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Should Tommy John be in the Hall of Fame?
1. Yes
2. No

A Stathead's Grades for the Brewers - Part 2: Pitchers

on 10/12/2002


After looking at the hitters, it's time to look at the pitchers. The bad news is that the Brewers finished 15th in the NL in runs allowed and ERA (ahead of only Colorado), only Colorado allowed more Hrs, and no team walked more batters than the Brewers. They were simply bad. But, there's at least some glimmer of hope. The Brewers did have two starters throw over 200 innings around league average (Sheets and Rusch) and five good bullpen pitchers in DeJean, Vizcaino, King, Durocher, and De Los Santos. It's those last three rotation spots that the Brewers have to concentrate their efforts on improving.

My methodology for grading pitchers is going to be divided based on the roles as a Starter or Reliever. For a starter, I'm again going to refer to Baseball Prospectus and their "Support Neutral Win/Loss Reports". The two key categories I'll be using are "Support Neutral Value Added" (SNVA), i.e. how many wins better than average is the pitcher, and "Support Neutral Wins Above Replacement" (SNWAR), i.e. how many wins better than replacement level is the pitcher.

For the relievers I'll be using "Adjusted Runs Prevented" defined as the number of runs that the reliever prevented over an average pitcher, given the bases/outs situation when he entered and left each game, adjusted for league and park.

Now on to the grades:

Luis Vizcaino 81.1 IP 2.99 ERA ARP: 21.6
A steal of a trade. Luis Vizcaino was solid from Day 1. Struck out nearly a batter an inning. Stranded tons of base runners. Was one of the top 10 relievers in MLB by statistics based measures.
Grade: A

Mike DeJean 75.0 IP 3.12 ERA Converted 27 of 30 Save Opportunities ARP: 9.1
Outside of an embarrassing yelling session with Royster, DeJean did a fine job as closer. Obviously not an elite level closer, but not a problem either. Off season trade bait.
Grade: B+

Ray King 65.0 IP 3.05 ERA ARP: 9.5
Got out lefties and righties. Pitched a lot and pitched well.
Grade: B+

Jayson Durocher 48.0 IP 1.88 ERA ARP: 11.2
Took a while to get up to the majors but was very effective once up. His grade would have been higher if he had pitched more.
Grade: B

Valerio De Los Santos 57.2 IP 3.12 ERA ARP: 10.4
Comeback player of the year for the Brewers. Was effective but probably could have been used more to take some of the load off of King.
Grade: B

Ben Sheets 216.2 IP 4.15 ERA SNVA: 0.4 SNWAR: 2.2
Some growing pains, but definite signs of improvement as well. Led regular starters in ERA, IP, Ws, Ls, and Ks. Some questions about his ceiling, but he looks like a good starter for years to come.
Grade: C+

Wayne Franklin 24.0 IP 2.63 ERA SNVA: 0.5 SNWAR: 0.8
Part of the haul in the Mark Loretta deal. Franklin pitched well in a small sample size. Will be competing for a job in the rotation in 2003.
Grade: C

Glendon Rusch 210.2 IP 4.70 ERA SNVA: -1.1 SNWAR: 0.8
Had his ups and downs. Good April, August and September. Poor May through July. Hurt himself through bad defense and tendency to give up the long ball. Probably an average #4 starter. The last starter that ranks above replacement level.
Grade: C-

Mike Buddie 39.2 IP 4.54 ERA ARP: -7.0
Replacement level type. Maybe a little better. Not much ceiling and not someone who's going to be missed long-term.
Grade: D

Jamey Wright 114.1 IP 5.35 ERA SNVA: -1.3 SNWAR: -0.4
Injury prone and inconsistent as usually, Wright finally wore out his welcome in Milwaukee. He pitched well enough in August to get traded. We'll see if the Brewers got anything in value in return.
Grade: D-

Nick Neugebauer 55.1 IP 4.72 ERA SNVA: -0.6 SNWAR: -0.1
Flashed signs, but injuries and poor control sidetracked his year.
Grade: D-

