Pedro’s New Digs

On July 14th, the Philadelphia Phillies officially signed Pedro Martinez to a one year, $1 million contract with bonuses for performance and time on the active roster. He was immediately placed on the disabled list. What kind of performance can Philadelphia expect or hope for from Pedro?

A lot will depend on his health, something we would only be able to speculate upon. What we do know is that 2008 Pedro was much worse off than previous years in several key ways. A pitcher that reliably hit the zone around 55% of the time suddenly dropped to just 50%.

What is worse is that hitters almost began making a very high percentage of contact on the pitches outside the zone, the sorts of pitches Pedro would use to generate strikeouts before were now being put into play. Naturally, that led to a big drop in strikeout rate and an increase in walk rate.

Even with those setbacks, Pedro graded out as just a slightly below average pitcher instead of horrible one that the 5.61 ERA might have suggested. His big problem was the home run. Pedro’s HR/FB jumped to over 15% in 2008, something not likely to repeat itself though pitching in Philadelphia certainly will not help.

If Pedro is fully healthy, he comes with the upside of a very good starting pitcher. If he repeats 2008, he should look like a below average starter. For roughly $2 million (over a full season) that is a pretty good gamble for the Phillies.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

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Walter Guest
Walter Guest

That seems like such a low price it makes me wonder what the hell was going on there. Were all the other GMs asleep?