Quick ERA provides some answers for who boasts the best rotations coming down the stretch and looking towards October.
I've done radio gigs in several different markets over the course of the past couple of weeks, and very often the first question I get asked is about the perceived inadequacy of the home team's starting rotation. Sometimes-as in the case of the Mets-the question is valid, but nobody is entirely happy with their pitching staff this time of year. Someone is always injured, or slumping. Maybe a team has a deep rotation but no ace, or maybe it's the other way around.
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A quick comparison of Meredith's 2006 and 2007 seasons might suggest that he's regressed. But who's to blame: Meredith, or his defense?
Following a 2006 season in which he seemed untouchable on the mound, Cla Meredith has struggled this year. No one expected a repeat of his 1.07 ERA performance, but the increase by almost 3.5 runs per nine is worrisome. His QuikERA for 2006 was 2.82, but his 2007 QERA isn't much higher at 3.39; there isn't a significant difference in his peripherals, and relief pitcher ERA fluctuates often due to small samples. What's his problem then, if his peripherals aren't to blame?
The A's surprisingly effective starter serves as a lesson in the right way to handle a pitching prospect.
If I had predicted that Chad Gaudin would find himself as the A's No. 3 starter, #24 among American League pitchers in Value Over Replacement Player with a week left in June, I would have been called crazy. Yet that is just where Gaudin improbably finds himself the year after he was a reliever with more walks than strikeouts for these same Oakland Athletics. How has Gaudin found success so far, and is it something that will last for a team struggling to hold on in the American League West?
Marc examines his first relief pitcher, a name heard not infrequently in trade rumors.
Scott Cameron Linebrink was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the second round of the 1997 amateur draft out of Southwest Texas State University. San Francisco placed him in Salem-Keizer of the Northwest League for his professional debut, but Linebrink would only log 10 innings there before a promotion to High-A landed him in San Jose:
More now than ever, fantasy players face a difficult hunt for bargain-basement stoppers. Baseball Prospectus' exclusive reliever statistics facilitate the search.
With front offices more and more cognizant that closers are made, not born, it's getting harder than ever to handicap a competition for that crucial roto-league role. It would be one thing if we could identify the best reliever on a given staff and point in that direction, but these days, smart franchises like the Tigers and Cardinals have increasingly resisted casting their best relievers in that role, and the Astros and Braves seem to following that model as well. I mean, the guy wrote a book about what a genius he is, so we can only hope he knows Bob Wickman's 1.04 ERA as a Brave was a fluke. (Also: he publishes said book hailing himself, and the Braves lose their first NL East title in 12 years. A-Rod, you have been warned.)
The oft-dealt Harang is now the presumptive ace in Cincinnati.
Aaron Harang was originally selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 22nd round of the 1996 amateur entry draft, but declined to sign in favor of attending San Diego State University. The graphic design major was made selection #195 in the 1999 draft by the Texas Rangers, and this time signed on to pitch professionally. He made his pro debut at Pulaski of the Rookie League at age 21, with a follow-up campaign in Charlotte of the Florida State League:
Back from Orlando--an experience in itself--Joe looks back on the week that was.
Today, I'm running my winter meetings wrap-up, a piece that was originally intended for Friday publication. That it's running today is by design, not by sloth. I was working on this stuff late Thursday night when I became disenchanted with the article, and with my analysis in general, and shelved it for a couple of days.
Joe already misses baseball, and today he recaps the first half by looking at the candidates for the major awards.
So nods to the hosiery boys, who spent most of Sunday trying to stave off the abyss, and to the Cardinals and Astros who extended the first half of the 2006 season deep into the Houston night. Eventually Rudy Seanez and Brad Lidge got involved and pushed each game to a conclusion, leaving us with nothing but some random TiVo'd games-like the alcoholic with a bottle hidden in the closet-to get us through to Thursday evening. Or is that just me?
The Marlins upgrade their awful catcher situation, but at what cost? The Yankees unload an albatross in Jose Contreras. The Pirates get an average haul for an average pitcher. These and other news and notes out of Florida, New York and Pitssburgh in today's Prospectus Triple Play.
Feel Like I'm Winning When I'm Losing Again: If you're
reading this PTP--or anything else at Baseball Prospectus--you're
likely aware that the Los Angeles Dodgers and Florida Marlins
consummated a deal last Friday, where the former sent Heart &
Soul™ Paul Lo Duca, Guillermo
Mota, and Juan Encarnacion to the latter for
Hee Seop Choi, Brad Penny, and
minor-league lefty Bill Murphy. You're also probably
aware of the conflicting perceptions of who won the deal, with a
majority of the mainstream media thumbing their noses at the Dodgers,
while statheads genuflect at the growing altar of Paul DePodesta.