Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Legacy of Manny Castillo

Call me a wimp, wuss, whatever, but I have never been a fan of outside-of-the-rules hits, fights, violence in any sport. Sports are inherently dangerous, with players being injured, maimed and scarred for life with terrible frequency, even playing within the rules. In baseball, the ball regularly travels in excess of 100 mph and pitchers, batters, base runners, coaches and fans can all be struck and injured, or even killed. Bats have broken and gone flying and catchers or umpires have been hit on the follow-through of a swing. In football, players are frequently on the receiving end of tackles or blocks they didn't see coming. Checking is an integral part of hockey and some clean checks injure. But when we participate in sports, there is an implicit contract that we know that these risks exist, and we accept them, within and along with the rules of the game.

What I am not willing to accept is what will happen outside of the rules. When things happen outside the rules, that's when the the contract has been violated. Insofar as there are no injuries, then the penalties prescribed within the rules should be sufficient to deal with the situation. When there are injuries, or worse, death, then the rules are not sufficient; the perpetrator has violated the contract to the extent that the law and the courts must step in.

Although I cannot ever recall it happening, if a baseball player were to use his bat to hit someone, how is that any different than a common assault outside the ballpark? Fights happen in hockey games, just like they will happen in parks, on the street, etc. But often the combatants end up setting their differences or others step in to end the fight the way referees do in hockey, without the need to waste the time of our constabulary or courts. In hockey, they're sent to the penalty box, or dressing room, depending on the penalties meted out.

There was a baseball player Manny Castillo, but that is not who this post refers to. Manny was a high school rugby player who was involved in an altercation with an opposing player who, according to reports, picked him up and drove him head-first into the ground in what one witness called a "pile-driver" maneuver. (Yes, professional wrestlers do that move, but remember, they're acting and have been trained how to execute and respond to this move.) Manny died.

Today, the perpetrator was found guilty of manslaughter.

Outfield Defensive Positioning

It seems to me that Vernon Wells and Alex Rios are playing too shallow. I know Vernon likes to play shallow as he thinks he can get back on well-hit balls, but there seem to be a lot of balls getting over both his and Rios' heads. I'd rather see them play a few steps further back if it would prevent a few doubles, particularly with runners on. On balls hit in front of them, base runners would have to respect their speed and hold up and if the ball dropped in with the arms on these guys, we probably hold them to a single base anyway.

The defensive positioning is not just up to the fielders. I recall hearing Jerry and Alan talking about the coaches having a responsibility in this regard, particularly Gene Tenace, if I remember correctly.

What can you say?

Loss #9 in a row has had been speechless for over 24 hours. I started to do a statistical analysis of these 9 games compared to the 41 that preceded them, but the stats were all just saying the obvious. They're not hitting, they're not hitting for power, they're not hitting with runners in scoring position, 3 through 5 in the batting order have been abysmal, with the aforementioned resulting in the Jays not scoring runs. the starting pitching was poor and the bullpen was worse. Even the defense wasn't up Blue Jays' standards.

Here is from an article on the Jays official MLB site:

Consider a few elements that led to the Blue Jays' recent slide:

• Prior to Wednesday's 10-run outburst, Toronto scored three runs or fewer in nine straight games to match the worst such stretch in franchise history -- first time since 1986.

• During the nine-game losing streak, the Jays hit at a .185 (15-for-81) clip with runners in scoring position, including a .154 mark in the first eight losses.

• Between loss No. 1 and loss No. 9, the Blue Jays endured a 77-inning homerless drought. That was Toronto's worst power outage since the 1997 season.

• The Jays scored just 13 runs over the first eight losses before plating 10 against Baltimore on Wednesday. In all nine losses, Toronto averaged 2.6 runs per game.

• Toronto's bullpen allowed just two runs over 12 innings (1.50 ERA) in the first five losses. In the next four games, the 'pen yielded 21 runs in 10 innings (18.90 ERA).

• The Blue Jays' Nos. 3-5 hitters (Alex Rios, Wells and Adam Lind, respectively) combined to hit .229 (25-for-109) with just four RBIs in the nine losses.

• Toronto used seven different starters (four rookies) in the nine games. That group combined for a 5.08 ERA, and the rookies averaged less than five innings per start.

• The Jays hit .254 with 81 hits, 77 left on base and a .653 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in the nine losses. Entering the trip, Toronto was batting .289 with an .821 OPS.

Enough said.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wells - Streakiness

In the first 14 games of the season, there were 34 base runners when VW came to the plate, and he batting in 3 of them, and paltry 8.8% of them.

