FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. Bard walked 7 batters, but that’s Bobby Valentine’s fault? Contextualizing a walk makes it count as less?

    Comment by Big Jgke — April 16, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

  2. In terms of evaluating future performance, yes. We know that his command has eroded as his pitch count has risen and. completely deserted him past 100 pitches today. As the season progresses, we can assume that his arm strength and endurance will increase which should lead to him maintaining his command late into starts. Also, I don’t think that Valentine will be dumb enough to pull a Grady Little again.

    Comment by Marcel — April 16, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

  3. … except he’s already pulled a couple Grady Littles already this season.

    Not to mention that in the highest leverage situation in the ballgame, he had Matt Albers and Justin Thomas (who?) warming up, which led to the second game already in which he’s used his worst reliever at the most important moment.

    Comment by BigNachos — April 16, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

  4. Bard’s BB/9 was 2.96 last year and 3.62 in 2010. He had a 1.80 BB/9 after one start this season, and with seven walks in 6 2/3 innings today I’m betting that went up a bit. He wasn’t particularly wild, that’s true, but he wasn’t exactly Cliff Lee out there last year.

    Comment by quincy0191 — April 16, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

  5. It may not be endurance. It may be a function of second time through the order, when batters are less likely to chase pitches they’ve become a little more familiar with. Most relievers aren’t relievers because they lack stamina, but because their stuff doesn’t hold up 2nd and 3rd times through.

    Comment by grant — April 16, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

  6. Cripes. Fixed. Thanks for the catch. I looked at that three times and still typed in the wrong values.

    Comment by Paul Swydan — April 16, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

  7. Bard’s fastball is still sitting at 93-95 MPH as a starter. If he can’t get hitters out at that velocity, then he might as well be Joel Zumaya. The only difference between effectiveness at 94 and effectiveness at 98 is that one of them requires more thought than “throw big fastball in strike zone.” Bard doesn’t strike me as the dumb type, nor does his slider’s effectiveness label him as an all-fastball pitcher. The Red Sox should have converted him last year, a complete inability to throw more than 50 pitches without fainting should be the only reason Bard should not start.

    Comment by opisgod — April 16, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

  8. I think Bard will be okay..

    But I hate bobby v. Why not franklin morales or melancon? Or just really why is bard still in the game with the bases loaded and 6 walks under his belt already? Gag. Please end this season mercifully.

    Comment by Jim Lahey — April 16, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

  9. Yes making assumptions about things we want to be true often works out so well in baseball.

    Comment by Colin — April 16, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

  10. I have a few questions:

    First, what’s the league average strike-rate per inning? I guess there’d be some variety of survivor bias, but I’d be curious nonetheless.

    Secondly, what’s your take on Bard maintaining velocity in the TB start? We can posit that he’s running on empty, but he did maintain velocity, and the previous inning was (basically) all strikes.

    I know it’s fun to speculate, but he also could’ve just had a bad inning independent of being out of gas. I didn’t watch the game, I’m just reading through the stats, so I can’t really comment on his ‘labouring.’

    As always, great read.

    Comment by kris — April 16, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

  11. Bard walked batters in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and also hit a batter – the walks were just not having issues early in the game, they were pretty spread out. Even if we just toss away 3 walks in the 7th you are still talking a 6BB/9IP rate which is not a sustainable BB rate for a starter, regardless of stuff

    Maybe he will get better late in games… or maybe he will get worse as he starts pushing toward cumulative workloads he hasn’t seen in years. Maybe his command gets better when he’s hitting pitch 90+ later on this year or maybe it gets worse when he hits 100 innings and his legs and arm is not as fresh. I’m not sure why one would assume one direction over the other.

    Comment by Joe — April 16, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

  12. One can only imagine how glowing the writeup would have been if he had walked fewer than one batter per inning during today’s start. I don’t disagree that Bard can succeed in the rotation, but today’s start is evidence against this proposition, not for it.

    Comment by Andrew — April 16, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

  13. 2gs, 5.2ip/gs, 1.6k/bb, 1.71whip, 4.63era, 104pc/gs, 64st/gs

    yup, of all the guys in MLB that we could talk about, this is the guy that definitely deserves an entire article dedicated to how well he’s pitching so far this year.

    good call.

    Comment by everdiso — April 16, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

  14. He could have been having a bad inning. Either way though, Valentine should have pulled him considering he is on his 2nd MLB start.

    To me he starts off with a Walk (ok sure), than a single (ok now I pull him for someone not named Thomas). Even if you leave him in, you pull him after he walks the next guy.

