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Pitchers I've Fallen Asleep On
by Asher B. Chancey, BaseballEvolution.com
June 8, 2009
At the last minute, in making my pre-season predictions, I picked Zack Greinke to win the AL Cy Young Award on a whim (as evidenced by the fact that I spent no time at all extolling Greinke’s virtues in my Royals Spring Preview). Basically, I’ve spent the season thus far freaking out about Greinke’s performance so far. So much so, in fact, I have almost completely missed several impressive statistics from the season so far. Here’s a top ten.
10. Trevor Hoffman is pitching better than ever. This is one of those “who knows?” situations. Hoffman leaves Petco Park and actually pitches better than he did at Petco. Heath Bell replaces Hoffman and pitches better than Hoffman did at Petco. Go figure. While Bell is having a wonderful year, Hoffman has yet to give up a run, has walked only one batter all season, and is one save behind Bell for the major league lead despite missing most of the first month of the season.
9. Dan Haren has turned into a WHIP freak. Actually, Haren is a freak over all, but he has simply stopped allowing hits or walks. He currently leads the majors in both K:BB ratio as well as WHIP, which is positively absurd. Not only that, but the most impressive stat of all is this one: of his 22 earned runs allowed, 10 have come off of homeruns. So basically, if not for homeruns, he’d be the early Cy Young favorite. Well, homeruns plus his 4-4 record. Go D’Backs!
8. Kevin Slowey only does one thing well, and he is 8-2 doing it. Slowey is fifth in the majors in K:BB ratio because he doesn’t walk anyone. Nevertheless, only Andy Sonnanstine has given up more hits per nine innings, and no one has given up more overall. Slowey has also given up 12 homeruns, making it possible that he could give up more homeruns than walks this season. By the way, he is 8-2. Go Twins!
7. Edwin Jackson is dominating with the Tigers. For the second year in a row, Jackson has been a diamond-in-the-rough signing for a contending team. Last season, Jackson wasn’t even in the Rays’ playoff rotation. This year, Jackson is the Tiger’s ace and is outperforming all of his former teammates in Tampa. Like Zack Greinke, Jackson is a former uber-prospect who seems like he has been around forever but is only 25 years old.
6. Matt Cain’s peripherals are finally translating into wins. His win-loss record has been one of the worst in baseball in the last two years despite his 3.71 ERA during that period. Now, his ERA is 2.27 and Cain leads the NL in wins.
5. Justin Verlander is back after two seasons in the wilderness. Verlander has looked lost for the last year and a half. That is no more. He is once again striking guys out – he leads the American League in strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings, and could make a run at 300 Ks if he pitches 210-230 innings. Verlander was starting to scare me, but now all is right with the world again.
4. Jonathan Broxton is tied for second in the National League with six wins In addition to leading the known universe with a 14.6:1 strikeout-per-nine innings ratio, and having an absurd .655 WHIP to go with his 1.24 ERA (340 ERA+), Broxton has compiled a 6-0 record, which in an underwhelming season for National League pitchers so far ties him with a handful of guys for second place.
3. Chris Carpenter is pitching than he ever did before his injury. Part Two For the second time in five years, Chris Carpenter has emerged from a prolonged injury looking like a whole new pitcher. Carpenter has allowed exactly half as many hits as innings pitched, has a 6.20:1 strikeout to walk ratio, and a 0.71 ERA (595 ERA+) through six starts. In a couple more years, Keith will have Carpenter somewhere between Smokey Joe Wood and Bret SABRhagen on his Top 100 list.
2. Carlos Marmol is having a horrendous season. Just call him Kyle Farnsworth or Juan Cruz. Seems like every time the Cubs have a young fireballer, he goes ga-ga in the head. Marmol has a 29:27 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which is the stuff of a Texas Rangers starting pitcher, not a fireballing reliever for the Cubs. He is allowing 9.0 walks per nine innings. That is not a recipe for success.
1. Brad Lidge has gone Hollywood Hero on us. You know how in the movies, sometimes a soldier/cop/otherwise good guy will give his job/body/life to save everybody else? Think Randy Quaid in Independence Day, or Bruce Willis in Armageddon. It is clear that Brad Lidge gave up his body and his psyche last season so that the Phillies could win the World Series and he would be a hero. This season, Lidge is 0-3 with six blown saves, a 7.27 ERA, and fewer than 10 strikeouts per nine innings for the first time in his career. Thanks for the memories, Brad. We hardly knew ya’.
Questions? Concerns? Comments? Asher lives in Philadelphia, PA, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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