In the next 16 games, there were 58 base runners ahead of him, and he batted in 13 of them, a much better 22.4% of conversion rate.

In the most recent 15 games, there have been 35 runners on base and he's batted in none of them. I'll leave the percentage to the reader to calculate.

One hopes that Cito's patience pays off, because it is very difficult to watch the number 4 hitter convert only 3 base runners for two-thirds of the season.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Re-evaluating Cecil and Ray

After consecutive poor outings by Cecil and Ray, I decided to go back and see if I have been overlooking something.

For Brett Cecil, the only consistent item is that his expected ERA has been higher than his actual ERA in every game. In the first two games the expected values were very good values of 3.78 and 2.10 compared to the actual game ERAs of 1.50 and 0.00. In the second two games these were 5.76 and 29.25 versus the actual values of 4.50 and 15.43. Looking at his WHIP, OBA, SLG and OPS from the first games, there is nothing that predicted the result in Boston. One could also speculate that his fifth inning performance could be related to his 4th inning diving fielding play and maybe he got hurt.

Bobby Ray is a different story. He has had one good start, the 3-hit, 8-inning victory over Chicago, May 16. In his three other starts, his WHIP+ is over 1.5, his BF/O is over 1.4, his OPS ranges between 0.800 and 1.000 and his expected ERA has been above 5.00.

I’ve liked what I’ve heard when these kids have been interviewed and I think they have a future in the majors. Cecil deserves another couple of starts, if he is healthy. With Casey Janssen ready to join the Jays, I think Bobby Ray needs more seasoning in the minors.

Converting Base Runners

In response to a post by pablo on Mike Wilner’s blog, I looked at which of OBP, SLG or RC did the best job of predicting the winner of the Jays’ first 44 games. I’m not an enormous fan of the power game as too often it is feast or famine; I prefer teams and players that hit for average. I suppose that will be another analysis sometime in the future.

What surprised me was that the team with the higher OBP won 37 of the Jays first 44 games, whereas the higher SLG predicted 41 of the 44 game winners. Runs Created had a record of 36-8, differing from OBP on the outcome of three games. I was interesting to note that on the misclassified Jays losses the average Team LOB was 9.8 (9.2 for RC) and the total of the individual LOB averaged 20.7 (19.5 for RC). Conversely, in the games predicted as losses that the Jays actually won the averages were 4 for TLOB and 8 for the individual LOB. For the season, the Jays are averaging 7.7 and 16.4 on these measures, respectively.

When a player comes to the plate with runners on base, there are three principal things that can happen: he can drive them in, leave them on base, or erase them with a ground ball double play. (There can also be a run driven in with no RBI and there can also be double plays resulting from a runner being out after a fly ball. I don’t have the data on either of these, so I will ignore these. The Jays had scored 13 more runs than RBIs, so the first happens about once every 3.3 games)

I estimated the number of base runners (BR) by adding LOB, (RBI-HR) and GIDP. The base runners batted in (BR BI) is (RBI-HR).

Rod Barajas and Adam Lind have been cashing in the highest proportion of their base runners at 26.7% and 26.2%, respectively. Also over 20% are, in order, Lyle Overbay, Aaron Hill and Marco Scutaro. At the other extreme, among the regular starters Vernon Wells has batted in only 16 of his 126 base runners and Alex Rios only 16 of his 115 base rummers. Scott Rolen’s 12 of 78 is very low as well. The best OBP on the team belongs to Jose Bautista, but he has only batted-in 5 of 41 base runners.

What about erasing runners?

Not that he is a regular, but the worst on the team is Raul Chavez, who has 2 RBI and 2 GIDP, so he’s erased as many as he’s driven in, but he's not on the team for his bat. The others that have erased more than 5% of their base runners are Millar, Scutaro, Bautista, Hill, Wells and Rios. Snider, Lind, and Overbay are under 5%, while Rolen and Barajas has no GIDP to date.

Net Impact

The Net Impact can be computed by taking the difference between the number or percentage of base runners that scored and the number erased. Barajas stays on top with 26.7% followed by Lind, at 22.4% and Overbay at 19.7%. Rios and Wells are both under 10%, which is not what we should expect from the 3 and 4 hitters.

