Friday, February 24, 2006

I'll get that Hennessey for you Wright away, sir. And some other clever phrase utilizing Correia.

Not knowing sucks.

Wouldn't we all like to know if Barry Bonds will stay healthy? Wouldn't be nice to know that Armando Benitez will pull his...considerable...weight this upcoming season? Wouldn't it be wonderful to know that Rogain worked?

...nevermind. I'm just fine with my shaved head.

In any case, we'd all like to know whether or not Brad Hennessey will be able to cut it as the Giants 5th starter in 2006, but that's difficult. The main thing that Hennessey's 2006 campaign showed is that we still don't know, even after 21 starts of data.

Personally, I'm optimistic he can at least match last season's production, and perhaps improve upon it to some degree -- I like that his stuff matches the kind of pitcher he is (his stuff isn't spectacular and is sometimes very hittable, but that fact that he's a groundball pitcher negates that some), and we cannot ignore that in 14 of his 21 starts, Hennessey was able to pitch into the seventh inning and beyond, with 12 of the 14 being at or near the "quality start" level. That's plenty good enough for a 5th starter.

Of course, he also had four starts where he didn't even make it past the 3rd inning, so...

This sounds like a situation ripe for the ol' insurance policy. But, should Hennessey fail or become injured, which insurance policy is better -- Kevin Correia or Jamey Wright?

Wright is a fairly known quantity, with the possiblity of being better than his statline reads.

Career: 5.13 ERA, 4.84 k's/9 (strikeouts per 9 innings), 1.07 k/bb ratio (strikeout to walk ratio), 1.92 g/f ratio (ground ball to fly ball ratio), .822 OPS against.

That...isn't good. A low strikeout rate, a poor strikeout to walk ratio, and a high OPS against indicative of a journeyman pitcher who's been released by five teams during his career. The two things in Wright's favor are: 1) his great groundball to flyball ratio, and 2) six of the 10 years he's pitched in the majors have been with the Rockies.

So, perhaps we'll give him a break. Let's slide on by those numbers pitching in Coors Field, and let's compile Wright's road numbers from the past two seasons:

4.52 ERA, 5.87 k's/9, 5.07 bb/9, 1.15 k/bb ratio (127.1 innings pitched over 2004 and 2005)

Well, there's more pitcher there, obviously, but those still aren't numbers to...Wright...home about (I can hear you groaning, but I choose to ignore you). With that, we'll throw up Correia:

Career: 4.86 ERA, 6.63 k's/9, 4.53 bb/9, 1.46 k/bb ratio, 0.80 g/f ratio, .863 OPS against.

Forgive me if I look at Correia as the better option. Correia, despite control problems last year, still walks less hitters over a nine-inning stretch than Wright's superior road numbers, and strikes out another batter and a half more per nine over Wright's road totals from the past two seasons. Correia's biggest problem seems to be keeping the ball inside the ballpark -- he gave up close to two homers per nine innings last season (1.85/9), but given the type of stuff he has, I think that's fixable.

In summary, while I don't think picking up Wright as an insurance policy was a bad idea, using him as anything but an insurance policy would be a mistake, in my mind. He hasn't shown a definitive ability to do anything particularly well in his career other than induce ground balls, and he hasn't shown that he's appreciably better than Hennessey or Correia. Long relief/spot starter is the role that best fits Wright.


Anonymous said...

Insurance policy? That's what I thought about Jeff Fossilero last year, and he got more time on the field than the groundscrew.

So, for Felipe, Wright is da man. He's nice and washed up. So, in he goes. I'd prefer to have a young guy getting shelled, whether Hennessey or Correia, just because... he COULD get better. You never know.

My bottom line is: the 5th starter will be lame, just like the 5th starter on every other team in the majors. The real key is: how about our 3 and 4? Those are the guys that win or lose series 3rd games, and those are the 30% that make or break the season.

Unless the 1 and 2 pitchers pitch like 3s and 4s, which seemed to happen last year most of the time.

I like Wright in Fresno and coming up once in a while to start or even to sit on the bench for a few games in case of a blowout, where he could come in and pitch 5 innings or so and absorb some abuse instead of Lowry/Morris/Schmidt.


Daniel said...

I'm down with that, although if I had my druthers Wright would occupy the spot of Fassero, and be the long relief/spot starter guy.

Your point about Fassero in 2005 is well taken -- the danger in Wright is that I don't see how Hennessey could start the season poorly without getting a quick hook in favor of Wright (who I'm sure, upon his signing, is ahead of Correia on the depth chart no matter what).

I'm pretty sure they'll start out with Hennessey, but he'll be on a short leash.

Anonymous said...

Yes Daniel- better a righty mopup than a lefty.

Now the question is: do they get rid of Felipe when the post-Bonds housecleaning occurs? I always assumed from his time in Montreal that he worked well with young players, but that seems not to be the case at all. So after He hangs up his cleats: place the call to Ron Washington.


Daniel said...

The question about Felipe is a darned good one -- yes, I believe Felipe does go after Bonds, although it might take another season before it happens.

Just can't see Felipe staying on past 2007 because of age. I wonder at the length of Sabean's tenure after Bonds, too, but I wouldn't presume to make any predictions there.

Anonymous said...

Is it true Bonds is gonna run the LA Marathon next month?? Ha Ha Ha....