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Thread: What CincinnATI Needs to Compete: Starting Pitching

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    What CincinnATI Needs to Compete: Starting Pitching

    Similar to the thread abou OPS+, I wanted to look at the starting rotation of the past 10 World Series winners by ERA+ and see if there were any commonalities and how the 09 Red staff stacks up.

    Past 10 World Series winner starting rotations, by ERA+ (ranked by IP/ team, min. 10 GS):

    08 Phillies
    SP *Cole Hamels 142
    SP *Jamie Moyer 118
    SP Kyle Kendrick 80
    SP Brett Myers 96
    SP Adam Eaton 75
    SP Joe Blanton 104

    07 Red Sox
    SP Daisuke Matsuzaka 108
    SP Tim Wakefield 100
    SP Josh Beckett 145
    SP Curt Schilling 122
    SP Julian Tavarez 92
    SP *Jon Lester 104

    06 Cardinals
    SP Jason Marquis 74
    SP Chris Carpenter 144
    SP Jeff Suppan 108
    SP *Mark Mulder ]62
    SP Anthony Reyes 88
    SP Jeff Weaver 86
    SP Sidney Ponson 85

    05 White Sox
    SP *Mark Buehrle 144
    SP Freddy Garcia 116
    SP Jose Contreras 125
    SP Jon Garland 128
    SP Orlando Hernandez 88
    SP Brandon McCarthy 111

    04 Red Sox
    SP Derek Lowe 90
    SP Pedro Martinez 125
    SP Curt Schilling 150
    SP Tim Wakefield 100
    SP Bronson Arroyo 121

    03 Marlins
    SP Carl Pavano 98
    SP Brad Penny 102
    SP *Mark Redman 117
    SP *Dontrelle Willis 127
    SP Josh Beckett 138

    02 Angels
    SP Kevin Appier 113
    SP Ramon Ortiz 117
    SP *Jarrod Washburn 141
    SP Aaron Sele 90
    SP John Lackey 121

    01 Diamondbacks
    SP Curt Schilling 157
    SP *Randy Johnson 188
    SP *Brian Anderson 90
    SP Robert Ellis 81
    SP Albie Lopez 117

    00 Yankees
    SP Roger Clemens 130
    SP *Andy Pettitte 111
    SP David Cone 70
    SP Orlando Hernandez 107
    SP *Denny Neagle 83

    99 Yankees
    SP Orlando Hernandez 115
    SP David Cone 137
    SP *Andy Pettitte 101
    SP Roger Clemens 103
    SP Hideki Irabu 98

    Some observations:
    Kicking Ace
    No team of the past decade has won the World Series without a starter posting a 130 ERA+. In fact, aces seem to be the one absolute throughout baseball history, from Cy Young to Cole Hamels. Good teams require aces.

    Take the helm, Number Two
    Almost all WS winners (two exceptions) have a solid #2 starter, posting at least a 115 ERA+. That tells me you need at least two possible All Star level starters in order to be ultimately successful.

    Depth Charge
    On average, a team needs at least one other pitchers tossing above league average innings. Often, these innings come from either an unexpected source late in the year. This source may be a fifth starter candidate or perhaps a late-season trade target. Seven of 10 teams won the World Series with a boost from an unsung helper.

    Don't Suck
    Most World Champs not only have a few very successful pitchers, they avoid really bad ones. The worst starter ERA+ posted over the past decade was a 70. Only five starters were below 85.

    Cincinnati's 08 ERA+:
    SP Bronson Arroyo 95
    SP Edinson Volquez 140
    SP Johnny Cueto 94
    SP Aaron Harang 94
    SP Josh Fogg 59

    Comments: You've got some work to do, Scooby Doo. But, at second glance, maybe not that much.

    The ace is taken care of, assuming Volquez progresses and doesn't take a step backward.

    History suggests both Harang and Arroyo are capable of being #2 starters, ERA+ing 125 or better. (Both enjoyed two seasons of 120+ ERA+, with Arroyo at a career ERA+ of 108, while Harang's is 105.)

    Cueto is close to league average now, 22, and has some serious talent. Most prognosticators and Redszone pundits peg him as likely to be at least league average with a good chance to break out and be really good at some point soon.