Two Outs

I didn’t do much analysis on the 2-out situation, but a few observations:
(1) Vernon Wells has left 23 runners in scoring position (RISP) with 2 out but has only 9 2-out RBIs.
(2) Rod Barajas – tops in the analysis above – is next worst with 15 RISP and 4 RBI with 2 outs.
(3) At the other extreme, Lyle Overbay has 11 2-out RBI and has stranded only 8 RISP with 2 outs and is the only Jay with more 2-out RBI than RISP with 2 out.
(4) Adam Lind is the team leader with 2-out RBI at 17, but he has also left 22 RISP with 2-out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pitchers Making Their MLB Debuts in 2009

In MLB this year, there have been 70 games started by 17 different pitchers making their MLB debut in 2009. While it is still early, only 5 have posted ERAs below 4.50: Baltimore’s Koji Uehara, Detroit’s Rick Porcello, and the Jays’ Ricky Romero, Robert Ray and Brett Cecil. Uehara is a 34-year-old “rookie” with 10 years on the staff of the Yomiuri Giants in Japan.

Excluding Porcello and the three Jays, the 2009 debut group has been averaging 5.38 innings per start with a WHIP of 1.59, ERA of 5.96, an average Game Score (GSc) of 42.2 and only 1/3 of their starts being Quality Starts, based on a Game Score of 50 or more as the definition of QS. Porcello has been averaging 5 2/3 innings with a WHIP of 1.24, ERA of 3.86, an average GSc of 51.9 and 5 of his 7 starts being QS. The three Jays have averaged 6 2/3 innings or more with WHIPs at 1.20 or lower, an average GSc of 58.8 and 6 of their 9 starts being quality starts. The three Jays have been throwing 64.4% of their pitches for strikes, while Porcello has thrown 60.2% and the rest 62.4%.

The three Jays have been lasting longer and pitching better. Sure it is early, and we may see the clock strike midnight and things return to being pumpkins and mice. I think Cito Gaston and JP Ricciardi will be quite happy if even two of these three settle in to posting sub-4 ERAs and averaging over 6.5 innings per outing.

Monday, May 18, 2009

162 Game Projections, after 40

This is not something I take seriously; projecting a full season based on a partial season is something that is fun, however.

The Jays have 6 players on pace for 20 home runs: Hill (45), Lind (28) and Overbay, Well, Rios and Scutaro, all on pace for 20.

Doubles: Lind is on pace for 57 doubles, Barajas 45, Scuraro, Wells and Rolen each on pace for 41 and Rios (36) and Overbay (32) lagging a bit at 36 and 32, respectively. I expect both Overbay and Rios to pick up the pace a bit. The first base platoon of Overbay and Millar is on pace for 52 doubles and 24 HR.

RBI: 31% of the Jays RBIs are being produced by Lind (35) and Hill (33), which project to 142 and 134, respectively. No other Jay is on pace for 100, the closest being Barajas, on pace for 89.

By the way, the Jays high-water mark last year was 12 games above 0.500, which they reached after game 144 on September 9, an 8-2 vistory against Chicago. This year, they also got there after an 8-2 win over Chicago, but they did it in 104 fewer games. Their 0.650 winning pace projects to a 105-57 record. Cue up the Arrowsmith music! (Dream On)

My Analysis After 40 games

Defense - Overall

The Jays continue to have the best defense in the AL, having the highest Defensive Efficiency at 0.7276 (up slightly from 0.719 after 20 games), slightly ahead of Texas at 0.7255, with quite a drop to third (Detroit) and fourth (Seattle), both under 0.71. The league average is 0.701. This means that if there were no strikeouts and only balls in play, the league average requires 38.5 plate appearances to get through a game compared to the Jays 37.1 plate appearances. In effect, the combination of the Jays’ propensity to induce ground balls, combined with their strong defense, saves them nearly 1.5 opposition plate appearances per game, compared to the league average.

Defense - Fielding

The Jays are at or near the top in almost every fielding category. They are second (after Minnesota at 0.991) in fielding percentage at 0.987 and second to Oakland in chances per game. They have slipped to fourth in DPs. Also, they are slightly above the league average in caught stealing having caught about 26% of those attempting to steal.

Defense - Pitching

In the past 20 games, the Jays have remained about constant at 4.30 runs per game while all the other leaders have fallen back. Only KC remains ahead of the Jays at 4.08 overall, but have allowed an average of 4.55 over the past 20 games. The league average has lowered a bit over the Jays’ past 20 games from 5.10 to 5.01, which is still up about 1/3 of a run per game from last year's 4.68. The only teams with ERAs below 4.00 are KC (3.59) and the Jays at 3.90, with the league average of 4.67. The Jays have climbed to first in WHIP at 1.25, ahead of KC at 1.32.

