Posts Tagged ‘florida marlins’

The Future of Mark Buehrle

The Future of Mark Buehrle for The Platoon Advantage

The good: since 2001, when Buehrle began 11 straight seasons of 200+ innings, Buehrle is first in the majors in innings, 21st in BB/9 (min. 400 IPs), and seventh in WAR (Fangraphs edition) behind only Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia, Roy Oswalt, Javier Vazquez, Randy Johnson and Johan Santana. You can’t quibble with that consistent usefulness.

To date, Buehrle has a 3.83 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2.48 K:BB rate and 45.9% ground ball (GB) rate. However, there are some chinks in the armor. He led the league in hits four times and, as Dave Cameron pointed out, his ERA likely benefited from some subjective ground ballness and how they are classified/scored as errors. As Cameron discovered, 10.1% of Buehrle’s runs allowed have been unearned. While his ERA puts him in great company, if you look at runs allowed, he seems more like Al Leiter, Barry Zito, Randy Wolf and Jarrod Washburn. You certainly can’t just assume all his unearned runs were a product of his insane amount of ground balls, but it is certainly possible he’s getting a little help from those scoring the games.

Another issue with Buehrle being the savior is that he’s old and has a tremendous amount of innings on his arm. Buehrle will be 33 years-old next year and has already pitched 2,476.2 innings in the majors. I wrote the majority of this before he signed, with the assumption that he would get a four-year deal, just based on the fact that every single team wanted him. I just don’t think he’ll stay productive that entire time, i.e., until his age 37 season. And I’m not sure I can find a pitcher similar to Buehrle who has.

Full article at TPA: http://www.platoonadvantage.com/2011/12/future-of-mark-buehrle.html

h2h Corner ~ You’re Killing me Smalls: Hanley Ramirez

In 2010, Hanley Ramirez hit 21 HRs, stole 32 bases and posted a .300/.378/.475 slash line. In March/April of last year, he hit just two HRs and posted a .279/.386/.395 line.

Clearly the sky was falling. Well, if that were the case, the whole universe must be falling in 2011, as Hanley is off to a .211/.317/.268 start. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Chris Hammond

hammond1bac2 hammond1bacI was going to write about the 1996 Chris Hammond card awhile ago, but it got lost in the shuffle. Over Thanksgiving, I was at my parents house and rummaged through a few boxes of old cards and stumbled upon this 1992 Studio Club card of Hammond that seemed equally interesting. As the Spice Girls said tonight is the night when 2 become 1!

At first, my inclination with Hammond was to prove another sample size issue that was frequent in baseball as little as just 14 years ago (see also: Johnson, Mark). It is in fact true that Hammond posted a pretty nice slash line in 1995 (.271/.364/.375) – a line that would make Russell Martin blush at this point. He also hit one of the four HRs of his career that season. Oddly enough he hit two dingers in 1993, his slash line that year: .190/.292/.317.

So what happened in 1995? Hammond got a pitcher’s typical 40+ ABs, and anyone can look like Mickey Mantle in 48 ABs. When you blow out Hammond’s career (238 ABs) you get a typical pitcher Mendoza-line triple slash: .202/.285/.290. The lesson, as always, one season and a scant number of ABs does not make a career.

Other than his 1995 year at the plate, it was an altogether forgetful career – think of him as a Rheal Cormier doppleganger, or if you prefer akin to Dan Schatzeder (who loves home video!).

However, personally, he seems like an interesting dude. Like Mark Johnson (see above link), he has an affinity for deer. He also, oddly enough, collects matches. I assume this should read matchbooks. Right? I mean there is nothing different about matches, they aren’t snowflakes. Now, matchbooks can remind people of where they have been and the histrionics that ensued somewhere. I still have a matchbook from a formal in college, for instance.

Lastly, I assume Hammond is a fan of the band, Alabama — and really who isn’t – not the state. The band has some phenomenal songs paired deliciously with fantastic beards. Although, Hammond did live in Birmingham, so maybe he’s just a fan of the state. That’d be kind of odd – maybe they have a lot of matches there? Or at least some choice match factories?

Speaking of odd things and Hammond: only 20 times has a lead-off home run won a game 1-0. Hammond, on September 14 1993, gave up a lead-off round tripper to Carlos Garcia. The Marlins lost 1-0 and Hammond joined Walter Johnson, Frank Tanana, Gaylord Perry, Randy Johnson and others in the record book as the only pitchers on the losing end of this type of a game.

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For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

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h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Paul LoDuca

lo duca backloduca frontWhen you look at some of these cards, you see how far we have come in analyzing the performance and probable future performance of ball players. I’ll submit that the case of Paul LoDuca would not have been such a surprise had it occurred in 2011 rather than 2001.

According to his 2002 Topps card, LoDuca’s performance came out of nowhere. It is true he had a phenomenal year, especially for a catcher, in batting .320 with a .374 OBP and .543 slugging percentage. In his previous stints in the majors, spread over three seasons, LoDuca’s slash line was nothing (.241/.306/.351). Still that was only 76 games and 174 ABs.

What we would have known about his career in 2011 that most people likely overlooked in 2001 was what LoDuca had done in the minors. LoDuca never posted an OBP below .380. In his first year in AAA (1998), he went .319/.399/.452. He’d improve upon those numbers across the board in his second AAA season, including an astounding .478 OBP.

You might think that LoDuca was stuck in the minors because of Mike Piazza, however Piazza was traded in 1998. LoDuca did get a cup of coffee that year, but really never got consistent at bats until 2001. At that point, LoDuca would be 29 and would never duplicate the heights of his 2001 campaign. Perhaps there were simply too many miles spent in the catcher’s crouch. Still, he remained serviceable until his age 34 season.

I’ll always wonder what his career arc would have looked like had the Dodgers stuck with him in 1998 (or sooner).

Follow h2h Corner on Twitter (http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner)

For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.