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View Full Version : Fearless Prediction: Starters Will Out-Perform Relievers in '06



RedEye
02-14-2006, 08:21 PM
I think there is reason to believe that this will happen. As we all know, the rotation had unprecedented failure last year because of Wilson's injury, Milton's ineffectiveness, Ortiz's mediocrity, and the growing pains of any number of young replacements. The lone bright spots were Harang (good pretty much all year) and Claussen (good after a rough spell in the first half). With Harang and Claussen returning with more experience, Milton unlikely to under-perform his '05 season, and the addition of underrated Dave Williams (who is at the same career plateau as Harang and Claussen... right around 90 starts when things start going better for most young pitchers), I see a front four with the following stats:

Harang 200+ IP, 13 W, 4.10 ERA
Claussen 180+ IP, 11 W, 3.90 ERA
Williams 150+ IP, 11 W, 4.50 ERA
Milton 200+ IP, 10 W, 4.90 ERA

If Wilson returns to form (a big if, I admit), then we're likely to get at least three (if not four) major league average starters out of this group. That combined with the offense on this team should produce a better outcome in the standings. I also think these pitchers are starting to learn how to pitch in GABP by keeping pitches down in the zone to coax groundouts. Ruhle seems to understand something that Gullett didn't, and it showed in the second half of '05. All of this has me feeling, well, okay about our starters.

Except...

The bullpen is like a brigade of human batting tees. It may actually keep my conservative starter W projections from hitting the mark. Long gone are the days of Jim Bowden bullpens with endless depth and replaceable parts.

Here is who we seem to have back there right now:

Mercker (our one solid option at this point)
Standridge (I was pleased with his performance last year in places)
Belisle (Best chance to be the closer I think)
White (mediocre innings eater)
Weathers (an injurty question)
Wagner (erratic at best, may be in AAA)
Coffey (not convinced about him either)

Even if Mercker, Standridge, Belisle and Weathers all show up, there are stil a few places left to be filled, and I just don't see the other players providing the starters with any kind of consistent support.

Yes, I'm not afraid to say that I think Harang and co. may be a bit better than advertised... but I don't think they'll get the bullpen back-up needed to provide them with W's.

harangatang
02-14-2006, 08:55 PM
I don't think Claussen will lead the Reds in ERA. Barring a trade I think that honor will go to Harang, I think he will improve on last year's ERA. I agree with your thoughts on the bullpen though. Hopefully Krivsky will be able to pull off a trade and get a legitimate closer for cheap like when Minnesota got Joe Nathan.

dougdirt
02-14-2006, 09:03 PM
I agree with Harangatang about Harang leading the team in ERA for starters. I am going out and saying he gets 14 wins with an ERA of 3.55. I look for Claussen for pitch well, lowering his ERA to 4.00. Everyone else should be higher than 4.30 unless the Reds trade for someone, or maybe someone goes down with an injury and someone steps up and in and performs well(Belisle, Ramirez, Germano etc).

Patrick Bateman
02-14-2006, 10:15 PM
If Harang gets a 3.55 ERA, he should win 20 games with our offense.

fourrunhomer
02-14-2006, 10:47 PM
Harang 16w 3.68
Claussen 13w 4.07
Hancock 10w 4.18
Milton 8w 4.84
Williams 10w 4.33

I've changed my ERA and win totals from a post in an earlier thread. I believe I had especially Harang's ERA too high at above a 4. I'm afraid Wison will not be ready. I would love for him to come back and take Milton's spot or have a trade to pick up someone who could win at least 15 wins.
I don't think the bullpen will be terrible, but will be aged.
Merker
Weathers
Coffey
Hammonds
White
Belisle
????? Milton if Wilson is ready or any of a number of people


I'm not a big fan of White. He is not terrible but I just he fills the same role as some of the other vets. I'd like to see some of the other youg guys get a chance and I suppose that the other recent signings will get a good look. I'm not sure how ready the guys that came from the Randa trade are ready.

dougdirt
02-14-2006, 11:06 PM
If Harang gets a 3.55 ERA, he should win 20 games with our offense.
His ERA was 3.83 last year and he won 11. He had horrible luck last year, but his ERA being low with this offense doesnt mean much because the team will score 15 one night and 2 the next. Just so happens Aaron had the luck to pitch most of those low run nights.

SteelSD
02-15-2006, 03:00 AM
His ERA was 3.83 last year and he won 11. He had horrible luck last year, but his ERA being low with this offense doesnt mean much because the team will score 15 one night and 2 the next. Just so happens Aaron had the luck to pitch most of those low run nights.

