Game 105, Blue Jays at Mariners

marc w · July 30, 2012 at 5:34 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Ricky Romero, 7:10pm.

A line in Matthew Carruth’s series preview caused me to open up a new tab and bring up Ricky Romero’s fangraphs page: “[Ricky Romero’s] pitched like a replacement-level player this year.” I guess I hadn’t had cause to take a good look at Romero’s 2012 numbers, but I’m actually shocked he’s only at 0.1 fWAR. In the past calendar year, Romero’s gone from an all-star game invitation* to an RA over 6. This isn’t about bad luck with home runs, either – his xFIP’s bad too.

In 2010, Romero used a great change-up to get hitters off balance (and in the ballpark) and work around his mediocre command. When hitters swung at a Romero change-up, they whiffed 35% of the time, and this fueled an above-average strike out rate. It all added up to a solid 3.64 FIP and 4 fWAR.** In 2012, Romero’s change is getting whiffs on only 35% of swings, while his whiff rate on his fastball has gone…up?

Romero’s problem isn’t that his stuff is any worse (his velocity’s the same as it was in 2010, too). His problem is all about what happens when batters *don’t* swing. His command’s slightly worse this year, meaning he’s throwing more balls and ending up in more 1-0 counts. In 2010, his ratio of 1-0 to 0-1 counts was 0.93:1 (obviously, PAs that end when the batter puts the first pitch in play aren’t included). This year, it’s 1.17:1. And batters that get to 1-0 are putting up a .947 OPS in their plate appearances. Look at his swinging strike rate or his whiff rate (whiffs per pitch) and it looks like he’s lost a lot of ground, but if you focus solely on whiffs per swing, you might guess that Romero’s pitching as well or better. This marks something like the fifth time the whole whiffs/pitch vs. whiffs/swing distinction’s come up in the past few weeks. They’re different! They tell you different things!

You know who else has been essentially replacement level this year? Hisashi Iwakuma. He’s been better in recent starts, so let’s hope he’s able to keep that going, especially given that he’s pitching in HR-suppressing Safeco Field.

Here’s the line-up that really should take some first pitches tonight:
1: Ackley
2: Saunders
3: Montero (C)
4: Jaso (DH)
5: Seager
6: Wells (LF)
7: Carp
8: Peguero (RF)
9: Ryan
SP: Iwakuma

* – I initially thought it was sort of odd that Romero’s gone from All-Star to replacement level in one calendar year, but have you *seen* the 2011 All-Star game rosters? Let’s just say Romero’s got company. The NL included Jair Jurrjens (-1.4 rWAR), Heath Bell (-0.8), Tim Lincecum (-2.0), Scott Rolen (-0.5) and Kevin Correia (Kevin Correia). The AL included Brandon League (-0.1), Jon Lester (-0.8), Jose Valverde (0), and Romero (-1.5 rWAR). I know every year’s going to have things like this, given the number of late-career ‘legacy’ picks and due to injury (though I’ve specifically excluded the guys who’ve been hurt like Ellsbury and Rivera); mostly, this was an excuse to remind you that Kevin Correia was in the All-Star game last year and may pitch in the postseason in 2012. Baseball!

** – Ah, a good old fashioned WAR fight, which simplifies to just “a WAR.” Both fWAR and rWAR agree that Ricky Romero had one league average season and one solid 4-WAR season in 2010-2011 – they just can’t agree which is which. FIP-based fWAR loved 2010’s lack of HRs and declares 2010 the good season, while RA-based rWAR’s quite impressed with the batting average-against in 2011. fWAR complains that said BAA is driven by an absurdly low BABIP, and rWAR tells fWAR to take its head out of a spreadsheet and watch what happens in real baseball games. fWAR complains that its head, and really every aspect of its incorporeal self, *IS* a spreadsheet, and that rWAR *IS* a spreadsheet too. rWAR replies that it’s not a spreadsheet, it’s a database, and the debate continues.


124 Responses to “Game 105, Blue Jays at Mariners”

  1. wilchiro on July 30th, 2012 9:54 pm

    Luetge in to secure the win.

  2. Rick L on July 30th, 2012 9:55 pm

    Ryan is just gold.

  3. Westside guy on July 30th, 2012 9:55 pm

    I can see why the Yankees were interested in Ryan.

    Glad we held onto him though.

  4. msfanmike on July 30th, 2012 9:55 pm

    Sweet play by Ryan. Super Sweet!

    Rule 5 rules.

  5. henryv on July 30th, 2012 9:57 pm

    Peguero’s wRC+ is now #182 out of 188 OF with at least 40 at bats.

  6. Rick L on July 30th, 2012 9:57 pm

    If they trade Wilhelmson, I won’t be happy.

  7. msfanmike on July 30th, 2012 9:59 pm

    Are there really 6 OF’s worse than Peguero, statistically? I assume they are all in AAA by now.

    Give Peguero another game or two and he will be #1 – or #188 if you prefer.

  8. henryv on July 30th, 2012 10:01 pm

    Hideki Matsui is one of them.

  9. wilchiro on July 30th, 2012 10:01 pm

    After tonight, Peguero now has a 52% K% for 2012 through 40 PA’s. Goodness he’s awful.

  10. henryv on July 30th, 2012 10:03 pm

    Chris Coghlan has a -4 wRC+. That is awesome.

  11. stevemotivateir on July 30th, 2012 10:06 pm

    The good news about Corn Dog’s line, is that it kind of forces Jack’s hand to make a move for another outfielder.

  12. Westside guy on July 30th, 2012 10:10 pm

    Whoa, we made a trade – Delabar and League.

    League to the Dodgers for prospects.

  13. Shrike on July 30th, 2012 10:11 pm

    Reports coming in that the M’s just traded for Eric Thames.

  14. Westside guy on July 30th, 2012 10:12 pm

    Delabar for Thames apparently.

  15. stevemotivateir on July 30th, 2012 10:15 pm

    Dodgers got League for Leon Landry and Logan Bawcom

  16. msfanmike on July 30th, 2012 10:16 pm

    Delabar for Thames – sweet! League for anyone – sweet!

    Pryor up tomorrow – and Pauley, perhaps?

  17. Catherwood on July 30th, 2012 10:19 pm

    Wilhelmson apparently was unavailable because his wife is about to give birth, so they gave him some time to be with her. Good for the team, and good luck to the both of ’em!

  18. stevemotivateir on July 30th, 2012 10:21 pm

    I suppose Thames is more of a stop-gap outfielder, but he’s still an upgrade!

  19. tmac9311 on July 30th, 2012 10:22 pm

    So is Thames the player Dave was talking about, or is there another trade in us? Did Snider actually go to the Pirates? would of loved to got him.

    I hope we can trade Milwood and/or Vargas for a league ready bat. Like the Thames move, but I hope that’s not all we do.

  20. stevemotivateir on July 30th, 2012 10:23 pm

    I’d still like the M’s to take a crack at Hunter Pence. Asking price might be too high, though.

  21. justdave on July 30th, 2012 10:30 pm

    Get your last Peggy jokes in before he’s sent down!

  22. stevemotivateir on July 30th, 2012 10:36 pm

    We’re not going to get a league-ready bat for Vargas, and especially not for Millwood.

  23. stevemotivateir on July 30th, 2012 11:09 pm

    Let me rephrase that… We’re not going to get a ‘good’ league-ready bat. If the best we could do for Fister was Wells (regarding mlb-ready bats) last year, the return for Vargas will likely be less.

  24. BillyJive on July 30th, 2012 11:18 pm

    Great game tonight…waaay too many Canadians tho LOL…and I am Canadian. Bye Peguero…

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