Friday, February 04, 2005

Who are these guys? - Pitchers

Rather than go player by player, I have decided to break the pitchers up into a few categories – the likely strarting rotation, likely relief corps and the somewhat healthy ligaments to be kept at Triple and Double A.

Stat lines are listed for 2004 if available and will follow this pattern: ERA/WHIP/OOBP

ERA = Earned Run Average
= Walks + Hits per Inning Pitched
OOBP = Opponents On Base Percentage
I will also use ERA+ which adjusts for park effects. 100 is the baseline. Above is better than average, below is worse.

Starting Rotation
Zach Greinke (3.97/1.17/297)
ERA+ 112

Runelvys Hernandez

Brian Anderson (5.64/1.63/366)
ERA+ 79

Jose Lima (4.07/1.24/307)
ERA+ 102

Jimmy Gobble (5.35/1.35/320)
ERA+ 83

To quote Huey Lewis, “bad is bad.”

A quick look at the career ERA+ of our starting five shows 112, 113, 97, 89, and 89. Yes, the only two above-average starters are a kid who’s been living in George Brett’s garage and the Dominican Elvis who’s best moments were collected when baseball went Bizzaro World during April of 2003.

Brian Anderson has been almost dead-on average his entire career and can’t pitch nearly as bad as he did last year; Jose Lima is enjoying a career “renaissance” in which he’s posted league average ERAs for the last two seasons, and Jimmy Gobble… well, he wouldn’t even acknowledge the fans during warm ups when I went to see the Royals play at San Diego last year, so I guess he can go to hell.

At any rate, there is enough known about Lima and Anderson to assume they won’t kill the team this year. So much is unknown about every other pitcher that may start that my best guess is it will end up a wash – some great performances counteracted by some terrible ones. The good news is that league-average aptly describes the entirety of the American League Central.

Relief Corps
Jeremy Affeldt (4.95/1.61/371)
ERA+ 90

Jamie Cerda (3.15/1.55/363)
ERA+ 141

Scott Sullivan (4.48/1.61/382)
ERA+ 93

Nate Field (4.26/1.33/323)
ERA+ 104

Shawn Camp (3.92/1.35/335)
ERA+ 114

D.J. Carrasco (4.84/1.58/364)
ERA+ 92

Mike MacDougal (5.56/2.21/426)
ERA+ 80

So, here’s the deal: All of the relievers currently employed by the Royals have posted seasons with well above-average ERA+. This has never happened at the same time and for some of them, it wasn’t for very long, but as a group, they aren’t as bad as the first brush makes them seem.

The problem with the Royals bullpen is that nobody knows where these guys should be. Whatever magic divining rod Pena used in early 2003 to pick out relievers was stolen back by Mike Scioscia last year.

Affeldt’s been pegged as a 20-game winner and dominating closer while doing neither. MacDougal made the American League look silly for three months and then pitched all of 11 innings for the big club last season. Even a guy like Sullivan, who was a consistent middle relief innings eater couldn’t keep the balls from dropping in.

So, anyway…

Somewhat Healthy Ligaments
...The following players (ERA+) will shuffle between Omaha, Wichita and Kansas City this year:

Chris George (62), Dennis Tankersley (78), Kyle Snyder (DNP), Mike Wood (75), Denny Bautista (53), Kevin Appier (33)…


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