The Reds averaged 4.63 Runs in support of Harang, who had the fourth lowest Quality Start ratio of NL pitchers who produced a 3.83 or lower ERA.


If Harang wants to record more Wins, he needs to pitch better more often.

RedsMan3203
02-15-2006, 03:28 AM
I hope baby Wags shows up this year.....

GridironGrace
02-15-2006, 03:45 AM
I feel after going .500 after Narron came along that we had some solid improvments in many aspects including pitching.

I hope it continued through the offseason and as i said in previous threads, if we can get our TEAM ERA down considerably i see no reason why we cant have an outstanding season :)

If nothing else CONSISTANCY, i mean if ur gonna give up 5 runs every 7 IP then do it all the time or less so we can expect it lol. "ok miltons pitches we gotta score 5+ for him" instead of one outting he looks great for 6IP then 5 runs and the next its 5 runs in the 2nd inning.

Give us 6 or 7 solid innings... keep it to 3 runs allowed or less i mean how many times did we score 5+ runs last season and LOSE?????? anyone figured that.. i may do it soon.

Cant have that.. cant have our SP giving up more then 5 runs in 5 innings of work.. CAN NOT..

inconsistancy.... just be consistant... thats what we need.. so we KNOW or have a general idea of what we gotta do.

Id perfer you be a consistant 3 ERA SP then an inconsistant 5 ERA lol

M2
02-15-2006, 10:35 AM
I'm looking at Williams to have a 5.00+ ERA. Same with Milton, though obviously anything under 6.00 would mark improvement for him.

Claussen and Harang are wild cards. Chances are that both of them see their ERAs rise in 2006, but they do have some factors which could push it lower too.

Claussen's should rise because he didn't pitch as well as his ERA last season (4.63 component ERA compared to a 4.21 actual ERA). If he pitched the same in 2006 you'd expect the ERA to bubble northward. However, he's only thrown 239 big league innings so it's perfectly reasonable to expect he'll improve a bit. Now if only improves a little, you'd get pretty much what he delivered last year for ERA. The main thing he needs to do is cut down on the homers allowed. Claussen's at the crossroads. This is his chance to step up and be a better pitcher. I'm not as confident that he'll do it as I was that Harang would last year, but ST should give us a pretty good indication of whether he's ready to make a leap (or even a hop).

Harang's likely to see his ERA rise because he just had the best season of his career. It's common to experience a bit of a dropoff. Yet Harang's got that big frame of his, which he learned to rely on last season. He should be even stronger in the latter portion of the season in 2006 (he had a lower ERA post-All Star last season, but actually pitched better pre-All Star). He won't slip much if he does slip and a guy with his profile (big fella who throws a heavy fastball with good location) is the sort who can string good seasons together.

Though the real spot for pitching improvement on the team is likely to be the bullpen. Todd Coffey and Ryan Wagner were flat out unlucky last season. Also, if they had advanced through the minors a level per year, they'd be rookies in 2006. They're big kids with some stuff and even if you aren't particularly enthusiastic about them, they're easily the two best bets in the Reds' pitching corps to do a lot better in 2006.

lollipopcurve
02-15-2006, 10:57 AM
I'm looking at Williams to have a 5.00+ ERA. Same with Milton, though obviously anything under 6.00 would mark improvement for him.

Claussen and Harang are wild cards. Chances are that both of them see their ERAs rise in 2006, but they do have some factors which could push it lower too.

Claussen's should rise because he didn't pitch as well as his ERA last season (4.63 component ERA compared to a 4.21 actual ERA). If he pitched the same in 2006 you'd expect the ERA to bubble northward. However, he's only thrown 239 big league innings so it's perfectly reasonable to expect he'll improve a bit. Now if only improves a little, you'd get pretty much what he delivered last year for ERA. The main thing he needs to do is cut down on the homers allowed. Claussen's at the crossroads. This is his chance to step up and be a better pitcher. I'm not as confident that he'll do it as I was that Harang would last year, but ST should give us a pretty good indication of whether he's ready to make a leap (or even a hop).

Harang's likely to see his ERA rise because he just had the best season of his career. It's common to experience a bit of a dropoff. Yet Harang's got that big frame of his, which he learned to rely on last season. He should be even stronger in the latter portion of the season in 2006 (he had a lower ERA post-All Star last season, but actually pitched better pre-All Star). He won't slip much if he does slip and a guy with his profile (big fella who throws a heavy fastball with good location) is the sort who can string good seasons together.

