Game 131, White Sox at Mariners
Pineda vs. Danks, 7:10pm.
OK, it’s time for everyone’s favorite internet time-waster, player A and player B!
Pitcher A, a lefty, has a FB in the 90-93 range, along with a cutter, a change and a curve.
In high A ball, he had a walk rate of 6.8% and a K rate of 22.6%.
In AA, he had a walk rate of 7.6% and a K rate of 22.6%.
In a half-season of AAA, he had a walk rate of 10.9% and a K rate of 23.2%, and in his first taste of the major leagues, he had a walk rate of 8.7% and a K rate of 17.5% on his way to a FIP of 5.5, which was 20% worse than the league average at the time.
Pitcher B is also a lefty, and has a FB in the 90-93 range, with a slider, a curve and the occasional change-up.
In high A ball, he had a walk rate of 5.5% and a K rate of 25.3%
In AAA (he only had a cup of coffee in AA), he had a walk rate of 7.5% and a K rate of 23.1%, and in HIS first action in the AL, he’s got a walk rate of 9.6% and a K rate of 16.3% with a FIP of 5.1, or 30% worse than league average.
On the whole, pitcher A had a better entry into the majors, but had a worse MiLB performance record. Pitcher A is older, lost time due to injury, and has suffered through a homer problem in his first go-round in the majors.
Pitcher A is tonight’s starter for the White Sox, John Danks, who came up in the Rangers system before moving to the White Sox (in exchange for current A’s pitcher and twitter genius Brandon McCarthy). Pitcher B is last night’s M’s starter Charlie Furbush. Yes, you can object on several dozen legitimate grounds here- Furbush was much older (as a college guy) as opposed to Danks. Danks certainly had better mechanics, and avoided injury while Furbush had Tommy John surgery, sat out a while, then re-entered in high-A. Is this perfect? No, it’s not.
But I think it’s funny that Danks is now Mr. Consistency, with an ERA between 3-4 every year since 2008, whereas Furbush is one of the more inconsistent pitchers in the league over the past few months. Sure, some of that is Furbush’s delivery and his fly-ball nature – walks and HRs are going to make a guy look inconsistent. But I still think Danks gives a glimpse to what the M’s hope Furbush COULD be someday. Danks isn’t an ace by any stretch, but he’s a solid, durable, above-average starter. If Furbush becomes a poor man’s Danks, I think we’d all take that in a heartbeat.
Michael Pineda’s far, far better than either guy, but he’s slowing down a bit as the year goes on – his HR rate’s up and his K rate’s down slightly. Still, one of the big worries about Pineda was his platoon splits – given that he’s a FB/Slider guy almost exclusively, many worried that he’d be death on a stick to righties but get hit hard by lefties. His first start against Texas seemed to confirm that. But as we near September, his FIPs against lefties/righties, are virtually identical: 3.53 and 3.50. He’s struck out fewer lefties, but he’s walked fewer too. The HR rate is slightly better against lefties, but not significantly. I’d still like to see him work on the change, but it’s nice to see that his repertoire hasn’t led to terrible performance against lefties. Stamina’s still a work in progress, but you can’t ask for too much more than what Pineda’s given us this year.