Sunday, May 20, 2007

Weekend Notes: Scott and Ramon

A few notes on a few players as I watch the Twins piddle away the last game of this series...

Scott Baker
By far the most significant development of the weekend was Baker's start on Saturday, brining hope that the perceived abundance of pitching that the Twins have in Rochester is as ready as we hoped. The Twins have been and will continue to be criticized for the way they balanced their young and old pitching.

That's a little ironic, because their ulimtate solution makes everyone feel better about themselves. Those that felt the Twins should have promoted the youngsters early can say "they told you so", and those that felt the kids should start the season in Rochester can attribute Baker's success to how the Twins handled them. Really, it's a win-win for all armchair GMs.

(And the real GM is likely pretty pleased, too).

Ramon Ortiz
The contrast between Saturday's and Sunday's starts will likely add some fuel to the calls for examining Ortiz's place in the rotation. He lost yesterday on the two biggest criticisms he's received this year from the sabrementric types: he gave up hits and he gave up homeruns. But looking at his record historically, the home runs and hits he gives up aren't the key to his success.

See how that ERA line goes up and down in step with the K/BB and the BB/9 rate? Home run rate, strikeout rate, hit rate - none of them match the trend in ERA nearly as well as the two metrics above, and those metrics are what we use to deterine a pitcher's control. When Ortiz has his control, he's good. When he doesn't, he isn't.

That's eerily similar to what the Twins have been saying for the last couple of weeks. Ortiz's walk rate is the lowest in his career right now. In yesterday's loss he walked nobody, and he threw 2/3 of his pitches for strikes. Ortiz's performance over the last few weeks has been shaky, but there are plenty of reasons to believe he could return to April's form.

Shoot, I have at least two more I'd like to talk about from the offensive side, but I gotta run. We'll talk about those tomorrow, and don't let me forget to rant about Denys Reyes.


ubelmann said...

TG, take a step back and look at the big picture. Ramon Ortiz has one positive attribute as a pitcher: he limits opponents to a low walk rate. After that, he doesn't do anything well. He doesn't get a lot of strikeouts, he doesn't induce a lot of groundballs, and consequently, he doesn't limit home runs. He doesn't have a great out pitch, and he doesn't have a special ability to limit hits on balls hit into play.

Ortiz simply is just not a good pitcher. You can try to spin those first couple of starts all you want, but in the end, you're just wishcasting what you want Ortiz to be, not looking at the hundreds of poor innings he's pitched as a major league pitcher.

Even looking on a superficial level at his ERA over the last seven starts, it has been nearly identical to Ponson's ERA over his seven starts.

Ortiz isn't as bad as he's been his last few starts (just the same way that Ponson wasn't as bad as he was over his few starts), but he's not anything resembling a valuable pitcher. He's a replacement level pitcher who managed to make a good impression by having a couple of good starts.

Adam said...

The problem is these starts ARE the same as his April rates. His peripheral stats were not supportive of his good results. I was trying to be as optimistic as anyone that Anderson had "fixed" him, but now that his overall numbers have followed the peripherals, I'm not impressed...

Anonymous said...

Wait--his ERA goes UP with the ratio of strikes per walk?? I suspect a typo here: should that line perhaps be BB/K ?

Anonymous said...

QUOTE: Shoot, I have at least two more I'd like to talk about from the offensive side, but I gotta run. We'll talk about those tomorrow, and don't let me forget to rant about Denys Reyes.

TG, I'm still waiting for the follow up to OFFENSIVE OPTIONS (PART I), but I look forward to whatever you post tomorrow.
As always, I love the blog. -ossieO