Originally Posted by RedsManRick
I guess I'm just frustrated with the all or nothing approaches many seem to take towards seasons like the one Coffey just experienced. Yes, he pitched poorly at times. But at the same time, if he pitches almost the exact same way next year, we could see his ERA drop in to the 4's easily. Is that ideal, or even acceptable? Perhaps not.
Clearly he needs to figure out that HR problem. But considering his HR rates from 2005 and 2006 and given the peripheral numbers suggesting he otherwise pitched decently in 2007, I don't think it's not fair to attribute the entirety of massive HR jump in 2007 to horrible pitching and lots of hanging curveballs -- particularly over a 50 IP sample size. I know that most people aren't quite that simplistic, but even if my specfic analysis makes a bad assumption or two as well, I'm just trying to nudge the overall method of retrospective analysis away from your basic ERA and WHIP-based rushes to judgment.
As for the "liners turned in to HR" thus explaining both the low LD% and high HR/FB, I would point out that LD rates tend not to be under the control of the pitcher. Thus, if this explanation is correct, we would expect the LD% to rise next year and see those liners-turned-FB-turned-HR to turn back in to line drives.
I'm not trying to make excuses for Todd or anything. I'm just trying to figure out the best way to figure out what actually happened in 2007 and then what's likely to happen in 2008.
Personally, I like Coffey (ducking my head to avoid the rotten vegetables being hurled my direction).
Last season Coffey killed the competition in Louisville but got beat up in the majors. He's got a plus fastball and based upon f/x data it averaged 94 mph last season with good movement so he apparently didn't lose his sink on it. Not surprisingly, Coffey threw it about 75% of the time (the change up being the bulk of the rest of his pitches). However, despite his velocity being great, f/x data suggests it was his fastball that got crushed by major league hitters last season. For example, his first pitch was a fastball 90% of the time but despite it being a plus fastball, hitters feasted (.500/.514/.667 OPS: 1.180) on Coffey's first pitch.
So if it's not velocity/movement, the answer would seem to be location. In AAA, a plus fastball and anything close to a major-league quality change (even an average one) could compensate for poor location (especially later in the season when the best hitters have been promoted to the bigs). In the majors, a 94 mph fastball poorly located ends up being omitted from BABIP data....
Like others have suggested, make a mistake and major league hitters feast.