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The Mark Redman Award!
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|He usually winds up red in the face by season's end|
If you're looking for a more detailed explanation of why such an award should be named after Mark Redman, then read on.
In 2005, Redman played for a pretty awful Pittsburgh Pirates ballclub. So when he began the season 4-4 with a 2.80 ERA in 93.1 innings, few people took notice. He had allowed only 79 hits, four homers, and one unearned run at that point. I'm sure that most of those those who actually noticed dismissed those fourteen starts as a fluke. Yet I am equally confident that no one could have foreseen what was to come.
Redman went 1-11 with a 7.20 ERA for his next sixteen starts before an injury in early September mercifully ended his season.
That's right. On June 15th, Redman had just handled the New York Yankees and looked as though he could net the Buccos some serious value at the trade deadline. By mid-July, he was performing so awfully that he was untradeable. By August, he was an automatic loss.
While 2005 alone would be enough to justify naming a dubious award after Mark Redman, there's more. You see, in 2006, Redman already received a particularly dubious honor in being selected to the American League All Star team. I say it was dubious because he had received this honor despite posting a first half ERA of 5.27 while walking as many batters as he had struck out.
Now if I had told you that Mark Redman made an All Star team, you wouldn't be surprised to learn that he disappointed in the second half. However, if I told you that Redman posted a 5.27 ERA before the break and wound up with a significantly worse ERA afterwards, that might turn your head. Yes, it appears that Redman was overachieving yet again this season.
He gets an A for effort. In late August, Redman added a cut fastball to his repertoire and won two straight starts with 16 innings of one-run ball. However, his second half ERA was 6.14 despite those impressive outings! Poor start after poor start culminated in a nine-run turbo tanking against Detroit in September.
(As an aside, the Royals knowingly assumed all $4.5 million of Redman's contract when they traded two minor leaguers for him last December. Good ol' Allard Baird.)
Does Mark Redman win his own award in 2006? No. Sadly, despite his All Star appearance, his first half numbers weren't nearly good enough for us to claim that he really choked in the second half. So without further delay, here are the 2006 pitchers that do meet such criteria:
Contreras not only headed into the All Star Break 9-0 with a 3.38 ERA, but he had not lost a decision since August 15th of 2005. He finished 2005 especially strong as well, and with 24 strikeouts over a two-game stretch this June, it had seemed like Contreras was only going to get better.
But fate had other ideas. Control problems are what kept him from succeeding early in his major league career, but that wasn't the problem this time around. Hitters simply adjusted to his formerly deadly splitter. Perhaps they had never worried about it before, since Contreras couldn't throw it for strikes anyway. But it really seemed as though hitters were anticipating the drop and hitting the ball hard. Contreras finished the second half 4-9 with a 5.40 ERA.
Contreras' performance actually brings up an interesting point about how arbitrary gauging player performance only by seasons can be. If we were to view the calendar year from July 2005 to July 2006 for Contreras and compare it to the rest of his career, that season's worth of starts would rank as one of the greater fluke seasons of all time:
|'05 Break-'06 Break||20-2||212.2||3.17||159||59||1.16||17|
|Rest of Career||28-25||429.1||4.82||351||185||1.36||61|
Contreras de-emphasized the strikeout during his "fluke season," and his precipitous drop in walks and homers allowed led to an incredibly successful stretch, arguably the best in baseball during that period.
We're going to go ahead and name Contreras the AL Mark Redman Award winner for 2006, but if Contreras doesn't recover with a solid 2007 season, we may be witnessing something closer to the Steve Stone Award, shifted slightly out of phase.
We generally don't like to dole out awards such as this to relievers, as the small amount of innings that they pitch leaves them susceptible to statistical burps in their splits. Yet with all due respect to Jason Schmidt, Tom Glavine, Tomo Ohka, and Aaron Cook, Derrick Turnbow wins the NL's Mark Redman Award hands down.
Like Redman himself, Derrick Turnbow was invited to pitch in this year's All Star contest. Unlike Redman, Derrick played on a team that had other All Star representatives already, so there was no good reason to have him there. Yet Turnbow wasn't quite as awful as Redman in the first half of the year, notching 23 saves and posting a 4.74 ERA despite a very rough beginning to July.
What we're going to do is show you Turnbow's numbers through June and his numbers from July 1st on. Please do not scroll down if you have a heart condition, because this is some spooky stuff.
Oh my word. There's not much to analyze here; it's pretty much straight forward. Turnbow had a 1.74 ERA in 2005, but his second half collapse last year led him to a final ERA of 6.87.
Tune in this time next year
to see what pitchers choke down the 2007 stretch, Mark Redman-style!
Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Keith Glab resides in Chicago, Illinois, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.