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MikeThierry
02-07-2012, 01:26 PM
Interesting article on ESPN:

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/20589/nl-central-showdown-position-rankings

I think he is about right on the positional matchups (though I think Beltran is a better RF than Hart). However, I think he is way off on pitching and over-rates the Brewers pitching staff a bit. I also feel that Braun's suspension should be taken into account. On a regular season, Bruan is a better LF than Holliday but if Braun is going to miss 50 games, that is going to play huge into what the Brewers can do this year.

I think Cueto and Latos is a better pitcher right now in their career than Carpenter right now. I wouldn't put Carpenter as the #1 starter in the division. I also don't agree with his assessment of putting Wainwright as a #3 starter. That just seems a bit ridiculous in my opinion. I know things are iffy with his TJ surgery but we are talking about a guy who finished second the past two years (2011 not included of course) in Cy Young votes behind Halladay. I just don't feel he should go from near the top pitcher in baseball to a #3 starter, just like that.

MikeThierry
02-07-2012, 02:01 PM
Just to clarify on Wainwright. I errored in what I said about him being 2nd the past to seaons he has pitched. He was 3rd in 09 in that crazy voting process behind Lincecum and Carpenter and second in 2010 behind Halladay. Still, my main point still applies.

_Sir_Charles_
02-07-2012, 02:11 PM
I agree that Hart is over-rated. Considerably. And I've got several problems with his starter rankings. Overall, not too shabby.

MikeThierry
02-07-2012, 02:15 PM
I agree that Hart is over-rated. Considerably. And I've got several problems with his starter rankings. Overall, not too shabby.

The starter rankings are wonky. I think he gives too much credit to Brewers staters in my opinion.

I'm also scratching my head on intangibles. Yeah the Cards lost Pujols, LaRussa, and Duncan but they are also a battle hardended team where a lot of younger players got heavy playoff experience. He also mentioned the Brewers fans being an intangible. As a Cards fan, I'm just scratching my head at this because St. Louis has a great fan base that shows up even when the team is bad.

_Sir_Charles_
02-07-2012, 02:33 PM
Well, I'd kind of have to agree with him on the intangibles. Simply put, you don't know what you're going to get from the new coaching staff there. And no matter how good the fan base is, they don't contribute to anything on the field. Getting a player pumped up is great in some sports, but I think it's almost a detriment in baseball. That's one of the few sports where keeping an even keel and remaining as calm as possible is usually for the best. So I usually put the fan portion at the bottom end of the spectrum.

MikeThierry
02-07-2012, 02:49 PM
Well, I'd kind of have to agree with him on the intangibles. Simply put, you don't know what you're going to get from the new coaching staff there. And no matter how good the fan base is, they don't contribute to anything on the field. Getting a player pumped up is great in some sports, but I think it's almost a detriment in baseball. That's one of the few sports where keeping an even keel and remaining as calm as possible is usually for the best. So I usually put the fan portion at the bottom end of the spectrum.

That's why I'm puzzled as to why he labeled the Brewers #1 on the intangible list. A lot of what his opinion was based off of the Brewer "fanbase". He also overrates Roenike in my opinion as well. There were times where he looked completely outmanaged by LaRussa, esp. in the playoffs. To be completely frankly, I would rather have Dusty Baker as a manager than Ron.

RedlegJake
02-07-2012, 03:01 PM
I don't buy the Brewers at all - I still see it as a 2 team race with Brewers pulling up third and the Pirates and Cubs good enough to make the Brewers sweat third place, especially early.

bucksfan2
02-07-2012, 03:04 PM
Interesting article on ESPN:

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/20589/nl-central-showdown-position-rankings

I think he is about right on the positional matchups (though I think Beltran is a better RF than Hart). However, I think he is way off on pitching and over-rates the Brewers pitching staff a bit. I also feel that Braun's suspension should be taken into account. On a regular season, Bruan is a better LF than Holliday but if Braun is going to miss 50 games, that is going to play huge into what the Brewers can do this year.

I think Cueto and Latos is a better pitcher right now in their career than Carpenter right now. I wouldn't put Carpenter as the #1 starter in the division. I also don't agree with his assessment of putting Wainwright as a #3 starter. That just seems a bit ridiculous in my opinion. I know things are iffy with his TJ surgery but we are talking about a guy who finished second the past two years (2011 not included of course) in Cy Young votes behind Halladay. I just don't feel he should go from near the top pitcher in baseball to a #3 starter, just like that.

I would actually move Beltran down on the list. I would put Hart/Bruce ahead of him because of age and injury history. I just don't see how he goes a full season avoiding the injuries that have plagued him over the past few years.

The interesting thing about these types of comparisons is its about looking forward and not looking back. You can slot Carpenter the top overall pitcher based upon his history but looking forward should he be #1? Especially after all the extra work it took getting through the playoffs?

As for SS after Castro that is a jumbled up mess. Age issues, youth issues, defensive issues, etc. It would be interesting to bump this topic after the WS and see how these projections held.

MikeThierry
02-07-2012, 03:12 PM
I would actually move Beltran down on the list. I would put Hart/Bruce ahead of him because of age and injury history. I just don't see how he goes a full season avoiding the injuries that have plagued him over the past few years.

The interesting thing about these types of comparisons is its about looking forward and not looking back. You can slot Carpenter the top overall pitcher based upon his history but looking forward should he be #1? Especially after all the extra work it took getting through the playoffs?

As for SS after Castro that is a jumbled up mess. Age issues, youth issues, defensive issues, etc. It would be interesting to bump this topic after the WS and see how these projections held.

Well if he is putting Braun as the #1 LF in the division without taking into account his suspension, I think you have to put Beltran as the best RF in the division, if he is healthy. He was healthy last year and while he does have an injury history, that doesn't mean he won't have a healthy year this year. Until Beltran has an injury, I'm putting him at the top in RF.

LegallyMinded
02-07-2012, 03:41 PM
That's why I'm puzzled as to why he labeled the Brewers #1 on the intangible list. A lot of what his opinion was based off of the Brewer "fanbase". He also overrates Roenike in my opinion as well. There were times where he looked completely outmanaged by LaRussa, esp. in the playoffs. To be completely frankly, I would rather have Dusty Baker as a manager than Ron.

He concludes the article by saying this:

"Whoa! Didn't expect that, did you? As much as everyone seems to be building the NL Central as a two-team battle between the Cardinals and Reds, I see the Brewers remaining good enough to be in the thick of the race."

With that in mind, it seems plausible to think he wanted to provide some kind of "unique" or "insightful" analysis that the average reader would find surprising or memorable. To make that happen, he had to fudge some of the rankings a bit and give the Brewers more credit than they deserve, and the "intangibles" category was an easy place to do that. This would also explain why he overrates Corey Hart, doesn't seem to consider Braun's suspension, and loves the Brewers' rotation.

757690
02-07-2012, 03:46 PM
I would actually move Beltran down on the list. I would put Hart/Bruce ahead of him because of age and injury history. I just don't see how he goes a full season avoiding the injuries that have plagued him over the past few years.

The interesting thing about these types of comparisons is its about looking forward and not looking back. You can slot Carpenter the top overall pitcher based upon his history but looking forward should he be #1? Especially after all the extra work it took getting through the playoffs?

