Saturday, November 3, 2007

Best (and Worst) of 2007 Part II

Finally! Part II's awaited arrival has come. This part will include the pitchers of 2007, and their performance will be based on win shares. I'd like to note that no rookies were included, because well, they have no other season to base 2007 off of. All complete 2007 win share totals were provided by The Hardball Times. Their site is great, i recommend you check it out if you are a baseball fan. Anyway, onto the awards, starting with those players who brought you a year of glory and bragging rights:

1) Dan Haren: +4 win shares: Had a large role to fill with the departure of Zito, and more than filled it. This prospect, most notably known for being traded for Mark Mulder, improved greatly on his promising 2006 campaign, pitching a solid 223 innings with a microscopic 3.07 era. He was virtually unhittable in the beginning of the season, and became more human as the season went on, but still finished with great numbers. He enters the 2008 season considered an elite pitcher in the league.

2) Ian Snell: +6 win shares - Considered a fantasy impact player at the beginning of the season simply because of his impressive k rate, Snell proved he can be valuable as an all-around pitcher. He finished 2007 with a 3.76 era, and of course his impressive 177 strikeouts. Also a guy who started the season strong, and kind of tapered off at the end. Still, he is now considered a strong pitcher in the MLB.

3) Rick Hill: +8 win shares - His win shares difference is inflated a little because he pitched just under 100 more innings this year than in 2006, but a stark improvement is still evident. He lowered his era under the 4.00 plateau for the first time by posting an era of 3.92. That number is inflated a little because of his most-deadly pitch, his curveball. Although it can correlate into tons of outs and strikeouts, a small mistake of leaving it up can lead to a homerun very easily, evidenced by his high 27 homeruns given up. Besides that, he gets a lot of batters out, and has a bright future ahead of him.

4) Erik Bedard: +3 win shares - Do not be fooled by the small win shares difference, as it is not the result of pitching, but rather that he sat out the last month of the season. Bedard was arguably the best pitcher in the mlb this year. After posting a decent 3.76 era in 2006, Bedard blasted his way into the pitching elite with a 3.16 era, and an incredible 221 k's. Expect another great season in 2008 from this Canadian.

5) Joe Blanton: +5 win shares - A former first round pick, had a great rookie year in 2005. he had a bad case of "sophomore slumpitis" in 2006, increasing his era an entire 1.29 points. Its amazing how quickly people forgot his rookie campaign, nobody ranked him anywhere. But in 2007 Blanton did bounce back, lowering his era back down to a respectable 3.95, although it was lower than that mark most of the year. Blanton is a very steady pitcher, and no one expects a 4th year slump from him.

Honorable mention: C.C. Sabathia, Tom Gorzelanny, Ted Lilly, Jeff Francis.

Now onto the players who did what pitchers are good at, disappointing you:

1) Jeremy Bonderman: -7 win shares - This 2001 first rounder looked bright coming into the season, lowering his era in each of his first 3 seasons. His first have was respectable, finishing with a 3.90 era, but it went downhill from there. He finished July with an era of 4.33, August at 4.72, and got rocked his last start, highering it to a season-high mark of 5.01.Just an utterly disappointing year, hopefully for the Tigers, he can bounce back in 2008.

2) Ervin Santana: -10 win shares - Wow. Ervin Santana was a solid pitcher, ending 2006 with a 4.28 era. Most people thought that number would, if anything, go down. Unfortunately for his wallet, it did not. In fact, it skyrocketed to 5.76. It got so bad for this Dominican native, that he had to be sent down to the minors. I'm not sure where he will be at in 2008, but I don't think his era can go up any higher.

3) Barry Zito: -8 win shares - This once laid-back, carefree, surfin, west-coast native quickly became considered overpaid, overrated, and money-hungry with his ridiculous 126 million dollar deal. His basic stats indicated a regression, most notably his high walk rate of 4.0 in 2007. With his velocity regressing, he got hit more, and the combination of walks, hits, and home runs equaled a 4.53 era. Unacceptable for the highest paid pitcher in the major leagues.

4) Cliff Lee: -9 win shares - A bounce-back candidate coming into 2007, did nothing except bounce himself out of the league, getting sent down to the minor mid-way through the season for his disappointing performances. The 6.29 era explains enough, could be a draft day steal if he can regroup int he offseason.

5) Jason Schmidt: -16 win shares - Schmidt was injured for most of the year, and normally I would not include him, but the combination of a 6.31 era in the 25 innings he did pitch, and his ridiculous free-agent contract he received, brought him upon this list of shame. Just an utter disappointment all year, showing that its best not to buy into pitchers, when there aren't that many.

Unhonorable mention: Tom Glavine, Chris Carpenter (inj), Daisuke Matsuzaka, Rich Harden (inj), Mike Mussina

That wraps it up for today. Please comment if you feel I left someone out (which is entirely possible). New articles will continue throughout the off-season, so look forward to that.



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