    This is inexcusable. A high school coach could do a better job than Valentine, and this doesn’t even get into the whole calling out Youk thing.

    Comment by Derek R-C — April 16, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

  15. Paul’s a bit embarrassed, right now; but he called and wanted me to let you know, everdiso, that he’s sorry for wasting your valuable time. It won’t happen again.

    To this end, please leave a list of approved pitchers for future articles.

    Comment by Kevin — April 16, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

  16. maybe start with the guys who haven’t walked 7 guys in one of their two starts, even if it means we don’t get to spin positives about the red sox.

    Comment by everdiso — April 16, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

  17. I think his GB% also warrants mentioning, I think that might be one of the most encouraging things about his 2 starts.

    Comment by Mike Scarn — April 16, 2012 @ 9:05 pm

  18. @ everdiso:

    I’m sure Fangraphs will issue you a full refund.

    Comment by dkulich44 — April 16, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

  19. Is it just me, or is fg getting more and more polluted with ignorant, negative comments? Why bother reading? Every MLB team gets plenty of coverage here, so go back to espn’s comment sections with your east-coast bias whinings. You’ll have plenty of friends there!

    Comment by Kevin — April 16, 2012 @ 10:28 pm

  20. How about ten or fifteen starts before we start jumping to conclusions about rate stats like BB/9, GB% and Swing and miss percentage. Just 2 starts.

    Comment by uh — April 16, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

  21. At least we have friends and are not a virgin like you Kev.

    Comment by uh — April 16, 2012 @ 11:16 pm

  22. Performative! I love performatives!

    Comment by LTG — April 17, 2012 @ 12:50 am

  23. You’ll need a couple months of good posts before your bad post% normalizes.

    Comment by zach — April 17, 2012 @ 1:15 am

  24. As a Red Sox fan I note there is a bit of a Red Sox bias which annoys some.

    Bard has been OK, there is some promise there. The real question is how his arm holds out after a number of starts. Bobby V doing his best to test this.

    Comment by pft — April 17, 2012 @ 4:04 am

  25. I have Bard on my fantasy team and watched both of his starts and came away impressed. The one thing I was most surprised by was how good of a feel Bard has for pitching. He mixes his pitches well and seems to have a knack for throwing the pitch / location the hitter least expects. Also was impressed with his poise as he seemed to be able to not get rattled and pitch out of a couple of jams. I thought his first start was a lot of bad luck, a lot of the hits he gave up were seeing eye hits / bad luck. Even though his line was ugly I came away feeling satisfied that I made the right choice picking him up, and still feel the same way after his second start. The article is spot on, Bard is going to be very solid, prob have an ERA in the mid 3s, average a k an inning, decent whip (won’t hurt / won’t help), and double digit wins.

    Comment by kissfro — April 17, 2012 @ 4:43 am

  26. Any time anything starts getting successful, you get trolls and haters, regardless of how good your intentions.

    I think the problem is currently with the commenting system that allows posts by these lowlifes to get prominence on the page.

    It should be structured more like, where the top voted comments are highest on the page, and negative rated comments are hidden. Even Youtube has the hiding feature.

    Comment by Congo Hammer — April 17, 2012 @ 5:47 am

  27. “2gs, 5.2ip/gs, 1.6k/bb, 1.71whip, 4.63era, 104pc/gs, 64st/gs

    yup, of all the guys in MLB that we could talk about, this is the guy that definitely deserves an entire article dedicated to how well he’s pitching so far this year.

    good call.”

    I know, and to add to you point the one good start he had was against the pathetic Blue Jays.

    Comment by Andrew — April 17, 2012 @ 7:03 am

  28. The level of masshole homerism in this article is atounding. Why did Fangraphs decide to do this on a guy who has never had any success as a starter above A ball? Just because he can throw hard?

    Cherry-picking stats to show that Bard doesn’t suck? Clap Clap Clap!

    Well, Bobby Valentine will fix that. Just give Bard a few more starts under Bobby V.’s wonderful management and Bard will revert back to his career minor league numbers as a starter.

    Hope you like 4th place losers.

    Comment by RTHonJhonTurner — April 17, 2012 @ 8:04 am

  29. I followed that game. Bard was spent after 6 2/3. He should have been removed. A competent manager would have got him out of there before 2 of those walks occurred, if not 3.

