Choosing Among Three Walk-Heavy Lefties

If you go to our pitcher leader boards and sort by BB/9, you’ll see a trio of lefties on top. Jonathan Sanchez, Gio Gonzalez, and C.J. Wilson pitched effectively in 2010 despite being the only three qualified pitchers in baseball to walk more than four per nine. Yet all of them out-performed all of their peripherals, in some cases to a considerable degree. It made me wonder who is the best bet in the long-term. In other words, if you got to pluck one of these guys from his current team, under his current circumstances, whom would you choose?

The case for Sanchez

In terms of results Sanchez put together the best year of these three. His strikeout rate was about two per nine better than the others, and his ERA was the lowest. While we can find encouragement in the former, especially since it was right around his career mark, we know the perils of relying on ERA as a predictor. In terms of his more predictive peripheral ERAs, it’s tough to be high on Sanchez heading into 2011.

The reasons for my bearish view on Sanchez’s 2011 don’t center on BABIP, though his .262 mark from 2010 certainly won’t hold up. That will affect his ERA right away. He’ll also probably have worse infield defense behind him, as he’s going from Juan Uribe to Miguel Tejada at shortstop. What really worries me about Sanchez is his high walk rate combined with average-ish home run rate. His HR/FB ratio was right around the 10 percent rate we use for xFIP, and has been around that mark for his career.

Those two factors then further combine with his high strand rate — 79.5 percent, well above his 72.2 percent career rate and fourth highest in the league in 2010 — to create a situation that he probably won’t sustain. If his LOB% falls to his career level next year, those walks are going to hurt more. The home runs will hurt more. I’d expect his ERA to climb into the 3.90 to 4.20 range next year. While that’s not bad by any stretch, it’s considerably worse than his 2010 performance.

Still, betting on Sanchez’s future might be a worthy endeavor. He still has two years of team control remaining, and he made only $2 million in 2010. That could help keep his cost a bit down in the next few years, though he’ll get a considerable bump this year. What I like about Sanchez’s future is that anyone who strikes out so many guys can sometimes keep his strand rate high, and therefore can cover up some of his deficiencies. I might not want to put Sanchez in a park such as Arlington, but he could help out many teams in his two remaining arbitration years.

The case for Gonzalez

You don’t need to look past Gonzalez’s birth date to realize the advantage he has over both Sanchez and Wilson. He just turned 25, while Sanchez is 28 and Wilson 30. He also has under two years of service time, meaning he has plenty of team control left. While he’ll almost certainly qualify as a Super Two next off-season, he is still under team control through the 2015 season. He’d have to be quite worse than the other two in order to not be the best value.

In terms of numbers, Gonzalez’s 2010 makes him appear to be a viable starter going forward. Despite his high walk rate he still managed a 3.78 FIP and 4.18 xFIP, and if either of those represents his 2011 ERA I don’t think anyone can complain. As with Sanchez, Gonzalez stranded a ton of runners this season, 78.1 percent, which was the 11th highest rate in the league. If that heads down towards the low 70s, his ERA will certainly climb. But will it climb higher than Wilson’s and Sanchez’s?

While Gonzalez’s age generally plays in his favor, it also brings a set of questions we can’t yet answer. Back in his prospect days scouts has many concerns about his ability and his make-up. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why he was traded three times before reaching the majors. Here’s what Baseball America said about him before the 2009 season:

Gonzalez has been a prolific strikeout pitcher, but his fastball command is below average and led to an excess of walks in his brief stint with Oakland. He needs to repeat his delivery with more frequency, which in turn will lead to better command.

I’m not sure about the delivery repetition, but he certainly didn’t improve his command in 2010 (unless he somehow improved his command without having much control, which is an odd combination). I always consider it at least a little concerning when a scouting report touches on something a player has to improve and, results be damned, he doesn’t improve on it.

Kevin Goldstein’s take was a bit more pessimistic than BA’s:

Gonzalez is inconsistent on a level that baffles scouts and team officials; he can look dominant one day and overmatched the next, depending on what kind of command he has in any particular outing. He still needs to make adjustments, since he was used to getting most of his strikeouts outside the zone until more advanced hitters began forcing him to challenge them.

