Yesterday we took a look at how Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA rated the Nats hitters. All in all, it wasn’t too bad, but you’d hope for a bit more from most of the guys. As for the pitchers, well, once again, let’s look at their rates. I’m gonna do ERA, K/9, BB/9, and I threw in (K/BB) which I just calculated.
Stephen Strasburg – 2.53, 9.8, 2.1 (4.6). Wow, those are some impressive numbers. If he can do that, he’s in the Cy Young discussion even though he’s on limited innings. There’s no way he’d win it this year in 160 or so IP, but the point is, PECOTA really likes him. His walk rate was lower last year, but with only a few starts, that may not be realistic. We’ll see, but these numbers look great.
Jordan Zimmermann – 4.04, 7.1, 2.4 (2.9). This looks like a regression in some ways, but his K/9 are actually up, while his BB/9 goes down. I’m surprised at how much higher than ERA is from last year (when he had a 3.18). I know some of that is regression to the mean type adjustments, as his ERA was better than his peripherals would suggest. But I’ll take the under on this prediction, I think his ERA will be below 4.00, and not by just a smidge.
Gio Gonzalez – 4.08, 8.3, 3.9 (2.1). That’s a big ERA jump for a guy who is at 3.17 over the last two years. Some of that may be from leaving the very pitcher friendly Oakland ballpark. But I think the change in leagues might increase that K rate (which is below his career line of 8.6) in addition to lowering his BB rate (which they factored in). Because of that, the ERA could be better than what they’ve got here.
Edwin Jackson – 4.48, 6.4, 3.0 (2.1). Sure, I’d love to see something better than this, and maybe it will be, but these numbers seem pretty realistic for me with Jackson. At his best, he might strike out a bit more and walk fewer, but probably not much fewer.
John Lannan – 4.86, 4.3, 3.2 (1.4). PECOTA, and any of these ratings systems, hates a pitcher like Lannan. He does keep the ball on the ground, but probably not enough, and he doesn’t strike anyone out. Those peripherals seem about right, but every year he does that, and every year his ERA is better than the predictions. I’d expect that to happen again.
Chien-Ming Wang – 4.29, 4.4, 2.6 (1.7). Wang’s preipheral numbers are pretty close to Lannan’s, with a few less walks, but his ERA is over a half a run lower. Why? Well in addition to those similarities, they have similar H/9 and BABIP. But they do have Lannan with a GB% of 53.8% and Wang at 55.3%, and they give Wang the edge on HR/9 (.84 vs 1.04)m which probably makes the major differences. Which is why I think these numbers are probably also a bit low for Wang, and that Lannan’s ERA will probably be much closer to this that what he’s projected for. Statistically, not many pitchers strike out so few and see success, but both of these guys have done it for years.
Ross Detwiler – 5.26, 5.2, 3.6 (1.5). Detwiler’s rates highlight what worried me about him at the end of last year despite his beautiful 3.00 ERA. Those numbers just aren’t sustainable. That being said, both his K and BB rates were better last year, and if he maintains that, or even improves as he matures, his ERA will be significantly better than what’s projected here. It’s a tightrope walk for him, though, unless he starts striking more people out.
Drew Storen – 3.11, 8.5, 2.6 (3.2). These numbers are almost in perfect harmony with his career stats. It shows him to be exactly what he probably is, a good, reliable, but not elite level closer. Mariano he’s not, which is worth remembering when it’s time to pay him more. For now, though, he’s a great pitcher to have at a great price.
Tyler Clippard – 3.68, 8.8, 3.8 (2.3). Clippard’s ERA is probably hurt by his walks, although he also has a higher propensity to give up HRs (1.07 per 9 as opposed to Storen’s 0.81). Last season was probably a career year for him – relievers do this all the time, their stats show real volatility year on year. That being said, he’s perfectly cut out to deliver another solid year as a setup man. He’s another guy that you love to have, especially at the price, and worry about who’s gonna pay him big bucks later.
Brad Lidge – 3.73, 10, 4.1 (2.5). Lidge has got a really great K rate to go along with his Lights Out nickname, according to Baseball Reference (looking for intro music?), but the walks keep him from being dominant. His ability to strike people out do help though, and he’ll be effective as long as he doesn’t do what he did last year – walk 6+ hitters per 9. Of course, those rates have been worse than the 4.1 for the past 4 seasons, so I’m not sure he’ll do even this well.