• Still Looks Like It’s Coming Down To Igawa Vs. Papelbon

    Posted by on January 27th, 2007 · Comments (4)

    Earlier today, I shared Inside the Monster’s comments on the Yankees 2007 starting rotation. And, last night, I shared a comparison of the Yankees and Red Sox bullpens (this season) using Ron Shandler’s projected 2007 Base Performance Value (BPV) marks to assign some value on each pitcher in the pens.

    Thinking about both those items now, I came to the conclusion that it might be fun to look at the projected ’07 BPV marks for the starting rotations of the Red Sox and Yankees this season. Here are the numbers:

    Mussina – 97, Schilling – 113
    Pettitte – 88, Matsuzaka – 110
    Igawa – 65, Papelbon – 96
    Pavano – 57, Beckett – 69
    Wang – 39, Wakefield – 39

    This means that the Red Sox rotation projects out to having better skills than the Yankees rotation.

    I’m willing to throw out the “39” for Worm Killer Wang – it’s his strikeout rate that probably ruins his BPV projection. And, back in November 2005, I wrote: “I like to believe that Wang has the stuff to whiff hitters, via 93 MPH gas, it’s just that he prefers to get outs quicker with grounders.”

    Guess what? Ray Murphy (in Shandler’s 2007 Forecaster) proves that Worm Killer has a higher K-rate in situations where a whiff is more beneficial than another form of out. So, that sort of backs my belief.

    Further, I cannot believe that Papelbon’s bullpen “stuff” is going to be the same skills that he’ll bring to the mound every five days. There’s a big difference between letting it rip for 15-20 pitches three times a week and pacing yourself over 100 pitches once every five days. I expect Papelbon’s hit and walk rate to go up, and his whiff rate to go down, as a starter.

    So, if you bump up Wang, and knock down Papelbon, it’s not a reach to say that it’s Wang/Mussina/Pettitte against Matsuzaka/Schilling/Beckett this year – with those groups being pretty even. And, then, for these two teams, it’s going to come down to Igawa/Pavano (or someone else) against Papelbon/Wakefield.

    This ring a bell? It should – it’s what I said last Monday, based on feel, rather than having numbers (like BPV) as a driver.

    This is a problem for the Yankees – because the odds of Igawa/Pavano out-pitching Papelbon/Wakefield in 2007 are not good. Pavano and Wakefield is a push of sorts. It’s Igawa versus Papelbon that’s the big issue (for New York).

    The Yankees are going to need an injury to hamper Papelbon and/or for Igawa to sneak up on folks in his first couple of tours around the league. Now, this could happen – but it’s not a lock to happen. And, if it does not happen, then the Red Sox will have a better starting rotation this season than the Yankees. It’s not a huge edge, but, it’s an edge nonetheless.

    Comments on Still Looks Like It’s Coming Down To Igawa Vs. Papelbon

    1. singledd
      January 28th, 2007 | 8:46 am

      Those numbers do seem skewed for both Wang and Shrill. Shrill has a slightly better then average year. How does he rate 113?

      Could you run those SAME numbers but for the actual performance of 2006?

    2. January 28th, 2007 | 9:53 am

      ~~~Could you run those SAME numbers but for the actual performance of 2006?~~~

      Wang’s 06 BPV was 35
      Schilling’s was 148

      But, you have to remember, BPV is driven by command, K’s, limiting hits, etc. Wang does not do well there – but, the sinker bails him out.

    3. baileywalk
      January 28th, 2007 | 12:26 pm

      I don’t mean to offend, Steve, or sound like an ignorant fool, but projections almost always seem like bullshit to me.

      Schilling was awful in ’05, and not very good in ’06. He gave up more hits than innings pitched, and his strikeouts were down. He was saved by a hot start. Otherwise, he was fairly awful.

      He broke down as the season went on, and his second-half numbers were: 76.2 IP, 96 hits, 13/68 BB/K, 4.58 ERA, .310 BAA.

      Going into next year, I would put him behind Wang, Matsuzaka, Mussina and maybe even Pettitte. At the very least, I can’t see a way to somehow project him as being much better than those guys.

      Since Schilling ranks so high (as does Kyle Farnsworth) this projection must put most of its stock in strikeouts.

    4. January 28th, 2007 | 3:36 pm

      FWIW, IIRC, BPV does look for pitchers who can dominate batters (K/9IP) as well as command the zone. Schilling is awesome at that.

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