It’s over, and as much as you’d like to say that finishing 7-9 is no fun, it’s hard to say this season has been disappointing. Here are a look at some of the stats from last year compared to this year.

Stats 06-07

So there you have it. The offense went from bad to worse, and the pitching went from worst to below average. So the good things first – the pitching. It actually improved quite a bit, in terms of the most important stats, which are runs and ERA. But the number of strikeouts got worse and the team dropped to last. It shows that the pitching did improve, and it’s possible that the reduction in strikeouts could be due to different TYPES of pitching, or pitcher that are worse at pitching, but got luckier as their hits went right at fielders. Also, while it is worth noting that RFK helps keeps the pitchers numbers down, it is also worth noting that the team played in RFK in 2006 as well. So it is an improvement.

Now, on to the hitting. Now, keeping in mind the team did get rid of the majority of their position players before starting the season, the hitting was absolutely atrocious. They are the worst power team in the NL, possibly a tad better than the Giants. They dropped NINE spots in OBP, which you want to blame on Nick Johnson’s injury, except for the fact that his Meat Hook replacement was at .378 (sure it’s not Nick Johnson, but it is still very good). Looking down the list, you can see that they got worse in every single hitting category. They don’t hit enough, don’t walk enough, and don’t have enough power. The improvement in their record certainly owes nothing to the hitters, and have to be extremely grateful to the pitching for the improvement when they probably deserved to be much worse.

The most important number on that list is in that first row – the fact that this team improved in wins is truly remarkable. As my friend mentioned, it’s hard to believe they did this while losing a 40-40 guy, and not replacing him.

Other insanities include:

  • Having the ace of the staff (Patterson) injured all season
  • The best starter on the team this season (Hill) only was healthy enough for 16 starts and hadn’t pitched 50 innings before 2007.
  • The pitcher with the most starts (Chico) had never played above AA.
  • 5 pitchers that made starts in 2006 made starts this in 2007 (Chico, Patterson, Hill, Traber and Bergmann), which may not seem remarkable, except for the fact that they only combined for 28 starts last season. Of that group, Patterson only made 7 starts this year and Traber only had 2.
  • The players who saw the most time at 1B (Johnson), 2B (Vidro), SS (Clayton), LF (Soriano), CF (Byrd), and RF (Guillen) in 2006 didn’t play a single inning with the team in 2007, with Nick Johnson being the only one left on the roster. That’s right only Zimmerman and Schneider remain from the guys who had the most playing time last year.

This team has gone through a major overhaul, reduced payroll significantly, gotten much younger and managed to win more games. Whether or not you think they have the talent to contend some day on their current roster, they have taken a huge step towards rebuilding.

Also, lost in all these stats is the job of Manny Acta. Acta, with the holdout from last season Randy St. Claire, were a big part of this team’s success. It gives you a good feeling that if they got a few more pieces, they could put together a decent club. So what pieces are out there? We’ll get into that next week…

By Charlie