    Comment by glenstein — April 17, 2012 @ 8:06 am

  30. Why don’t you take a seat over there?

    Comment by Chris Hansen — April 17, 2012 @ 9:44 am

  31. The last two walks were certainly Valentine’s fault. Bard had no business being on the mound after Jennings’s single. To wit:

    Comment by Bryan — April 17, 2012 @ 9:55 am

  32. If this isn’t begging for moderation, I don’t know what is.

    Comment by sirvlciv — April 17, 2012 @ 10:48 am

  33. atounding

    Comment by Justin Bailey — April 17, 2012 @ 10:49 am

  34. If the wildness if related to fatigue, he should become less wild in later innings as he builds his stamina. If he doesn’t, this is evidence that the initial hypothesis is wrong.

    Comment by Bill — April 17, 2012 @ 11:14 am

  35. Yes, his walk rate is bad early on, but, if his last three were fatigue related, it’s not as alarmingly bad as his box score makes it appear.

    Comment by Bill — April 17, 2012 @ 11:16 am

  36. Ok, I apologize to Paul Swydon for me being a dick. I’m a dick, and my comment may have been out of line. So all apologies, Paul…genuinely.

    That being said, I do find it astounding that this site continues to not only give the Red Sox inordinate amounts of coverage…..but that somehow this coverage remains almost entirely positive, despite the fact that for the last 8 months or so they objectively have deserved nothing but criticism.

    I mean fangraphs used to be where we would come to see writers poke holes in silly theories like “The 2011 Red Sox were so awesome from arbitrary end point A to arbitrary end point B that whatever happened before or after those arbitrary endpoints can safely be discarded as exceptions and not indicative of the real quality of the team”, or “The horrible start and end to the 2011 Red Sox season was entirely due to bad clubhouse chemistry and players not paying enough attention to the little things, and that a new culture change over the offseason will take care of those problems and let their true talent shine through”. Yet not only does fangraphs now seem to allow juicy anti-sabr theories like this become popular without any desire to correct them, but many writers slyly embrace them (without actually saying it in so many words). These are the kind of theories that fangraphs grew popular by debunking so aggressively in the past. What happened?

    And then somehow all offseason and preseason and early season any Sox move has been reviewed glowingly, whether it’s dumping a quality SS and “replacing” him with bench players, or patching together a number of spots in the lineup with part-time players, or going with two guys with no track record of SP success in their rotation, or demolishing their already questionable bullpen, or proclaiming the 2nd best organization in MLB despite the recent streak of onfield and offfield suck.

    Just seems if we have to put up with an inordinate amount of Sox-related stuff (which, really, is fine – they have a ton of fans and in some ways deserve more coverage), it at least should start criticizing the Sox for what has been a rather horrible last 8 months of both performance and personnel decisions.


    but again, Paul, all apologies. I know I’m a dick. My bad.

    Comment by everdiso — April 17, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  37. Awesome! It’s like when someone hits a homerun after an intentional walk. Immediate confirmation of a point.

    Comment by Bill — April 17, 2012 @ 11:20 am

  38. Fifth place! Go O’s!

    Comment by Bill — April 17, 2012 @ 11:22 am

  39. I find it amazing that bard is getting glowing reports, or even mediocre reports.

    1. TOR was looking dead red, took 1st pitch sliders for strikes, and because Bard doesn;t have anything other than a FB-SL, they sat on fastballs following sliders.

    There wasn’t bad BABIP luck in that game, but a deliberate approach and batters tee’ing off on fastballs.

    2. In the 2nd start he issued 7 walks. I’ve never seen so much defense of a pitcher that walked 7 batters. Since when do we remove stats in that fashion to evaluate player’s performance? I do agree that if managers took players out before they fatigued, the players would do better. But, we need to apply that same protocol to all players. My guess is everyone shows significant improvement.

    I think the point could be made that him being a little above replacement level through 2 starts is a good thing for a reliever turning into a starter. But, I don’t think we should be touting it as “successful” so to speak.

    So far, so good? IMHO, the expectations were greater than the performance level so far. I would have guessed that he’d have been a disappointment so far.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — April 17, 2012 @ 11:36 am

  40. Keep in mind this is the same site that, two years ago, almost completely dismissed Clay Buchholz’s questionable peripherals, BABIP luck, and unsustainable home run rate, calling 2010 a breakout year and a sign of great things to come.

    For whatever reason, this site maintains a consistent blind spot when it comes to the Red Sox.

