Thank you to everyone who took part in the "Pick Your Pitcher Poll". Before we get to the results, we'll start with a list of teasers.
All but one of these pitchers have been the staff ace, at some point in the season, for the Pirates.
Three of these pitchers have been opening day starters for the Pirates.
Three of these pitchers were free agent signees this offseason.
One of these pitchers is a new Pirate free agent acquisition.
There are a few things that stand out to me from the results of the poll.
First: Pirate Fans love to focus on the career season rather than the trends established over a career.
Second: Pirate Fans have grown to love potential.
Third: Pirates Fans hate people over 30.
We'll count up from the bottom...more fun and suspense.
5th PLACE PITCHER E
Our last place pitcher, and from the looks of his record he is use to it, is very average across the board. What many might conside a good number 5 starter. From the stats it looks as if Pitcher E is not prone to giving up the long ball which is a very good trait to have. His biggest issue would be he can't catch a break to win games, like so many bottom of the rotation guys.
Hope the arch serves you Wells, Kip.
(If you missed the bad pun reread the previous line to find out the pitchers name. Nevermind, it's Kip Wells.) Special Thanks to Tony Larusa for Kips one vote.
3rd PLACE PITCHER A and PITCHER D
We have a tie for third place. Pitcher A and Pitcher D. Both pitchers are very average across the board, they will neither help nor hurt a franchise. Their consistency is their biggest assets.
Pitcher A might be a little better by the numbers than Pitcher D. Pitcher A has the second best whip, sports about a league average ERA based on ERA+. Pitcher A also seems to keep the ball in the park rather well. He is the second youngest pitcher on the board but has never had a stellar career defining season. Still he is very consistent. I think this hurt him in this poll.
He is comparable to the rest. Welcome to the Ship Tony Armas Jr.
Pitcher D has the best ERA+ for his average 162 game season. Based on the average number of innings pitched, he is a innings eater. One drawback that likely held him down is his age. He is tied for oldest pitcher of the group, a wopping 31. Anyone outside their 20's is frowned apon by any true Pirate Fan. Ok, really they are frowned upon by anyone who believes the Pirates are rebuilding with youth and the older overpriced free agent one year rentals are a waste. Oh, wait that IS any Pirate Fan.
Really worth $40M+ over 4 years? Enjoy Milwaukee Jeff Suppan.
2nd PLACE PITCHER B
Pitcher B, our second place pitcher, was the one I would have picked, if I didn't know who it was. He has the most consistent stats and the best ERA+. His stellar WHIP and ERA, compared to the rest, and high strikeout rate make him very attractive to the amatuer GM looking at the stats. He obviously has a good track record and is an innings eater.
Welcome to your favorite spot, the DL, Kris Benson.
1st PLACE PITCHER C
The winner had the worst ERA+ and ERA for an average 162 game season of all the pitchers named. I understand why fans may hold out hope for this pitcher, he was the youngest pitcher of the group and he had the best single season of any of the compared pitchers.
From looking at the numbers it is easy to see this pitcher has struggled with consistency throughout his career. This explains the drastic difference in his best season ERA+ and his average 162 game season ERA+. Actually it explains the difference between his best season across the board and his average season, he has been awful outside his breakout year (aka one year wonder).
I do not fault anyone who voted for Oliver Perez. Chicks dig strikeouts, and Ollie can rack them up. Chicks also dig the long ball, and Ollie can give them up as well.
ON TO SALARY
I left salary out of the poll question, I didn't want to make money a determining factor in the results.
Looking at the 2007 Salaries you have to ask which pitcher is the best worth to his team for the dollar.
A) Armas Jr: $3M
B) Benson: $7.5M
C) Perez: $2.3M
D) Suppan: $8M
E) Wells: $4M
Armas Jr at $3M may be the best value all around. His numbers are comaparable to the rest of the pitchers listed and he is consistent. You know what you are going to get for the money spent on Armas Jr.. He is still in his peak years, so he may still have that break out season we are all hoping for. The biggest concern is his health.
Ollie has the potential to be a better value but will he be pitching in NY or in AAA? If he spends the year in AAA, he is the worst value. Unless the Mets have a great team Psychiatrist, I am not sure Ollie has the mental makeup to be a star pitcher, especially in NYC. Take one immature pitcher and add in the burden of being on the biggest stage in New York and you have a recipe for destruction. The pressure is already there, Mets fans are banking on Ollie being successful after his playoff appearance that was good but not exactly spectacular. Hearing some of their comments make me think back on some Pirates Fans comments on his potential and getting back to 2004.
Wells has the potential and the talent to be the biggest value. The problem with Wells is he has lived up to that potential one time in his career. Almost sounds Ollie-like doesn't it? The difference between Wells and Ollie is health. Wells is said to be healthy after the blod clot issues and circulation problems of recent seasons. I hope he is healthy, but Pirates Fans have known for a while how poor Wells can be in stretches. He shows all the talent in the world, but drives you nuts with trying to be too fine. I honestly believe he has so much movement on his pitches, he doesn't know where they are going. This is fine for a knuckleball pitcher who relies on unpredictability, but not for a guy bringing it in the mid 90's.
If money is not an issue, as it clearly isn't in Milwaukee(aka the Yankees of the NL), Suppan is a nice option. I still find it hard to spend that much on such an average pitcher while crying poor. Suppan is a very nice complimentary pitcher, not the top of the free agent market pitcher Milwaukee fan is expecting to see. He had a great post season and is being rewarded for it. I expect dissapointment from any Milwaukee fan expecting Suppan to be a number 1 or number 2 pitcher in their rotation. At his best he is a 3 or 4 guy even in the Pirates rotation.
The worst value, due to injury and psychotic wife, is Benson. His numbers hide the fact he is frail. He has been able to rack up some nice career averages due to long stints on the DL and brief flashes of his wife, er I mean her talents, no wait his talent. The best thing the Orioles have going with Benson going into 2007 is a good insurance policy.
Looking at all the numbers, including salary, Dave Littlefield did very well in signing Armas Jr. He is the best value of the bunch if he stays healthy. Comparing salaries, he is also a low risk if injury does bite him. He doesn't cost much in the grand scheme of things.
I am hoping this article will lead to some serious discussion in the comments section. I know the PiratesLive Board has been tackling the poll recently.
Who is your best value for the money from the FA Pitcher Class of 2006?