In the second 20 games, the Jays have had 12 quality starts, bringing their total to 21 for the season. The bullpen has been effective 15 of the 18 times they have been called upon, with effective meaning they've only allowed half an earned run per inning pitched.

On my preferred metric of pitching effectiveness, batters faced per out (BF/O), Roy Halladay had one weak start, when he gave up 4 runs to Baltimore, but is effective 90% of the time this season. Richmond had his two blow-ups, but in the first, he settled down and was effective overall by the time he completed the game. However, given his last two starts and the abundance of good, healthy arms waiting to get back to the Jays’ rotation, he is probably on a very short leash. Since coming up, Robert Ray and Brett Cecil have very good identical WHIPs of 1.10 and BF/O of 1.33.

I’ve started to track Bill James’ Game Score (GSc) statistic for starters. Over 50 is a quality start and over 70 is a great start. In the past 12 days, we’ve witnessed the best five performances by Jays’ starters this year: Halladay’s starts against the Angels (GSc=70) and the Yankees (78), Tallet’s and Cecil’s starts in Oakland (both Game Scores of 74) and Ray’s start yesterday against the White Sox (GSc=76). Among active starters, Halliday leads with an average GSc of 63.6, followed by Cecil and Ray with 61 and 59 respectively. Without his one blow-up, Tallet would be averaging 60.6, with these five starts all being quality starts on the GSc metric. As I posted on Mike Wilner’s blog, I’d rather have a guy that gives quality starts 4 out of five times and blows up once than a guy that has the same average performance consistently.


On the Runs Created per plate appearance (RC/pa) metric, the Jays continue to do very well, but there has been some regression towards the mean. The team leader is still Aaron Hill at 0.209 (down from 0.225 after 20 games), followed by Lind at 0.201 (up from 0.191). Rolen has climbed to 0.165 from 0.154, while Scutaro has slipped very slightly to 0.153 from 0.157. Rios has climbed to 0.123 from 0.101, and his improvement has been quite steady in the past 20 games. Snider has gone into a serious offensive tailspin, falling to 0.105 from 0.182, and one wonders how long Cito and JP will continue to send him out. In 8 of the 14 games in which he played in the past 20, he’s contributed nothing offensively in 8 of those games. However, he has produced some highlight-reel defensive plays.

Except for Barajas, who has increased his RC/pa slightly to 0.148, the others have fallen off: Bautista to 0.140 from 0.177; Overbay to 0.147 from 0.166; Wells to 0.124 from 0.146; and Millar to 0.124 from 0.191. The team is averaging 0.148 with only Snider below the threshold of 0.120.

I now have data on pitches faced by each batter. What prompted me to get this data was the plate discipline shown by Adam Lind. It seemed to me that he had quite a number of high pitch-count at bats. (In fact, Lind has three at 10 or more.) Batting order positions 5 through 7 are tough on opposing pitchers, with Lind, Rolen and Overbay, averaging 4.44, 3.92 and 3.90 pitches per at bat, respectively. The platoon partners of Bautista and Millar also work the counts well at 4.09 and 3.76. Scutaro, at lead off and leading the majors in walks, also sees a lot of pitches and 3.84/pa. At the other extreme is Vernon Wells with only 3.24 pitches per at bat, which could be expected given that he has a reputation for swinging on the first pitch.


After 20 games, I wrote, “After a 14-6 start, the Jays have the best record in the AL. They have been hobbled at pitching, and the next 20-30 games could be quite a test.” Well, they’ve gone 12-8 in that stretch with pitching help that not anticipated. Purcey and Burres were sent down to Vegas and Burres is no longer on the 40 man roster, while Brett Cecil and Robert Ray have come up and pitched superbly. Tallet has pitched effectively as a starter in 5 of 6 starts. Richmond’s was Rookie of the Month for April, but that seems to have cursed him somewhat in his past two starts. With Janssen healthy and ready to be called up, Richmond should be on the bubble. I liked what I saw in his starts, except the last, but one must consider that he faced a Yankee lineup full of lefties, which have always hit well off him. Hopefully, he bounces back.

This brings me to a somewhat radical suggestion I made on Mike Wilner’s blog: keeping 6 starters with one LHP and one RHP swinging between the rotation and long relief, depending on the team their facing. For example, against the Yankees, I would want to start all lefties – possibly with the exception of Halladay – particularly with the wind-tunnel to right at the New Yankee Stadium. One drawback is that this might not be the wisest thing to do with young arms.

