You made some good insights here, and it does seem that Peavy wasn’t the same pitcher this year as in years past. What I wonder is, was this that far out of the range of what we should expect from him?
Look at Roy Oswalt for example. Last year he had his highest BB/9 and lowest K/9 of his career. Many thought he was in a huge decline (maybe he still is) but we saw his BB/9 drop back to his career average and his K/9 go back up a bit after declining three years in a row.
Or look at Roy Halladay. His K/9 this year was the highest its been since 2001 and his BB/9 dropped .5/9 from last year.
It seems to me that pitchers “controllable skills” can vary widely, and to worry about Peavy or any pitcher for that matter, is declining (especially at at 27) is a bit alarmist.
I for one, bet that Peavy bounces back and his a big year in 2009.
John, you never know. Does the name Barry Zito ring a bell? He had pitched 6 full seasons by the time he was 28, after which he began a sharp decline and now is universally considered “washed up”.
Peavy has a lot of mileage on his arm for a 27 year old, and having an off year combined with elbow soreness isn’t a good sign.
I am wondering the same thing about CC Sabathia. He has pitched an eye-popping 494 innings the past 2 years combined. He has pitched 8 full MLB seasons and is 28. Granted, his mechanics are flawless but how much can an arm take before it starts to break down?
You’re right that we can never know. Peavy may have begun a rapid decline that will end like Zito, but there is scant evidence of that kind of implosion. Look at Zito’s graphs and you’ll see that there is virtually no comparison between the two.
Zito’s control was always around average and his K/9 never got as high as Peavy. Look at his K/BB too–it never got any better than 2.56 but was typically 2.0 or below.
His FIP only registered below 4.00 in his first three years–after that it rose rapidly and gave us all warning signs that his peak had come and gone by the time he signed with the Giants.
Nor does Peavy have the number of pitches or IP that Zito had, or has. Zito was abused in comparison to Peavy. Zito averaged over 3700 pitches/year in his time in Oakland. Compare that to Peavy’s 3147 between ’03 and ’08.
So yeah, Peavy might begin a rapid decline, but again, the evidence for an implosion is not in his statistics–though it may be there on an MRI.