    The fifth starter spot in 08 was truly horrific. (Question for someone smarter than I: if you replace the Reds' three most garing weaknesses from 08-- Bako, Patterson, and the fifth starter spot-- with league average numbers, what would the pythag of the team have been? Would they have been at .500? Seems possible to me, as all three were dead-cat-on-the-road ugly last season.) A key to the 2009 season may very well be Micah Owings. In 2007, he posted an ERA+ of 109. Last season, he was hurt and ineffective, but there's hope for a pretty sizeable rebound here.

    In fact, there's some real hope that all five starters could post ERA+ numbers well over 100, making this the best Red starting staff since... Well, the best Cincinnati starting staff since RFS was in short pants anyway.

    As always, comments are appreciated. What say you, Redszone? Does this starting staff have the right stuff?
    "You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: What CincinnATI Needs to Compete: Starting Pitching

    Good enough to win. Probably not good enough to be the main reason.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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    Re: What CincinnATI Needs to Compete: Starting Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    Good enough to win. Probably not good enough to be the main reason.
    Decent enough to support a really good offense. But the 2009 offense, as it currently projects, isn't anything resembling that.

    At this point, the Reds look to have a decent rotation and a volatile bullpen supporting a substandard offense coupled with a mediocre or worse defense.

    Good luck getting that team to anything resembling truly competitive.
    "The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer

    "The single most important thing for a hitter is to get a good pitch to hit. A good hitter can hit a pitch that’s over the plate three times better than a great hitter with a ball in a tough spot.”
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    Re: What CincinnATI Needs to Compete: Starting Pitching

    Ramon A. Ramirez had a ERA+ of 169 in his 5 Red starts last year. I expect that to come down quite a bit, but I expect him to have an ERA+ of at least 100 if he is the fifth starter.

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: What CincinnATI Needs to Compete: Starting Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by SteelSD View Post
    Decent enough to support a really good offense. But the 2009 offense, as it currently projects, isn't anything resembling that.

    At this point, the Reds look to have a decent rotation and a volatile bullpen supporting a substandard offense coupled with a mediocre or worse defense.

    Good luck getting that team to anything resembling truly competitive.
    Agreed. In past years the pitching was not good enough no matter what else happened. This year, if the offense is good, the pitching gives them a chance. The pitching is not good enough to overcome other shortcomings IMO.

    Of course we know that the offense and defense are about 2 to 3 players short of acceptability. The team needs at least one big corner bat and one superior IF glove (who contributes on offense) to play SS to give it a sniff at contention. If that would push Dickerson to CF and Willy T to the Mexican League, this team would have a chance. If it pushes Dickerson to the bench and Willy leads off, it may still not be enough.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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    Member GADawg's Avatar
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    Re: What CincinnATI Needs to Compete: Starting Pitching

    I've been saying this all along...go get Lowe(too late) or Sheets(and pray)and pitch 'em to death. The freakin' braves did it.

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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: What CincinnATI Needs to Compete: Starting Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by SteelSD View Post
    Decent enough to support a really good offense. But the 2009 offense, as it currently projects, isn't anything resembling that.

    At this point, the Reds look to have a decent rotation and a volatile bullpen supporting a substandard offense coupled with a mediocre or worse defense.

    Good luck getting that team to anything resembling truly competitive.

    Short, sweet, and accurate analysis.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

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    Re: What CincinnATI Needs to Compete: Starting Pitching

    I would argue that if you stick a decent defense behind the pitching staff as currently constructed, you should reasonably be able to expect a WS caliber rotation by these metrics. Our defense has been absolutely putrid the last couple of years so the OPS+, which I assume doesnt adjust for defense, that we have already put up is pretty amazing.

    With Griffey and Dunn gone and Taveras and Dickerson replacing them for now, our OF defense is dramatically improved. SS is improved with AGon over Kepp, but that is going from really awful to pretty darn bad, so we really need to get Janish time or bring in a SS. I think we have upgraded our catcher defense and I can live with Phillips, Votto and even EE, counting on Votto and EE to continue to improve with experience.