The bullpen has continued to perform very well with an ERA of 3.54 in the past 20 games and 3.49 overall. Ryan is back from the DL and pitched well in one, non-pressure situation. Scott Downs is the closer for now, something Ryan has publicly said he accepts. Of the remaining starters, only Camp and League have ERAs over 4.00, but neither is over 4.50.

After 20 games I said that I didn’t expect the offense “…to continue to average over 6 runs per game, although I think this squad will average over 5.5.” In the past 20, they have produced and average of 5.35, a bit below where I anticipated they would be. More concerning is that in 7 of those games, they produced 3 runs or less, accounting for 6 of their 8 losses.

After 20 games I posted, “Over the next 21 … I realistically see them going 13-8 or 12-9…” and they have gone 12-8, so they will be either 13-8 or 12-9 for that stretch after the White Sox leave town. It was great to see them return from a short West Coast swing with a winning (3-2) record, something that has been rare in the past few seasons.

The next 19 games include the last game against the White Sox and then a nine game road trip through Boston, Atlanta and Baltimore, followed by nine home games against Boston, the Angels and the Royals. Game 60 is scheduled to be the first of a road series in Texas. I see the Jays continuing to play 0.600 ball over this stretch winning 7 of their 10 home games and splitting on the road.

Season Projection:

This team has been remarkably consistent. There has not been any 10 game stretch where they have played below 0.500 or above 0.700.

Now that the Jays are 26-14, a 0.580 pace – their record last season under Cito – the rest of the way projects to a 97-65 record. Even if they slip back to 0.560 the rest of the way, they’ll finish with a 0.580 (94-68) overall.

Boston has slipped to 3 games behind, but I do see them staying with the Jays all season. The Yankees have started to pick up the pace lately, but neither the Yankees nor the Rays have picked up ground on the Jays since April 26, the date of game 20 for the Jays.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Not Baseball Stats, but Racial Attitudes

I was at the game Tuesday in which Halladay and the Jay defeated the Yankees in front of nearly 44,000 boisterous fans.

Before the game there was a presentation of a cheque to Child Find Ontario from a school (Holy Cross, St. Catharines, I think) that had raised some funds. Two students from the school sang the national anthems. The first, was a rather good rendition by a female student of the very difficult to sing U.S. Anthem. The Canadian anthem was sung by a Oriental student, who did not sing as well, yet it brought a tear to my eye. Here was an immigrant kid, whose family chose to be in Canada, singing "O Canada" in front of 44,000 people. How wonderful!

Unfortunately, the jerks in the 500 level where I was sitting, had to make fun of the kid and his accent. I wanted to say something, but decided not to since one never knows how much these idiots have had to drink. The irony is, that half these jerks behind me were non-white and probably kids of immigrants themselves.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Quality Starts

As of this morning, the Jays have the 8th best ERA (4.08) in MLB and the 4th best in the AL, a number inflated by a few starters such as Burres (no longer a Jay), Purcey (in LV trying to learn how to throw strikes) and Litsch (who ended up on the DL after just two starts). The starters have an overall ERA of 4.20, but without the three aforementioned, it is 3.18. We have been treated to a number of excellent pitching performances.

I like the Quality Start (QS) statistic, as it distils the starters’ performance down to a single number that determines whether they have kept their team in the game. 3 ER or less in 6 IP projects into an ERA of 4.50, which is close to both the mean and median numbers of runs scored per game. I make one modification to this statistic, in that I assess the QS at the end of the sixth inning, on the justification that it is a managerial decision to leave the starter in longer and if the starter gives up runs after that, he should not lose his QS. In my database I track both, and distinguish my definition from the widely-accepted definition as MQS (Modified Quality Start). In the Jays’ season to date, there has only been once that a pitcher has an MQS but not a QS: Opening night, when Halladay was allowed to continue with a big lead and gave up 4 runs in the 7th.

However, there are other measures I track as well.
• ERA in the appearance – which ignores the longevity of the start.
• Bill James’ Game Score
• WHIP+, which simply adds HBP to the on-base calculation
• BF/O, Batters faced per out which I’ve discussed before
• OPS against (OPSa)
• E(ERA), discussed below
• PQS, discussed below.

E(ERA) is Expected ERA, which is computed by determining the batting team’s Runs Created (RC) against the pitcher, which is Runs Allowed (RA). The RA are used instead of the actual ER to compute E(ERA).

