Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Other Stuff About Pitchers

This part really goes hand in hand with the other article on pitchers but just didn't seem to fit as that one was about a pitchers ratings more than anything else.

Drafting Pitchers

I really quit trying to draft ML starting pitchers. Sounds a bit dumb huh? When you don't draft in the top 10 or 12 slots there is no reason to look for one. I look instead to finding Long Relievers that have the capability to be #4 or #5 starters maybe. The way I look at it, two of them equal one good starter. As for setup/closer types I don't even bother unless he looks like he could be really good. It is actually cheaper to trade for one or get one in the FA market early than to bother drafting one. You can even find one in the Rule V draft most times. I have found out in the draft that pitchers are broken down into SP and RP, I know everybody knows this, but has anybody taken the time to look how they separate them? RP = 1 to 2 innings or stamina below 40 all others are classified as starters. Knowing that might change your mind on how to rank them. I try to draft pitchers in the 3rd round on that could be real good career minor league starters. I find this helps fatigue issues and needing less pitchers in the minors plus I can put more effort finding a good position player in the first two rounds.

I try to find good cheap starting pitchers in IFA to put in the rookie camp also. This means I can get more position players instead of worrying about pitchers in the draft. Never know when one of these might turn into a DITR.

Pitcher Advancement

Other than having a good pitcher to start with, has anybody noticed what effects other things have on pitcher advancement? Good coaches for one, though I am not thoroughly convinced on that. Minor League stadiums can be a helpful item to watch. Catchers can also be very helpful to development, good PC is a must in my books (think of Bull Durham). Advancing them too fast could be a detriment. Something I have noticed is that young pitchers really don't fare all that well in the majors. Is it because they are not mature enough? Too many young pitchers at the ML level is not so good either, a good mix of vets is a wise idea.

When is he ready for ML assignment is always an undetermined thing. Used to be I didn't hold a pitcher longer than three seasons in the minors. Of course that is when I used a good advanced scouting budget. Now I use a pitchers current ratings to determine if he is ready along with my pitching guidelines.

Performance Guide

What kind of performance do you expect of a pitcher at the ML level? Outstanding of course!! But we know that isn't possible. What do you really expect from any pitcher at the ML level should be relative.

Age, ratings, years with team and performance are great indicators of how good a pitcher really is on your team. Did he fit in with the team? Sometimes I think there is a hidden rating about that or a combination of ratings that indicate this. Did his performance not meet your expectations? That of course is the relative part as most never do.

What I look for is probably a bit odd for most of you. I will use Randy Lamb as an example. I use him as a 5th starter. Most of you probably wouldn't think of even having him at the ML level to start with. I wouldn't either if I had a better choice. But my expectations and his performance equals what I expect. If you look at his game log, the start of the season was rather bumpy but has calmed down since then. If I can get 5 innings out of him as a starter and still be in the game I am happy. Actually I am happy when any starter goes 5 or more innings and we are still in the game. A good pen is what allows a team to win if you don't have three or four outstanding starters.

Most GM's look at ERA and WHIP to determine if a pitcher has what it takes. Not me, I look at a pitchers OAV more than anything else. Randy is a good example for that. Even in the FA market, I look at the OAV, his home park the last two seasons, how good the defense was and the catchers. Too many times a GM hopes he has enough of a pitching staff that can carry the team while the offense wins the games. Last years Atlanta team was like that, defenseless teams however usually don't go far in the playoffs. I may have gotten further but I actually doubt I would have gotten out of the second round. (ooops, off track)

An OAV above .270 is starting to be borderline if you have an outstanding defense. One must look at the PC of the catcher also though. Above .290 either he isn't that good or something else is wrong and his other stats has to be looked at. Look at it this way, a .290 OAV and an under 4.00 ERA means something is off somewhere.

A pitcher like anyone else can have a bad season. Don't give up too soon if his stats and expectations didn't suit you. Sometimes a pitching staff just doesn't gel if you have a relatively new staff. Four or five new players in a pitching staff could take time, just like position players, but should continually improve.

Getting them into the right role can also be an inconvenience. Some pitchers for whatever reason thrive better in different slots. Long relievers in Setup A or Setup B roles, starters in slot 1 as opposed to slot 2 or 3. Be inventive and see if they perform better somewhere else. I have never figured this out and sometimes it becomes trial and error.

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