Put all together, I take this to mean that Gonzalez can be better than both Sanchez and Wilson in the future, but to bet on that scenario represents a considerable risk. It’s one I’m not sure I’d make. In other words, while he has room to develop, I’m not certain at all of his projectability.

The case for Wilson

At a mere glance it’s clear that Wilson has plenty working against him. At age 30 he’s the oldest of the bunch, yet he has the least amount of starting experience among the three. He’ll also hit free agency after the 2011 season and is in line for a big raise this off-season. But at the same time if I had to pick one of these guys for just the 2011 season it would be Wilson. That leaves at least a little room for him in this conversation.

If anything stands out about Wilson’s 2010 numbers it’s his HR/FB rate, which was a career low 5.3 percent. The problem is we don’t know how much of that resulted form his conversion to starting and how much of it will regress in 2011. His ground ball tendencies help mitigate the HR/FB ratio, but again I’m not sure to what extent. I’d be far more comfortable projecting him at his career rate, 9.1 percent, than keeping him as lows as 5.3 percent. That could change things, but I think he’ll fall somewhere in between.

Where does that leave him? I can definitely see him as a 3.50 to 4.00 ERA kinda guy for a number of years, and I can see it depending on his home run rate. In terms of control, 4.10 BB/9 is probably what we can expect going forward. Ditto his 7.50 K/9, though that’s a bit tougher to project because of his history as a reliever. His health, too, is difficult to forecast. His biggest problem in 2010 was blisters, which certainly bodes well considering his enormous increase in work load.

The reason Wilson loses in this conversation is because of his impending free agency. If he has a quality 2011 he’ll almost certainly land a big contract, since there aren’t many high quality pitchers in the 2011-2012 free agent class. Then again, Sanchez is only a year behind him and will hit free agency at a younger age. That’s what makes this a tough decision.

I choose…

If San Francisco, Texas, and Oakland all lined up and each offered me one of the above guys for the same Player X, I’d probably accept San Francisco’s offer. It wasn’t an easy choice, as each player has a pretty clear set of pros and cons, but I think in terms of current and future value I’d get the most out of Sanchez.

Really, it’s the strikeout rate that does it for me. I’m not convinced any of these guys will improve his walk rate. With Wilson and Sanchez it has been pretty well established, and with Gonzalez we heard about these issues since his prospect days. I also don’t think Gonzalez will significantly increase his strikeout rate, because of his previous and current inability to get higher level hitters to chase his pitches out of the zone. And then there’s the whole issue of his overall projectability — he is, after all, a pretty small dude for a pitcher.

That’s the whole thing with Gonzalez. He represents the lowest risk in one way, because he is the cheapest and under team control for the longest. Yet he’s the biggest risk, in that I think that both Wilson and Sanchez have a better chance of staying close to their 2010 performances in the future. I’m susceptible to arguments otherwise, but given the evidence as presented I’m a bit higher on Sanchez.




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Joe also writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues.


78 Responses to “Choosing Among Three Walk-Heavy Lefties”

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  1. Fergie348 says:

    Giants insiders have been saying for years that Sanchez’ command problems stem from a simple fact – he has small hands and can’t grip the ball well sometimes. He has release point issues that are probably not fixable. If any of their high ceiling arms steps up in the next 12 months, I expect the G’s to trade him away for some middle infield help.

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    • Scout Finch says:

      yeah but he figured some things out in the 2nd half if you’ll recall. But if they can get a major return on him, then by all means…

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    • DrBGiantsfan says:

      The Giants have had numerous opportunity to trade Sanchez. Sabean has steadfastly refused despite a lot of popular pressure from fans and Bay Area sports commentators. In fact, he specifically mentioned that as a decision he is proud of in post WS interviews!

