A look back at the rookie pitchers we previewed before the season

, Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 11:04 PM Comments (0)

 

May 2010 "Mr. Torre, it looks like you broke another one".
May 2010 “Mr. Torre, it looks like you broke another one”.

 

A couple of weeks ago, I looked back at the article I wrote about last year’s rookie hitters. So for today’s treat, we’ll check in with those rookie pitcher’s from last year that I previewed before the year. If you missed last year’s article, you can find it

here. So without further ado, here we go first with the chart I included in the first article, followed by the chart showing this year’s stats:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2008 Statistics

 

 

Name

IP

K

K/9IP

BB/9IP

BF/IP

David Robertson

30.3

36

10.69

4.5

4.23

Alex Hinshaw

39.7

47

10.65

6.5

4.5

Max Scherzer

56

66

10.61

3.3

4.2

Garret Mock

41

46

10.10

5

4.39

Shairon Martis

20.7

23

10.00

5.21

4.44

Wesley Wright

55.7

57

9.20

5.5

4.48

Chris Perez

41.7

42

9.06

4.7

4.24

Ramon Troncoso

38

38

9.00

2.84

4.21

Gio Gonzalez

34

34

9.00

6.61

4.79

 

 

 

2009 To-Date Statistics

 

 

Name

IP

K

K/9IP

BB/9IP

BF/IP

David Robertson

19

27

12.79

5.68

4.26

Alex Hinshaw

5.1

1

1.76

8.82

5.10

Max Scherzer

89.1

88

8.89

3.64

4.40

Garret Mock

13

6

4.15

5.54

4.85

Shairon Martis

85.2

34

3.59

4.12

4.42

Wesley Wright

18.2

24

11.87

3.96

4.62

Chris Perez

25.1

31

11.12

5.74

4.66

Ramon Troncoso

53

32

5.43

3.40

4.08

Gio Gonzalez

17.1

18

9.47

5.79

5.03

 

 

Like we did with the hitters, let’s review each pitcher and see how they are doing and whether or not I was right about them or completely wrong.

 

David Robertson-He’s 24, right-handed, and still pitching for the Yankees. He is one of four players on the list who have improved their K/9IP. His walks are up more than 1 a game and he is facing almost the same number of batters per inning. My first article said that most 23 year olds have control problems. Well, now David is 24. He is still a decent part of the Yankee bullpen, but that walk rate will haunt him unless he can bring it down. Last year it was high, now it is really high. His ERA is 2.5 runs lower, but won’t stay that way unless that very high strikeout rate persists. Lastly, his ERA+ is 154 (which means that all things being equal, he has been 54% better than the average pitcher).

 

Alex Hinsaw-Let’s not get too detailed here. He has been in the minors since April 22nd and he only pitched 5.1 innings while he was up. In those innings, he was not good, at all. His ERA+ was 51, which means he was 49% worse than the average pitcher. Still some rabid Giants fan going under the name “ripvan” wrote this on Alex’s cbssportsline message board:

 

…A solid lefty with great control at 26 years old. He should be sent back down to the minors and converted into a starter.”

 

Which obviously means ripvan doesn’t pay attention to anything.

 

Max Scherzer-Max has performed pretty well so far this year. His strikeouts are down, but still almost one an inning and his walks are up just slightly. He is giving up homeruns at about the same rate as last year (which is a little high at nearly 1 every 10 innings). Overall, Max has continued to impress. He has had his struggles, as all young pitchers do, but he has still been showing the good stuff that made him a top prospect. The Diamondbacks will probably shut him down around 150 innings to avoid injury, and since they are not in contention, it won’t be a problem.

 

Garret Mock-Again, lots not get too detailed. He was sent down by the Nationals as part of the great purge of May 21st. Before the season I wrote that he probably would not be pitching for any team except for the terrible Nationals. Now, it turns out he can’t even pitch for them. Let’s move on.