As for SS after Castro that is a jumbled up mess. Age issues, youth issues, defensive issues, etc. It would be interesting to bump this topic after the WS and see how these projections held.

This is the biggest issue for the Cardinals. Health.

The main guys they are relying on to lead them in 2012, Beltran, Carpenter, Berkman, and Furcal will be 35 or older this season. Holliday will be 32.

History tells us that they can't expect full seasons from all of them, in fact, odds are at least half of them will likely miss significant time in 2012 and/or provide reduced production. And they really have no depth to fill in when that happens.

MikeThierry
02-07-2012, 03:47 PM
Good point Legally. Schoenfield does do some good work at times but there are other times where he tries to be the smartest guy in the room and his thoughts become a bit cloudy and flawed.

bucksfan2
02-07-2012, 04:04 PM
This is the biggest issue for the Cardinals. Health.

The main guys they are relying on to lead them in 2012, Beltran, Carpenter, Berkman, and Furcal will be 35 or older this season. Holliday will be 32.

History tells us that they can't expect full seasons from all of them, in fact, odds are at least half of them will likely miss significant time in 2012 and/or provide reduced production. And they really have no depth to fill in when that happens.

I am selling the Cards and selling them hard.

As you mentioned they are old, and not getting any younger. They are counting on guys to improve when history tells us that they are on the dowside of their career.

Oh and not to mention they lost the best player in baseball, a HOF manager, and a great pitching coach in the same off season. The Cards have shown the ability to be resilant but I think that was more a product of Albert and TLR than anything else.

MikeThierry
02-07-2012, 04:13 PM
I am selling the Cards and selling them hard.

As you mentioned they are old, and not getting any younger. They are counting on guys to improve when history tells us that they are on the dowside of their career.

Oh and not to mention they lost the best player in baseball, a HOF manager, and a great pitching coach in the same off season. The Cards have shown the ability to be resilant but I think that was more a product of Albert and TLR than anything else.

That's fine if everyone is going to bring the age factor into it (even though they have a ton of young guys as well that they rely on, esp. in the bullpen). I would rather be the underdog in the division than the favorite.

TRF
02-07-2012, 04:14 PM
Actually, i think he was spot on with Wainright at #3. He's a year removed from TJ, and control is the last thing to come back. It's going to take more than 6 weeks to shake off the rust, plus he'll likely have at least two dead arm periods, one in ST and another mid season. Plus if the Card's are smart, they are going to baby his arm a bit, restrict his innings. I see a lot of no decisions for him this year. I'd be surprised if he won 10-12 games. I'd be stunned if he had an ERA below 4.00

MikeThierry
02-07-2012, 04:31 PM
Actually, i think he was spot on with Wainright at #3. He's a year removed from TJ, and control is the last thing to come back. It's going to take more than 6 weeks to shake off the rust, plus he'll likely have at least two dead arm periods, one in ST and another mid season. Plus if the Card's are smart, they are going to baby his arm a bit, restrict his innings. I see a lot of no decisions for him this year. I'd be surprised if he won 10-12 games. I'd be stunned if he had an ERA below 4.00

It's a crapshoot with how TJ surgery will effect him. When Carpenter came back from TJ surgery, he had the best year of his career. Waino could also have a mediocre season. It's unknown at this point. From the different reports I have read, he is having an amazing recovery period so I would expect him to have a better season than most people think he is going to have.

As far as the Cards getting old, it was the same issue last year. People were waiting and waiting for guys to essentially die on the mound or on the diamond last year because they were old and needed a walker. The Cards did suffer a ton of injuries last year but other young guys came in and played well for the Cards. Essentially, from what I get on this forum, is that the Cards are suffering the reverse of Bailey/Bruce syndrome. Just as everyone is expecting yet again for these players to break out, everyone is expecting for the entire Cardinals team to collapse due to injury yet again this year. It has been the same mantra in both respects for a couple of years now. Until the entire Cardinals team actually collapses due to arthritis, glocoma, and Osteoporosis, I'm going to consider the talent they have right now and make a judgement on that. I'll reserve judgement until I see Chris Carpenter or Rapheal Furcal wearing old people diapers and they can't throw the ball over 50ft.

Scrap Irony
02-07-2012, 04:36 PM
I cannot believe Molina is only 29.

Didn't he catch Jamie Moyer when Moyer was a rookie?

Aside from that nugget, the most important numbers of 2012 may be 37, 36, 35, and 34.

Those are the ages of Chris Carpenter, Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltran, and Rafael Furcal, four of the top seven Cardinals and perhaps the core of their team. All will have to perform well if they are to continue to dominate the NL Central. (Add in uncertainty behind them in Wainwright, Garcia, and Freese as well. The only "sure thing" is Holliday.)

The good news is that all four have a track record of dominance.

The bad news (at least for Card fans) is that, sooner or later, Father Time catches up to all men.

757690
02-07-2012, 04:53 PM
It's a crapshoot with how TJ surgery will effect him. When Carpenter came back from TJ surgery, he had the best year of his career. Waino could also have a mediocre season. It's unknown at this point. From the different reports I have read, he is having an amazing recovery period so I would expect him to have a better season than most people think he is going to have. I'll reserve judgement until I see Chris Carpenter or Rapheal Furcal wearing old people diapers and they can't throw the ball over 50ft.

Carpenter wasnt effective until a year and a half after his surgery. Same with pretty much every pitcher who successfully came back from TJ. That puts Wainwright on track to back to his old self around the All-Star break. Until then, I wouldn't expect much.

MikeThierry
02-07-2012, 05:18 PM
Carpenter wasnt effective until a year and a half after his surgery. Same with pretty much every pitcher who successfully came back from TJ. That puts Wainwright on track to back to his old self around the All-Star break. Until then, I wouldn't expect much.

He was dominant his first full season back from TJ. The previous year, he only started 3 games. With Carpenter's TJ surgery, he had a lot of setbacks and his road to recovery was two years. There was question even going into his full healthy season whether or not he would be the same pitcher ever again. All he did that year was place second in Cy Young votes.

Reading about Wainwright, his recovery is going about as good as you can expect. In fact, he was trying to convince the Cards pitching staff last year that he would be back before they started the playoffs in 2011. While that was unrealistic, that was a sign of how well things were going for his recovery. I don't think he will be his normal Cy Young quality self but I wouldn't be shocked if he has a good 2012 campaign.

Scrap Irony
02-07-2012, 05:20 PM
With Carpenter's TJ surgery, he had a lot of setbacks and his road to recovery was two years.

Hence, 757690's point about pitchers generally needing more than a year to be back to their old selves.

Wainwright may be the exception to the rule, but smart money's on he being effective around the All Star break, if then.

MikeThierry
02-07-2012, 05:30 PM
Hence, 757690's point about pitchers generally needing more than a year to be back to their old selves.

Wainwright may be the exception to the rule, but smart money's on he being effective around the All Star break, if then.

For my money (what ever that's worth lol) I think a good year for him coming back from TJ surgery would be 14-10 with a 3.50 ERA. To me, that is realistic. That production is still better than anything the Cardinals threw out last year to cover what they lost in Waino. Even if he has an ERA in the 4.00 and only manages to win 10 games next year, that is still better production than the hole the Cards had trying to fill his shoes. My point is that even at his worst, the Cards are still in a better position from a starting rotation standpoint than anytime last year.

