Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Pitching Profile - May Edition

The following exercise is something I am trying to keep on the side for my own personal use, but then I thought that there might be just enough stat-hungry baseball folks to go ahead and post it up here for you to digest (slowly...there is a lot).

It is basic splits for the 5 starters who have filled out the Rangers rotation for 2009. There have been 50 starts, and to date, Millwood, McCarthy, Harrison, Feldman, and Padilla have made 45 of them. Benson, Holland, and Hunter have made the last 5, but there is not enough data to make it worth running their monthly trends.

But, as we embark upon the month of June, here is a perfect time to show you how the 5 are performing, and perhaps this is something I will update and rerun each and every time we turn the calendar here in the baseball season.

Just so we are all up to speed with the different stats, IPS is Innings Per Start, PPS is Pitches Per Start, and I am guessing you understand everything else.

Kevin Millwood Splits


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Millwood is a question of are you looking for positive or negative. Because if you are looking on the bright side, you will easily conclude that Kevin Millwood has been off the charts this season in his first 11 starts. His total season numbers are great as he is grinding over 7 innings per start, with all of the opponent's hitting stats falling below the league average. Millwood has been awesome.

On the negative side, May has been a pretty big step in the wrong direction across the board. From that standpoint, the hitting stats in May are all ABOVE the league average, so we need to watch his trend.

But, overall, there are very few complaints about Kevin Millwood. Even when he doesn't have his stuff, he is still out there putting up a huge fight.

Brandon McCarthy Splits


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With McCarthy, he did not get out of the gates very well, but as you will see as a trend with the young part of this rotation, once he found his "sea legs", he has taken off. McCarthy's most impressive numbers his ability to stay away from extra base hits in May. The May slugging of .366 is the key to his success, but .248/.300/.366 across the board is all pretty special.

I am not here to say that B-Mac has it all figured out, but his entire 6-start month of May is plenty to get excited about. He has quietly been trending up. He set his numbers pretty low in April, but aside from his IPS, everything is starting to look better.

Matt Harrison Splits


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Perhaps the reason McCarthy is not getting the ink that he might deserve is that he is not the biggest May turnaround. That would certainly be an honor given to Matt Harrison.

I think "Harry's" biggest turnaround is his WHIP. To cut that insane 2.08 April WHIP into a great 1.18 is his greatest achievement. His K rate has also jumped dramatically, and he now records 4 more outs per start.

Obviously, his numbers still cause concern long-term, as .308/.358/.484 is not a line good enough to keep a rotation spot, but his May suggests that Mike Maddux is making strides with Harrison.

Scott Feldman Splits


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Scott Feldman is so absurdly off the charts with all of his numbers since becoming a starter that it is a waste of time for me to add anything.

I am having a hard time coming to terms with how exactly a guy goes from a bullpen guy who cannot get anyone out to a starting pitcher who allows a line that is so low (.197/.267/.279) that there is no way someone can keep that pace up and not win a Cy Young award.

They obviously would like to see him get his IPS up a bit, but he has been beyond their wildest dreams in his 7 starts.

Vicente Padilla Splits


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Were you aware of how good Padilla has been in May? I bet you were not looking forward to his return, but he was pitching out of his mind in his last 3 starts including a batting average against of .160 and a slugging of .173???

Much like Harrison, Padilla set the numbers pretty high in April, so now it will take him a while to get nice, shiny, regular season stats, but he is starting to pitch like it is a contract year.

Starting Rotation Splits


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And now here is the full profile of the rotation. 6 1/3, 100 pitches, with a very impressive 23 Quality Starts out of 50 attempts. Also, the season numbers of .265/.332/.425 is pretty much the league average. Which, I believe is all anyone wanted around here. If the Rangers pitching could just perform to the league average, this team will win way more than it loses. And, at 30-20, it seems like it is all coming together as we turn the calendar to June.

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