GoodEnough for Me is an on-going analysis of the rookie pitchers during the 2007 baseball season. The series was inspired by, and serves as companion piece to, The Extrapolater’s Smells Like Pujols series, which is taking a look at some of the top rookie position players. You can find Smells Like Pujols HERE.
The Bronx Bombers had a starting rotation at the beginning of the season that looked something like this (in no particular order):
Andy Pettite, Mike Mussina, Chien-Ming Wang, Jeff Karstens, and Carl Pavano, with Kei Igawa making spot starts, I believe.
Due to injuries, the Yankees starting rotation currently looks like this:
Andy Pettite, Kei Igawa, [crickets]…
Naturally, someone shall come from the minor leagues! And, as is the case with many who come from the minors, that player shall be a rookie! And, (oh happy day!) the Yankees has one of the best young prospects in all of baseball, a fellow by the name of Phillip Hughes. So, does that mean we’ll have a new and exciting name for the Starters list on GoodEnough? Hells no. Well, at least, not as exciting. The Yankees are bringing up Chase Wright, who, I believe, is a Good prospect, but certainly not the Stellar-Put-Him-In-the-Hall-Already prospect that Phil Hughes is. This is disappointing, not only because Wright isn’t as exciting on his own, but that the Yankees have FOUR injured starters, and are calling up ONE guy. One. That’s it. Come on Yanks! More rookies! More rookies!
Also disappointing is that Sidney Ponson pitched “well” this weekend, giving the Twins 5 1/3 innings and only allowing two runs. As is usually the case with Ponson’s good starts, he got lucky. He allowed 11 baserunners–including 5 extra base hits–and still managed to escape the game having only allowed two runs. TWO. Sheer, dumb luck. Anyway, Ponson pitching well over the weekend is disappointing for a couple of reasons. First, I’m enjoying the hell out of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays this year, and want to see them win, but more than that, Ponson needs to explode a few more times before the Twins bring up Matt Garza. Garza is an unusual sort of rookie in that he pitched last year, and accumulated EXACTLY 50IP. This means that he’s at the absolute threshold of the prospect/rookie-ness. The first out he gets in the majors this year marks the beginning of his Rookie Year. He gets to come to the leaderboard! Huzzah!
So, Sidney, you haven’t been able to get your WHIP down near league average since 2003. You’ve had one good year, 2003, in which you were just about exactly league average, though you managed to be unusually skimpy with the home runs, and your ERA crept unnaturally below 4. Just stop this charade. You are not a competent major league starting pitcher. It’s possible Matt Garza isn’t either, but he’s not nearly the known quantity you are. He might be great, but he might be terrible. But at least finding out could be interesting. Go tell your bosses, Sidney, you’ve realized the err of their ways, and you want to move to the bullpen where you won’t hurt the team so very much with your 8.18ERA, and that they should bring up Matt Garza. G-A-R-Z-A. Garza. Got it?
Similarly baffling to the Twins insistence of keeping Ponson in the rotation, killing their playoff chances, is their division rival Detroit Tigers move putting Chad Durbin–say it with me now, CHAD DURBIN?!?!–into the starting rotation in place of Kenny Rogers, their injured aging lefty with the muddy hand. Durbin is 29, and has over 300 career innings pitched in the Majors. He is NOT a good pitcher. Meanwhile, the Tigers have this young fella, also a southpaw, by the name of Andrew Miller. Andrew’s there on the right. Now, it’s possible he isn’t quite ready for big league hitters yet, but he’s certainly close. He’s like to either take Durbin’s job, or Mike Maroth’s job sometime this summer. Barring that, expect him coming up to fire fastballs out of the bullpen during the Tiger’s stretch run.
The Cinncinnati Reds have a pitcher in their starting rotation named Eric Milton. I know all about Eric Milton because he pitched one eventful year for the Phillies. Eric Milton is threat every season to give up more home runs than any pitcher who came before him, ever. The record is 50, Milton’s given up 43, and 40. And he’s not getting better at pitching. He’s already allowed one this year. If the Reds want to win, arrogantly declares the Curious Mechanism, the will call up the surprisingly Caucasian Homer Bailey, who will come, and yes, perhaps, give up many home runs. But he won’t give up than Moonshot Milton, and he’ll probably strike out way more guys. And, as with the rest of these guys, he’d certainly be more interesting than the guy he’s replacing.
The San Francisco Giant are the oldest team in baseball. Now, their pitchers are not nearly as old as their batters, and their starting rotation contains 26-year-old Noah Lowry, 23-year-old Matt Cain, and the wealthy-but-struggling 29-year-old, Barry Zito. They also have Matt Morris, who’s likely to be about a league average pitcher at the age of 32. Oh, and they have Russ Ortiz. Ortiz, at his best, was league average, and he hasn’t been that good in a few years. Out with him, we say! In with the young stud with crazy delivery and the lazor-rocket fastball, Tim Linecum. Linecum’s career WHIP in college and the minors is 0.83. He strikes guys out at an outstanding rate, almost 17 K/9. He’s ready, and he’s a mortal lock to be better than Ortiz. Out with the old, in with the new!
Speaking of other newbies this year, the GoodEnough Leaderboardhas been updated. It takes me 1 minute to calculate all the stats you see on that board, and loads of time typing them all into the chart, so we’re cutting back a bit. Instead of posting the numbers for ALL the pitchers, we’re just going to give you the starters, and the top dozen relievers. There’s not a lot of movement this week, but check out that Micah Owings. If he keeps up this pace, there’s gonna be a lot of chatter about him by the end of the season.