Scrap Irony
02-07-2012, 05:35 PM
Perhaps-- unless he's one of the minority who never come back all the way from TJ surgery. It may sap his movement. St. Louis would then continue to start him all year, hoping he found the answer eventually, all while watching him go all Bronson Arroyo circa 2011.

At this point, you can't count on Wainwright for much of anything.

MikeThierry
02-07-2012, 05:48 PM
Perhaps-- unless he's one of the minority who never come back all the way from TJ surgery. It may sap his movement. St. Louis would then continue to start him all year, hoping he found the answer eventually, all while watching him go all Bronson Arroyo circa 2011.

At this point, you can't count on Wainwright for much of anything.

That's a good point. I think one thing that might factor into all of this is that Shelby Miller is just about ready to hit the majors. He is projected to start out in AAA this year and get a callup in September. However, if Carpenter goes down or any other pitcher, he will get the callup to the show. The Cards are in a position that they haven't been in for a long time where if a pitcher goes down, they don't have to scrounge the bottom of the barrel for pitchers to fill in roles in the starting rotation. For this very reason, I'm not as concerned as a lot of people are if the Cards do have rotation problems this year. Granted, I would never want to lose Carpenter but there is talent in the minors that could come up and make an impact on the major league roster.

Scrap Irony
02-07-2012, 06:06 PM
Miller may indeed be the difference in the NL Central race. That kid looks to be a difference-maker.

MikeThierry
02-07-2012, 06:13 PM
Miller may indeed be the difference in the NL Central race. That kid looks to be a difference-maker.

Well I'm drinking the kool aid on the kid :) Scouts are saying he is as close to the real deal as you are going to get. He needs to refine his third pitch a bit, which I think is a change up, but he already has a high 90's fastball and a Waino like curve, from what the scouts are reporting.

TRF
02-07-2012, 06:22 PM
It's a crapshoot with how TJ surgery will effect him. When Carpenter came back from TJ surgery, he had the best year of his career. Waino could also have a mediocre season. It's unknown at this point. From the different reports I have read, he is having an amazing recovery period so I would expect him to have a better season than most people think he is going to have.

As far as the Cards getting old, it was the same issue last year. People were waiting and waiting for guys to essentially die on the mound or on the diamond last year because they were old and needed a walker. The Cards did suffer a ton of injuries last year but other young guys came in and played well for the Cards. Essentially, from what I get on this forum, is that the Cards are suffering the reverse of Bailey/Bruce syndrome. Just as everyone is expecting yet again for these players to break out, everyone is expecting for the entire Cardinals team to collapse due to injury yet again this year. It has been the same mantra in both respects for a couple of years now. Until the entire Cardinals team actually collapses due to arthritis, glocoma, and Osteoporosis, I'm going to consider the talent they have right now and make a judgement on that. I'll reserve judgement until I see Chris Carpenter or Rapheal Furcal wearing old people diapers and they can't throw the ball over 50ft.

Carpenter having a career year is not the norm. Liriano is more the norm. Volquez is more the norm. Seeing as how Carpenter wasn't a very good pitcher BEFORE he had TJ surgery, He really isn't the norm. or am I confusing his injuries? when did he have TJ surgery?

EDIT: It was a Labrum issue after he left Toronto... My mistake.

Still it isn't the norm. Placing him at #3 is practical.

MikeThierry
02-07-2012, 06:39 PM
Carpenter having a career year is not the norm. Liriano is more the norm. Volquez is more the norm. Seeing as how Carpenter wasn't a very good pitcher BEFORE he had TJ surgery, He really isn't the norm. or am I confusing his injuries? when did he have TJ surgery?

EDIT: It was a Labrum issue after he left Toronto... My mistake.

Still it isn't the norm. Placing him at #3 is practical.

Liriano and Volquez is a horrible comparision to what Wainwright might go through. Those pitchers were never elite like Wainwright was/is. I think a better comparison is to compare him with other elite level pitchers and their performance before/after TJ surgery. We are talking about a pitcher in Wainwright who has the second best combined ERA post 2007 All Star break behind King Felix (stats as beginning of 2011).

TRF
02-07-2012, 06:56 PM
Liriano wasn't elite?

Wainwright never had a season as good as Liriano's 2006.

N-E-V-E-R.

And he's been up and down every other year since his surgery. It's actually quite odd. So, yeah I think he's a decent comp. Here is a list of notable players that had TJ surgery:

Brett Anderson (pitcher)
Rick Ankiel (pitcher converted to outfielder)
John Axford (relief pitcher)
Bong Jung-Keun (pitcher)
Érik Bédard (pitcher)
Bill Bray (pitcher)
Clint Brown (pitcher)
A. J. Burnett (pitcher)
José Canseco (outfielder; injured while pitching)
Chris Capuano (pitcher, twice)
Chris Carpenter (pitcher)
Joba Chamberlain (pitcher)
Shin-Soo Choo (outfielder)
Manny Corpas (pitcher)
Jorge De La Rosa (pitcher)
Rubby De La Rosa (pitcher)
John Dopson (pitcher)
Scott Feldman (pitcher)
John Franco (relief pitcher, holder of NL record for games pitched)
Éric Gagné (relief pitcher)
Jaime Garcia (pitcher)
Matt Holliday (outfielder)
Tim Hudson (pitcher)
Todd Hundley (catcher)
Tommy John (pitcher)
Josh Johnson (pitcher)
Hong-Chih Kuo (relief pitcher; four)
Francisco Liriano (pitcher)
Shaun Marcum (pitcher)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (pitcher)
Kris Medlen (pitcher)
Sergio Mitre (pitcher)
Paul Molitor (infielder)
Jamie Moyer (pitcher)
Xavier Nady (outfielder; twice)
Joe Nathan (relief pitcher)
Pat Neshek (relief pitcher)
Scott Proctor (relief pitcher)
Jo-Jo Reyes (pitcher)
José Rijo (pitcher)
Kenny Rogers (pitcher)
Deion Sanders (outfielder)
Scott Schoeneweis (pitcher)
John Smoltz (pitcher)
Stephen Strasburg (pitcher)
Dallas Trahern (pitcher)
Edinson Volquez (pitcher)
Billy Wagner (relief pitcher)
Adam Wainwright (pitcher)
Jake Westbrook (pitcher)
Brian Wilson (relief pitcher)
C.J. Wilson (pitcher)
Kerry Wood (pitcher)
Jordan Zimmermann (pitcher)
Ryan Vogelsong (pitcher)


You tell me who is comparable? Smoltz maybe? Is he elite enough? How about Jose Rijo? that was a few years ago though, so that isn't a fair comparison. Tim Hudson? How about Tim Hudson, he came back very strong, so there are two guys.

But saying Liriano wasn't on his way to being an elite pitcher is laughable. The real truth is only a handful of "elite" pitchers have had TJ surgery. so the pool you are comping is very, very small

MikeThierry
02-07-2012, 07:14 PM
Liriano wasn't elite?

Wainwright never had a season as good as Liriano's 2006.

N-E-V-E-R.

And he's been up and down every other year since his surgery. It's actually quite odd. So, yeah I think he's a decent comp. Here is a list of notable players that had TJ surgery:


To be an elite pitcher, in my eyes anyway, that pitcher has to have several years of consistent success. Many pitchers can have a single year of dominance but what sets Aces apart from regular pitchers is the ability to do it over the long haul. If you look at Wainwright's career arc, he has improved every single year since he got in the majors. He just wasn't a flash in the pan, one year wonder like Liriano.

