This year’s Washburns

DMZ · November 18, 2008 at 8:01 am · Filed Under Mariners 

I was looking through this year’s crop of free agent starters for bargains, and I thought I’d share.

An average pitcher strands about 70% of the runners they allow — they don’t score. If a pitcher gets lucky, they can get a low and deceptive ERA and a huge free agent contract. Like Jarrod.

So here’s the top five:
CC Sabathia, 77.7%
Ryan Dempster, 76.7%
Jamie Moyer, 76.6%
Ben Sheets, 75.5%
Paul Byrd, 73.9%

If you see any of those guys get a huge contract in part because of their ability to pitch out of jams, may it not be your team doing the signing.

Conversely, if you look in the other direction, you might find someone who had terrible luck in their free agent audition and may find fewer teams sniffing around.

The worst five:
Kenny Rogers, 66.6%
Sidney Ponson, 66.2% (do not want)
Livan Hernandez, 64.8%
Mark Hendrickson, 64.3%
Greg Maddux, 64.1%

I’d love to see Maddux in Safeco, seriously — he’s ridiculously smart, he’d be able to pitch to the park, right? And he’s Greg Maddux. It’d be great.

Or for a different way to look at this, here’s the players with the biggest gaps between their ERAs, which appear on their baseball cards, and their FIP (which stands for something) as a rough cut:

Who, ERA to FIP
Livan Hernandez, 6.05 to 4.94
Andy Pettitte, 4.54 to 3.71 (and in Safeco Field…)(and who remembers his drug use anyway?)
Mark Hendrickson, 5.45 to 4.76
AJ Burnett, 4.07 to 3.45
Kenny Rogers, 5.70 to 5.22 (still not particularly good)

(best? Jamie Moyer)


12 Responses to “This year’s Washburns”

  1. Dave on November 18th, 2008 8:08 am

    Runner stranding isn’t entirely luck – good pitchers strand more runners than bad pitchers. We can’t look at Sabathia’s LOB% and call it luck, for instance, because he pitched at a level that would have predicted that kind of LOB% – a guy who strikes out a lot of batters and doesn’t give up home runs is going to leave a good chunk of his runners on base.

    The same goes for Dempster and Sheets, but to lesser extents. Byrd is an example of a guy who got lucky, but not to the same level that Washburn did.

  2. coasty141 on November 18th, 2008 8:10 am

    What about Boof Bonser?

    And yes I’d love to see Maddux pitching at Safeco. But I don’t know that it would be good for our club house chemistry. But I do think you could measure the chemistry level before and after Greg uninates on someone in the shower. Jk of course.

  3. DaveValleDrinkNight on November 18th, 2008 8:53 am

    PH level?
    Now there’s a stat we should look at!

    Maddux was talking retirement last week. It’s nice to dream but there’s no way he’s playing for a non-contender in his last year or two. Same thing with RJ.

  4. joser on November 18th, 2008 9:19 am

    I’d love to see Maddux too. He could step into the (long dormant) Gaylord Perry Teal Shoes of Near-Retirement as he makes one last stop before the HoF. But yeah, I don’t see it happening either.

    Hendrickson is kind of interesting as a below-the-radar pick for a back-of-the-rotation starter with some upside. I’m not wild on bringing over pitchers from the NL, but Hendrickson spent most of his career in the AL. And hey, he’s local — he even went to WSU.

    But do the M’s even need to be looking at starters at this point? I mean, pick up value when you see it, sure, and I guess it gives you the flexibility to flip Washburn or somebody at the trade deadline when your (hopefully) improved defense makes them look better, but this team has much bigger problems to solve (and I’m not making a Silva fat joke. Wait, I guess I just did.)

  5. Mike Snow on November 18th, 2008 9:33 am

    Why should we wait to flip Washburn until the trade deadline?

  6. galaxieboi on November 18th, 2008 9:56 am

    Dave is of course correct that we probably can’t credit Sabathia’s success this season to his extra high LOB%. However, I think for this purpose LOB works well for seperating a lower tier of pitchers. Not super stars and probably not that 2nd tier, but the lower level guys. That’s where the bargains will be. Like Byrd and Hendrickson, for instance.

  7. NBarnes on November 18th, 2008 10:12 am

    <3 Maddux.

  8. AssumedName on November 18th, 2008 10:37 am

    I’ve read that Maddux has no intention of willingly pitching to the DH ever. Bummer though, cuz it’d be awesome to see him on the mound instead of Carlos/Jarrod.

  9. joser on November 18th, 2008 11:14 am

    Why should we wait to flip Washburn until the trade deadline?

    Sorry, I was thinking (but didn’t write) “flip Washburn (now) or somebody (else) at the trade deadline”

  10. Steve T on November 18th, 2008 11:39 am

    How much does Moyer’s great pickoff move affect his abnormally low FIP to ERA ratio?

  11. galaxieboi on November 18th, 2008 12:50 pm

    I suppose if it’s affecting is LOB%. If runners take a shorter lead @ 1st, there’s less of a chance of them scoring on a hit (well, some runners). Now, it may be only a small number every year, but those extra few add up to a couple extra percentage points on LOB. Just a theory.

  12. galaxieboi on November 18th, 2008 1:06 pm

    This year’s Washburns

    Oh, and this may be the meanest thing anyone has ever called these pitchers. Kinda jerky, Derek.

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