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  1. I love watching Danks pitch every 5th day, but here is my one concern with him and the one thing that to this point prevents me from labeling him an “ace.” He too often will get himself into situations where he fails to close out innings/games. Sunday was a perfect example of this, he was at the 100 pitch mark through 5 2/3 innings. He had surrendered 1 run to Detroit at that point, but proceeded to give up 3 consecutive hits and 2 runs. The end result was a 3-0 loss. Danks again this year appears to be saddled as the tough luck pitcher on the Sox staff, the same way he was in 2008. His inability to close out innings/games to this point in my eyes is the one thing preventing him from fully elevating to elite status.

    Comment by Sox27 — April 26, 2011 @ 9:20 am

  2. 2nd sentence: “despite” should be “without”

    Comment by Brad — April 26, 2011 @ 9:23 am

  3. Danks has zero wins through five starts, therefore he is not a good pitcher. /sarcasm

    Is Cole Hamels the most similar pitcher to John Danks right now?

    Comment by Rob — April 26, 2011 @ 9:27 am

  4. I’d think it would be hard to maintain your BB rate if you are throwing a higher percentage of off-speed stuff, but it hasn’t shown up so far.

    Comment by Luke in MN — April 26, 2011 @ 9:39 am

  5. you’d be astounded how many people still use W-L for starters as a metric for their effectiveness. We still have a lot of dumb people to help. I think the Hamels comparison is a good one.

    Comment by Sox27 — April 26, 2011 @ 9:48 am

  6. I have been a fan of John Danks ever since he was a tiny wittle prospect. Despite the doubters, my heart and brain went with John Danks. Therefore, I am a genius and should become a general manager. Your Welcome, America.

    Comment by BigBoy — April 26, 2011 @ 9:50 am

  7. Luke, I got a question unrelated to the post. I only saw Liriano’s first two starts, is there a problem with his stuff right now? Or is it simply a matter of him not throwing enough strikes and walking too many hitters right now?

    Comment by Sox27 — April 26, 2011 @ 9:53 am

  8. Agree about Danks often failing to close out a hitter…..same deal with J Weaver, until last season…..often 0-2 but rarely that KO pitch……I believe Danks has gotten over that hump…..amazingly, none of the projection systems saw this coming.

    Comment by LionoftheSenate — April 26, 2011 @ 10:18 am

  9. Interesting analysis. It’s hard to argue that using your best pitches is anything but a good idea but maybe they are his best pitches only if he doesn’t use them much. Maybe if the hitters see the cutter and change more or don’t see the fastball as much then those pitches lose some value? When a pitcher makes a change like this that puts him ahead of the hitters, how long does it usually take for the scouts to catch on and inform the hitters so they can adjust and catch up?

    I don’t know the answer to these questions.

    Comment by MikeS — April 26, 2011 @ 10:22 am

  10. “They did this despite employing a starter that most baseball fans would consider an ace.” Is not much of a sentence, from a grammatical or sensical perspective.

    Comment by Big Jgke — April 26, 2011 @ 10:30 am

  11. I think Hamels is better because he is more consistent, but he also plays in AAAA so it’s possible Danks would be as good at a lower level.

    Comment by James — April 26, 2011 @ 10:53 am

  12. There you have it: America’s Welcome.

    Comment by Mike H — April 26, 2011 @ 11:32 am

  13. I recognize John Danks as the ace of the White Sox.

    ~White Sock Fan

    Comment by My echo and bunnymen — April 26, 2011 @ 11:56 am

  14. You do realize that Roy Halladay’s K/9 rate over the past decade is 6.86, right? I know I consider him elite – do you?

    My point – more than K/9 rates state whether a pitcher is elite. I’d reference K/BB ratio before K/9….

    Comment by Patricio — April 26, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

  15. Yes, “our” welcome, indeed.

    Comment by Jack Weiland — April 26, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

  16. “A confluence of averageish metrics have kept people from considering Danks elite.”

    Better?

    Comment by Jack Weiland — April 26, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

  17. ” Sunday was a perfect example of this, he was at the 100 pitch mark through 5 2/3 innings. He had surrendered 1 run to Detroit at that point, but proceeded to give up 3 consecutive hits and 2 runs”

    That seems like more of a managerial issue than a pitching issue to me. If a guy has thrown 100 pitches (especially this early in the season) his leash shouldn’t be long enough to give up a couple runs.

    Maybe Ozzie Guillen just isn’t very good at… well.. being a manager.

    Comment by RC — April 26, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

  18. His slider has not been there. Very flat this year so far.

    Comment by Bill — April 26, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

  19. Why are WAR Graphs available for batters but not pitchers? The Danks/Hamels comparison made me curious.

    Comment by CubsFan — April 26, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

  20. No, I don’t really think that’s the case. Ozzie has always said he’ll try to give his pitcher the best chance to get a win. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. But in general I think it helps to not have them looking over their shoulder every time they get into trouble. There’s a reason, like the article said, the White Sox led the majors in SP WAR.

