You love reading about baseball players pushing the boundaries of baseball play, which is what Aaron Cook is doing right now.
If you go to the stats page on MLB.com and look up individual pitcher stats, you will find 101 different pitchers. If you sort by K/9 the last pitcher on the list is Derek Lowe. Lowe struck out just over three hitters per nine innings pitched. Possibly not coincidentally, Cleveland cut Lowe two days ago.
There are few absolutes in baseball, but one we know for certain is this: strikeouts are very good for pitchers. Fooling hitters, missing bats, whatever you want to call it, that’s one of the foundations of a successful pitcher. Conversely, a pitcher who doesn’t generate strikeouts is at the mercy of the baseball gods and, less nebulously, his fielders. The upshot of this is things can get ugly without strikeouts.
After a league switch, Derek Lowe took a retro approach to pitching. So far, it's working.
I’m normally not a big fan of blind Player X/Player Y comparisons. I can’t stand the suspense. In this case, though, I picked the players, so I already know who they are. You already know who one of them is if you read the title of this piece, but let’s pretend it’s still a surprise:
Derek Lowe's four-year agreement with the Dodgers seems well out of line with his recent performance. Will changing coasts be enough to make him a pitcher worth $9 million a year?
Let me be very clear about two of my primary assumptions: First, I think DePodesta is a very smart guy and that he has shown a tendency to be very bold in his short tenure as GM of the Dodgers; second, I don't think he's lost his mind.
The reasons people have found the Lowe contract so horrendously out of line with DePodesta are 1.) both its length and its amount, and 2.) the fact that it's being spent on a pitcher who hasn't just been trending downward, he's been spiraling. Given DePodesta's pedigree in Oakland and his willingness to trade players whose best qualities - according to the media - are intangibles, committing that much time and money to a player who has one - count them, one - good season as a starting pitcher on his resume and a few well timed outs in the post-season appears drastically out of line. Thus the conclusion that either DePodesta has lost his mind or he knows something that the rest of us don't. Since I'm assuming the Dodger GM is quite sane, I'd like to know what he was thinking.
Without getting off into a tangent on why the Reds backed off their plan to move to a four-man rotation, any Reds fan should be a bit concerned that so much is expected of Graves.
Every year about this time, baseball fans everywhere spend far too much time looking for the next this, the latest that, the hottest prospect, and the biggest sleeper. While it keeps us active and leads to interesting thinking, even the best are seldom accurate at much better than a guess rate. Why? Because most of these types of exercises are nothing more than guesses themselves - educated guesses, but nonetheless so fraught with variables that no amount of good writing surrounding it makes it much more than a guess.
Winning a close race with Barry Zito and Derek Lowe, Pedro Martinez followed in the footsteps of Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens by winning his fourth Internet Cy Young Award.
Winning a close race with Barry Zito and Derek Lowe, Pedro Martinez followed in the footsteps of Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens by winning his fourth Internet Pitcher of the Year Award. Zito was actually named on more ballots than Martinez and finished a extremely strong second. He is the last member of Oakland's big three to finish among the top three in Internet AL Pitcher of the Year voting; Mark Mulder finished third in 2001 and Tim Hudson finished third in 2000. Lowe, who allowed less runs per 9 innings than anyone in baseball in 2002, finished a strong third. Of last year's top three finishers, only Mark Mulder received any significant support this time around, finishing seventh. The highest ranking reliever this year was Billy Koch, who finished tenth.