Though the real spot for pitching improvement on the team is likely to be the bullpen. Todd Coffey and Ryan Wagner were flat out unlucky last season. Also, if they had advanced through the minors a level per year, they'd be rookies in 2006. They're big kids with some stuff and even if you aren't particularly enthusiastic about them, they're easily the two best bets in the Reds' pitching corps to do a lot better in 2006.

I agree with most of this assessment. Where I don't...

1. I think Williams will be a nice surprise (so long as he's healthy).
2. I have little hope that Milton can pitch well enough to stay in the rotation past midseason.
3. I am highly skeptical of Wagner (add to that injury concerns).
4. I am somewhat skeptical of Coffey -- that good splitfinger seems more like wishful thinking than anything at this point.

Pretty much Ruhle's Rabbits Out of Hats, barring a nice trade or two.

RedsManRick
02-15-2006, 11:07 AM
If the rotation can give us a collective 5.00 ERA, the bullpen a collective 4.50 ERA, and we manage to score the same amount of runs as last year, we'll be an above .500 squad.

I imagine we won't score quite as many runs, but think the 5.00/4.50 ERAs are definitely possible. Wagner had a solid k/bb and k/9 last, which are pretty good indicators of future success. Coffee is probably going to need to miss a few more bats if he's ever going to be really successful, but his control was excellent.

This rotation is really going to need to count on Harang to be it's anchor, if not it's ace. If he gets hurt, look out.

M2
02-15-2006, 11:59 AM
The Reds will need to get their collective ERA down around 4.69 if they want to allow roughly as many as they scored last year.

RedsManRick
02-15-2006, 12:26 PM
The Reds will need to get their collective ERA down around 4.69 if they want to allow roughly as many as they scored last year.

I was thinking it was a bit higher than that M2. I just redid the math.

We scored 820 runs last year.
We allowed 820 earned runs and 69 unearned for a total of 889 runs allowed in 1433 IP.

Given the same defensive performance, we need to cut 69 earned runs in 1433 IP. That's .43 R/G. Subtracted from the 5.15 ERA last year, you get 4.72. So you're pretty spot on.

If we assume that starters get 2/3 of our IP (probably on the high side...) then these are the possible breakdowns to achieve a 4.72 ERA:

starter's era relievers era
4 6.16
4.1 5.96
4.2 5.76
4.3 5.56
4.4 5.36
4.5 5.16
4.6 4.96
4.7 4.76
4.8 4.56
4.9 4.36
5 4.16
5.1 3.96
5.2 3.76
5.3 3.56
5.4 3.36
5.5 3.16

- this formatting sucks and I don't have time to fix it... hopefully you can get the idea

princeton
02-15-2006, 12:29 PM
if the starters are better than the relievers, then it'll be because the relievers are worse than godawful. Which, I agree, is possible

KronoRed
02-15-2006, 12:35 PM
I'm looking at Williams to have a 5.00+ ERA. Same with Milton, though obviously anything under 6.00 would mark improvement for him.

I have to agree, neither of these guys will provide us anything other then 1 out of 12 decent starts and the rest of the time they will be getting beat all over the place and putting an already bad bullpen to work more.

TeamSelig
02-15-2006, 01:29 PM
Harang 3.93
Claussen 4.17
Williams 4.74
Milton 4.92

dougdirt
02-15-2006, 01:36 PM
The Reds averaged 4.63 Runs in support of Harang, who had the fourth lowest Quality Start ratio of NL pitchers who produced a 3.83 or lower ERA.


If Harang wants to record more Wins, he needs to pitch better more often.
4.63 runs per game is still 0.43 less than the team averaged per game. He didnt get the support that his fellow starters got(just a guess, didnt actually look for the numbers). I agree he will need to pitch better to get more wins, but he did seem to be the unlucky pitcher of the staff who got less from the team than most others did.

pedro
02-15-2006, 01:41 PM
I'll believe the Reds will be without a starter with an ERA over 5.00 when it happens and not a momment before. Too many ducks in the pond to not get shot IMO.

Gainesville Red
02-15-2006, 01:42 PM
Ruhle's still the pitching coach right? It seems like (and my lack of intrest in finding stats is about to show) after he and Narron arrived the pitching got a little better for the most part last year.

dougdirt
02-15-2006, 01:46 PM
gainesville, I brought that up in a different post and some on here claimed that the veterans(Milton and Ortiz) just decided to pitch better then and it was not really anything Ruhle had to do with. I disagree with that idea.