    I’m guessing Ozzie left Danks in the game because he was losing 1-0, and he was hoping he could make it out of the inning and still have a chance to get a W. That would be pretty consistent with the way he manages.

    Comment by PG — April 26, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

  21. Despite makes no sense… if they did it “despite employing a starter most would consider an ace”, it is saying most fans consider there to be an ace on that team.

    If you are going to fix grammar, at least do it correctly. It may make sense grammatically, but in doing so you flipped the actual meaning of the sentence.

    Comment by joe — April 26, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

  22. It read “despite” in the original and was later changed to “without” after @Brad’s suggestion. So his comment is on point.

    If you are going to rip people for correcting grammar, you should at least read more carefully and know what you are talking about.

    Comment by Dave — April 26, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

  23. Also, part of the issue is throwing 100 pitches and not getting through…well…6 innings.

    Comment by Sox27 — April 26, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

  24. Oh Danks, he is an ACE.

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — April 26, 2011 @ 6:43 pm

  25. A part of me is glad that the Twins don’t have this rotation, we’d never stop hearing about them.

    Jackson is a 3.5 WAR pitcher, that makes 33 starts a year. Floyd is a 4.5 WAR pitcher. Every team should have guys that are effective last this, but can’t sustain it over a season. Good grief.

    I don’t consider Danks an ace, but I also realize that makes zero difference anywhere in the world. *grin* Danks is still a very good pitcher pitcher.

    I don;t think the CXhiSox have an ace, and I don;t think it really matters for their particular club.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — April 27, 2011 @ 9:27 am

  26. Sock?

    Comment by CircleChange11 — April 27, 2011 @ 11:53 am

  27. While Danks is not to the point of being an ace like Halladay, no pitcher in baseball is. He does possess the same type of bulldog mentality Halladay takes to the mound. Considering the home ball park Danks pitches in I would consider him the #6 pitcher in the AL. Over the past 3 years Danks has the 13th best WAR total amongst pitchers.

    As far as Danks closing out innings or games, i think he does it quite well even when he doesn’t have his best stuff. Most other pitchers fall apart, he doesn’t.

    Comment by Daniel Andrews — April 27, 2011 @ 11:34 pm

  28. No, why would a confluence of averageish metrics keep people from considering him elite? You have an assortment of other metrics used to determine value like WAR and VORP on BP which show him being a top of the rotation pitcher and yet have people overvalue other metrics which are biased towards strikeout pitchers such as FIP and xFIP. If he pitches for another 11 seasons at his current FG WAR or BR WAR he’ll pass the likes of many HOFers in WAR. Is he destined to become the Luis Tiant of his era?

    Comment by Daniel Andrews — April 28, 2011 @ 9:46 am

  29. I concur. A Danks, Hamels, Cain, Garza comparison is what is really needed.

    Comment by Daniel Andrews — April 28, 2011 @ 9:50 am

  30. I’m not sure I would agree with the “bulldog mentality” type thing.

    I view Holliday as being the model of “intensity”. Intensity that manifests itself through sustained focus. I define that to differentiate it from the casual view of “intensity”, which is Carlos Zambrano going bat-poop crazy. Being intense and being emotional are two different things.

    Anyway, back to Danks … I actually think one of his shortcomings is a lack of focus or occassionally getting a bad case of “Young and Dumb”. With the latter, he reminds me of Matt Morris in the regard that the worst thing that can happen to him is to be throwing harder than normal in the first inning, blow a couple guys away, and then try and pitch the rest of the game as if he were channeling Nolan Ryan. Sometimes he loses focuses, seemingly forgets to “pitch” and is just throwing the ball up there, or trying to throw is past guys, at the expense of location, etc.

    I haven’t watched him pitch much in the last year, but prior to that, there were some occasions where he seemed to be his own worst enemy in regards to dominating early and then seemingly putting his brain on cruise control and ending up losing his touch.

    But, I have also seen him get roughed up early, and battle like hell, keeping his team in the game and saving the bullpen as much as possible.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — April 28, 2011 @ 10:42 am

  31. Your last statement is the definition of being a bulldog and a testament to what I think separates ace from a non-ace on a game by game basis. I think Danks is more consistent on a game by game basis than Cain, Billingsley, Hamels, or Gallardo. How else does one accumulate a higher WAR than other so called aces such as Cain, Billingsley, Hamels, and Gallardo with so called less than dominate stuff? When there is less or equal variance in performances it is harder to call it luck.

    Comment by Daniel Andrews — April 28, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

  32. People are making Halladay comparisons, but I think Mussina might be a much more apt model. Similar K/9, similar BB/9, same tier of stuff. I mean, let’s be realistic- Danks isn’t out there vying for the most CG every season. He’s out there pitching similarly, but slightly worse, than Mussina.

    That’s a good pitcher, but I think people that are comparing him to HOF guys are pretty far off base. Even Moose, who kept up better performance than this over a long career, is a fringe candidate.

    Comment by B N — May 5, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

  33. Danks’ best pitch is actually the change-up

    Comment by Tim — July 5, 2011 @ 8:30 am

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