Baseball Prospectus – Prospectus Triple Play: Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Another Prospectus article, leading off with the Braves report. Why is Russ Ortiz on the All-Star team, anyway? I mean, he’s been the best of all the pitchers the Braves acquired or dealt in the offseason, but he’s no All-Star.
It seems like a aive questio to ask – as they note, he is tied for the league lead in wins, and the guy selecting pitchers was his manager during a World Series run last year. *shrug*
Okay, I know why. It’s just a mistake that he was selected. “I haven’t seen Dontrelle Willis pitch,” indeed.
Dontrelle didn’t exactly have the most compelling case for selection, and it baffles me that Jayson Stark et al are so up in arms about hsi absence – I mean, nice story and all, but whe the rosters were made out he had all of 11 major league starts and 71 innings pitched. It wouldn’t have been as bad a selection as, say, John Hudek in 1994, but 11 starts does ot necessarily, to my mind, an All Star make. Ortiz was sporting 50 or so more innings pitched and 7 more starts when the rosters were made out.
If Baker had said that, fine. But that’s not what he said. And there are any number of pitchers with Ortiz’s credentials. The guy entered today’s game 15th in ERA, which is still the first stat I look at.
Innings pitched matter. Ortiz is 3rd in the NL in innings pitched, 1st in wins, and 15th in ERA. I realize he’s been on the West Coast until now and nobody knows about him, but he’s been a consistently good pitcher for five years (averaged almost 16 wins a year the past four years). He belongs folks.
Webb and Willis are nice stories but they’ve pitched 30%+ less innings this year and have no history of success.
My thoughts are somewhat similar to Robert’s on this. So Ortiz is 15th in ERA. Of the 14 above him, 6 are on the All-Star team. So that leaves 8 who are theoretically being shafted by Ortiz’s presence. Of those 8, 5 had fewer than 100 IP when the decision was made, vs close to 130 for Ortiz – an advantage of over 30% in IP for Ortiz.
That leaves two other candidates who possibly should be there ahead of Ortiz, Nomo and Batista. Nomo has a strong case for being screwed – second in the league in IP (one third of an inning behind, of all people, Ben Sheets, though he was at about the same number as Ortiz when the decisios were made); and fifth in the league in ERA. He also had 9 wins, but also had 7 losses. I guess a lot of how you compare him with ortiz depends on how you adjust for park (Dodger Stadium vs. Turner Field) and division – just eyeballing Nomo’s game log, he’s had a lot of games against weak offenses, and a fair number in pitchers parks (no Coors games).
That leaves Miguel Batista. Ortiz had about 24% mroe IP than him, but Batista’s ERA was at a good 2.8. Adjustments on batista are going to be smaller than on Nomo, and his case may be stronger.
I’m not saying IP are everything, but a substatial gap in IP can close some level of gap in ERA. I’, not saying Ortiz is better than them, I’m saying a pretty defensile case can be made for him, regardless of whether Dusty made it or not.
The all star game is all about fun. I don’t care if Mike Williams doesn’t deserve it or if Seligula contorted the voting to keep Sosa out. I don’t care who wins. I just think that the average fan should enjoy the contest with no real big deal made out of it. As the biggest new thing in baseball pitching since Nomomania a decade ago or perhaps Fernandomania nearly 25 years ago, Dontrelle Willis ~ darn near regardless of performance ~ ought to be there.
Nomo was definitely screwed. His record isn’t his fault; the Dodgers’ offense is the worst in the league, and that’s not a park illusion.
“The all star game is all about fun. ”
maybe last year, no wait, the year before that it was fun, but not anymore.