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Pecota '08: The Pitchers

Following up on a look back at the Indians hitters and their relationship to Pecota last season, we take a look at the pitchers. The only "BP" stat I'm going to be relaying is (as defined by BP):

VORP, again, is Value Over Replacement Player. A pitcher's VORP is the number of extra runs that a replacement level pitcher would have allowed to score if he pitched the same number of innings as this pitcher, based on his translated statistics.

Rafael Betancourt

PECOTA 55 13 53 3.31 16.1
ACTUAL 71 25 64 5.07


Comment: The whole thing fell apart for Raffy-R in 2008. He didn't have his control, gave up 11 homeruns after only giving up 4 the year before and saw his comps list go from Keith Foulke, Trevor Hoffman, John Wetteland, and Tom Henke to Keith Foulke, Enrique Romo, and Justin Speier.

The change in comps here is especially instructive; before last season, PECOTA said Betancourt coud either dominate into his late 30s (Hoffman and Henke), implode and disappear (Wetteland) or implode and hang on for two more seasons (Foulke). Apparently, Rafael chose the final option. Obviously, he's not going the injury route like Foulke but it still doesn't bode well. Relievers rolling into their mid-30s who fall apart tend to stay fallen apart.

The Speier thing is really compelling as well; he and Betancourt are about 18 months apart in age, both have had short runs of dominance at advanced ages, and both exploded in 2008. Now they comp for each other.


Joe Borowski
PECOTA 51.2 16 41 4.21 8.3
ACTUAL 16.2 12 24 7.54


Comment: We all owe Borowski a debt of gratitude for quickly evaporating instead of puddling all over the furniture for another 2.5 months. Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest, sweet Joe.


Paul Byrd

PECOTA 115 24 52 5.19 5.6
ACTUAL 180 34 82 4.60


Comment: I was going to lavish praise on Paul Byrd for throwing 180 innings at such an advanced age but then I looked up how many guys had done it. So, instead, let's just stop and think about Phil Niekro throwing 342 innings in a single season at age 40.

Seriously, is that a typo? I know he's a knuckler and all but, 342? What?


Fausto Carmona

PECOTA 183.2 62 123 4.13 27.9
ACTUAL 120.2 70 58 5.44


Comment: I think the fact that Fausto was actually worse than a replacement player, that is a AAAA player, aka Brian Slocum Bullington Jr, says about all we need to know about 2008. His number one comp is still Scott Erickson, which sort of seems like a nightmare scenario. However, something about 2008 made Kevin Brown appear on Fausto's list. This can only be a good thing but I find it a little intriguing; I had never conisdered that PECOTA was using GO or FO in their comps but they must be, right?

Kevin Brown! We have Kevin Brown!


Masahide Kobayashi

PECOTA 39.2 13 27 4.74 2.9
ACTUAL 55.2 14 35 4.52


Comment: If Kobayashi had been used as PECOTA anticipated, that is if he'd only thrown 40 innings, his final line would've included 11 walks, 26 strikeouts and a 3.15 ERA. This is notable because PECOTA had figured out his BB and SO rates but, more than that, because Masa never should've been throwing 55 innings in the first place. Over his last 19 appearances, Kobayashi had an 8.04 ERA.

I'm a little concerned about the Indians cutting bait with Masa this spring; I don't see why he can't contribute to a bullpen at a level at least comparable to Vinne Chulk. It'd be a real shame if the Indians have in fact broken Kobayashi after just one season but I guess if you couldn't throw 55 IP, you probably didn't belong to start with.


Aaron Laffey IP BB SO ERA VORP
PECOTA 159.1 58 88 4.58 15.1
ACTUAL 93.2 31 43 4.23


Comment: Tom Glavine is one of Laffey's comps, which is kind of cool I guess. Aaron's youth has been his smoke-screen for the last two years, and deservedly so. Being above replacement in the majors at ages 22 and 23 is a pretty decent trick. Now, however, Laffey needs to ascend to, at the least, the role of innings-eating groundballer, both for his sake and the Indians' playoff hopes.

Weirdly, PECOTA is predicting a .330 BABIP for Aaron in 2009. I don't know what that means.

Cliff Lee

PECOTA 107.2 42 77 5.06 7.3
ACTUAL 223 34 170 2.54


Comment: There's no precedent for what Lee did.

Jensen Lewis

PECOTA 47 20 42 4.01 9.2
ACTUAL 66 27 52 3.82


Comment: Lewis is starting to bore me; he's fun and might have a 2.75 ERA season somewhere in his future but I'm not prepared to say that's in 2009 or 2014. His stuff is really not great according to people who evaluate that sort of thing and I think that's going to cause him to bounce around that 4.00 ERA benchmark, mixing good outings and bad. I think we (LGT) have a tendency to get sort of overly-jazzed about bullpen arms: they're fun for game threads and they often look really incredible for short stretches. With Lewis, the reality is that he's a 25 year old reliever with just OK stuff.

He sort of defines that mystical 'Throw it and see if it sticks arm' that the Indians front office has focused on; there's the potential for a great season and there's a potential for a really terrible one, with absolutely no guarantee of mediocrity.

Does that mean I don't love him? Naw. I still love love him.


Rafael Perez

PECOTA 74.1 28 57 3.78 16.1
ACTUAL 76 23 86 3.54


Comment: Picking from the comp lists again, Perez is shaping up to be Sparky Lyle. I don't know much about Sparky but the numbers look about right. In contrast to Lewis, this is an arm that deserves genuine excitement. Perez has two dominant relievers with sub 3 career ERAs on his list: Lyle and Dave Smith and, of course, Perez has the stuff.

Like many relievers, Perez has sort of a weird career trajectory; he's going to be 27 this year which sort of creeps up on you. He represents a best case scenario of sorts for it boy Josh Tomlin, if we ignore Tomlin's handedness.

C.C. Sabathia

PECOTA 215 53 179 3.38 47.6
ACTUAL 253 59 251 2.70


Comment: The big boy did all that and then he did some more. For those who hope for this sort of thing, there's not great predictors for a total collapse out of Sabathia; he's comping Drysdale, Carlton, Clemens, and Viola. All those guys were very good through at least their early thirties, and Charles Caresten is only 28.

I don't really want to talk about him any more. Thanks for Brantley and LaPorta.

Jeremy Sowers

PECOTA 131.2 46 66 5.45 2.1
ACTUAL 109.1 39 64 5.58


Comment: If I can't say anything nice, I won't say anything at all.