John Thomson

Brought in to replace Greg Maddux. Obviously, it’s a huge step down in stature for the Braves, but it’s not clear that Thomson’s a step down in effectiveness. Once you adjust for the park and the league (and the Rangers’ defense, which other than A-Rod was pretty awful) Thomson was a pretty good pitcher last year and about the same as Maddux — or Ortiz and Hampton, for that matter.

Thomson came up in the Rockies’ organization, which is hardly a prescription for success for a pitcher. But he started his career with two pretty good (in context) seasons there before running into injury problems in 1999, when he went 1-10 with an 8.04 ERA, which is bad no matter where you pitch. He came back pretty well in 2001-02 before being traded to the Mets, but didn’t do very well in Shea (it’s all relative, his ERA went down half a run). Signing with the Rangers last year, he posted a 4.85 ERA — which, like I said above, isn’t bad in context. And he was good in the second half, a 4.17 ERA. (Remember, context!)

Thomson throws changes and sinkers, and tries to get ground balls. He has good control, the best on the starting staff. (Not counting Paul Byrd.) He should pitch about as well as Maddux did last year and be a solid #3 for a team that’s all #3 starters.

John Thomson Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

5 thoughts on “John Thomson”

  1. I’m excited to see Thomson. From all the numbers and assessments I have seen, it appears that he could be one of those pitchers who comes to the Braves and has a career year off the bat. Then everyone will go fawning over Leo again (with good cause, i might add).

    If he could put together an above-average year and Ramirez and Byrd don’t slump too much, the rotation might have just enough to be effective.

    On paper, it doesnt seem like the Phillies and Braves’ rotations are too different. Each has five pitchers that could throw a great game on any given night but will generally perform at league-average or a notch above. That sort of expected consistency wont take anyone back to the days of the triple-aces rotation, but it could be enough to make the playoffs.

  2. He should pitch about as well as Maddux did last year …

    He has one season in his career with 200 innings. Maddux did that like clockwork, including 217 last year. I think in terms of quantity, we would be lucky to get a Mad Dog-like 220ish innings.

    In terms of quality? Maddux’s 3.96 ERA (park and league adjusted to 105) is reachable. Four years with enough innings to qualify for leader boards, all four with ERA+ between 110 and 98. Leaving Arlington. Leaving the AL. Both are pluses. I really don’t know what to think of the Braves defense this year or how to compare it to the Rangers, who were good in the INF, but mediocre in the OF.

  3. “He has one season in his career with 200 innings. Maddux did that like clockwork, including 217 last year. I think in terms of quantity, we would be lucky to get a Mad Dog-like 220ish innings.”

    Dan, didn’t you get the memo? Maddux is an ill-conditioned wuss who wouldn’t take the ball and grit his teeth to get through games.

    Man you’ve got to keep up.

  4. I’ll be interested to see who’s philosophy wins out in Chicago. Dusty Baker has an open distain for pitch counts and will generally leave his starters in as long as they are effective. Maddux seems to have figured out that it’s not in his best interest to throw 100 pitches a night (only 4 of his 36 starts in ’03 were 100+ pitches, none after July).

    Baker generally has respect for veterans, so it’s likely he’ll let Maddux call many of the shots. But will he go as far as Bobby did and let Maddux decide when he’ll pitch, for how long he’ll pitch, and to whom he’ll pitch? Questionable.

  5. … of course those low pitch counts still resulted in Maddux pitching more innings in 2003 than any of the Cubs starters.

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