M2
02-15-2006, 02:30 PM
Ruhle's still the pitching coach right? It seems like (and my lack of intrest in finding stats is about to show) after he and Narron arrived the pitching got a little better for the most part last year.

Most teams that start off horrible in pitching wind up throwing better in the second half, main reason being that many of the main offenders are either gone or have gotten their acts somewhat cleaned up in order to stick around. The Reds have pitched better in the second half than the first in each of the past four seasons. It also happened in 1999 and 2000. In 2001 and 2002 the team finished on a (relatively) high note in September. It's created a situation where many proclaim the pitching staff fixed or headed in the right direction prior to every season when nothing could be farther from the truth.

Chip R
02-15-2006, 02:35 PM
if the starters are better than the relievers, then it'll be because the relievers are worse than godawful. Which, I agree, is possible

That's my fear too.

Highlifeman21
02-15-2006, 05:33 PM
I hope baby Wags shows up this year.....

What was his deal last year? I know he had some sorta injury where he missed the bulk of the 2nd half, but he had a ridculous soph. slump by any standards. He was once tabbed as the closer of the future and was impressive around his debut, but now he's not even mentioned in the same breath of the closer by committee argument.

TheGARB
02-15-2006, 07:07 PM
Ruhle's still the pitching coach right? It seems like (and my lack of intrest in finding stats is about to show) after he and Narron arrived the pitching got a little better for the most part last year.

Here's each pitcher and how they pitched under each pitching coach:


Under Gullett Under Ruhle
------------------- -------------------
Pitcher Runs IP R/9 Runs IP R/9 Change
Matt Belisle 25 45.0 5.00 24 40.2 5.31 +0.31
Brandon Claussen 28 53.2 4.70 61 113.0 4.86 +0.16
Todd Coffey 10 19.2 4.58 23 38.1 5.40 +0.82
Aaron Harang 41 90.1 4.09 52 121.1 3.86 -0.23
Luke Hudson 10 16.0 5.63 52 68.2 6.82 +1.19
Randy Keisler 13 19.2 5.95 32 36.1 7.93 +1.98
Kent Mercker 12 30.0 3.60 15 31.2 4.26 +0.66
Eric Milton 76 81.2 8.38 65 104.2 5.59 -2.79
Ramon Ortiz 41 56.2 6.51 69 114.2 5.42 -1.09
Elizardo Ramirez 15 18.2 7.23 7 3.2 17.17 +9.94
Ricky Stone 13 22.0 5.32 11 8.2 11.42 +6.10
Joe Valentine 13 11.1 10.33 2 3.0 6.00 -4.33
Ryan Wagner 25 37.1 6.03 8 8.1 8.64 +2.61
David Weathers 19 36.2 4.66 17 41.0 3.73 -0.93
Danny Graves 18 18.1 8.84
Ben Weber 11 12.1 8.03
Paul Wilson 41 46.1 7.96
Chris Booker 8 2.0 36.00
Josh Hancock 4 14.0 2.57
Brian Shackelford 9 29.2 2.73
Allan Simpson 5 6.2 6.75
Standridge 14 31.0 4.06

The only pitchers that pitched a significant amount of innings and improved were Harang (0.23 R/9), Milton (2.79 R/9), Ortiz (1.09 R/9), and Weathers (0.93 R/9) but then Ortiz and Milton were horrible in the first half and any improvement could just be them returning to a bit more of their norm. Everyone else declined under Ruhle from what they put up under Gullett. However, as a group, those that pitched under both coaches put up better R/9 results going 5.7 R/9 under Gullett while posting a 5.37 R/9 under Ruhle. I'm not certain, but I think both of those numbers still stink.

The other thing you'll notice from the list is that the 3 pitchers who only pitched under Gullett were awful while Hancock, Shackelford, and Standridge all pitched pretty well under Ruhle, though both Booker and Simspon struggled. I don't know if this is because Ruhle had been working with these guys in the minors, so they were didn't have to unlearn Gullett or if it was just luck but all of the pitchers' peripherals hint at luck.

Either way, I don't think there is any defentitive evidence based on 93 games last season that Vern Ruhle is going to make magic with this pitching staff. Perhaps one or two pitchers will pitch over their head in 2006, but if the talent isn't there, it's pretty hard for a pitching coach to make much out of what he's given.