Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Mendoza Lines

In my last post I listed Luis Mendoza as a longshot to make the rotation, and I believe that's certainly true. His two late season starts - in which he allowed just 2 earned runs in 14.2 innings - has some people convinced there's something there. Spoiler alert, there's not. His 4.3 SO/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in those two starts were pretty much identical to the rest of his career (4.6 SO/9 and 3.5 BB/9), those are numbers that are not exactly conducive to sustained success.

Since 2000 there have been 21 seasons in which a starting pitcher had a 4.5 or lower SO/9 and a 3.0 or higher BB/9 (minimum 162 IP). Of those, only three managed an ERA+ of 100 or higher - Kirk Rueter (108) and Dustin Hermanson (101) in 2000, and Jason Marquis (103) in 2005.

Here's the entire list, notice the two Royals and ask yourself if you want to witness a season like those again.

Rk Player ERA+ SO/9 BB/9 IP Year Tm
1 Kirk Rueter 108 3.47 3.03 184.0 2000 SFG
2 Jason Marquis 103 4.35 3.00 207.0 2005 STL
3 Dustin Hermanson 101 4.27 3.41 198.0 2000 MON
4 Darren Oliver 99 4.39 3.04 180.1 2003 COL
5 Livan Hernandez 96 3.96 3.48 204.1 2007 ARI
6 Pat Rapp 95 4.34 3.76 170.0 2001 ANA
7 Tom Glavine 93 4.03 3.24 183.1 2003 NYM
8 Scott Schoeneweis 93 4.13 3.55 170.0 2000 ANA
9 Josh Fogg 93 4.14 3.33 178.1 2004 PIT
10 Kirk Rueter 92 2.65 3.12 190.1 2004 SFG
11 Kirk Rueter 91 3.82 3.04 195.1 2001 SFG
12 Jimmy Anderson 90 3.88 3.62 206.1 2001 PIT
13 Steve Trachsel 88 4.32 4.26 164.2 2006 NYM
14 Jimmy Haynes 85 3.97 4.52 199.1 2000 MIL
15 Damian Moss 83 4.29 5.00 165.2 2003 TOT
16 Mark Redman 82 4.10 3.40 167.0 2006 KCR
17 Kenny Rogers 79 4.25 3.68 173.2 2008 DET
18 Mike Hampton 78 3.73 4.58 178.2 2002 COL
19 Brad Penny 77 3.67 3.07 181.2 2011 DET
20 Jason Marquis 74 4.45 3.47 194.1 2006 STL
21 Jose Lima 63 4.27 3.25 168.2 2005 KCR
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used

A couple good starts is one thing, doing it over the course of a full season is far more challenging.

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