AtomicDumpling
02-07-2012, 07:28 PM
Because the Brewers won the division so convincingly last year they are still the favorites in my mind. Combine that with the fact the Brewers' personnel losses in the winter were less severe than the Cardinals' and I think the Brewers are still the team to beat. The Reds improved their pitching staff considerably but they have a ton of ground to make up on the Brewers.

By the way, I think the loss of Dave Duncan will hurt the Cardinals far more than the loss of Tony LaRussa will.

dougdirt
02-07-2012, 07:30 PM
Because the Brewers won the division so convincingly last year they are still the favorites in my mind. Combine that with the fact the Brewers' personnel losses in the winter were less severe than the Cardinals' and I think the Brewers are still the team to beat. The Reds improved their pitching staff considerably but they have a ton of ground to make up on the Brewers.

By the way, I think the loss of Dave Duncan will hurt the Cardinals far more than the loss of Tony LaRussa will.

Are you counting Braun's potential 50 gamer in there yet or not?

AtomicDumpling
02-07-2012, 07:31 PM
Are you counting Braun's potential 50 gamer in there yet or not?

Yes. And the addition of Aramis Ramirez. And the return of Rickie Weeks to full health. There is also a likely return to form of Greinke and Marcum, but I am not factoring that in.

MikeThierry
02-07-2012, 07:45 PM
Yes. And the addition of Aramis Ramirez. And the return of Rickie Weeks to full health. There is also a likely return to form of Greinke and Marcum, but I am not factoring that in.

AmRam's split's out of Wrigley are not very good. Miller Park is a nice hitter's park but I don't know if he will be the factor to push them over the top.

RedsManRick
02-07-2012, 07:53 PM
Because the Brewers won the division so convincingly last year they are still the favorites in my mind. Combine that with the fact the Brewers' personnel losses in the winter were less severe than the Cardinals' and I think the Brewers are still the team to beat. The Reds improved their pitching staff considerably but they have a ton of ground to make up on the Brewers.

By the way, I think the loss of Dave Duncan will hurt the Cardinals far more than the loss of Tony LaRussa will.

If we start from expected W-L, the Brewers were a 90 win team last year. A 30-18 record in 1 games is not a repeatable skill.

Losing 50 games of Braun and 162 of Prince Fielder sets them back about 8 wins. Aramis at 3B gets them back 3 or 4 of those wins, but Gamel hasn't shown he can be above replacement nor has Braun's likely replacement, import Norishika Aoki. Combined that pretty easily puts them right back in the pack.

Personally, I think it's hard to make a strong case for any of the top 3 teams as being favorites.

AtomicDumpling
02-07-2012, 07:59 PM
AmRam's split's out of Wrigley are not very good. Miller Park is a nice hitter's park but I don't know if he will be the factor to push them over the top.

AmRam is not a superstar anymore, but he is a big upgrade over what they had at third base and he helps to compensate for the loss of Fielder. He doesn't have to push the Brewers over the top because they are the defending champions. The Cardinals and Reds finished far behind the Brewers last year, so the onus is on them to make up the ground. The Brewers are in the drivers seat while the Cards and Reds will have to make big improvements to catch up.

RedsManRick
02-07-2012, 08:44 PM
AmRam is not a superstar anymore, but he is a big upgrade over what they had at third base and he helps to compensate for the loss of Fielder. He doesn't have to push the Brewers over the top because they are the defending champions. The Cardinals and Reds finished far behind the Brewers last year, so the onus is on them to make up the ground. The Brewers are in the drivers seat while the Cards and Reds will have to make big improvements to catch up.

Projecting teams from last year's win totals is not a good place to start because that win total includes a healthy dose of luck. Expected won-loss gets you closer to the talent baseline. The Cards and Reds do not have to make up the ground that the Brewers gained due to good luck in 1 run games. That's in the past and not something you can give the Brewers credit for in a forward looking assessment.

AtomicDumpling
02-07-2012, 09:57 PM
Projecting teams from last year's win totals is not a good place to start because that win total includes a healthy dose of luck. Expected won-loss gets you closer to the talent baseline. The Cards and Reds do not have to make up the ground that the Brewers gained due to good luck in 1 run games. That's in the past and not something you can give the Brewers credit for in a forward looking assessment.

I think it was more than luck that caused the Brewers to win the division easily.

757690
02-07-2012, 10:17 PM
I think it was more than luck that caused the Brewers to win the division easily.

Yep, and he is now playing in Detroit. ;)

AtomicDumpling
02-07-2012, 10:30 PM
Yep, and he is now playing in Detroit. ;)

And hopefully that will allow the Reds to overtake the Brewers in 2012! The Reds have a lot of ground to make up though.

I think the loss of Pujols hurts the Cards more than the loss of Fielder hurts the Brewers, but both are body blows to their teams for sure.

RedsManRick
02-07-2012, 11:27 PM
I think it was more than luck that caused the Brewers to win the division easily.

So do I. What's your point? We can make useless sweeping statements that don't provide any insight or we can actually look at the numbers. Yes, you don't win 96 games on luck alone. But you don't win 96 games despite the run differential of a 90 win team on talent. "Luck" -- as in the way things happened to pan out but which has no predictive value -- was a factor. Ignoring that is how teams like Kansas City and Seattle thought they were poised to compete in the last few years on the heels of a big step forward when they didn't really have the talent to support it and consequently fell back to earth.

The Brewers were and are a very good team. But in terms of talent, they were not and are not 10 games better than the Reds and Cards.

TRF
02-08-2012, 10:10 AM
To be an elite pitcher, in my eyes anyway, that pitcher has to have several years of consistent success. Many pitchers can have a single year of dominance but what sets Aces apart from regular pitchers is the ability to do it over the long haul. If you look at Wainwright's career arc, he has improved every single year since he got in the majors. He just wasn't a flash in the pan, one year wonder like Liriano.

Liriano isn't a one year wonder. In 2010 he was 11th in the CYA voting. I think he's an elite talent, and he's had trouble coming all the way back from TJ surgery.

Wainwright had his surgery Feb 28 2011. It won't be 12 months when pitchers and catchers report. Contrast that with Carpenter who had his surgery mid season 2007 and essentially missed 2 years. If you are expecting a Carpenter like success, I'll grant that a pitcher of Wainwright's caliber can come back and do that, just not in one year.

MikeThierry
02-08-2012, 11:27 AM
I think the loss of Pujols hurts the Cards more than the loss of Fielder hurts the Brewers, but both are body blows to their teams for sure.


I have to disagree with that. The Brewers never replaced the production that Fielder gave them (I don't consider AmRam a replacement to be honest with you). The Cards not only replace Pujols with an all star first baseman but aggressively went out and got a 5+ WAR player in Beltran. The Brewers have what at 1st base? McGhee? They didn't do what the Cards did and add to what they lost.

The Cards won 90 games last year even when blowing all of those saves. If they save half of those games, they take the division over the Brewers last season. With a much improved bullpen, the Cardinals might have more wins this year.



Liriano isn't a one year wonder. In 2010 he was 11th in the CYA voting. I think he's an elite talent, and he's had trouble coming all the way back from TJ surgery.


