Thursday, April 05, 2007

Returning to the Fold (Part I)

A funny thing about the last couple years in MLB was that many of the very best pitchers were either inactive or too ineffective to be considered the ace of their team. All of these guys fit that description and I hope very much that their strong first starts are a sign that they'll be able to return to their peak performance level over the full 2007 season. All of them are very young (except Hudson who is 31) so they still have time to rise to the top and stay there for the foreseeable future. Hopefully I'll be writing a similar blurb for Francisco Liriano after his first start of 2008.

Rich Harden:
Coming Back From: Missing most of last year after an injury-plagued 2005.
Aspires to Be: John Smoltz.
First Start: 7 ip, 3 h, 0 er, 7 k
Best Sign: Looks and feels healthy.

Zack Greinke:
Coming Back From: Uncertain circumstances, but he only pitched a couple times out of the pen last year after getting hammered all 2005. It was only the inept team behind him that hid how amazing he was for it being his first year in 2004.
Aspires to Be: Bret Saberhagen.
First Start: 7 ip, 8 h, 1 er, 7 k
Best Sign: Didn’t give up 10 runs. And he’s still only 23.

Josh Beckett:
Coming Back From: Disappointing first 200 ip year. He's already been at the top in the NL. Now he just needs to figure out how to do it in the AL.
Aspires to Be: Curt Schilling.
First Start: 5 ip, 2 h, 1 er, 5 k
Best Sign: Has finally admitted some willingness to adapt.

Ben Sheets:
Coming Back From: Two straight injury-filled years.
Aspires to Be: Darryl Kile with a better fastball.
First Start: 9 ip, 2 h, 1 er, 3 k
Best Sign: His extremely efficient, Roy Halladay-esque first outing.

Jake Peavy:
Coming Back From: Less effective 2006 season (see earlier post).
Aspires to Be: Kevin Brown circa 1998.
First Start: 6 ip, 3 h, 0 er, 6 k
Best Sign: Getting ahead of hitters and seems to be completely healthy.

Tim Hudson:
Coming Back From: A bad 2006 which followed an unimpressive 2005.
Aspires to Be: Tim Hudson circa 2000.
First Start: 7 ip, 2 h, 1 er, 5 k
Best Sign: Movement on pitches seems to be back.

Felix Hernandez:
Coming Back From: A disappointing first full season (disappointing in that he didn’t win the AL Cy Young at age 20).
Aspires to Be: Dwight Gooden or Pedro Martinez with more stamina.
First Start: 8 ip, 3 h, 0 er, 12 k
Best Sign: Has come back with stronger determination and physique. His stuff belongs in some league a level above MLB. Despite being brought along slowly given his minor league domination, he's still only 20 years old entering his third MLB year.

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Blogger ben said...

Oliver Perez?

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

I see you have CoolStandings as one of your links. I don't understand the purpose of that site. Why would I want to go to their site to click on my team for the fulfillment of seeing it win a fake league?

12:00 AM  
Blogger sabesin2001 said...

i too don't understand their preseason baseball simulation and the clicking on your team to influence it thing.

but during the season they project the rest of a team's season utilizing a kind of rpi statistic, which i think is really cool. it totally nailed the finishes last year months in advance.

and aside from the smart projections, it really can just give you a probabilistic idea of where your team stands. like for instance, how meaningful is it to have a 5 game lead at the beginning of September. all things considered equal, how often will the chasing team catch up?

2:57 AM  
Blogger sabesin2001 said...

i thought about moving down a rung and talking about oliver perez and ted lilly, etc. but the ones i listed i think are guys who are top 10-15 starters in their leagues. perez has to show at least some semblance of consistency.

3:00 AM  
Blogger ben said...

oh I was totally kidding about Perez. He's not a good pitcher anymore.

9:17 PM  

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