Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Mysterious Success Of St. Guts

In celebration of his first win in almost a month, I decided to look at Jeremy Guthrie's season.

[Before I look at Guthrie, I went to address something Buck Martinez said several times in the game - that Guthrie was a poor record because he always pitches against the other team's #1 starters. He has opposed: AJ Burnett (Won), Tim Wakefield, Andy Pettitte, Matt Garza, John Lannan, Josh Beckett (Won), Joe Blanton, Jared Weaver, Jose Contreras, Felix Hernandez (Twice), Gavin Floyd (Won), and James Shields (Twice). By my count, that's two of the other team's #1 starters (Blanton and Beckett, who he beat). It is an impressive list of pitchers, I guess, but he's not going up against Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale every game. Once the season starts, it is largely random who a given pitcher will face.]

Guts was thought to have been lucky last year on balls in play, and was expected to regress this year. That hasn't really happened so far. The stats actually do not include the game today, which was very good.

2008 ERA: 3.58
2007 ERA: 3.70
After today, it actually went down to 3.40. Looks good so far.

2008 K/9: 5.75
2007 K/9: 6.31
His K's have gone from very lightly below average to below average (but not yet well below average). This is generally a bad sign.

2008 BB/9: 2.60
2007 BB/9: 2.41
His walks have gone up, but are still quite good. The league walk-rate has gone up as well, so it's not as bad as it appears. Still, it's not a good sign.

2008 HR/9: 1.19
2007 HR/9: 1.18
Same home run rate, but the league average has actually fallen, so this can be seen as regression. It is not a good rate, and not a good sign.

2008 FIP: 4.41
2007 FIP: 4.42
His ERA is above his fielding independent ERA by about what it was last year. Not a good sign that that's the case.

2008 BABIP: .270
2007 BABIP: .277
He's getting just as lucky on balls in play. It looks even worse when you consider his batted ball data (in both years it's about the same 20% line-drive rate, 41-42% groundballs, 38% flyballs). That BABIP should be about 50 points higher. Not a good sign.

There is only one real difference that I've found, and it's his pitch usage. He's throwing less fastballs (68% to 62%) and more change-ups (5% to 12 %). It's kind of strange that all of his peripherals and his results would stay pretty much the same, all things considering.

As 2007 wore on, some people said that Guthrie's luck was going to run out and his ERA would go up. Same thing over the off-season (projected ERA's were around 4.50). I wonder how long he would have to keep this up before I (and others) stop waiting for him to regress? It hasn't been long enough yet, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts. Maybe it's some sort of karmic justice in return for his lack of run support.

No comments: