Thursday, January 7, 2010

Are Piniero & Garland Good Enough to be Number 2 Starters: A Case Study

At the beginning of the off-season I was under the impression the Mets felt that they needed a number 2 starter, and the talk has been all off-season that Joel Piniero is the best on the market. But is he really a number 2 starter? Here's a study of two pitchers who are both number 2 starters on their respective teams, followed by examining the Mets current number 2 starter, and seeing how they match up.

Pitcher A is a number 2 starter for an American League team. His numbers last year were as follows:

200.1 innings pitched
3.77 ERA
13-11 record
149 strikeouts/73 walks
1.28 WHIP
.248 BAA
28 HRs allowed

Pitcher B is a number 2 starter for a National League team:

205.2 innings pitched
3.02 ERA
14-12 record
193 strikeouts/63 walks
1.24 WHIP
.250 BAA
21 HRs allowed

Both pitchers above have logged 200 innings, a nice k/bb ratio and nice whips and BAA. All of their numbers check up nicely as being mainly on the same level. Both are the second best pitchers on their staff and were both on NON-PLAYOFF teams.

Now, let's compare those numbers to Piniero's:

214 innings pitched
3.49 ERA
15-12 record
105 strikeouts/27 walks
1.14 WHIP
.268 BAA
11 HRs allowed

Piniero clearly last year was in that number 2 range (used as a 3 on a superior staff), despite his K's being low, which is countered by his insanely low total walks for the season. So, How about Garland?

204 innings pitched
4.01 ERA
11-13 record
109 strikeouts/61 walks
1.40 WHIP
.282 BAA
23 HRs allowed

Garland clearly is not as good as Piniero based on the numbers. His BAA and Whip are high, and his record is under .500. Also, his walk numbers are a little high for his K's being as low as they are. Is Garland on the same level as these other guys? No, but he's still a fairly valuable starter and could be a good number 3 on the right team.

Finally, just for argument's sake let's look at Pelfrey's numbers last year:

184.1 innings pitched
5.03 ERA
10-12 record
107 strikeouts/66 walks
1.51 WHIP
.289 BAA
18 HRs allowed


First off let me identify pitcher A as John Danks of the Chicago White Sox, and pitcher B as Wandy Rodriquez of the Houston Astros. Neither guy is a big money pitcher. Irregardless, it's clear from the analysis that Piniero's numbers are much more fitting of a number 2 starter than Garland's or Pelfrey's. However, even Garland's numbers would qualify him as a number 2 pitcher on the Mets, as they are clearly better than Mike Pelfrey's, who has been the Mets number 2 starter for the last two years.

So, in conclusion, Omar better be working to improve the staff because we can really use the help. And although I like Piniero and his numbers seem good enough to be a number 2, I still don't like the inconsistency in his career, and think a Wang or Sheets is definitely worth the gamble.

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