A lot of pitchers have elite level talent but that doesn't make them elite. I'll take the elite guy over a guy that shows flashes of being elite.

Mario-Rijo
02-08-2012, 11:28 AM
I commented already on ESPN but i'll add my 2 cents here as well. I give the edge to the Cardinals if they can do the unthinkable and remain healthy mainly Berkman and Beltran (healthy they are the most consistent offense). I truly don't believe Beltran makes it close to a full season because he limped thru the remainder of last year (a FA year), Furcal has limped thru the past 4. Berkman might as he will exclusively be at 1st (although not sure constant back and forth movement to the bag is any less physically demanding than tracking down a few balls in the OF every game, it might actually prove to be worse for his legs).

As far as Milwaukee goes, well IMO their pitching was better last year than it's talent level would indicate. And the way they beat alot of teams was with their offense anyway, which they won't be doing nearly as much this season.

The Reds have their issues as well obviously but I like the way alot of these question marks are trending, especially on the pitching side of things. Rolen & Stubbs concern me quite a bit (especially Stubbs). But it should also be noted that the Reds beat both teams head to head until the last week of the season when Milwaukee pulled a sweep out of their backside to pull even on the season. And the Reds got better in the offseason while the other 2 got worse. So can the improvements the Reds made improve them vs. the rest of the league and does the losses for the others make them more susceptible to the rest of the league, I'd say yes to both.

Reds win the division in '12 IMO

TRF
02-08-2012, 12:20 PM
A lot of pitchers have elite level talent but that doesn't make them elite. I'll take the elite guy over a guy that shows flashes of being elite.

I would too. And I'd take Wainwright over Liriano. But I would certainly consider Liriano if he was available. He has a higher ceiling, albeit a lower floor than Wainwright.

But you are overestimating Wainwright's ability to come back 12 months removed from TJ. Carpenter didn't do that. His recovery was closer to 18 monthswith a few starts at the end of 2008. He basically didn't pitch for 2 years.

I'd be flat stunned if Wainwright made 20 starts with an ERA below 4 in 2012, with him back to what he was by 2013 IF he recovers/rehabs correctly.

MikeThierry
02-08-2012, 12:40 PM
How is it that Lariano has a higher ceiling when he is 27 compared to Wainwright being 28? It would be one thing if we were talking about pitchers years apart but Wainwright is only a year older than Lariano is.


But you are overestimating Wainwright's ability to come back 12 months removed from TJ. Carpenter didn't do that. His recovery was closer to 18 monthswith a few starts at the end of 2008. He basically didn't pitch for 2 years.


You are underestimating the fact that pitchers react differently to surgery. Just because it took 2 years for Carpenter to recover doesn't mean it's going to be the same for Wainwright. Heck, Strausburg came back from TJ surgery essentially a year after his injury and pitched effectively for his cup of coffee he saw this year.

TRF
02-08-2012, 01:19 PM
How is it that Lariano has a higher ceiling when he is 27 compared to Wainwright being 28? It would be one thing if we were talking about pitchers years apart but Wainwright is only a year older than Lariano is.

You are underestimating the fact that pitchers react differently to surgery. Just because it took 2 years for Carpenter to recover doesn't mean it's going to be the same for Wainwright. Heck, Strausburg came back from TJ surgery essentially a year after his injury and pitched effectively for his cup of coffee he saw this year.

As did Carpenter. Both had TJ surgery in mid season. it gave them a longer recovery time.

As for Liriano having the higher ceiling, I think he does, and age doesn't really have a thing to do with it. I think he's the more talented pitcher of the two, but i stated he has a lower floor. I think Wainwright has been the better pitcher, but now that he's had his own injury we'll see going forward. I'll say this, I wouldn't want to count on Wainwright this year. Too much pressure for anyone not yet 12 months removed from that surgery. IMO your projections for him are ridiculously high.

Name one pitcher in HISTORY that had TJ surgery a month before the season started, came bak in one year and dominated. Heck, name one that came back and was league average.

MikeThierry
02-08-2012, 01:48 PM
As did Carpenter. Both had TJ surgery in mid season. it gave them a longer recovery time.

As for Liriano having the higher ceiling, I think he does, and age doesn't really have a thing to do with it. I think he's the more talented pitcher of the two, but i stated he has a lower floor. I think Wainwright has been the better pitcher, but now that he's had his own injury we'll see going forward. I'll say this, I wouldn't want to count on Wainwright this year. Too much pressure for anyone not yet 12 months removed from that surgery. IMO your projections for him are ridiculously high.

Name one pitcher in HISTORY that had TJ surgery a month before the season started, came bak in one year and dominated. Heck, name one that came back and was league average.

Pardon me for being so blunt but if you think that Liriano is a more talented pitcher than Wainwright, I would like to buy a years supply of what you are smoking. Adam Wainwright arguably has the best curveball in baseball. I can't think of any pitch Liriano has that is considered the best in the game. There are so many things that Wainwright has and improving on that Liriano will never have (for example, Wainwright is still working on his changeup). Just the amount of pitches Wainwright alone can throw at a batter make him a more talented pitcher than Liriano. I can't even believe I'm having this discussion to be honest with you. It would be almost as insulting if I came to you and said that Allen Craig has more talent than Joey Votto. You would look at me like I had a huge mustard stain on my face and I would probably be banned from these forums for making that claim.

MikeThierry
02-08-2012, 02:13 PM
Let me rephrase one thing. Just the ability alone for Adam Wainwright to throw more types of pitches, accurately, at a batter makes him a better talent than Liriano.

TheNext44
02-08-2012, 02:23 PM
It's impossible to compare Liriano and Wainwright because Liriano got injured before he reached his potential. But both were Cy Young candidates when they got injured. At the very least it's a push.

TRF
02-08-2012, 03:29 PM
Pardon me for being so blunt but if you think that Liriano is a more talented pitcher than Wainwright, I would like to buy a years supply of what you are smoking. Adam Wainwright arguably has the best curveball in baseball. I can't think of any pitch Liriano has that is considered the best in the game. There are so many things that Wainwright has and improving on that Liriano will never have (for example, Wainwright is still working on his changeup). Just the amount of pitches Wainwright alone can throw at a batter make him a more talented pitcher than Liriano. I can't even believe I'm having this discussion to be honest with you. It would be almost as insulting if I came to you and said that Allen Craig has more talent than Joey Votto. You would look at me like I had a huge mustard stain on my face and I would probably be banned from these forums for making that claim.

Here is how i define ceiling. I take a pitcher's best season in addition to his peripherals. Liriano has a better ability to get a strikeout. I give that a lot of emphasis. When he's healthy, he was better at keeping the ball in the park, and for most of his career he pitched in a very homer friendly park. His 2006 season was one of the best of the last 20 years.

Wainwright is a fantastic pitcher. Well, he was fantastic. right now all he is, is another pitcher trying to come back from TJ surgery. Control is the LAST thing to come back. Last year Liriano was clearly not healthy again. And yes, that should probably limit his ceiling. He doesn't seem to be able to stay healthy.

If I had to choose between the two, of course I'd take Wainwright. If I had to take one season from their careers, I'd take that 2006 Liriano season.

Now, back to what I said. Name one pitcher that had TJ surgery at the begining of a season that came back and dominated the following year. Name one that came back and dominated 1 year from the surgery period. Pitchers are coming back sooner, yes. They often come back in 12 months. And they typically kinda suck.

