Success of Sele
In his last 6 starts, Aaron Sele has compiled the following line:
40 1/3 innings pitched
2 home runs
And here’s his outcomes as a percentage of batters faced:
Walks – 6 percent
Strikeouts – 11 percent
Home Runs – 1 percent
Ball In Play – 82 percent
That’s the epitome of pitcher using his defense. The strikeout rate isn’t good, but the walk and home run rates are low enough that it allows you to be successful in stretches. It’s the Jamie Moyer plan, essentially. And it can work, especially when you’re pitching in front of a good defense and have half your games in Safeco Field.
If Aaron Sele keeps pitching like he is now, we would expect him to post an ERA in the 3.75-4.25 range in the rest of his starts (his DIPS ERA for his last 6 starts is 3.83). The 1.56 ERA is a mirage based on a low number of balls in play going for hits and a home run supression rate that isn’t sustainable, but much like early season Julio Mateo, just because his ERA doesn’t match how he’s pitching, that doesn’t mean that he’s pitching poorly.
If you want an interesting comparison, here’s a look at the percentage numbers for 2001 Aaron Sele:
Walks – 6 percent
Strikeouts – 12 percent
Home Runs – 3 percent
Balls In Play – 79 percent
Pretty darn similar to what we’ve seen the last 6 starts, and Sele posted a 3.60 ERA in 2001.
Much like Ryan Franklin in 2003 and Jamie Moyer the past few years, Sele is succeeding because he’s leveraging his teammates strengths as much as humanly possible. But in the context of the Mariners defense and Safeco Field, it’s a great idea for pitchers who simply can’t get hitters out on their own anymore. Whether he can continue to throw strikes at this prolific rate is up for debate, and I’d lean towards “probably not”. However, the lousy strikeout rate, in this instance, isn’t a death blow.
If he can keep this up for another month, I’ll gladly admit we were wrong, that Sele was a nifty little investment, and I’ll take joy in analyzing the decent little prospect we’ll be able to get for him at the deadline.