 

Shairon Martis-First, the Nationals just sent him down to the minors on June 28th. Second, he has an interesting set of statistics. His strikeouts are way down, by nearly 7 per 9IP.  However, his walks are down by over 1 a game. He’s giving up an additional hit per inning, but his ERA+ is 5% better (but still just 82, which means he is 28% worse than the average pitcher). The Nationals believe in his future because he is still just 22, but he needs to get the strikeouts up to be successful. He doesn’t need to reach the 10 a game he saw in his short stint last year, but 3.5 isn’t going to cut it. Let’s hope this kid can find a bit more control, strike a few more guys out, and make it back to the majors. God knows the Nationals could use him (and thankfully the abysmal Randy St. Claire is no longer his pitching coach).

 

Wesley Wright-Another guy no longer in the majors. He was sent down on June 30th so the Astros could activate Mike Hampton. Let’s be kind and simply say that that isn’t a good sign. However, his stats tell an interesting story. He was striking out 2.5 more batters a game and walking 1.5 less batters a game (4 walks a game are too much, but at least he was moving in the right direction). Since he was facing slightly more batters per inning, he must be giving up more hits, which he is. He was giving up more than 4 additional hits per game than he did last year.  At first glance that makes no sense. If you strikeout more and walk less, it seems like you should be pitching better and facing less batters a game, not more. Well, the problem is that batters were hitting .429 on balls that were put into play. The major league average is around .300. Mostly that can be attributed to bad luck. Now before you go and say maybe he is chucking meatballs up there, stop. There are really smart people over at the Hardball Times that have been working on this. The short answer: they are not yet sure if pitchers have any control over whether or not a ball put into play is a hit or not.

 

Chris Perez-This is the guy that was traded to Cleveland and had an inauspicious debut. He is striking out 2 more batters a game (nearly 11 per 9IP), but walking an additional batter a game. It doesn’t matter which league you are pitching in, if you walk 5.7 batters a game you are not going to do well. His STL ERA+ was 100, which is exactly average. His 1.2 CLE innings leave a much more dismal ERA+ of 21. Before the season I said that if this kid could be nurtured and get his walks down he could be a very good reliever for some team. He hasn’t gotten the walks down yet, and he just got traded to a better hitting league (the effect of which is slightly less as a reliever since he probably faced the opposing pitcher less often than a starter would). He needs to get it together, and get it together quickly.

 

Ramon Troncoso-So far this year, his performance on the field has been impressive. His statistics are down a bit though. He is striking out 3.5 less batters a game and walking about 1/2 a batter more than last year. However, his walk percentage is almost exactly the league average. He is giving up and additional hit a game, but his ERA+ is 225, which is phenomenal. (The reason he is doing so well with apparent worse numbers has to do with a whole bunch of peripheral stats we won’t go into here). In the article before the season, I said that Ramon’s worst enemy was Joe Torre. I worried that he might blow out his arm. Currently, he has pitched 53 innings in 82 Dodger games. That’s on pace for more than 100 innings. Here is my prediction: Either Troncoso gets injured in August or he gives up a devastating hit in the Division Series because his arm is shot. Write it down, its a lock.

 

Gio Gonzalez-Before the season I said that his walk rate was staggering and that he was facing too many batters per inning.  Well, the walk rate is down nearly a run, but still way too high, and he is actually facing more batters per inning. If he was on a good team, he would not be starting. As it is, the A’s are skipping his last turn in the rotation before the All-Star break. However, there are some reasons to be optimistic. His strikeout rate is still very impressive, his homerun rate has dropped nearly 1.5 a game, and he has suffered from almost historically bad luck. He is giving up nearly 14 hits a game (6 more than last year). The reason that number has gone up so much is that opposing hitters are batting .481 on balls put in play. That’s 230 points higher than last year and 180 points higher than the league average. That number has to come down and when it does, so should his ERA. Plus, he is a lefty.

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