Monday, September 7, 2009

Chris Carpenter Pitches A One-Hitter

A day after I wrote about your Cy Young winners, Chris Carpenter pitches a one hitter in a complete game shutout win against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Since the game just finished, the stats aren't quite up to date. The rate stats do not include today's game But let's go with what we got.

Carpenter has a 0.97 WHIP compared to Lincecum's 1.02 WHIP. Carpenter and Lincecum are virtually equal in strikeouts per walk ratio. While Lincecum averages more strikeouts per 9 innings, Carpenter issues less walks per 9 innings. Lincecum has 4 complete games and 2 shutouts and Carpenter has 3 complete games and 1 shut out. Essentially that's a wash because one more dominating game doesn't make or break a case. Also, there have been times where Carpenter has gone eight innings and given up zero runs. There have also been times when Lincecum has gone eight innings and given up zero runs. Lincecum has an ERA+ of 184 and Carpenter has an ERA+ of 183. Essentially they are the same pitcher.

Lincecum is having the better season because he has started 28 games and pitched 200 1/3 innings; whereas, Carpenter has started 24 games and pitched 166 2/3 innings. Lincecum has done what Carpenter has done and has done it 33 2/3 innings more. Unless Lincecum completely melts down and Carpenter maintains the same pace, Lincecum should win the NL Cy Young award. At least Carpenter, with another dominating performance, has made things interesting down the stretch. If they both maintain their projection and Carpenter has that sparkling record, let's hope that the voters don't mess things up and rob Lincecum...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Look At Your Cy Young Award Winners

Barring a monstrous September meltdown, your AL Cy Young award winner will be Zack Greinke and your NL Cy Young award winner will be Tim Lincecum.

Let's check the stats:

Zack Greinke

197 ERA+

1.08 WHIP

1.9 BB/9

9.5 K/9

5 K/BB

6 Complete Games

3 Shut Outs

Tim Lincecum

184 ERA+

1.02 WHIP

2.5 BB/9

10.5 K/9

4.24 K/BB

4 Complete Games

2 Shut Outs

It's interesting how similar these two pitchers are stat-wise. Zack Greinke is the best pitcher in baseball. Tim Lincecum is probably the second best pitcher in baseball. Let's check back at the end of the season and see how they end up.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The National League Designated Hitter

After writing about the Los Angeles Dodgers essentially trading for a Designated Hitter should they reach the World Series, I thought it would be fun to see the DH's the National League teams have trotted out in the two previous World Series appearances.

In Game 1 of the 2008 World Series, the Philadelphia Phillies trotted out Chris Coste. He played 98 games and had an on-base percentage of .325. Greg Dobbs started Game 2 of the series. While he got on base only 33.3% of the time, he did have some pop with a .491 slugging percentage in 128 games that year. Strangely, manager Charley Manuel pinch hit for Dobbs using the man with horrible slash stats, .217/.297/.297, Eric Bruntlett. What did Bruntlett do? Hit a home run of course!

To be fair, the Rays didn't pencil in a very good hitter in the DH spot for Game 1. Willy Aybar That said, his splits against left-handed pitchers aren't bad. He had slash stats of .266/.350/.444 against the lefties. Lefty Cole Hamels started Game 1 for the Phillies.

To be even fairer, Coste's splits against lefties (and the starting pitcher was lefty Scott Kazmir) was a nice .296/.363/.519. However, taking that into context, he had 92 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers, and we're talking about a 36 year old who didn't make his first big league appearance until he was 33.

Cliff Floyd started Game 2 for the Rays. He hit a 109 OPS+ and sported a .349 OBP. Ho-hum, but at least he hit above average.

The odd thing about the Phillies is that they had a Designated Hitter, who happened to be playing left field. Pat Burrell is a good hitter and a horrible fielder. Why didn't they play Burrell at DH?

Ryan Spilborghs started Game 1 and Game 2 of the World Series for the Colorado Rockies in 2007. He had a 111 OPS+ that year, so he certainly is at least an above average hitter.

The DH for the Red Sox was David Ortiz. He was fourth in MVP voting and had a 171 OPS+. He also led the league in on-base percentage with a sparkling .445.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Mustached GM Makes A Good Move

Just in time, the Los Angeles Dodgers picked up Jim Thome in a salary dump trade with the Chicago White Sox. In the process, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti picks up a solid hitter off the bench while giving up nothing.

Wait. Hold on a second. I am complimenting Colletti for picking up another old past-his-prime player after writing a long story about all the bad signings and trades for old past-their-prime players during his tenure? In that story, I listed the bad players Colletti has acquired. Let's review:

Andruw Jones

Juan Pierre

Luis Gonzalez

Nomar Garciaparra

Jason Schmidt

Esteban Loaiza

Rafael Furcal

Casey Blake

Even the one player whom I applauded, has mixed results.

Yes, Jim Thome is JUST like all of those guys. Colletti has a knack for picking players off the 2001 All-Star team. So why do I like this move? Unlike the other signings, Thome is not playing every day and expected to be the center piece.

The main disadvantage for the National League against the American League is the Designated Hitter. Before picking up Thome, the Dodgers DH could have been:

Designated Pinch Runner Juan Pierre.

Mark Loretta and his 56 OPS+.

Brad Ausmus, who has played 30 games this season and has a career .325 On-Base Percentage.

You might as well just let the pitcher hit. Now, with Thome coming off the bench for pinch hit situations and penciled in the lineup as the DH should they make the World Series, the Dodgers have a more lethal lineup. While Thome isn't the 197 OPS+ hitter he was in 2002, his rate stats are a solid .249/.372/.493.

Of course, Colletti will ruin everything and sign Thome to a three year deal in the off season.