MikeThierry
02-08-2012, 04:13 PM
Here is how i define ceiling. I take a pitcher's best season in addition to his peripherals. Liriano has a better ability to get a strikeout. I give that a lot of emphasis. When he's healthy, he was better at keeping the ball in the park, and for most of his career he pitched in a very homer friendly park. His 2006 season was one of the best of the last 20 years.

Wainwright is a fantastic pitcher. Well, he was fantastic. right now all he is, is another pitcher trying to come back from TJ surgery. Control is the LAST thing to come back. Last year Liriano was clearly not healthy again. And yes, that should probably limit his ceiling. He doesn't seem to be able to stay healthy.

If I had to choose between the two, of course I'd take Wainwright. If I had to take one season from their careers, I'd take that 2006 Liriano season.

Now, back to what I said. Name one pitcher that had TJ surgery at the begining of a season that came back and dominated the following year. Name one that came back and dominated 1 year from the surgery period. Pitchers are coming back sooner, yes. They often come back in 12 months. And they typically kinda suck.

I take with a grain of salt what a pitcher or hitter does in their rookie year. The 2006 season was Liriano's rookie year. It could be argued that batters were still adjusting to what he brought to the table. In many ways, the 2006 season was an outlier season. A 4.50 SO/BB ratio is certainly unsustainable over a given career and there are very few pitchers in baseball that even have over 10 SO/9 during the course of their career. Even if you take that as his ceiling (which I would again argue is an outlier season and not evidence of his true ability), his numbers won't even get close to what he put up in 2006. That 2006 season should not be a measuring stick for what he potentially can do.

As I point out before, every year that Wainwright pitched, he has put up better numbers. Wainwright does not have just one anomalous year and he clearly regressed even when he was healthy. His 2010 season is clear evidence that it is more of the norm from what you are going to get from Wainwright than Liriano's 2006 season.

I also never said that Waino would come back and dominate. I just think he is going to have a better season than what you are talking about. I just don't see Wainwright putting up a +4.00 ERA. An ERA about 3.50-3.75 seems a bit more realistic for the type of pitcher he is coming off of TJ surgery.

MikeThierry
02-08-2012, 04:26 PM
By the way, Roy Halladay has never had a SO/9 over 10 in any given year in his career. To judge a pitcher on his ability to strike out players doesn't tell the whole story and isn't the end all. It also tells you that it is very difficult to get to that level and is frankly unsustainable. Nolan Ryan, for example, only had like 3 or 4 seasons of his long career where he had over 10 SO/9.

fearofpopvol1
02-08-2012, 04:29 PM
It’s an interesting analysis and it’s pretty well done I think. I have a few minor disagreements with the position players, but they’re not major. I would not take Clint Barmes over Zack Cozart (if Cozart is healthy), I wouldn’t take JD Martinez over Heisey/Ludwick and I’m not sure if I would take Beltran over Bruce. Beltran’s health is a question mark and I don’t think he’s a better defender at this point in his career than Bruce either. So, I’m not sure I agree there.

As for pitching, do the Brewers view Gallardo as their #1 guy? This is a minor disagreement, but I would take Latos over Gallardo. Now, when we get to the 3rd starter, this is where confusion sets in. I don't think anyone currently considers Homer Bailey to be the #3 starter. I think it’s pretty well documented right now that Mike Leake is considered the #3 guy. I also personally would take Leake over Bud Norris, but again, that’s a minor disagreement. If Bailey was slotted into the #4 slot, I would take him over Wolf, but again, it’s a minor disagreement because Bailey hasn’t proven he can stay healthy.

I think the Fielder loss will be bigger than the author does and if Braun is out for 50 games, I just think the Brewers will fall into too deep of a hole. I think to a large extent they will be offensively challenged. I will say that I think too many people are quick to discount the Brewers when they shouldn’t be though, because they do have great starting pitching and the bullpen is at least decent.

TRF
02-08-2012, 04:43 PM
By the way, Roy Halladay has never had a SO/9 over 10 in any given year in his career. To judge a pitcher on his ability to strike out players doesn't tell the whole story and isn't the end all. It also tells you that it is very difficult to get to that level and is frankly unsustainable. Nolan Ryan, for example, only had like 3 or 4 seasons of his long career where he had over 10 SO/9.

Ryan did it 9 times. not 3 or 4, 16 times with a K/9 over 9.0

just sayin.

MikeThierry
02-08-2012, 04:46 PM
Ryan did it 9 times. not 3 or 4, 16 times with a K/9 over 9.0

just sayin.

Sorry, I didn't scroll down when I was looking on baseball reference :D

I was wrong there but I'm not wrong to say that having a k/9 rate over 10 is very difficult to do and can't even be expected from the best pitchers in the game.

TRF
02-08-2012, 05:01 PM
I can't say I disagree. I do think Liriano is a guy that when healthy is a 9 K/9 pitcher. Lincecum has never had a K/9 below 9, so certainly it isn't impossible.

I think a 3.50 ERA over a full season and being only 13 months removed from TJ surgery is optimistic. I think the best recovery plan is guys that get the surgery mid season and come back in sept the following year for a few starts. That worked for Carpenter. It didn't for Volquez. We'll see if it did for Strasburg.

MikeThierry
02-08-2012, 05:06 PM
I can't say I disagree. I do think Liriano is a guy that when healthy is a 9 K/9 pitcher. Lincecum has never had a K/9 below 9, so certainly it isn't impossible.

I think a 3.50 ERA over a full season and being only 13 months removed from TJ surgery is optimistic. I think the best recovery plan is guys that get the surgery mid season and come back in sept the following year for a few starts. That worked for Carpenter. It didn't for Volquez. We'll see if it did for Strasburg.

Volquez also got busted for PED use as well so I don't think you can use him as any real example for anything, in my opinion. He has never been the same pitcher since being busted for roids. Let your imagination run wild there.

TRF
02-08-2012, 05:16 PM
ugh. He hasn't been the same pitcher since TJ, not roids. He never had great control, but it wasn't as bad as it was last year.

Steroids have nothing to do with a pitcher's control. Volquez is throwing as hard as he ever did.

MikeThierry
02-08-2012, 05:46 PM
ugh. He hasn't been the same pitcher since TJ, not roids. He never had great control, but it wasn't as bad as it was last year.

Steroids have nothing to do with a pitcher's control. Volquez is throwing as hard as he ever did.

I wish I had the same sunshine and lollypops thought process you do. We have people on this forum who acuse Jose Bautista of roid use without any evidence and now we have people here say that Volquez's roid use had nothing to do with his effectiveness as a pitcher. Interesting dynamic.

TRF
02-08-2012, 06:06 PM
says the guy that thinks his pitcher will be throwing around a 3.50 ERA 13 months after TJ Surgery.

If pitcher A throws 97, then has tJ surgery, gets caught using PEDS, gets tested weekly, no ped use after his suspension, and still throws 97, then it wasn't the roids that made him effective.

What is more likely is he moved to a new league, there wasn't much of a book on him and once there was plus the fact that control is the last thing you get back after TJ, he was less effective.

MikeThierry
02-08-2012, 06:08 PM
What is more likely is he moved to a new league, there wasn't much of a book on him and once there was plus the fact that control is the last thing you get back after TJ, he was less effective.