PQS was developed by Ron Shandler and stands for Pure Quality Start, which assigns a 0 to 5 score based on five measures, provided the pitcher has lasted at least five innings:
• 1 if IP ≥ 6, measuring stamina.
• 1 if Hits ≤ IP
• 1 if (IP – SO) ≥ 2
• 1 if SO/BB ≥ 2
• 1 if HR ≤ 2
I have my reservations about this measure, as it is biased against pitch-to-contact pitchers that don’t strike out many, but I am going to reserve judgment until I have done more analysis.

So what have been the dominant pitching performances so far by the Jays’ starters this year?

Based on E(ERA), the top five and only sub-2.0 E(ERA) starts are
• Halladay vs NYY, May 12 – E(ERA) = 1.00
• Tallet at Oakland, May 9 – E(ERA) = 1.07
• Romero vs Oakland, April 19 – E(ERA) = 1.38
• Richmond at Minnesota, April 15 – E(ERA) = 1.84
• Cecil at Oakland, May 10 = E(ERA) = 1.85
Of course, a criticism of the E(ERA), and almost any metric, is that pitchers will get top ratings against weak-hitting teams. The OPSa metric also ranks these as the top five pitching performances.

Based on BF/O, the top five starts are:
• Halladay vs NYY, May 12 – BF/O = 1.11
• Tallet at Oakland, May 9 – BF/O = 1.14
• Romero vs Oakland, April 19 – BF/O = 1.24
• Cecil at Oakland, May 10 = BF/O = 1.25
• Romero at Minnesota, April 14 – BF/O = 1.25

There have been 10 starts with a WHIP+ of 1.00 or less. The four less than 1.00 are:
• Halladay vs NYY, May 12 – WHIP+ = 0.56
• Tallet at Oakland, May 9 – WHIP+ = 0.57
• Romero vs Oakland, April 19 – WHIP+ = 0.86
• Tallet vs Oakland, April 18 – WHIP+ = 0.94

There are 5 starts with a Games Score (GSc) of 70 or more:
• Halladay vs NYY, May 12 – GSc = 78
• Cecil at Oakland, May 10 – GSc = 74
• Tallet at Oakland, May 9 – GSc = 74
• Romero vs Oakland, April 19 – GSc = 73
• Richmond at LAA, May 6 – GSc = 70

There are 7 Pure Quality Starts with a score of 5:
• Cecil at Oakland, May 10
• Tallet at Oakland, May 9
• Romero vs Oakland, April 19
• Richmond at LAA, May 6
• Halladay at Cleveland, April 11
• Richmond vs Baltimore, May 3
• Cecil vs Cleveland, May 5

Halladay’s start last night was the best by E(ERA), BF/O, WHIP+ and GSc, yet because he only struck out 5 batters, to the chagrin of 43,737 fans hoping for a free pizza slice, his PQS is only 4. My skepticism about this measure has not waned.

This has been a great week for Blue Jays fans of great pitching!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Rookie Pitchers - as Mike Hogan would say, "WOW!"

This evening it was announced that Scott Richmond was named Rookie of the Month in the AL. The MLB Press release says Ricky Romero received votes as well. Add to that, Robert Ray coming one out shy of a quality start in his first ML game and today's debut by Brett Cecil (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 SO, 0 BB) and that is some amazing rookie pitching.

In 10 starts by rookies - 5 by Richmond, 3 by Romero and one each by Ray and Cecil - they have combined for:

  • a 6-0 record
  • 63 innings pitched
  • 8 Quality Starts
  • 47 strike-outs vs 20 walks
  • 2.43 ERA
  • 1.175 WHIP
  • 1.365 BF/O
  • and opposition hitters are batting 0.216/0.256/0.364
Do I expect them to stay this good? No, it really isn't realistic to think this will last. However, I will enjoy it while it lasts.

Pitching is the most precious asset in baseball and JP deserves a lot of credit for having this much rookie talent.

Cito Vs Gibby & Mike WIlner's Blog

Out of respect for Mike Wilner, I'm going to try to refrain from posting on his blog about the Cito vs Gibbons issue. Mike is clearly growing weary from the numerous posts on the issue and I think that he is bothered by the distraction it has become there.

In a reply to a comment on my analysis posted here I compare the stats of Wells, Rios and Scutaro - the only three Jays with 450+ PA and not battling arm/should issues like Rolen and Overbay - and show that these three were underperforming under Gibby/Denbo and actually overperforming their career numbers under Gaston/Tenace. That not just mean reversion, since they have all swung past their "mean" (career numbers) and performed better than their career averages.