      Yes, Sanchez is 28, but he was older when he was drafted out of a small college program but is otherwise on a steady upward career trajectory. He may be close to his ceiling now, but I don’t think he will regress significantly in the near future. The Giants may well find themselves needing to trade a pitcher or two as they all get expensive at the same time, but it won’t be because of a lack of belief in his continued performance.

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    • Matt says:

      Not calling you a liar or saying you’re wrong, but I follow the Giants pretty closely and I’ve never heard an insider (at least one who I trust) talk about his small hands. Who says this?

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    • SFG fan says:

      who are these high-ceiling arms that will step up in the next 12 months???

      there are none..

      Wheeler is at least 2 years away probably 3…and that’s it..unless you’re counting Runzler as a starter?? and i wouldn’t call him a high-ceiling starter at this point…

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    • brendan says:

      who are you thinking of in the giant’s system, that would be ready to start in the next yr? I don’t think they have many good pitching prospects at all, certainly not at the higher levels.

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  2. My echo and bunnymen says:

    I want to learn the difference between command and control.

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    • Cole Handsome says:

      I guess control refers strictly to hitting a target while command is broader in scope and address the quality of the break and velocity of a pitch.

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    • Bryan B says:

      Control is ability to throw strikes. Command is ability to located the ball to certain spots. You can have control and not have command, as you can throw strikes and not know where it is going. Those pitchers tend to struggle as they frequently make mistakes down the middle.

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    • Locke says:

      It’s pretty semantic. I tried to press Bryan Smith for a concrete answer in a thread a while back and it still sounded weird.

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      • Terrence McDonagh says:

        Control = BB/9
        Command = K/BB or K-BB

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      • Scout Finch says:

        Per semantics, I’ve always thought of it this way:

        That guy is a “control” pitcher (always around the plate, works in/out, stays down in the zone, good sink, won’t overwhelm anybody with stuff).

        When that kid learns to “command” his stuff, Look Out. (High velocity fastball with plenty of movement, as RHP can run it in on righties and occassionally front-door lefties. Sharp break on slider out of zone and good action on change-up.)

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      • keith says:

        isnt control the ability to consistently throw strikes, whereas command is the ability to throw it to particular spots

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      • Casadilla says:

        Sounds like the difference between accuracy and precision.

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    • Steve S. says:

      Command is your stuff, Control is where you put it.

      For an example on Control, a pitcher could have a good curveball that night with a big break to it, but if he misses his spot and throws it up around the letters (hanging curve) it will get crushed.

      An instance of lack of Command would be throwing a curveball belt high (good spot) that has no bite, and therefore spins up in the zone as if on a tee. That pitch gets crushed as well.

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      • Jimbo says:

        The way I think of it is control deals more with the umpire…balls/strikes. Command deals more with the hitter.

        Control paints the black, command puts a cut fastball just enough off the plate to get a swing–a swing that won’t do much damage even if there’s contact.

        At 3-2, control will avoid a walk. With bases loaded and one out, command will get a hitter to roll over into a DP(even though he knows that’s what you’re trying to do).

        I’m curious if pitchers can have command without control??

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  3. Scout Finch says:

    Did you take a look-see at Sanchez’s 1st & 2nd half splits ? Take a further gander at his Sept/Oct.

    Something happened. He got the grip down on his change and was able to maintain the arm slot on his fastball. I find it hard to think he is likely to regress as far as you’ve stated.

    And how big of a drop do you really think it will be going from Renteria/Uribe to Tejada?

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    • Scout Finch says:

      hard to believe, sometimes hard to think

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    • Andrew says:

      +1

      Also, one thing I’ve accepted about Jonathan Sanchez is that the dude is hard to hit. I don’t see his BABIP fluctuating the way Joe does…

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    • Travis says:

      Within-season splits, especially for pitchers, can be quite problematic.

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    • GiantHusker says:

      Oh, please, not the he-was-better-in-the-second-half-and-even-more-better-in-the-third-third argument again.

