Thursday, August 04, 2005

Baseball's Best: AL Pitchers Edition

A quick look at the top 5 starters and top 3 closers in the American League so far:

Starters

Roy Halladay, TOR
12-4/2.41 ERA/108 K/18 BB/11 HR/53.2 VORP


Halladay has regained the control that won him the 2003 Cy Young, and he's on track to do it again this year. His control puts him among the leaders in fewest walks and fewest hits per 9 innings; combine that with a decent strikeout rate, and you have the most successful pitcher in the AL, despite his injury.

Kenny Rogers, TEX
11-4/2.77 ERA/59 K/36 BB/10 HR/41.8 VORP


How is Kenny Rogers this good? He doesn't strike out anyone, and his walk and hit rates are average. The key may be his low home run rate, made all the more impressive by the fact he pitches in home run haven Arlington. Still, I have to think that Rogers has been more lucky than good. We'll see how he does when he comes back from the suspension.

Mark Buehrle, CWS
12-4/2.86 ERA/97 K/27 BB/8 HR/40.6 VORP


Very similar numbers to Halladay--he's thriving on low walks and low home runs. Ridiculously low home runs, in fact. Buehrle is probably the most consistent pitcher in the American League. He's similar to Roy Oswalt--not in style, but in results. They are both excellent pitchers who for whatever reason aren't perceived as among the best in the game. News flash: they're the best in the game. My money's on Buehrle to win the Cy Young if the Sox win over 95 games.

Jarrod Washburn, LAA
6-6/3.28 ERA/70 K/39 BB/14 HR/37.7 VORP


Here's another guy who probably doesn't deserve his ERA, but you can't argue with that VORP. No matter what people say about strikeout and walk rates, you can't argue with the results. Fact is, Washburn hasn't given up many runs this year, and he's pitched a lot of innnings. His VORP shows how valuable that can be for a team. His luck may eventually run out, but he deserves some recognition up to this point.

Carlos Silva, MIN
7-5/3.27 ERA/54 K/7 BB/20 HR/36.8 VORP


I had to include Carlos Silva, just because his line so weird. 7 walks? 7! In 145 innings! To go along with 20 HR allowed! Such is the life of an extreme sinkerballer. If the Twins actually had any offense, he could wind up with more wins than walks! All hail the sinkerballer.

Closers

Dustin Hermanson, CWS
0-2/25 SV/1.76 ERA/21 K/13 BB/3 HR/3.452 Expected Wins Added


Great story so far for the Sox, but can you really trust that 21:13 K:BB ratio in the playoffs? I mean, seriously? He's done the job so far, but "so far" could extend into late October, when he'd do well to put a little extra oomph into his pitches.

Francisco Rodriguez, LAA
2-2/25 SV/2.53 ERA/60 K/20 BB/3 HR/3.448 Expected Wins Added


Now that's some good stuff right there. To top it off, he's pitching in the highest leverage situations in the American League.

Bob Wickman, CLE
0-2/29 SV/2.79 ERA/20 K/16 BB/5 HR/3.257 Expected Wins Added


Another closer walking on eggshells, but is timely enough to make his way into the top 3. Only Rodriguez has pitched in higher leverage situations though, which means that Wickman is picking the right times to be good.

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