    Comment by Joel — April 17, 2012 @ 11:47 am

  41. I think the reason for this was that his peripherals predicted a rise in his K/9, as evidenced by his 9.4 Swstr %, which would put him in a range of starters with a K/9 from 7-8, which would offset a presumed raise in BABIP. This is the exact same approach they’ve taken for non-Red Sox pitcher, Jeremy Hellickson so I’m not seeing the correlation between Red Sox homerism and Fangraphs.

    Comment by James — April 17, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

  42. Hey everdiso, say inordinate again.

    Comment by Andrew — April 17, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

  43. “I mean fangraphs used to be where we would come to see writers poke holes in silly theories like “The 2011 Red Sox were so awesome from arbitrary end point A to arbitrary end point B that whatever happened before or after those arbitrary endpoints can safely be discarded as exceptions and not indicative of the real quality of the team”

    This is what your insanely jealous Blue-Jays fan mind interprets.

    In the real world where the rest of us live, it’s clear that most of the Fangraphs staff don’t take actual Win-Loss record as the final word on a team’s true talent/performance. The Red Sox played better than a 90 win team in 2011 TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE ENTIRE SEASON. On top of that they had some injuries.

    By the way, when the FG staff did their predictions, how many guys even picked the Red Sox to make the playoffs? A couple? This is definitive proof that you’re just being an irrational homer. You hate the Red Sox, and anything less than someone saying they suck and are going to finish 4th to you is sucking up to them. Grow up.

    Comment by Andrew — April 17, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

  44. You said it. Only more elegantly than I.

    So its perfectly acceptable to piss on the pathetic Blue Jays but frowned upon when one points out the blatant homerism towards the Red Sox?

    Well, let me repeat it. Go lick your chicken greased fingers and cry in your warm beer. And you heard it hear folks, 4th place for the Red Sox. Book it.

    Comment by RTHonJhonTurner — April 17, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

  45. Insanely jealous how? I think its the other way around. How else do you explain the Red Sox trying to pluck John Farrell in the offseason? Well guess what, it didn’t work. Enjoy Bobby V. I hear that he’s big in Japan.

    Comment by RTHonJhonTurner — April 17, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

  46. An inordinate amount of your posts are directed towards me.

    Comment by everdiso — April 17, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

  47. It’s too bad that the title of this article didn’t make it clear that it was about a member of the Red Sox so you could just avoid it.

    Comment by Judy — April 17, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  48. A lot of hate for Bobby V going around. I didn’t watch the game, but it looks like he left him in there too long. Is it possible that he wanted to see how Bard handled the situation as he started to get tired and didn’t have his best stuff? If you always take out a young starter when he gets into trouble, you have no clue how he’ll respond to the situation the next time it comes up.

    Comment by vivalajeter — April 17, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

  49. I can avoid lots of stuff but I will not ignore some masshole fan calling the Blue Jays pathetic. Hence my rant.

    Comment by RTHonJhonTurner — April 17, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

  50. I understand, but there is a difference between having a guy work out of a bases loaded -0- out situation in the 4th without his best stuff, and having a guy with nothing left in the tank try to get out of it. The former is a repeatable occurrence. You might have to do that 3-4 times a year, maybe more. You seldom have to pitch in 0-0 games when you’re exhausted.

    Comment by Joebrady — April 17, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

  51. 16-2 Texas. How do you like them apples?

    Comment by RTHonJhonTurner — April 17, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

  52. Yep, you guys are on to something, i come here expecting to see why the Red Sox are so bad and it seems we get an apology for their performance.

    Maybe they bought him the wrong kind of fried chicken before the game?

    Comment by DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy — April 18, 2012 @ 4:04 am

  53. Buchholtz was having a good season last year before he got hurt. He had started out slow but had gotten better and better after every start. If he had finished the season and gotten 30 starts theres no doubt in my mind he would have finished the season w/ an ERA somewhere between 2.90-3.20 and 14+wins.

    This year so far his first 3 starts have all been day starts, which now for his career has an ERA over 5.00 in day starts. Since 2009 when he became full-time starter, he is 25-7 with a 2.66 ERA at Night. That is a pretty good sample size. He’s going to be a good top of the rotation pitcher over the next several years, id say atleast as good as Tim Hudson has been over the years. He was on his way to being the next Jered Weaver, but ever since he changed his arm slot in 2008, his strikeouts have gone down.

    Comment by Tim Wing — April 24, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

  54. It’s pretty clear Bard has control issues and can’t cut it in the rotation. I don’t know why people assumed he’d make a smooth transition just because he was a strong reliever. He struggled mightly in the minors as a SP and is struggling mightly in the majors.

    Comment by Justin — June 4, 2012 @ 10:56 am

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