    I truly believe that a ++ defender at SS with a league average stick is far and away this team's biggest need and would set us up nicely for 2010 if it was a young kid providing that.

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    Re: What CincinnATI Needs to Compete: Starting Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by buckeyenut View Post
    I would argue that if you stick a decent defense behind the pitching staff as currently constructed, you should reasonably be able to expect a WS caliber rotation by these metrics. Our defense has been absolutely putrid the last couple of years so the OPS+, which I assume doesnt adjust for defense, that we have already put up is pretty amazing.

    With Griffey and Dunn gone and Taveras and Dickerson replacing them for now, our OF defense is dramatically improved. SS is improved with AGon over Kepp, but that is going from really awful to pretty darn bad, so we really need to get Janish time or bring in a SS. I think we have upgraded our catcher defense and I can live with Phillips, Votto and even EE, counting on Votto and EE to continue to improve with experience.

    I truly believe that a ++ defender at SS with a league average stick is far and away this team's biggest need and would set us up nicely for 2010 if it was a young kid providing that.

    you can "live" with Phillips?...or did you mean Phillips, Votto, and E.E. as a group?

    As for Janish I'll admit he's the best defensive option currently but considering the suspect and inconsistent offense could they really afford that anemic stick?(realizing this has been beaten to death)At what point does his lack of pop cancel out his glove? At what point does a healthy combo of Kepp/Hairston cancel out their offensive production with their "legendary" defensive liabilities?

    In my perfect little world "we'd" go get O. Hudson and move BP to short and live happily ever after....candies and nuts for us all!

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    Re: What CincinnATI Needs to Compete: Starting Pitching

    The Reds pitching is as mediocre as its offense and probably its defense. Though I think the offense and defense are much more likely to surprise than the pitching.

    If Arroyo and Harang can avoid sucking (be league average) and Cueto can step to the fore, things might change, but that's just too much uncertainty, and zero depth.
    Last edited by Falls City Beer; 01-17-2009 at 09:39 AM.

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    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
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    Re: What CincinnATI Needs to Compete: Starting Pitching

    It's hard to believe the 2006 Cardinals and 2008 Phillies were able to win a World Series with those awful rotations. Two starters and then pray for rain.
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Re: What CincinnATI Needs to Compete: Starting Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    It's hard to believe the 2006 Cardinals and 2008 Phillies were able to win a World Series with those awful rotations. Two starters and then pray for rain.
    It's all about run differential; balance is a myth IMO...
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

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    Re: What CincinnATI Needs to Compete: Starting Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by *BaseClogger* View Post
    It's all about run differential; balance is a myth IMO...
    The Phillies finished with a strong +119 run differential but the 2006 Cardinals finished at just +19. They were helped out by a very weak NL Central and then they caught a break in the playoffs when Pedro Martinez got injured and was unable to pitch.
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Re: What CincinnATI Needs to Compete: Starting Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    The Phillies finished with a strong +119 run differential but the 2006 Cardinals finished at just +19. They were helped out by a very weak NL Central and then they caught a break in the playoffs when Pedro Martinez got injured and was unable to pitch.
    Yeah, they were not one of the stronger teams that season but benefited from the current playoff system...
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

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    Re: What CincinnATI Needs to Compete: Starting Pitching

    I honestly don't understand the pessimism for this year's club.... most certainly its pitching, which has to be considered a team strength.

    Dude listed the stats the 08 stats...

    Cincinnati's 08 ERA+:
    SP Bronson Arroyo 95
    SP Edinson Volquez 140
    SP Johnny Cueto 94
    SP Aaron Harang 94
    SP Josh Fogg 59

    Arroyo stunk like old fish for half the season. Harang wasn't close to himself (and the numbers bear that out). Cueto has the makings of something special, and age will get him there. Edinson is the only one from whom I expect a regression, but I think it will be slight. The closest Josh Fogg will come to Great American Ballpark in 2009 will be the Let It Ride table at the Argosy. And for once, there are viable, young and up-and-coming starters ready in Louisville for in-season depth. What's not to like?

    Seriously... what fuels all the Debbie Downer talk around here?
    I have a love-hate relationship with Albert Pujols. Mostly hate.


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