Judgment Day: Pitchers
In Part I Ray Flowers took a look at hitters. Today, he shifts his focus to the mound and breaks down the names that are in the news.
It's early. No one cares. People are willing to turn over their entire roster. Trades, waiver-wire additions – it's clear that everything we all thought for the past three months means nothing at this point. I mean, we've got a week of games to look at, don't we? I believe that completely, don't you? Well, maybe not. Hopefully not. Please tell me not.
I'm not even going to attempt to sit here and explain away five bad innings. It's one start folks. It means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Sure it sucks eggs for you if you had the guy active, but every pitcher in the game has bad outings. Just the way it is. I'm also not going to sit here and obsesses over 11 strong innings either. That's two starts. You simply cannot have lasting success in this game if you allow such small sample sizes to dictate your thoughts on pitchers.
Simple. Two part series Monday (Part I discusses hitters).
Let the judgment begin.
Brett Anderson has, shockingly made it through two starts without an injury. However he's also struck out just three batters over six innings while posting a 4.50 ERA. Hard to understand the excitement for Anderson since he pitches for the Rockies.
Mark Buehrle had 11 Ks in 8.2 shutout innings in his first start of 2014. Mark has one shutout the last four seasons. He's had an ERA under 3.70 once in the past six years. His career K/9 rate is 5.20. Pretty certain his first start will be his best of 2014.
Bruce Chen was good last year. He was great in his first start this year. It's a complete mirage.
Matt Cain was bad last year. That's what everyone thinks, though I'm pretty sure I refuted all that nonsense in his Player Profile. 'But Ray, he's been blasted for eight runs in 11 innings and he's already given up three homers while only striking out five batters.' OK, I'm a wee bit concerned as some scouts seem to be suggesting that he's missing some life on his pitches. I'm still going to let things breath with Cain before I start to seriously worry.
Andrew Cashner lost a big chunk of his strikeout totals as he moved from the bullpen to the rotation. Keep an eye on that K/9 mark of his. Through two starts he has an 8.25 mark. If he can keep that up he's going to dominate a whole bunch of offenses this season.
Jarred Cosart throws 95-96 mph which impresses everyone. Through 12 big league starts he owns a 2.28 ERA. However, concerns. (1) He pitches for the Astros. (2) His WHIP is league average at 1.30. (3) His 4.94 BB/9 rate is awful. (4) I don't know what is worse, his walk rate or his K/9 rate of 5.07. This guy has 40 Ks and 39 walks through 12 starts. For more on why you should not be running to the wire to add Cosart see his Player Profile.
Nathan Eovaldi throws 95-96 mph, and he's looked great through two starts. But it's two starts. Highly intriguing and worth an addition in mixed leagues is Nathan, but let's not get carried away with a guy who for his career is a batter below the league average in K/9 (6.35), a half batter above the league average with his BB/9 (3.56), right on the league average in ERA (3.82) and slightly above the league average in WHIP (1.39). Don't let two starts wipe out the 46 that preceded it. An impressive talent, but he's not yet proven he can consistently get batters out, and he's certainly not proved he can consistently punch them out.
I watched The Lone Ranger last night. Let me save you the 2.5 hours it took be to slog through it. Awful movie. I'm not even going to put a link to it with this mention. Johnny Depp, you're better than that. Luckily I was half ripped on sake so I didn't really care. What, you think I'm only drinking Vodka and Red Bull? You can't type cast me bro.
Don't believe the hype, Scott Feldman is nowhere this good. Through two starts he's looked fantastic with a 2-0 record and matching ratios of 0.66 in ERA and WHIP. Uh, no. In 923 big league innings he owns a 4.56 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. Pretty sure a 5.55 K/9 ratio and 1.82 K/BB ratio for his career tell the true story.
Yovani Gallardo posted a career worst ERA of 4.18 and had a five year low in innings pitched last season. His velocity is still a bit below his career rate even with his early season success this year: 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA. You should also look over at the strikeout column which says 4.97 K/9 and that his current walk rate of 1.42 per nine is literally two full batters below his career mark. Encouraging start? Fine. Sign that he's “back?” Not nearly enough data yet.
Drew Hutchison tossed 5.1 shutout innings his first time out. He then was bombed for six runs over 3.1 innings in his second out. The result is a 6.23 ERA and 1.73 WHIP. I like to see the 10 Ks in 8.2 innings but six walks and those ratios aren't remotely intriguing.
Why win-loss records are unpredictable and tell you much less about a pitcher than you think. Jon Lester is 0-2 for the Red Sox despite a 2.51 ERA and 1.04 WHIP with 14 Ks in 14.1 innings.
I'm not a fan of Ricky Nolasco this year, but this is nuts. Dude has allowed three bombs and 17 hits over 10 innings. Even he's not that bad.
Hyun-jin Ryu is the perfect early season example. In two starts he was spotless. In his third start he was lit up. The result is a league average 3.86 ERA and below average 1.43 WHIP. Sample size. Twice Ryu has been Cy Young worthy. Once he was worthy of starting at Double-A.
CC Sabathia is an extremely disappointing 1-1 with a 7.50 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. I'll say this for him though. Not only does he have 12 punchouts in 12 innings but he's only walked one batter. Perhaps he's not a lost cause – yet.
Stephen Strasburg has a 6.10 ERA and 1.74 WHIP. People are nervous. Seriously (I've gotten a couple of questions about him). Anyone notice that he's got 16 punchouts in 10.1 innings? Uh, that's epic and suggests his stuff is fine.