Friday, October 29, 2010

Fun with Things That are Fun

Watching Ron Washington go out of his way to hand the Giants the second game of the World Series makes me think we wasted a lot of energy fretting the managerial search. Clearly Manger of the Year Ron Washington's main strategy for 2010 was "hand ball to Lee/Wilson, hope for the best." Pretty sound strategy, until they either lay a minor egg (it happens) or their finger splits in two like an extra from a bad alien invasion movie.

Despite some hostility towards Lee in the past, I can safely say he's one of the best pitchers in baseball. He has good stuff and throws strikes. Good things all around. The other day I found myself thinking about something. Mind the gap, peep the Player A/B gimmick:
  1. Player A's first two full seasons in the majors
    1. 33 starts, 179 innings, 8.09 K/9, 4.07 BB/9, 33.4% ground ball rate, 1.20 HR/9, 4.63 xFIP, 1.5 WAR
    2. 32 starts, 202 innings, 6.37 K/9, 2.32 BB/9, 35.6% ground ball rate, 0.98 HR/9, 4.26 xFIP, 4.0 WAR

  2. Player B's first two full seasons in the majors
    1. 29 starts, 178 innings, 7.13 K/9, 3.99 BB/9, 54.0% ground ball rate, 0.91 HR/9 4.09 xFIP, 2.8 WAR
    2. 32 starts, 210 innings, 7.46 K/9, 3.51 BB/9, 55.2% ground ball rate, 0.64 HR/9, 3.75 xFIP, 4.0 WAR
Give up? Player A is obviously Cliff Lee in his age 25 and 26 seasons, Player B is none other than our very own Ricky Romero (24/25 FWIW).

Can we expect Romero to follow Lee's rollercoaster path to major league dominance? Not likely. I don't know about must of y'all, but I don't think my heart could take Ricky Romero pitching in HIGH A BALL at any point in 2011. But that's what happened to Lee and look at him now.

But there is certainly hope that Romero can learn to master the strike zone like the unconscious Lee. Might the astute (no pressure) new regime add a cutter to Romero's 4 pitch mix, making him equally tough to touch? We can only hope.

Romero doesn't have the same gravity ball option to make him true death on left-handed hitters, but that doesn't mean he won't. If anything, adding a cutter as discussed above would yield even better results against same-handed batters. Without that big out pitch (other than his fabled "cut change") Romero might even be a Danks Theory candidate for all the overmanagers in the crowd.

This isn't any more reason for you to join "Team Romero" but it is important to note the kind of company he keeps. Making the leap from 4 Win pitcher to 8 is pretty massive, especially for a guy who breaks wild pitch records. When people talk about Romero's makeup — and they do, in glowing terms — Jays fans can feel pretty good about Ricky's willingness to do what he must to join that upper echelon of elite starters.

Image courtesy of via Boing Boing


  1. He doesn't have to be an 8 win pitcher, he just needs to be a healthy pitcher. That and pitch like a man :p

  2. maybe being sent down to A ball is the key to success. The two best pitchers in baseball today(Lee and Halladay) had to go there after they were major leaguers.


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