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  1. Can’t believe you wrote the entire article without mentioning Dusty Baker. Is it now accepted wisdom that his chief baseball legacy will be the shredded arms of onetime aces?

    Comment by Chris R — December 9, 2008 @ 11:10 am

  2. Chris,

    to your comments, I’ll just add this:

    in his first year with the Reds, Baker led all managers in “slow hooks” and ranked 2nd in “long outings” (110+ pitches), according to the Bill James Handbook.

    Baker’s starting staff had 4 pitchers in the top 30 in Pitcher Abuse Points, which attempts to measure the cumulative stress put on a pitcher by high pitch counts (Arroyo, Volquez, Harang, Cueto).

    If I were Volquez or Cueto, I would literally hide from my manager.

    Comment by David Golebiewski — December 9, 2008 @ 1:25 pm

  3. I think the average fastball velocity you’re using is simplistic, particularly since Zambrano throws several pitches in the general fastball category.

    I don’t think it can be used in that form to figure out if he arm is really wearing down. http://www.drivelinemechanics.com/2008/8/29/603653/comparing-carlos-zambrano found that Zambrano is throwing his splitter a significantly larger amount of the time, and it’s his slower fastball.

    I’m not saying his arm isn’t wearing down, but I think it’s premature to decide his career is going to decay.

    Comment by Pre — December 9, 2008 @ 2:55 pm

  4. Pre,

    Both the cutter and splitter are separate pitches on Zambrano’s pitch data.

    I’m actually a writer for Driveline Mechanics, too, so I’m familiar with that Zambrano piece. And the article that Josh Kalk wrote does say,

    “He also isn’t getting the same velocity he was with those pitches with his four seamer down one MPH and his cutter down half a MPH. ”

    That pretty much jives with our data on this site.

    The 4-seamer is down in speed somewhat, though an increase in 2-seam fastballs thrown accounts for some of the velocity difference.

    I wouldn’t say that I’m predicting doom for Zambrano, but a tradeoff has been made in his K/9 and BB/9 ratios, and it’s not a good one.

    Comment by David Golebiewski — December 9, 2008 @ 3:04 pm

  5. Dave:

    Good article, and I have been concerned with Z’s “more normalized” style of pitching. My only problem with the article is the comparison to Ramon Martinez. I guess I’m in the camp that says with a bigger guy comes a stronger likelihood that his arm can take a little more abuse. I could see comparisons between Gooden and Martinez due to their similar statures, but I can’t say I lump Z in with them. He’d eat them both as a mid-morning snack.

    Comment by Scott — December 9, 2008 @ 4:44 pm

  6. Scott,

    That is something that I was wrestling with while writing that passage. I think that there are a number of statistical similarities between the two, but we just don’t know how body type will infuuence Zambrano as opposed to Martinez. Martinez was more of of a bean-pole type, to be sure.

    Perhaps this is something I could attack via Baseball-Reference at some point.

    Comment by David Golebiewski — December 9, 2008 @ 5:09 pm

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