Nelson Figueroa 93.0 IP 5.03 ERA SNVA: -1.8 SNWAR: -1.3 ARP: 3.6
Had some effective outings in the bullpen, but gave up a lot of HRs as a starter. He was a waiver wire pickup and looked it a fair amount of the year.
Grade: D-

Ruben Quevedo 139.0 IP 5.76 ERA SNVA: -2.5 SNWAR: -1.2 ARP: 0.5
Whether from a dead arm, poor attitude, poor conditioning, or poor mechanics, Quevedo was a huge disappointment. Still young enough to bounce back, but needs to become a lot more professional in a hurry if he wants to save his career. His wife beat up Alex Sanchez, that about says it all.
Grade: F

Ben Diggins 24.0 IP 8.63 ERA SNVA: -0.8 SNWAR: -0.6
Part of the Tyler Houston trade, he flashed some signs of promise, but it's clear that he was in over his head. Will probably start next year at AA.
Grade: F

Everett Stull 10.0 IP 6.30 ERA SNVA: -0.3 SNWAR: -0.2
AAA emergency starter type. Not young enough to waste time with.
Grade: F

Jimmy Osting 12.0 IP 7.50 ERA SNVA: -0.5 SNWAR: -0.4
His upside is a Nelson Figueroa type. And he wasn't even that at the MLB level this year.
Grade: F

Takahito Nomura 13.2 IP 8.56 ERA ARP: -7.6
Looked just like a pitcher who was cut from the Japanese League.
Grade: F

Andrew Lorraine 12.0 IP 11.25 ERA SNVA: -0.4 SNWAR: -0.3 ARP: -8.5
Just awful. And not young enough to deserve any patience.
Grade: F

Jose Cabrera 103.1 IP 6.79 ERA SNVA: -1.1 SNWAR: -0.6 ARP: -16.5
Had a couple of decent starts, but was simply in over his head as a starter. Just got worse and worse as the year progressed. Ended up as one of the 10 worst relievers in baseball for total damage done.
Grade: F

Shane Nance 6.1 IP 4.26 ERA ARP: 0.8
The other part of the Tyler Houston trade. Might be a decent lefty out of the bullpen.
Grade: Incomplete

David Pember 8.2 IP 5.19 ERA SNVA: -0.3 SNWAR: -0.2 ARP: 0.5
In over his head. Didn't look like a future major leaguer either.
Grade: Incomplete

Matt Childers 9.0 IP 12.00 ERA ARP: -9.8
Simply in over his head.
Grade: Incomplete

Brian Mallette 5.0 IP 10.80 ERA ARP: -3.4
Another one that was in over his head.
Grade: Incomplete

Chad Fox 4.2 IP 5.79 ERA ARP: -0.5
Dean Taylor ignored Fox's injury history over the winter. Fox was on the DL practically all year, and any value he had, trade or otherwise, appears gone.
Grade: Incomplete

Mike Matthews 4.0 IP 4.50 ERA ARP: 0.8
Part of the package received in return for Jamey Wright. Might be a perfectly adequate lefty swingman.
Grade: Incomplete

Starters: 927 IP 5.18 ERA SNVA: -9.7 SNWAR: -1.4
Approximately 10 wins below average and over a win below replacement level.
Grade: F

Relievers: 505. IP 3.88 ERA ARP: 14.8
Well above average bullpen dragged down by some bad mop up men.
Grade: B

M.I.A.: Curtis Leskanic and Paul Rigdon. Both may be done with baseball, or at least with the Brewers organization in Rigdon's case.

The good thing about the Brewers having so many starters below replacement level is that it's very easy to improve. Even an average pitcher may be worth 3 or 4 games over Jose Cabrera. The Brewers ran through a number of warm bodies this year, but the answers to the last three spots in the rotation still appear elusive. Neugebauer, Quevedo, Franklin, Diggins, and Figueroa probably will all be given starts next year and we'll see if they can rise to the occasion over the course of a full year. Doug Melvin also is facing a bit of a dilemma, how to cash in the bullpen, one of the few strengths of the team, without making it a whole lot worse.


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A Stathead's Grades for the Brewers - Part 2: Pitchers
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