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    • Matt says:

      “Did you take a look-see at Sanchez’s 1st & 2nd half splits ? Take a further gander at his Sept/Oct. ”

      Did you look take a look at that game against the Phillies? Unless something magically clicks, Sanchez will be the type of pitcher who can dazzle you one night, and frighten you the next. He has a knack for making you think he’s turned the corner, then throwing 105 pitches in 4 innings.

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      • SFG fan says:

        something different happened around mid-August for Sanchez. i could have sworn Krukow said he came up with a new pitch or something(cutter?) on one of the postgame shows. or maybe a new grip on one of his pitches. his last 7 starts were dynamite as was the Braves game in the playoffs. no doubt the Phillies fans and Utley got to him though.

        btw he also had an outstanding April 2010, (as did most SFG starting pitchers), so there is evidence that Sanchez can get in the zone for 5-6 starts in a row now.

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  4. Cole Handsome says:

    Jonathan Sanchez is the best, especially because of the contract situation. He can be dominant and has the highest ceiling. Against a lefty heavy lineup, he’s tough to pitch, though he may not be able to go as deep into games as one would like, but everyboby isn’t Roy Halladay.

    One factor that isn’t mentioned on CJ Wilson is that he seems like a flake. I’m not saying that he isn’t a talent, but I just think it is something that GMs take into consideration.

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    • Jason B says:

      “he seems like a flake”

      Well that’s the hard-hitting evidence we were all looking for to settle this one.

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      • Matt says:

        I was a bit upset Joe didn’t address that aspect as well. I noticed a complete lack of flakiness/start ratio and weighted grumpy morning average.

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  5. Mr Punch says:

    Command/control: the simplest explanation I’ve heard is that the measure of control is few walks, the measure of command is many strikeouts (the latter is particularly over-simplified, of course).

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  6. CircleChange11 says:

    If hand size is the issue, how is it junior high kids can pound the strike zone?

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    • Fergie348 says:

      Junior high kids are usually just blazing heat. I bet there are some junior high kids who have hands bigger than JSanchez’ paws. That said, he is pretty hard to hit – I think he lead the league in BAA last year or was close to the top in that category. When he has fastball command and a feel for his breaking pitches, he’s excellent. It only comes around every other game or every third game, though..

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      • Scout Finch says:

        The thing about Sanchez is his deceptive arm slot. Hitters react to his 90-91 like it is 94-95. Personally, I think he is at his best when he has a little bit of a wild hair. Hitters get uncomfortable when they can’t predict location.

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    • KaminaAyato says:

      Isn’t it true though that the strike zones the younger you go get wider to help (a) pitchers who generally cannot hit the zone with regularity (the younger you go and (b) to get batters to swing away instead of trying to stand there with the bat and walk all day?

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    • Jason B says:

      And have you seen those strike zones? They are from shoulder to ankles sometimes, and as wide as a Maddux.

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      • Jason B says:

        Because if the strike zones weren’t as big as Texas, little league games would last for a fortnight apiece, give or take a day.

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  7. CircleChange11 says:

    I’m not on either extreme when it comes to walks. Obviously I prefer non-walks to walks, but do not go overboard about it.

    There are times when walking a guy is probably better than trying to battle back from 3-0 or 3-1 or even 2-0 depending on ML hitter. Guys that can do that consistently aren’t the ones that generally fall behind that bad in the first place.

    Anyway, why not just go with the guy with the highest k-rate and lowest BAA? Oh, you did. *grin*

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    • Travis says:

      Because BAA isn’t highly correlated between years? (assuming BAA = batting average against). I arrived at the same answer in this instance, but BAA wasn’t one of the inputs.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        4 years is a pretty decent sample size, right? Over the last 4 years, Sanchez’ WHIP, BAA, H/9 and OBA have dropped steadily as has his ERA. Yet, his K/9, BB/9 and K/BB have remained essentially stable. Are you going to attribute his steady improvement over 4 years to luck?

