Kiss the Cook

There has not been too much written about the Rockies across the non-team specific blogosphere. Troy Tulowitzki is injured for a while, the back end of their rotation is a combined -36.58 BRAA, and the only section of the team with a positive WPA is the bullpen. Entering the season everyone envisioned Jeff Francis as the ace of the staff; after all, his post-season was quite impressive. Suffice it to say, Francis has had a rocky start…get it? It’s a pun because he plays for the… nevermind.

Entering tonight’s action Francis is 0-4 with a 6.27 ERA, 5.39 FIP, and 1.63 WHIP. His K/BB has plummeted an entire point, from 2.62 a year ago to 1.63 today. This has all resulted in a -0.50 WPA.

Fortunately, for Rockies fans, Aaron Cook has been performing above and beyond expectations. Through eight starts, Cook is posting the following numbers:

6-1, 2.26 ERA, 55.2 IP, 17 BB, 23 K, 1.13 WHIP

Here are some of his more advanced stats:

3.89 FIP, 1.35 K/BB, 3.72 K/9, 78.2 LOB%, 1.42 WPA, 11.84 BRAA

Based on his home runs and walks allowed, as well as strikeouts, his ERA should be closer to 3.89 than the Maddux-like 2.26 it currently rests at. He has a very low K/9; his 3.72 ranks as the 6th lowest in baseball. His WPA of 1.42 ranks as the seventh best among starting pitchers. Additionally, his 11.84 BRAA comes in at fourth best in the National League.

Cook currently has a BABIP against of .243, which is right on par with his 13.6 LD%. The problem, however, exists in that very low rate of line drives. It simply is uncharacteristic of the Aaron Cook we have come to know and love. His career balls-in-play rates, which do not suffer/benefit from fluctuations, come in at 18.5 LD/61.4 GB/25.0 FB; as of right now it is 13.6 LD/58.3 GB/23.1 FB. It really is not very likely that he will maintain this rate.

Overall, though, Cook has gone 6+ innings in all eight of his starts, allowing a maximum of four earned runs just once; that game was his first of the season.

In his last five games he has an average Game Score of 61 and is holding opponents to a .231/.286/.346 slash line. He may not keep this up all season but Cook has definitely made up for the shortcomings of Francis thus far.

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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

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The presentation of the pun was funnier than the pun itself.