Good morning all, hope your week has started off on a good note.
After doing in-depth analysis on hitters making an impact in their first year with the Cards lately, I thought I’d switch sides and look at a pitcher who’s in his first year as a Cardinal, and who’d be a better candidate for that than our big off-season acquisition, Mike Leake?
As I found out last week, with the help of Jon Doble (check out his blog at Redbird Dugout.) When you dig beyond surface stats, you often find that those can be an illusion. Are Mike Leake’s surface stats an illusion, or has he been as bad as he looks this year?
to recap: Leake is currently 0-3 with a 6.03 ERA in 34 innings. Ugly.
Sometimes bad stats are the result of bad luck, which is represented for pitchers by batting average on balls in play, or BABIP. Leake’s BABIP isn’t that bad though, at .279. In fact, that’s actually lower than his career average, which is .291, so it’s not bad luck.
In fact when you look at his career averages, he’s above all of them. His career Fielding Independent Pitching, or FIP, is 4.24 (which is pretty high, and the higher it is, the worse you are doing. Anything above 4 is bad.) Well this year his FIP is 5.11. Ouch.
Same with his Walks+Hits divided by Innings Pitched, or WHIP. His career average is 1.273, while his WHIP this year is 1.340. (Again, higher is worse.)
So what does all of this mean? Well for older pitchers, stats like the ones above mike indicate a decline phase, but Leake is only 28, so I don’t that’s it. In fact around ages 27-28 are typically when a player enters the prime of his career.
Another thing: All of this is in just 34 innings, which is a pretty small sample size. It’s obviously enough to worry people, but Adam Wainwright (who is older than Leake) got off to a slow start (not one this bad too) but I was sure he was going to be ok, and he has started to right the ship.
A big part of it, to me, is the fact that he was our big off-season acquisition. Right now fans think he’s been a waste of money due to the bad stats I’ve showed you. Until (or if) he turns it around, they will continue to do so.
If he’s still this bad at around 75 innings, which is roughly a third of a starting pitchers season, I’ll start agreeing with everybody else on the wasted money thing, but 34 innings is too early to call it that, especially since he’s worse than his career averages in *everything” in the prime of his career.
1) I never get tired of watching this…Bartolo Colon Homers
2) This recap highlights two of my favorite stories of the year: David Ortiz going out on a high note, and knuckleballer Steven Wright. Red Sox/Yankees Recap
3) I love it when position players pitch and do well. A’s Catcher strikes out Adam Jones
As always, thanks for reading.