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        I wouldn’t say its all luck, but his BABIP has dropped from .367 to .264 and his strand rate increased from 71% to 79% during that time period. Some of that can be chalked up to an improvement in skill, but luck must be considered as a factor–both having bad luck four years ago and good luck last year. I think his talent is somewhere between his 2010 and 2009 numbers.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        If Sanchez’ batted ball numbers had been up and down over 4 years, I could buy the luck theory, but steady, sustained improvement over a 4 year period is a long enough time frame that luck becomes an unlikely explanation.

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      • opisgod says:

        And I assume the possibility that it’s simply regression making up for the unsustainable that occurred earlier is out of the question. This does happen.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        Opisgod,

        I assume you were replying to me. No, not out of the question, but very unlikely that a sustained, progressive improvement over 4 years is due only to luck or regression.

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      • The Nicker says:

        DrBGiantsFan,

        How about a wager? I will bet you that Sanchez has a BABIP above .275 in 2011. That would mean he doesn’t even have to “improve” his BABIP, just keep it around the same.

        Would you take that wager?

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        @DrB: Each year is too small of a sample. Saying that four small samples make a trend is not supportable by the data. The margin of error for each data point for ‘true talent level’ of any skill would overlap. No pitcher is going to sustain a .264 BABIP. A lot of Phillies’ fans tried to make the same argument about Cole Hamels a few years ago after his BABIP decreased from .300 to .289 to .270. The next season it shot up to .325, which was likely inflated due to bad luck. The nature of baseball and pitching creates a lot of variables that make ‘trends’ and ‘streaks’ highly questionable.

        @Opisgod: If you are saying his BABIP was lower last year because the cosmos are making up for it being above average earlier in his career, then no it does not happen and you are falling for the gamblers fallacy. Hypothetically I could flip a coin in four sets of four and get the following results: HHHH, HTHH, THHH, and HTHT. This doesn’t mean that the odds of getting a tail are suddenly greater in the next set of flips.

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  8. DrBGiantsfan says:

    Despite having mostly flyball pitchers, the Giants are very stingy with HR’s Allowed. Part of that is due to the parks they play in, but their success is a little more dramatic than that. Having watched a lot of Giants games, I have a theory that their organizational philosophy is intentionally HR averse. When one of their pitchers goes to 2-0 on a hitter with 2 runners already on base, you and I would probably go out to the mound and say something like, “just throw strikes, dammit!” I have this suspicion that Righetti goes out there and says something like “don’t forget you still have an open base. Whatever you do, don’t groove one that he’ll hit for a home run!”

    That’s one reason why I think they tend to give up more than their share of walks and tend to have better ERA’s than FIP’s.

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    • DavidCEisen says:

      Sanchez’s HR/FB rate is 10% or league average. The only reason he outperformed his FIP last season is due to his LOB%. For his career, Sanchez’s ERA is actually higher than his FIP.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        I was referring more to Cain than Sanchez, but the fact that Sanchez is starting to show the same tendencies with experince tends to support my hypothesis that the Giants coaching staff teaches “effective wildness” as a organizational philosophy.

        The Giants don’t try to walk batters, but they understand that most HR’s are hit off “mistake” pitches or when pitchers give in to batters and get too much of the strike zone trying to avoid walks. I believe that the Giants believe it’s better to load the bases than give up a 3 run HR. Maybe even better to walk in a run than give up a grand slam.

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    • opisgod says:

      And with the entire NL West being full of cavernous outfields and low power offenses. When its effectively a given each member of the Giants rotation will pitch 20+ games in PETCO, AT&T, and Dodger’s, it’s almost impossible to not post unsustainable HR/FB marks. It’s such a noticeable impact on their game that if Matt Cain wasn’t pitching in that division, i’d eat my hat if his career ERA wasn’t around 4.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        The Giants play as many games in Coors Field and The BOB as they do in LA and Petco. Matt Cain has allowed 51 HR’s at home and 46 away in his career. Sanchez has allowed 33 at home and 31 away. Their home park is not a factor in their HR rate.

