- FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy -

Feldman ’09 vs. Feldman ’10

Posted By David Golebiewski On June 25, 2010 @ 2:46 pm In Starting Pitchers | No Comments

Scott Feldman has undergone some drastic transformations during the course of his pro career. Texas’ 30th round pick in the 2003 draft was a nondescript reliever on the mend from Tommy John surgery when Orel Hershiser suggested a sidearm delivery in the spring of 2005. After bouncing between Triple-A Oklahoma and Arlington over the ’05 to ’07 seasons, getting lots of grounders out of the ‘pen but struggling to locate at the big league level, Feldman switched to a three-quarters delivery and moved to the starting rotation in 2008.

The results weren’t pretty (a 5.29 ERA in 151.1 innings), but Feldman showed considerable improvement in 2009 while going to a cutter to keep lefty batters from taking him to the woodshed. His ERA dropped to 4.08. The Rangers signed the mop-up man-turned-starter through his arbitration years this past winter, with an option for his first free agent season in 2013.

So far, it looks as though Feldman has turned back into a pumpkin. Tossing 89.2 innings, the 27-year-old righty holds a gruesome 5.32 ERA. What has changed between Feldman’s 2009 breakout and 2010 beat down? Very little, actually.

Last year, Feldman had 5.36 K/9 and 3.08 BB/9 in 189.2 innings. This season, he’s whiffing 5.82 batters per nine and issuing 2.91 BB/9. He induced ground balls 46.8% in ’09, and 44.2% in 2010. There’s nothing dramatically different here — a few more whiffs and a few less worm killers.

Same story with Feldman’s plate discipline stats. His swinging strike rate was 6.5% in 2009, and is 6.4% in 2010 (8-8.5% MLB average). Feldman got a first pitch strike 57.5% last season, and is getting ahead of the hitter 58.9% this year (58% MLB average). His overall contact rate, 84.6% in ’09, is 85.7% in 2010 (81% MLB average). In terms of getting swings on pitches out of the zone, Feldman’s doing a slightly better job this season — his O-Swing was 25% in 2009 (25.1% MLB average that year) and is 29.8% in 2010 (28.3% MLB average).

Feldman’s pitch selection is a bit different (more mid-70′s curves in place of 90-91 MPH fastballs), but the results between his ’09 and ’10 seasons are strikingly similar. Why, then, has his ERA soared more than a Vlad Guerrero home run?

Last season, Feldman benefited from a .276 BABIP. In 2010, balls put in play against him are falling for hits at an absurd clip — his BABIP is .352, trailing only Zach Duke and Randy Wells among qualified big league starters. Also, Feldman’s strand rate has slipped. After leaving 72.8% of base runners high and dry in ’09, his LOB rate is down to 64% this year (70-72% MLB average). He’s not pitching worse with men on base:

Feldman with runners on base

2009: 4.48 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 4.66 xFIP, .252 BABIP
2010: 5.89 K/9, 3.25 BB/9, 4.50 xFIP, .338 BABIP

Truth be told, Feldman is neither the rotation stalwart that his shiny 17-win total from 2009 suggests, nor the bust that his 2010 ERA implies. Both seasons, he has been a passable starter — Feldman’s xFIP was 4.49 last season, and is 4.58 in 2010. Despite the wild fluctuations in his surface stats, Feldman’s the same pitcher he was last year.

Article printed from FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball: http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy

URL to article: http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/feldman-09-vs-feldman-10/

Copyright © 2009 FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball. All rights reserved.