A Comparison Sure To Make You Shudder

Dave · April 20, 2010 at 11:27 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Hat tip to Mike Salk for getting me thinking about comparable pitchers for Doug Fister. We bounced a few names back and forth, including Jon Garland and Chris Young, as tall right-handers with sub-par fastballs who have made it work in the big leagues. Garland’s more of a comp for Fister than Young is, since Young pitches up in the zone and gets strikeouts and flyballs, while Garland is more of the slight groundball guy that Fister is.

However, there’s one other very comparable pitcher to Fister, and you won’t like this one. In fact, let’s just throw out the numbers without the name first.

Comparable Pitcher, April, 2008: 89.3 MPH FB, 1.93 BB/9, 3.86 K/9, 45.6% GB%, .269 BABIP, 81.2% LOB%, 6% HR/FB, 2.79 ERA, 4.69 xFIP

Doug Fister, April 2010: 88.9 MPH FB, 1.89 BB/9, 4.26 K/9, 47.5% GB%, .212 BABIP, 82.4% LOB%, 0% HR/FB, 1.42 ERA, 4.42 xFIP

Pretty much the same profile – no walks, lots of contact, some groundballs but not a ton, good luck on balls in play allows a lot of stranded runners, creating an unsustainably low ERA.

Comparable Pitcher? You probably guessed by now, but it’s Carlos Silva. I don’t really need to tell you how things went for him after his first month as a Mariner.

This isn’t to say that Fister is going to implode, become the worst pitcher in the game, start fights with his teammates, and eat a disgusting amount of food. But, it should hopefully serve as a reminder that any pitcher can look good by throwing strikes and letting hitters get themselves out for short stretches of time. It doesn’t generally work very well in the long run, though. With no out pitch, good hitters will make Fister pay for being around the strike zone so much. The last two starts were really nice to watch, but don’t get used to it – he’s still the same guy he always was.


52 Responses to “A Comparison Sure To Make You Shudder”

  1. Jon S. on April 21st, 2010 5:30 pm

    In any case, expecting improvement is a little silly. Hoping for improvement is different, like you said. With Fister, we have more reason to hope than in most cases. He’s fantastically tall, and has empty space between his skin and uniform where at least 30 pounds of solid muscle should be. He’s almost underweight for a human male, and athletes tend to be classified as overweight by BMI. If he can fill out and add strength (with which to power that ridiculous trebuchet of an arm through his pitching motion), he adds velocity to his pitches. If he can add 5 mph on all his pitches, he becomes a completely different animal. His fastball would hover around 93-94 and his breaking stuff gets sharper due to the increased velocity and rotational speed. Coupled with his “deceptive delivery” and “good control” (scout’s opinions, not just mine), he becomes a very good ML starter.

    At least that’s my hope for Fister. I don’t think he can get by coaxing weak contact on a regular basis. We are better off sending him down (as opposed to Vargas) when Lee comes back and getting him started on some strength training.

  2. Dave on April 21st, 2010 6:28 pm

    If you can name one starting pitcher who added 5 MPH to his fastball after he made the majors, I’d love to hear it.

    Adding 1 or 2 MPH is rare, but happens occasionally, though I don’t recall it happening to any tall skinny guys (the tall = velocity myth is really weird, and totally unsupported by evidence). But yeah, if you want, you can hope that Fister starts throwing 93 to 94, as long as you realize the odds of it happening are about one in a bazillion.

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