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      • opisgod says:

        With raw numbers huh? Pitchers can end up with a noticeable disparity in IP between H/R you know.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        Opisgod,

        You know, you really ought to look up stuff before you go posting sarcastic comebacks. Matt Cain has pitched 52% of his games at home and has allowed 51% of his HR’s at home. Jonathan Sanchez has pitched 50+% of his games at home and has allowed 51% of his HR’s there. Again, the Giants home park has not had a significant effect on their ability to prevent HR’s.

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      • disco burritos says:

        i think you two may be arguing the same point.

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  9. 42yankees says:

    I could see the mets reaching out and offering Reyes for Sanchez.

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  10. Wavaw says:

    This is mostly just rehashing what some other posters said but it might be worth it to look at Sanchez’s game log. Sometimes last season, he’d come up with a 5 IP 6k 8BB 2R performance, or he could go long with 10+k and a small number of walks. Average these two types of games together and you get a walk rate of over 4BB/9. I can hardly remember a start where he actually matched that ratio. It would be interesting to check out the distribution of his starts on either side of his average.

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  11. Chicago Mark says:

    Ok I give! What does ground ball rate have to do with hr/fb? It really doesn’t matter if your ground ball rate is 90% or 10%. Your hr/fb should gravitate to the average (10%). Additionally, don’t high K pitchers have higher strand rates? A K allows noone to score. a batted ball always gives the runner a chance to score.
    And I’m sorry, but most big league pitchers can throw it down the middle for a strike. That’s control. They won’t walk anybody but will get hit allot. To get big league hitters out you need to pitch to the corners. That’s command. They always talk about Cliff Lee’s ability to throw to all quadrants of the zone. He has great command of the strike zone. Some pitchers simply can’t throw it accurately down and away to a lefty.
    1. hr/fb is not gb related
    2. higher k rates mean higher strand rates
    3. command within the zone

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    • The Nicker says:

      You’re one of the the few people that knows what command and control means, so props to you on that.

      I would guess what Joe meant when he said this about CJ Wilson: “His ground ball tendencies help mitigate the HR/FB ratio . . . ” was that CJ Wilson gets a lot of ground balls, so a likely regression to the mean (aka jump) in his HR/FB ratio wouldn’t be as damaging as it is to other pitchers.

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    • Nathaniel Dawson says:

      Actually, there’s reason to believe that GB/FB ratio does affect HR/FB rates. Groundball pitchers seem to allow a higher percentage of flyballs to become home runs. The difference isn’t huge, but it does appear to be there. That is with measuring all pitchers as a whole, so it’s just a trend. It doesn’t mean that it would necessarily be true for all pitchers, but generally speaking, the higher a pitcher’s GB/FB ratio, the more likely he would be to give up a higher HR/FB rate.

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  12. Ronald says:

    That was a fantastic article.

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  13. Nick says:

    Sanchez also had a ridiculous LD% which is why his balls in play average was low.

    I know this foreign to the fangraphs community, but there is something to be said for inducing weak contact easier outs.

    His ERA will suffer a little bit, but i expect his innings to go up to around the 200 mark, and he will once again, be one of the best 3rd/4th starters in baseball.

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  14. CircleChange11 says:

    In terms of command and contol as it is used in coaching and with describing pitchers …

    Control = throws strikes

    command = can hit spots

    Command is the next progression level of control.

    Both terms are used as compliments. You wouldn’t say that a pitcher has control just because he keeps throwing cockshots that leave the park.

    The terms take on different definitions for level of player. For example, in junior high a pitcher might have command of a changeup if he can keep it at knee level, in high school command could be keeping it low and away, and at the highest levels it could be hitting your catcher in the kneecap consistently.

    But generally control is consistently around the strike zone, few walks Bret Saberhagen. Command is dominance with a combination of stuff and location … Greg Maddux.

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  15. Chicago Mark says:

    You’re very close circle. But no matter how many hits/cockshots a pitcher gives up, he has good control if he walks few. Nick Blackburn has good control but gets hit a lot. It sounds like you might coach at the Jr. High level. That’s cool! You can have command of only one pitch or location of the strike zone. But at the higher levels that loses its luster. A good hitter who sees the same location over and over can eventually hit it well. If an MLB pitcher can only throw it low and away that is no longer command. That’s control.
    By the way, I didn’t mention my choice of the three pitchers. I’d take the one with the highest k rate who pitches in a pitchers park and doesn’t have to see the dh every day. Shoot, that’s Sanchez!

