Monday, July 26, 2010

The year of the pitcher...

Just minutes after Matt Garza went no-no on Detroit, I started looking at some of the gaudy pitching stats this year. While most of us know there have been some lights-out pitching performances this year, take a look at just how ridiculous it is...

No Hitters in 2010 - 5 (should be 6, Jim Joyce) (Most in a year since 1991)

MLB combined ERA is 4.14 - This number has dropped dramatically from 4.7-4.9 during the peak of the steroids era. In 2000, only Atlanta (4.05) and LAD (4.10) were below 4.14. This year, 14 teams have a team ERA of 4.00 or lower.

In 2007, Jake Peavy was the only starting pitcher with an ERA under 3.00. in 2008, 8 pitchers ended the season under 3 and last year there were 11. In 2010, 17 starting pitchers have an ERA of 2.96 or lower.

There are another 23 relief pitchers with an ERA under 2.00, including 4 that are under 1. Tim Stauffer for SD has a ridiculous 0.31 ERA, Kuo from LA is 0.84, Benoit from TB is 0.81, and Mo Rivera is still getting it done at 0.98.

Even with all this pitching, there is one guy that is clearly the best in the game right now: Josh Johnson

Josh has given up just 24 earned runs in his 20 starts. He has struck out 141 in 134 innings and since May 8, he has been '00 Pedro good.

13 starts with at last 6 innings pitched in each start. The only time he gave up more than 1 run was June 26th, when he went 8 innings, struck out 9, and gave up 2 runs and lost.

No starting pitcher has finished with a lower ERA than Josh's current 1.61 since Doc Gooden in 1985. Most seasons, Adam Wainwright, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Roy Halladay would be in an unreal race for the Cy Young. In 2010, the award is Josh Johnson's, and everyone else is on the outside.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Braves in great shape...

I don't think the Braves have been in this good of a place in 10+ years. It is time to credit the front office for the work they've done to put the Braves in a great situation to win this year, and for the next several years. Obviously, the Troy Glaus signing has worked out remarkably and he has been a perfect gap-stop for Freddie Freeman. The nucleus of Prado-Heyward-Freeman-McCann-Escobar and the upcoming money that will be available with Wagner and possibly Chipper retiring could give the team great flexibility to add to these guys in the future.

However, the reason the franchise is set up so well for the future is the same reason they were primed for a run in the 90's. Pitching.

Take a look at what the franchise has to work with right now pitching-wise:

Derek Lowe - signed through 2012 for $15 million per year (likely to be dealt this off-season)

Tim Hudson - signed through 2013 for $9 million per year

Peter Moylan - under team control through 2013

Jair Jurrjens - under team control through 2013

Tommy Hanson - under team control through 2014

Kris Medlen - under team control through 2014

Craig Kimbrel - under team control through 2015 (likely closer starting in 2011)

Jonny Venters - under team control through 2015

Mike Minor - recently promoted to AAA Gwinnett and went 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 9 K's in debut. Likely in the big leagues in September.

Julio Teheran - 2.13 ERA in 15 minor league starts and 103 K's in 88 IP. Viewed as a future 1-2 starter.

Luis Vizcaino - 9-3 with a 2.71 ERA in 15 minor league starts and major-league ready by 2012.

Randall Delgado - Currently has a 2.99 ERA and 100+ K's for Myrtle Beach Braves.

So, assume Derek Lowe is dealt for mid-tier prospects this off-season, the rotation for 2011 looks like this:


Pretty darn good. Also, the Vizcaino-Teheran-Delgado group can be traded for offense or turned in to relievers until Hudson or others leave.

But as for this year, the team has a good a shot as anybody to win the World Series. As we've seen in the past, strong starting pitching can take you a long way in the playoffs. And I know no one wants to see Hudson/Jurrjens/Hanson/Medlen in a short series.

This could be the start of another championship filled run - let's make the first one 2010.