2010 in Review: Starting Pitching

Posts in this series:

Team Offense Team Pitching
Team Defense
Catcher First Base Second Base
Shortstop Third Base Designated Hitter
Left Field Center Field Right Field
Starting Pitching Relief Pitching

Overview

The rotation wasn't quite the nightmare it could have been, thanks to a fine season from Fausto Carmona and a surprising rookie campaign from Mitch Talbot, but the starting staff still had its problems, from the early-season struggles of Justin Masterson and Jake Westbrook to the David Huff Experience. Josh Tomlin and Jeanmar Gomez, who came up in late July, pitched well in August but tailed off in September. Mitch Talbot was a bright spot the first half of the year, but fell off after the All-Star break. Jake Westbrook returned to the rotation almost two years after injuring his elbow; he was traded in late July.

 

 

Rk G PA R H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS TB BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
1 OAK 162 4117 423 904 158 12 100 59 26 327 675 2.06 .243 .307 .373 .680 1386 .271 96 86
2 SEA 162 4282 483 998 204 14 110 48 19 278 667 2.40 .254 .306 .397 .703 1560 .279 97 91
3 BOS 162 4341 517 980 230 20 89 121 34 383 833 2.17 .254 .326 .393 .719 1517 .300 98 96
4 TEX 162 4089 488 918 185 15 114 66 25 347 757 2.18 .251 .320 .403 .723 1475 .286 104 97
5 CHW 162 4263 500 1045 204 15 97 63 28 303 705 2.33 .268 .323 .403 .726 1570 .304 101 98
6 TBR 162 4235 469 964 192 25 129 72 21 328 797 2.43 .251 .314 .415 .729 1593 .285 105 98
7 TOR 162 4083 492 945 219 12 99 43 31 345 783 2.27 .258 .326 .405 .731 1485 .302 100 99
8 LAA 162 4305 489 998 214 27 116 92 28 332 762 2.30 .257 .317 .415 .733 1614 .290 100 99
9 DET 162 4169 519 986 162 32 105 76 40 338 728 2.15 .263 .328 .408 .736 1527 .300 101 101
10 NYY 162 4124 500 949 179 9 131 81 20 351 753 2.15 .258 .326 .419 .745 1539 .289 106 103
11 MIN 162 4184 479 1055 225 27 111 61 27 233 706 3.03 .272 .317 .430 .747 1667 .306 103 103
12 BAL 162 4122 527 985 205 25 124 54 17 338 592 1.75 .267 .333 .438 .771 1612 .287 100 110
13 CLE 162 4130 527 1020 215 18 98 78 46 361 585 1.62 .278 .346 .426 .773 1565 .305 104 111
14 KCR 162 4126 580 1033 211 20 119 103 38 348 654 1.88 .279 .342 .443 .785 1641 .309 102 114
TOT 2268 58570 6993 13780 2803 271 1542 1017 400 4612 9997 2.17 .261 .324 .412 .736 21751 .294 101 100
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/5/2010.

 

Only Boston's starters walked more than the Indians, which not only led to more runs, but also shortened the length of starts: Indians starters threw 948.2 innings, third-fewest in the American League. The Indians also ranked at the bottom of the league in strikeouts thanks to a rotation full of ball-in-play pitchers.

 

Here's the individual stat lines, followed by some comments:

Rk ERA G GS CG SHO IP ▾ H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WHIP SO/9 SO/BB
1 Fausto Carmona 3.77 33 33 4 1 210.1 203 98 88 17 72 0 124 9 0 1.307 5.3 1.72
2 Justin Masterson 4.78 29 29 1 1 169.1 188 101 90 14 73 4 130 10 0 1.541 6.9 1.78
3 Mitch Talbot 4.41 28 28 1 0 159.1 169 88 78 13 68 2 88 8 1 1.487 5.0 1.29
4 Jake Westbrook 4.65 21 21 1 0 127.2 133 68 66 15 44 4 73 6 0 1.386 5.1 1.66
5 David Huff 6.21 15 15 1 0 79.2 101 61 55 14 34 1 37 3 0 1.695 4.2 1.09
6 Josh Tomlin 4.56 12 12 1 0 73.0 72 38 37 10 19 3 43 3 0 1.247 5.3 2.26
7 Jeanmar Gomez 4.68 11 11 0 0 57.2 73 36 30 7 22 3 34 2 0 1.647 5.3 1.55
8 Carlos Carrasco 3.83 7 7 1 0 44.2 47 20 19 6 14 1 38 1 0 1.366 7.7 2.71
9 Aaron Laffey 3.60 5 5 0 0 25.0 27 12 10 1 15 0 16 1 0 1.680 5.8 1.07
10 Justin Germano 22.50 1 1 0 0 2.0 7 5 5 1 0 0 2 0 0 3.500 9.0
Team Total 4.53 162 162 10 2 948.2 1020 527 478 98 361 18 585 43 1 1.456 5.5 1.62
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/5/2010.

 

 

 

 

Fausto Carmona (Signed Through 2011- $6.1M) - No Option Years Left

The contract status is a bit misleading, because after this season the Indians can exercise the first of three team options:

  • 2012: $7.0M
  • 2013: $9.0M
  • 2014: $12.0M

     

So any of those rumors that the Indians were actually looking to trade Carmona is outright lunacy. This is one of the most team-friendly contracts in the majors. If Carmona puts up three more great seasons, then picking up those options will be no-brainers, or the two sides could use that upcoming team option as an impetus for a contract extension. If 2010 was just a mirage, then the Indians can walk away at any time.

 

Justin Masterson (Pre-Arbitration) - 1 Option Year Remaining

Thanks to a better second half, Justin will stay in the rotation. As the season wore on, he got good enough against left-handed hitters to stay a viable starter. The durability test was passed with flying colors, as he threw 180 innings without missing a scheduled start. Now the Indians need him to turn his fantastic stuff into results.

Mitch Talbot (Pre-Arbitration) - No Option Years Remaining

Talbot doesn't have the upside of Carmona, Masterson, or Carrasco, but he's a finished product, and has only accrued one year of service time. That combination, in this era of free agency, makes Talbot a valuable pitcher. The Indians won't have to spend a season or two dealing with growing pains with Talbot, but will have to deal with a lot of long innings; he only struck out 88 while walking 69 and allowing 169 hits in 159.1 innings.

David Huff (Pre-Arbitration) - 2 Option Years Remaining

Huff made 9 of his 11 starts before the All-Star Break, and aside from a complete game early in the season, was consistently awful. He was sent down in late June, and didn't show any improvements in two starts in August. He struck out only three more (37) than he walked (34).

Josh Tomlin (Pre-Arbitration) - 2 Option Years Remaining

Tomlin started the season way off the radar, coming off just a decent season in AA. But thanks to turnover in the rotation and his own success in AAA, the Indians brought him up in late July, and he finished the season in the rotation. Unlike many of his rotation brethren, Tomlin did not have problems with walks (2.3 BB/9). He ended poorly, but he'll probably have a shot to stay in the rotation next season.

Jeanmar Gomez (Pre-Arbitration) - 2 OptionYears Remaining

Gomez was called on to make a spot start in July, and pitched seven shutout innings against Detroit. He was brought back two weeks later after the Indians dealt Jake Westbrook, and he remained in the rotation the rest of the way. Like Tomlin, Gomez was initially very effective, and struggled after the league had gotten a chance to see him. He'll be in the mix for a rotation spot.

Carlos Carrasco (Pre-Arbitration) - 1 Option Year Remaining

The Indians brought Carrasco to the majors late in the 2009 season, and he looked completely lost at the major-league level. After spending most of the 2010 season in AAA, Carrasco seemed a different pitcher in his few starts with the Indians in 2010, striking out 38 in 44.2 innings. That nice stretch probably earned the former Philadelphia prospect a spot in next year's rotation.

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