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    • cjett says:

      So quick to criticize circle change while you are almost saying the same thing

      “A good hitter who sees the same location over and over can eventually hit it well. If an MLB pitcher can only throw it low and away that is no longer command. That’s control.” Circle change said “in high school command could be keeping it low and away”

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      I coach HS, JH, and travel ball pitchers. I wouldn’t claim to coach college or pro pitchers, but we stay in contact and they always tell me what their coach’s say, especially if it something they were already taught.

      What I said was control and command will mean different things at different levels.

      Orel Hershieser gives the best description of command (IMO), when he talks about throwing the same pitch type at 4 different speeds depending on time of the game, quality of batter, time through the order, etc. That definition of command is inappropriate for essentially any other level of pitcher.

      I think we are saying the same thing.

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  16. Kyle says:

    I’d take C.J. Wilson… it was his first season as a starter, he got to watch Cliff Lee up close, and unlike Sanchez whose stuff looks like it’s 94-95, he can actually still hit those speeds.

    Oddly, how can you say Sanchez had a better season(even arguably) than Wilson? Sanchez in his third full season as a starter failed to reach 200 innings pitched again. Wilson did in his first year starting while not only winning more games, but also almost matching Sanchez for hits allowed per 9 innings(7.1 to 6.6.) And Sanchez gave up twice as many long balls in a field that is more pitcher friendly… oh, he also pitched in the National League. Lewis faced better pitching being a number two starter the whole season, Sanchez was the number three starter. One guy had 3 complete games, the other zero… guess which one.

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    • Andrew says:

      Did you just make a “winning games” argument? Uh oh.

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    • Nick says:

      Sanchez had an avg. fastball of 90.6 last year, Wilson was at 90.5. They have the same fastball, dude.

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      • Kyle says:

        Oh, I know… but one was a reliever the year before(that’s why his fastball dropped.) It’ll probably go back up next year. Could be wrong, but he’s changed his approach obviously having to pitch far more innings. And the wins argument wouldn’t matter, but they still count for something. Obviously, you’d rather have King Felix and his 13 wins cause of his dominance, but when you’re looking at pitchers who numbers are pretty freaking close, you take everything into consideration. Meaning innings pitched, wins, which league they play in, spot in the rotation, etc…

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    • Nick says:

      No. Wins are entirely inconsequential.

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  17. Chicago Mark says:

    Hey cjett, I tried not to critisize. I guess I failed. Sorry CC11! I know we’re very close on thoughts.
    On the discussion front, I don’t know if we’re talking real or fantasy baseball here. I think if Wilson were to pitch for the Giants at AT&T he’d probably beat Sanchez’ numbers. But in fantasy I believe Sanchez beat him in era, whip and k’s. I think Sanchez will outdo him this year as well. In fantasy that is!!!

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  18. wily mo says:

    i gotta jump on board with the people wondering how much you can really ding a pitcher for not having juan uribe playing behind him any more

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    • DavidCEisen says:

      I would assume that the change from Uribe to Tejada would only result in a single pitcher giving up two or three more runs over a season (12-13 run difference between the two per 150 games/30 games started=2.4-2.6 additional runs). I guess you could argue the difference between the two might be closer to 20 runs, but even that scenario only adds about 5 additional runs.

      So all in all, we’re talking about something like a .1-.2 increase in ERA due to the switch, right? Not insignificant, but nothing major either.

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      • Nathaniel Dawson says:

        That would be a liberal estimate. A more conservative one would be about a twentieth of a run per game, or .05 difference in runs per 9. A change that small would be swamped by noise, random occurrence, and changes in pitcher performance. It ends up being almost meaningless in the context of the discussion.

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      • DavidCEisen says:

        You’re right.

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