Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Andy Pettitte Really Stinks

I know what you’re saying, you’re saying “Pettitte has the lowest ERA of any Yankee starter this year, he doesn’t stink, he’s actually one of the few guys on their team contributing.” (or you're saying "worst blog title ever.").

That is you might be saying the former if you were any one of the numerous baseball writers lauding Pettitte for his season so far. Instead if you’re reading this that means you know me, which also means you know that if you quote me ERA #’s I’ll probably put my hands on my ears and scream “la la la laaa laa Russ Ortiz* laa”.

If I try to make Pettitte look good this year (and a child is listening) I can say that he has the 17th best ERA in the AL, he’s pitched the 12th most innings, and he’s been keeping that hole on his chin relatively clean. He’s also had a pretty notable career so far mostly because of the teams he's been a cog in.

If I try to make him look bad it’s much easier. His WHIP is 50th among AL starters, his K/9 is 75th, and his K/BB is 56th. You might be saying, well he’s a ground ball pitcher so his G/F is what keeps him successful despite the awful peripherals. That’s fine, he is a ground ball pitcher, but his G/F isn’t even as good as that of Julian Tavarez. In fact Julian is perhaps the most comparable pitcher to Pettitte in the entire AL. If it wasn't for Julian's lower stamina they might be the same person.

I haven’t seen many arguments for Julian getting a spot in the Allstar game though while I have seen a few for Pettitte like this one where Dayn Perry says he’d pick Pettitte over Josh Beckett.

I know this is really simple, boring stuff, but people are still getting paid to write it so I might as well take the time to contradict it. Really the problem is Pettitte’s K-rate. He’s getting older and his stuff isn’t aging well. His K/9 right now is the lowest it has ever been in his career while his G/F is pretty comparable to everything since 1999 (around the time when he began to lose his dominating cut fastball). Moving to the NL when he did kept his stats respectable but the AL will continue to make reality harsh for him.

Despite his recent trend of stinking he still seems to have many fans who through the art of revisionist history have assigned him a clutch coefficient of nearly Derek Jeterian levels (you know Jeter, the man made of pure clutch who eats clutch for breakfast and ups his OPS from a pedestrian .853 in the regular season to a both superhuman and gritty .863 in the post season?) . Well the facts say Pettite's similarly as clutch, or in this case nonclutch (3.81 ERA in regular season, 4.08 ERA in post season).

*I mention Russ Ortiz because he is my poster child for outperforming your peripherals. The D-Backs learned the hard lesson that past ERA doesn’t predict future ERA when he took $27 million of their borrowed money for zero on field contribution. Don't feel too bad D-Backs, most of baseball was fooled.

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