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The Contact Tales: 2005

Starting Pitchers (Min IP: 100)

The Best:
Jake Peavy 73.7%
Johan Santana 74.2%
Jason Schmidt 74.5%
Rich Harden 74.8%
A.J. Burnett 75.5%

Schmidt’s career arc is one of the oddest in recent baseball history. After toiling for years with the Pirates as a decent starter, Schmidt was traded to the Giants (alongside John Vander Wal) for Armando Rios and Ryan Vogelsong. It’s just as the Pirates luck: Schmidt would immediately turn into a well above average starter, posting xFIP of 3.57, 3.24, and 3.21 over 2002-04. Injuries would slow Schmidt down beginning in 2007 and he would throw fewer than 15 innings on average over the past three years.

The Worst:
Carlos Silva 91.1%
Kirk Saarloos 89.7%
Ryan Drese 89.3%
Shawn Estes 89.1%
Aaron Sele 88.9%

Saarloos has started nearly 75 games in the Majors and appeared in an additional 90 as a reliever. Even still, his career HR/FB% is 13% despite throwing most of his 509 innings within the snuggly confines of the Oakland Coliseum. Truth be told, his career 4.87 FIP isn’t too bad all things considered. Baseball-Reference’s most similar pitcher is Gary Glover. I’d say that fits.

Relief Pitchers (Min IP: 40)

The Best:
Rudy Seanez 58.7%
Brad Lidge 59.6%
Mike Wuertz 59.9%
Joe Nathan 66.7%
Ugueth Urbina 67.2%

Over his career, Seanez appeared in the Majors with nine different teams. His career contact rate was just shy of 70% and he did it mostly with a ferocious slider. Nearly one-third of the pitches Seanez threw outside of the strike zone were swung at during 2005.

The Worst:
Paul Quantrill 91.2%
Jesse Crain 88.3%
Dan Kolb 87.8%
Travis Harper 87.7%
Jason Christiansen 87.5%

Mostly names previously covered. Crain has impressively improved the amount of swings and misses he induces ever since.