So by this logic, Liriano's outlier season could have been contributed to not having a book on him.

TRF
02-08-2012, 06:13 PM
So by this logic, Liriano's outlier season could have been contributed to not having a book on him.

Except when healthy he's followed it up with 2, albeit sopradic and somewhat shortened in one case, seasons where he was very, good. like 2010.

I think by then they had a pretty good book on Liriano. And he was pretty good in 2010.

Dude can't stay healthy. It's a shame, because I'd pay to watch him pitch.

MikeThierry
02-08-2012, 06:32 PM
Except when healthy he's followed it up with 2, albeit sopradic and somewhat shortened in one case, seasons where he was very, good. like 2010.

I think by then they had a pretty good book on Liriano. And he was pretty good in 2010.

Dude can't stay healthy. It's a shame, because I'd pay to watch him pitch.

I would rather pay to watch a good pitcher pitch but that's only my opinion.

TRF
02-08-2012, 06:55 PM
You really think that when Liriano is healthy that he isn't good? really?

wow.

MikeThierry
02-08-2012, 07:17 PM
You really think that when Liriano is healthy that he isn't good? really?

wow.

No. At best he is a #2 starter on most teams. I would much rather spend the money to see Wainwright, Lincecum, King Felix, or Halladay pitch.

LegallyMinded
02-08-2012, 08:21 PM
No. At best he is a #2 starter on most teams. I would much rather spend the money to see Wainwright, Lincecum, King Felix, or Halladay pitch.


I think you're exaggerating a bit in calling him a #2 at best. According to WAR, Liriano's 2010 was the 14th best season by any starter over the last 2 years. For context, that ranks ahead of Lincecum's 2010 and King Felix's 2011. Also, if you want to look at other measures, Liriano's 2010 ranks 6th in both FIP and xFIP among all starting pitcher performances over the last 2 years. That's better than Wainwright in 2010, better than King Felix in 2010 or 2011, etc., etc. Basically, when healthy, Liriano is one of the best in the game.

MikeThierry
02-09-2012, 12:04 PM
I think you're exaggerating a bit in calling him a #2 at best. According to WAR, Liriano's 2010 was the 14th best season by any starter over the last 2 years. For context, that ranks ahead of Lincecum's 2010 and King Felix's 2011. Also, if you want to look at other measures, Liriano's 2010 ranks 6th in both FIP and xFIP among all starting pitcher performances over the last 2 years. That's better than Wainwright in 2010, better than King Felix in 2010 or 2011, etc., etc. Basically, when healthy, Liriano is one of the best in the game.

Another example of why WAR and FIP are a flawed tool to use as the end all when discussing a pitcher's worth. Not saying there isn't any worth in using those numbers but you can't honestly say you would take him over Lincecum or Wainwright or even King Felix (when those pitchers are healthy of course). There becomes a point when the numbers take away from all sanity and it becomes paralysis by analysis. FIP might tell you who the better strikeout pitcher but it doesn't tell you the whole story. Regardless of what Liriano's FIP is, I'm still taking those three other pitchers over him, again when healthy.

RedsManRick
02-09-2012, 01:46 PM
By the way, Roy Halladay has never had a SO/9 over 10 in any given year in his career. To judge a pitcher on his ability to strike out players doesn't tell the whole story and isn't the end all. It also tells you that it is very difficult to get to that level and is frankly unsustainable. Nolan Ryan, for example, only had like 3 or 4 seasons of his long career where he had over 10 SO/9.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think anybody would advocate looking at just strikeout rates, (or just FIP). No stat is complete or flawless. Nobody is suggesting strikeouts are the be-all, end-all. Rather, they are suggesting that if you have it in your mind to look at just 1 number, those stats tell more of the story than some of the others that have been discussed, such as batting average against.

If we're trying to find a simple, straightforward, reliable e assessment of how talented a pitcher is -- how effective we should expect him to be moving forward -- we only need a few pieces of data to get most of the picture and strikeout rate is one of them. Add walks to the picture and you're most of the way there.

Yes, Roy Halladay is one of the best pitchers in baseball and yet has a middling strikeout rate. However, he's one of the best control pitchers of this generation. He's comparable to Greg Maddux. Show me a pitcher with a great K:BB and I'll show you a great pitcher. And the higher the K number, the better, because more K's generally means fewer balls in play.

The problem with hit rates is that they are so full of other information that is not a function of the pitcher's skill that it doesn't tell us very much -- especially over the course of a single season. A pitcher's K and BB rates over the course of the season are a pretty accurate measure of his true ability.

Once a ball is put in to play, team defense has more of an influence over the likelihood of the ball being turned in to an out than the pitcher himself does. A pitcher who allows 100 balls in play over 100 innings isn't really any more likely to have a lower BABIP than a pitcher one who allows 200 balls in play in those 100 innings. Both are likely to be in the .300 ballpark. To the extent that the two guys differ in a given year, the majority of that variance isn't due to something the pitcher himself did. So the best way for a pitcher to affect his batting average against is to allow fewer balls in play -- and that means striking people out. (yes, batted ball types do matter -- but in general, more fly balls equals more outs but more extra base hits -- in terms of the impact of batted ball profile on ERA, it tends to average out unless the pitcher is in an extreme environment. The number of balls put in to play in the first place is a much bigger deal)

If we look at a guy's ERA or batting average against, it certainly tells us something about his ability as a pitcher. But for batting average the primary thing it's telling us is how skilled the guy is at striking people out, not inducing weak contact. So the more direct way to evaluate the pitcher is to just start with the strikeout rate and avoid the noise introduced by looking at hits.

Just to make it clear -- NOBODY thinks strikeouts or FIP tell the "whole story" or that they don't have flaws. Rather, it's a question of process and priority. It's not about omitting legitimate information; sabermetrics is about always looking to get the best possible, fact-based understanding and willing to incorporate new information. It's about starting with the information that tells us the most in the most reliable way and adding on from there. If we're going to choose to focus on just one number, FIP (or xFIP, SIERRA, etc.) are a better choice because they tell us more of the story of the guy's ability than batting average against (or even ERA) does. It's not about which numbers to look at and which to ignore. It's about how much weight to give them and which ones to focus on if we have limited time/energy/space.

bucksfan2
02-09-2012, 03:22 PM
Once a ball is put in to play, team defense has more of an influence over the likelihood of the ball being turned in to an out than the pitcher himself does. A pitcher who allows 100 balls in play over 100 innings isn't really any more likely to have a lower BABIP than a pitcher one who allows 200 balls in play in those 100 innings. Both are likely to be in the .300 ballpark. To the extent that the two guys differ in a given year, the majority of that variance isn't due to something the pitcher himself did. So the best way for a pitcher to affect his batting average against is to allow fewer balls in play -- and that means striking people out. (yes, batted ball types do matter -- but in general, more fly balls equals more outs but more extra base hits -- in terms of the impact of batted ball profile on ERA, it tends to average out unless the pitcher is in an extreme environment. The number of balls put in to play in the first place is a much bigger deal)

I would say that a pitcher has a little more control over a batted ball being turned into an out than you give him credit for. We hear all the time that a pitcher throws a heavy ball or their ball has late movement causing the hitter to be jammed. The best way to get a hit is to square up the ball and hit it hard. It gives the fielder less time to react and less ground they are able to cover.

