Wednesday, May 16, 2007

AL vs. NL - regression towards the mean...

I agree with BrandX that the AL is better than the NL. This was one reason I was concerned about acquiring Brian Bannister. His only starts came last year with the Mets, and while he pitched well early on, he stumbled late (after his injury) and had an ERA around 4 in the NL.

He has proven me wrong (sort of). I am concerned about Bannister's long term future with the Royals, though it is tempered by strong feelings of hope as he continues to keep the Royals in each of his starts. What concerns me is his career K:BB ratio. It isn't very good, and last night, he continued his trend, (3K:3BB). For the season, he has 10 KK:9BB. This is a horrid ratio; average to good pitchers usually have 2:1 or 3:1, K:BB walk ratio, while great pitchers, obviously have a bit higher. Bannister sits at a 1:1 ratio, and for his career, has 29K, 31BB. Though this year, he is a scootch better than league average for earned runs (Bannister - 4.15, League Average - 4.16). At some point, I get the feeling he will start getting burned as AL pitchers figure him out, unless he has (or develops) an out pitch. Thus far, he has been masterful at getting double plays, he needs to lower his WHIP (1.43) and BAA (.259). For comparisons sake, Gil has a 1.19 WHIP, and .250 BAA. It's a slight difference, but WHIP can be a telling indicator of a pitcher's ability.

WHIP - Walks + Hits per 9 IP

Looking at Bannister, we can see that he gives up about one and a half hits and walks per inning pitched. A bit dangerous.

Regression towards the Mean:

I think it's interesting that when the Royals picked up Wellemeyer off waivers last year, he had a 6 or 7 ERA with the MARLINS. Proving everyone wrong (especially the NL to AL argument), he was a better pitcher against the AL (3+ ERA). This year, he seems to have regressed to his ability-level, as he was getting crushed each and every time he went out there. It is better that he is not on the team, but not b/c he is a bad pitcher. It's an important PR move. In the past, the Royals have stuck with bad pitchers and hitters b/t they had no one else. Well, clearly, we have no one else to really take his spot (though Dotel is coming!!), think Musser, Braun, etc. I'm not saying these aforementioned pitchers won't be decent to good ML pitchers, just not yet.

Having Wellemeyer on the team almost contradicts the great Meche move. We spend money to show that we want to win now, but we'll leave a guy like Wellemeyer on the team. For a team that is waaaay below .500, image and PR are important leading into next season's free agency. Getting rid of Wellemeyer and taking a few more losses won't change the overall image of Wins/Losses, but it will show that we won't keep crap on the team anymore. I think another boost to this team's image will be getting rid of Perez; though he is practically free, everyone loved the move last year (media, fans (myself included), etc.), he hasn't been very good. So either, he must be traded, dropped onto waivers, or continue his past couple starts with a better sinker to get guys out. I'm holding my breath on that last one though.

Anyone else find it amusing that Burgos isn't very good in the NL either? 4.15 ERA, maybe he has more potential, but in terms of upside, Bannister is a starter; Burgos will never be a starter and decent to good starters are a precious commodity, while relievers can be a dime a dozen. If Bannister makes his good starting a trend with 6-7 IP / outing, then I will finally be swayed that Bannister-Burgos was a legit trade. I think it was a good trade in the first place, b/c Burgos was a malcontent and a bad pitcher, but any Bannister success is added icing on the cake and fills a desperate need for the Royals.


Greinke is making me wet my pants. Literally. I don't know if he's just going to be inconsistent b/c he is young or if he really will be a better middle relief pitcher, but at this point, you have to leave the guy in when he's having this much success. Keep him in MR until an injury occurs, a demotion, or until next year's spring training. He has been absolutely dominant his last two appearances. Don't tamper with a good thing.

On the other hand, Soria's dominance has been waning, and that is b/c he's young. I'm ok with him being the closer until Dotel returns, and I'm ok with him taking over the role eventually (though I'd rather he be a SP), but doesn't experience count for something? Soria as a setup man, still gives him some experience late innings, but Dotel has been there, he's been a closer for 2 or 3 years, and if he's healthy, he's pretty dominant (remember spring training). This team truly cannot afford blown saves. We will lose enough games without a save situation for us to help the other team.


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