Since I didn't get around to a TCR Friday Notes, I'll post a few interesting articles from the most wonderful Hardball Times
The first is a look at the best hitting pitchers in baseball
and to no one's suprise, Z and Marquis were among the best in the bunch in 2006. But other than just ranking the current and the past pitchers and their hitting prowess, it's one of the first articles I've seen that actually tries to answer how much of an effect a pitcher's hitting abilities has on the days they start. I'll let you guys do the reading but here's the cliff notes version.
- Top 5 hitting pitchers last year were Willis, Mulder, Z, Marquis, Suppan. The Cards will not only be hurting on the mound from Marquis and Suppan's departures and Mulder's early season absence, but it might end up hurting their offense as well.
- The best hitting pitchers can shave a quarter run off their ERA over the course of a season.
- The career leader in home runs by a pitcher is Ned Williamson at 51. Watch out Ned, Z's coming for you (he's at 10).
The conclusion was also worth noting:
Let’s promise to no longer ignore a pitcher’s accomplishments at the plate. Sure, they might seem inconsequential compared to what he does on the mound, but every little bit of performance is important. Good hitting pitchers can provide themselves with a small advantage worth maybe half-a-win a season. Nevertheless, in today’s world, half-a-win is worth well over $2 million, so it’s nothing to scoff at either. Maybe that might start to explain Jason Marquis’ contract.
The second article is a look at ten pitchers
in baseball and their projected stats from PECOTA, CHONE and Marcel. Z gets a mention and I imagine his projections seem a bit high to us Cub fans (here's the abbreviated table):
IP ERA BABIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 K/BB
PECOTA 215 3.79 0.278 8.8 3.9 0.92 2.3
CHONE 2.1 205 3.45 0.285 8.7 4.0 0.83 2.2
Marcel 189 3.48 8.4 4.0 0.86 2.1
AVERAGE 203 3.57 0.282 8.6 3.9 0.87 2.2
If Z is in the 3.50 range in ERA, 2007 will not be a good season for the Cubs, no matter how well he hits. And while everyone is counting down until pitchers and catchers report (4 days by the way), I've got my eye on 8 days, which is when Z's arbitration hearing is scheduled for and what could be a big day for the future of the franchise. If Z and his entourage have to sit through an arbitration hearing listening to the Cubs take shots at his game, his future as a Cub beyond 2007 grows ever more unlikely.