FanPost

Indians Starting Pitching Thus Far

I'm grasping at straws here trying to prepare myself for what the next few months of baseball in Cleveland will have in store. The horrors of the past few weeks have given me pause with regards to how to brace my emotions as I follow this team. It's maybe because of these past few weeks that like a shrunken-within-it's-shell turtle I start my sense making with the starting pitching of this terribly euphoric and heart-wrenching team. I don't have the heart to delve into the offense at this moment. Its mix of shameful performances and bad luck over the past few weeks has me flumaxed and without the energy to attempt to peek underneath the ugly surface to see if the currents are indicating a promise of change (or in other words, a team BA with RISP over .300). So it is the safer route, but one that is also important if things are to brighten....or worsen over the remainder of the season.

 

Below are two tables. One composed of the current state of things (well prior to todays game I believe) with regards to Cleveland Indians starting pitchers this season. I want to know where the team's luck has resided thus far. I want to see the problems on the horizon and the corrections in our favor. The second table is drawn from rest-of-season (ROS) projections from both ZIPS and PECOTA. Here I want to see what these systems think after accounting recent season data.

Name

GS 

IP

K/9

BB/9

HR/9

BABIP

LOB%

GB%

HR/FB

ERA

FIP

xFIP

WAR

Fausto Carmona

15

91.2

5.60

2.75

1.37

0.281

59.30%

58.00%

16.30%

5.79

4.81

3.89

0.3

Justin Masterson

14

94

6.22

3.06

0.29

0.314

74.10%

53.90%

3.90%

3.16

3.20

3.71

2.1

Josh Tomlin

13

82.2

5.01

1.31

1.20

0.256

69.20%

37.90%

10.20%

4.14

4.08

3.84

0.9

Carlos Carrasco

12

72.2

5.57

2.72

0.50

0.293

68.20%

49.60%

5.60%

4.09

3.39

3.80

1.4

Mitch Talbot

6

33.2

6.15

4.01

1.34

0.327

84.30%

49.50%

14.70%

4.01

5.13

4.34

0

Jeanmar Gomez

3

18.1

4.42

2.45

0.49

0.370

72.80%

43.20%

3.70%

4.91

3.50

4.47

0.3

Alex White

3

15

7.80

5.40

1.80

0.268

85.10%

54.80%

20.00%

3.60

5.63

4.16

-0.1

 

The league averages for a few of the categories are as follows:

K/9 = 6.6, BB/9 = 3.2, HR/9 = .9

Tomlin, Talbot, and Carmona give up homeruns greater than league average. Tomlin's poor GB% can account for his poor HR/9, but Carmona and Talbot both have good GB% rates. Additionally both Carmona and Talbot have HR/FB percentages that are higher than the traditional 10% average (while Tomlin is right about at league average). We can see in Carmona and Tomlin's xFIP are both sub 4 while Talbot's is 4.34. SIERA isn't quite as forgiving though. Carmona's SIERA is 4.06, Talbot's is 4.53, and Tomlin's is 4.36. Talbot has the fewest innings pitched thus far and his numbers aren't yet close to significant to draw strong conclusions from, but thus far he's been pretty "bleh" if I can be so unscientific. Way too many walks (he gave up two in four innings pitched today along with two homeruns as well) and a few too many homeruns. His near league average K rate is fine, but not if he is going to walk that many batters.

So what do you guys think about Carmona's 59.3 LOB%, bad luck or difficulty pitching out of the stretch? If it is the former than we'd expect a correction as the season continues, but if it is the latter than we could be in for an anomaly type year where he continues to struggle with men on base. He's also not yet really striking out batters as well as I thought he was. I really expected at least league average, but the sub league average is a bit disappointing. He was just about at the expected rate last season (71.5%), but in '08 and '09 was closer to 64%. Does anyone recall questions about Carmona having difficulty pitching from the stretch in the past?

Josh Tomlin's numbers are starting to look like something we should have expected considering his peripheral numbers all along. That low GB% will continue to result in an above league average HR/9 rate. I don't see any room for improvement here for him, but I do see room for him to get worse (BABIP specifically). We should be happy with a low 4 ERA the rest of the season. Some good news is that Carlos Carrasco may continue to see his ERA improve and basically we'll have a flip-flop between him and Tomlin.

ZIPS Projections ROS





Name

ERA

FIP

K/9

BB/9

HR/9

Fausto Carmona

4.77

4.34

5.56

3.44

1.02

Justin Masterson

4.26

3.46

7.18

3.55

0.63

Josh Tomlin

5.07

4.66

5.55

2.59

1.44

Carlos Carrasco

4.63

4.11

6.47

2.72

1.05

Mitch Talbot

4.88

4.24

5.38

3.63

0.88







PECOTA ERA and WHIP projections ROS



Name

ERA

WHIP




Fausto Carmona

4.28

1.40




Justin Masterson

3.87

1.35




Josh Tomlin

4.22

1.29




Carlos Carrasco

4.73

1.44




Mitch Talbot

4.68

1.49




 

Well, these don't look all that good at first glance. ZIPS hates Tomlin, but PECOTA believes that walk rate is real and his WHIP will end up very good by season's end. PECOTA is basically in line with where he is at today, which I think is probably best case scenario going forward for him anyways. ZIPS and PECOTA both predict a terrible ERA for Carrasco, but ZIPS' FIP for Carrasco isn't too bad, alot of what Carrasco does to keep the ball in the park will dictate where he ends up.

These projection systems may be missing a general improvement across the starting rotation in limiting base-on-balls this season. If this is in fact a continuing theme, then I'd wager on the lower side of those WHIP numbers PECOTA projects, and overall better FIP results as well.

I really don't know where this leaves me. On one side I'm liking Carrasco's development and believe he'll best what the projection systems think and end up with a sub 4 ERA by season's end. I think Tomlin will be better than he has recently pitched, but certainly not as good as he looked (at least on the surface) earlier this season. A low 4 ERA the rest of the way would be about what I'd expect, which isn't great but not terrible either. Masterson is the best starter in this rotation, he's the ace and will continue to pitch well. Fausto looks like a wreck right now mentally, I've got no idea where he ends up by season's end. The range is low 3 ERA the rest of the way to pitching out of the bullpen in low leverage garbage-time innings. Talbot doesn't really inspire confidence in me. If we someone from AAA is going to force his way up it should probably at Talbot's expense.

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