2007 Mark Redman Award

by Keith Glab, BaseballEvolution.com
December 7, 2007

2007 Blessed us with some of the most prolific pitcher collapses in the modern era.  That makes choosing the Mark Redman Award in each league that much more difficult.  Moreover, Mark Redman himself actually did a bit of a role reversal this year.

Granted, Redman only appeared in 11 total games in 2007, but after tanking it in April to the tune of 0-4 11.63 with Atlanta, he somehow became part of Colorado's magical September run with two wins and a 3.20 ERA.  We can only assume that even though it was September, that Redman treated games seven through 11 as though they were may.  Fortunately, this only allows Redman to build upon this success for the beginning of 2008, giving some team enough false hope to continue to pitch the man until he does his normal second half thing.

We're rooting for you to win your own award next year, Mark.  As for 2007, here are the worthy candidates: 

American League

It would take a long time to chronicle all of the poor second halves had by American League pitchers, so we present you with just three excellent candidates:

Pre-All-Star 8-3 109.1 2.88 68 48 1.17 5
Post-All-Star 3-10 90 6.30 86 52 1.54 16

We might have guessed that Gaudin would have a rough second half based on his ugly strikeout-to-walk ratio.  I confess to be nevertheless impressed with his ability to more than triple his home runs allowed in the second half in almost 20 fewer innings pitched.  I had actually speculated that the Athletics' stellar defense might keep Gaudin from completely blowing up in the second half, but there's not much a defense can do about gopher balls.  In most leagues, Gaudin would run away with this award, but in the 2007 American League season, he must assent to second runner up.

Pre-All-Star 5-6 89.2 4.62 68 36 1.48 16
Post-All-Star 1-7 49.1 7.11 41 18 1.64 12

White Sox announcers Kan Harrelson and Darren Jackson could not make it through a John Danks start without going on and on about how Danks suffered from bad luck and bad run support early in the season.  In fact, they would often mention it even when Danks wasn't starting.  All this despite the fact that Danks only registered one game score over 56 in his first 14 starts of the year (50 is average). 

I suppose Danks was really unlucky later in the season.  Of course, when you note that Danks is now 16-34 in his professional career, you begin to see a pattern developing.  Harrelson himself uses a mantra in about 50 telecasts a season: "Some pitchers pitch good enough to win; other pitch just good enough to lose."  Well, if such a phenomenon really exists, then Danks has shown that he pitches just badly enough to lose.

One can only speculate on how bad Danks' second half numbers would look had he been allowed to make more than one September start.  He might just have come away with the Redman Award.  As it is, he must settle for runner up, and the White Sox narrowly miss monopolizing the award in the American League with Jose Contreras winning the inaugural award last year.

2007 American League Mark Redman Award Winner - Jeremy Bonderman    

Jeremy Bonderman W-L IP ERA K BB WHIP HR
Pre-All-Star 9-1 106 3.48 98 24 1.19 10
Post-All-Star 2-8 68.1 7.38 47 24 1.68 13

On July 19th, it seemed as though this would finally be Jeremy Bonderman's breakout season.  He was 10-1 with a 3.53 ERA.  In his next four starts, Bonderman would allow 28 earned runs against the hardly juggernaut White Sox, Angels, and Devil Rays offenses.

I have no idea what the problem was, as he was able to make a couple of good starts down the stretch.  He didn't pitch at all after September 4th due to pinched cartilage in his right elbow, but he makes it sound as though that wasn't the problem in late July and August.  Like Danks, Bonderman might have continued to decline had he been able to pitch the entire month of September.  As it was, the Tigers went 2-8 in Bonderman's final 10 starts of the year, and were Bonderman pitching like he did in the first half, the Tigers could have given the New York Yankees some serious contention for the AL Wild Card.   

Special congratulations go out to Eric Freeman Jr., who looked past Bonderman's stellar 2006 FIP and young age of 24 to predict that he would win the 2007 Mark Redman Award before the season began.

National League

The NL can't really compete with its American League counterparts for the Mark Redman Award this year, but it does boast two exceptional candidates:

Jason Marquis W-L IP ERA K BB WHIP HR
Pre-All-Star 6-5 105.1 3.67 62 41 1.17 12
Post-All-Star 6-4 86.1 5.73 47 35 1.54 10

Good stuff, Jason.  We'll quibble that your record actually improved in the second half, but a closer inspection shows that you went 5-2 in the season's first two months, then 5-7 thereafter.  We see that your K/BB numbers got worse, but the real issue was your doubles allowed.  Just 13 doubles allowed in 398 first half at bats (.359 SLGA) to 27 in 345 second half ABs (.467 SLGA).  

Perhaps the biggest indictment of Marquis' second half is something that doesn't show up in a stat line.  Lou Piniella had lost so much confidence in Marquis based on his final two dozen appearances that he refused to pitch Marquis in the NLDS even in a long relief role.  The decision to use a three-man rotation caused Piniella to mismanage Carlos Zambrano in Game One, setting the tone for a series sweep.

Marquis' numbers alone merit strong consideration for the award, but they don't stack up terribly well against another pitcher with the same initials:

Pre-All-Star 10-4 109.2 2.71 93 40 1.14 10
Post-All-Star 5-6 81.1 5.53 87 35 1.45 13

Just looking at win-loss record and ERA, Maine would appear to have Marquis beat.  But if we look at the peripheral numbers, we see that Maine didn't really pitch that much worse in the second half; he just had his incredibly fortunate first half catch up to him.

For Maine, it's important to note that he began the year 5-0 with a 1.37 ERA through his first six starts.  Don't get me wrong; Maine had far worse results in August and September than in any of the months earlier in the year.  But Maine's splits are more akin to J.J. Gomes last year than anything Mark Redman has ever done.  After all, Redman is a career 8-15 with a 4.60 ERA in April.

The real knock on Maine is that he was simply too good of a pitcher overall to be called a Redman.  15-10 with a 3.91 ERA does look similar to Mark Redman 2003 (14-9 3.59), but that was hardly a typical season for our award namesake (though he did of course struggle in August and September of that year).  We can point to Maine's collapse leading to the Mets' collapse, but the team actually went 6-4 in his final 10 starts, and 12-8 in his final 20.  Had the Mets made the playoffs, it's highly unlikely that Willie Randolph would have sat Maine the way that Piniella sat Marquis.

So who do I choose, Maine or Marquis?  I need help on this one, so I enlisted our Baseball Evolution panel of experts.  Unanimously, the staff agreed that John Maine deserved to win the award.  Apparently, I'm biased for so closely watching Marquis fail with the Chicago Cubs that I've been blind to just how much of a disappointment Maine was, despite his 15 wins and sub-4.00 ERA.  Jason, you're just going to have to do worse next year.

2007 National League Mark Redman Award Winner - John Maine 

Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Keith resides in Chicago, Illinois and can be reached at keith@baseballevolution.com.