Brad Penny Leaves Solid Legacy In America

Brad Penny’s career in American professional baseball may not be officially over quite yet, but it has been put on hold. The 33-year-old right-hander will instead pitch for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (as passed along by Patrick Newman) during the 2012 campaign, and his contract contains an option for 2013 as well.

Penny’s performance in 2011 — a 5.30 ERA and a 5.02 FIP thanks to a staggeringly low 3.7 strikeout rate — made him look like a 43-year-old rather than a 33-year-old. It isn’t long ago that Penny was starting an All-Star Game — 2006, opposite Kenny Rogers of all matchups — and although maybe his selection as an All-Star starter was an odd one, Penny deserves some recognition for his performance from 2001 through 2007.

Penny’s best season actually came in 2007, a year after his selection as All-Star Game starter. Penny collapsed mightily in the second half of the 2006 season, allowing a 6.25 ERA and 12 home runs in his final 15 starts to finish with just a 4.33 overall ERA and a 3.89 FIP. The next season, despite a drop-off of over a strikeout per nine innings, Penny was strong from start to finish. His 3.03 ERA was backed by a fine 3.63 FIP, and even though he probably had some help from Dodger Stadium in allowing just nine home runs in his 33 starts, it’s difficult to argue with that kind of run prevention.

This type of consistently solid but never truly fantastic performance began with a breakout season with the 2001 Marlins and lasted through that 2007 season — the drop-off in strikeout rate eventually became too much for Penny to overcome as home runs started flying out of the park against his diminishing fastball.

(Click to embiggen)

Penny’s career in America may not be over quite yet — at 33, there is ample time for Penny to figure it out in Japan and return to the states for one last go. However, his inability to miss bats does not bode well. If it is indeed the case that Penny has thrown his last pitch in the major leagues, it is the end of a solid career — one that will not have gripped the memories of baseball’s legions of fans, but one that deserves recognition nonetheless.



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johnorpheus
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johnorpheus
4 years 5 months ago

I’ll always remember Penny’s short stint with the Cards as the point where he could have really made a name for himself. He was pitching fantastic that season and really took Duncan’s approach to heart, then injured himself hitting a grand slam, of all things, and just hasn’t produced anything worthwhile since.

Always Sunny in CP
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Always Sunny in CP
4 years 5 months ago

More like Brad Yenny now, amirite

sc2gg
Guest
sc2gg
4 years 5 months ago

Brad Kenny vs Brad Spenny?

Brandon Warne
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

I really wonder if his K rates would see any meaningful return if he was turned into a reliever…

Mr Punch
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Mr Punch
4 years 5 months ago

There’s a sense in which Penny was always cut out to be a reliever – he was more reliant on the fastball than any starter of his time, and his second pitch was the curve rather than something off the same motion. The other guy like this, fellow Marlins alum Josh Beckett, did somewhat better at diversifying his repertoire.

Matt C
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Matt C
4 years 5 months ago

Gotta be honest, I never thought I’d see an article on Fangraphs that had Brad Penny and solid in the same title.

BDF
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

I don’t recall it being said, so eight Scotches into my night I feel compelled to say it: Fangraphs’ compulsive use of “embiggen” beneath their graphs never–*never*–fails to crack my shit up. As I once wrote, it’s an example of “the language changes cognate with the tale still being told, a kind of objective correlative grounding the entire corporate exercise in the basic habits and techniques of the whole human family.” Makes me glad to be alive. The Scotch doesn’t hurt, either.

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