Begrudgingly giving him a B-

Garland: Wanted to send him to the bullpen for McCarthy early in the year - but he is clearly our most effective pitcher over last month with 4-0 record and ERA of 3.38. Seems to be more agressively challenging hitters and more confident about his stuff.
Needs to keep this up for a few more starts to convince me he has disposed of his demons for good. I give him a C and that is way up from the D- he had not too long ago.

Javy: My enigma on this staff. I have watched a number of his outiongs where he will have electric stuff going that is as good as anyone in this league - then 1 small thing doesn't go quite right and he morphs into a batting practice pitcher giving up shots left and right. Recent trend not good with ERA at 7.26 over last 6 starts and if he doesn't get more consistent will probably be the guy who gets replaced for McCarthy or some trade. I give him a C-

My overall is that this staff is very lucky they have the bats behind them to cover their mistakes. They do have the talent to go out and get back to the effectiveness they showed in the playoffs last year. They may need to do just that if we want to overtake the Tigers and get home field throughtout again in the palyoffs. The pitching will determine our eventual outcome.

7/13/2006 1:15 PM  
Blogger Jeeves said...

haha...good catch JOnathon!

7/13/2006 2:25 PM  

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