There is always luck involved but when a pitcher is constantly keeping a hitter off balance and not allowing them to make solid contact he is giving his fielders a better chance to make an out.

MikeThierry
02-09-2012, 07:10 PM
I would say that a pitcher has a little more control over a batted ball being turned into an out than you give him credit for. We hear all the time that a pitcher throws a heavy ball or their ball has late movement causing the hitter to be jammed. The best way to get a hit is to square up the ball and hit it hard. It gives the fielder less time to react and less ground they are able to cover.

There is always luck involved but when a pitcher is constantly keeping a hitter off balance and not allowing them to make solid contact he is giving his fielders a better chance to make an out.

You and RedsManRick make excellent points. I agree with you bucksfan that a pitcher has more control over ground balls than we give them credit for. Adam Wainwright, for example, has an uncanny ability to induce a ton of ground balls when guys are on base. Going by the philosophy of Dave Duncan, he does it because it's better to get a double play in that situation than it is just to strike out a ton of guys.

In this sense, I think strikeouts are slightly overrated. Strikeouts are important but sometimes they aren't logical. It makes no sense to try to strike out a lot of hitters if a pitchers pitch count is up (probably due to trying to strike out a ton of batters). It makes no sense for pitchers to try to strike out someone when a guy is on base. Why throw 5-9 pitches at a batter when simply one pitch will get two guys out? What I look for in a pitcher is efficiency more than strikeouts.

Lets go with the Liriano/Waino comparison. I was looking at both of their game logs in 2010. Liriano had 16 games where he pitched 7 innings or more while Waino had 21 games where he pitched 7 innings more. Even more interesting is what both pitchers did in 8 innings or more. Liriano only had 3 starts where he went 8 innings or more compared to Waino who had 12 games started where he went 8 innings or more. Looking at those numbers, Waino is the more efficient pitcher. This is huge because it saves the bullpen in the given series. In my opinion, it is better to have a pitcher that can give your team 7-8 quality innings than a guy that strikes out 10 batters but only gives your team 6 innings. The guy that gives you more innings obviously would be more valuable to ones team because of the impact it has on the rest of the bullpen and rotation. To me, it's alarming that Liriano hasn't given his teams over 200 innings in a single season, even when healthy. From that standpoint, Waino is just a more complete pitcher.

Reds, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to say that FIP or WAR are worthless. I like to use those numbers at times. I like to use WAR, for example, in a rough estimate of what a given player will bring to a team when replacing another player (IE what Beltran will bring the Cards in place of Pujols). However I think using these numbers to determine a players worth is missing the mark a bit. I just don't think a guy with a 5 WAR is automatically going to be a better player than a guy with a 4.5 WAR. The same is true with FIP, in my opinion.

dougdirt
02-09-2012, 07:58 PM
You and RedsManRick make excellent points. I agree with you bucksfan that a pitcher has more control over ground balls than we give them credit for. Adam Wainwright, for example, has an uncanny ability to induce a ton of ground balls when guys are on base. Going by the philosophy of Dave Duncan, he does it because it's better to get a double play in that situation than it is just to strike out a ton of guys.
Except that it isn't for sure that you are going to get a double play. You might give up a hit. You get the strikeout and you are for sure getting an out. Sure, if we could just get the double play, it would be nice, but that isn't likely. Let's assume for a minute that a guy gets a 50/50 split on his groundball/every other ball rates. That means that 50% of the time, he isn't getting a ground ball. Groundballs also go for his about 27% of the time. So now we are looking at about 3-1 odds that a groundball DOESN'T get you a double play.



In this sense, I think strikeouts are slightly overrated. Strikeouts are important but sometimes they aren't logical. It makes no sense to try to strike out a lot of hitters if a pitchers pitch count is up (probably due to trying to strike out a ton of batters). It makes no sense for pitchers to try to strike out someone when a guy is on base. Why throw 5-9 pitches at a batter when simply one pitch will get two guys out? What I look for in a pitcher is efficiency more than strikeouts.

Because as I noted above, 75% of the time, you aren't going to be getting two outs and over 30% of the time you are going to allow a hit. 0% of the time do you allow a hit and 99.99% of the time you record an out with a strikeout.

RedsManRick
02-10-2012, 01:12 AM
Adam Wainwright has a career BABIP of .288 and allows line drives 18% of the time. Homer Bailey has a career BABIP of .308 and allows line drives 22% of the time. If the difference between a guy who is the example of being really good and the example of the guy who is supposed to be poor is that small, then it's probably not a big source of influence. By contrast, a good strikeout artist can strikeout twice as many as a poor one and with walks it could be three times as few. There's simply a lot more difference between pitchers' ability to strikeout and walk guys than there is in their ability to affect batted balls. Again, it's not that pitchers don't have influence over BABIP. It's that they have, proportionately, more control over strikeout rates. (And that a lot of the variation we observe in BABIP is a function of team defense or random variation, whereas strikeouts and walks are not subject to nearly as much randomness or outside influence)

Why strike a guy out when a guy is on base? Because if that ball squirts past the infielder instead right at him, now you have first and third.

I'm not just making this stuff up, guys. It's in the data. You guys make good points about things we should consider before arriving at any conclusion. The thing is, those things have been considered. They're part of the analysis. But at the end of the day, the analysis shows that a pitcher's ability to affect the likelihood of a batted ball to become an out simply isn't a big part of his ability to prevent runs relative to his strikeouts, walks and homers.

It's not all that complicated. A strikeout is an out 100% of the time (fine, 99.9% of the time if you count dropped third strikes where the guy reaches safely). A batted ball has a fairly reasonable chance of doing damage. Or to think of it differently, if it were that easy and valuable to get the double play, you'd see the best pitchers doing it all the time. But they don't. And that's because a strikeout is better than a ground ball -- if you don't know whether that ground ball is going to be a hit or a double play. And while a guy like Wainwright is quite adept at getting grounders (50% of his batted balls), he can't control whether or not a given ground ball finds a glove or a hole. If he could, he wouldn't have a .288 career BABIP.

If you're so inclined, I highly recommend just googling Linear Weights or poking around on FanGraphs or TangoTiger's 'The Book' blog. This stuff is pretty well-trodden ground.

bucksfan2
02-10-2012, 10:21 AM
@RMR

I am not saying that strikeouts are bad and I wasn't exactly talking about Wainwright. I do however disagree with the notion that a batted ball has a fairly reasonable chancing of doing damage. Sure you have your flares and nubbers and all kinds of other luck hits. But I do think when you take all your data it ignores the individual pitchers and situations. How many times are we watching a game when the announcer (yes the dreaded announcer) says "pitcher X is going to throw it in a certain place so the hitter rolls over on the ball." If your going to actually look at the at bat he would have a better opportunity of getting the desired effect early in the count or in a pitchers count.

There are some pitchers who are fantastic at throwing a "heavy ball" or generating late movement that makes it difficult to square up the pitch. Is a 3 pitch strikeout a better outcome than a game shot dribbler to the second baseman on the first pitch?

I also take a little issue with the GB, LD, FB ratios. It would be very difficult but I wish there was a way to put velocity on the batted ball. If you square up a ball and hit it hard its going to do damage, whether its a GB, LF, or FB. Hard hit fly balls often end up as home runs so that could be taken out of the mix. Im not exactly worried about trajectory as much as I am velocity.