Friday, September 29, 2006

Lefties and Righties

I've been meaning to get to writing about this Gene Collier article about the rotation since I saw it sometime around midnight yesterday. His basic premise is that the rotation is too similar with all these pesky lefties around and that's why we tend to lose the last game of most series. Charlie has already tackled the main premise of the article and proven that it's just not true. His research shows that there's not really any statistical basis for Collier's argument. What I was going to write about was something that Charlie vaguely touched on at the beginning of his post, that there's not really any reason to consider Gorzelanny, Duke, and Maholm to be similar.

The easiest thing to look at is their K/9 numbers. In the minors, Gorzelanny's was 8.98, Maholm's was 7.22, and Duke's was 7.25. It's not really fair to compare their pro numbers yet as they're all still getting adjusted and their strikeout numbers will all be down in their first year or so in the bigs. Still, Gorzellany's strikeout numbers in the minors are better than Ian Snell's (K/9 of 8.58), a guy most people consider to be a power pitcher. I don't understand how a guy that averaged a strikeout an inning in the minors with a fastball of 94-96 on good nights is lumped in as being similar to two finesse guys who throw 90-92 mph fastballs on most nights. No one has a rotation made up of a power pitcher, a finesse pitcher, a sinkerballer, a screwballer, and a knuckleballer. Every rotation has a couple similar guys, lots of rotations have four guys that throw from the same side of the mound, it just happens to be a different side than the one that Duke, Maholm, and Gorzo throw from. We're not talking about a rotation of Dave Williams, Mark Redman, Zach Duke, and Paul Maholm here, the only two guys that are similar and Duke and Maholm. I just can't see any logistical problems with a rotation of Duke, Snell, Gorzellany, Maholm, and Random Right-Handed Fifth Starter next year. You can even argue that a rotation full of lefties plays to PNC Park better than a righty-heavy rotation, since more lefties on the mound means more righties at the plate. I still fail to see why this is made an issue as often as it is.