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Joe Saunders Today, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick hands out some midseason awards and he names Joe Saunders and Ervin Santana the best 1-2 punch in baseball. I beg to differ.

Don’t get me wrong, Santana is the real deal, boasting 99 strikeouts and only 28 walks. And Saunders is on a heck of a run, to be sure. But I don’t think we can rank him among baseball’s elite starters just because he’s won a lot of games. He’s got 49 strikeouts, which doesn’t even place him among the top 100 on the leader board. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is a pedestrian 2:1. And, frankly, he’s been more lucky than good this first half, with a babip of .241. You think that’s gonna last? Me neither.

What about Dan Haren and Brandon Webb, who Crasnick awarded an honorable mention? Between them they have 175 Ks (Santana and Saunders have 148). Haren has a K/BB ratio of better than 5:1. Webb’s is nearly 4:1. If we’re going by wins, which is a terrible way to evaluate a pitcher, Santana and Saunders have a one win advantage. But that’s pretty much the only advantage they have.

I think Santana and Saunders have been great so far. But I think Haren and Webb have been a little better. And I think they’ll continue to be an elite 1-2 punch going forward.

Who’s going to win the award for best 1-2 punch when it’s handed out in September? I think the Angels pitchers are likely to keep the prize, but not the same Angels pitchers. Santana might just maintain his dominance, but look for John Lackey to supplant Saunders as the ace of the staff. Other candidates to win best 1-2 punch when it’s handed out in September: Roy Halladay and Shaun Marcum, Rich Harden and Justin Duchscherer, Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster, and Josh Beckett and Dice-K.

10 Responses to “Best 1-2 punch?”

  1. Actually the Zito getting better isn\’t exactly true. His ERA in his last 3 starts may have been sub 4.00 but his WHIP in the same time period is 1.81.

  2. A much fairer assessment than the last few efforts. I think you’re coming around to the idea that this Giants team, though an admittedly pathetic basement-dwelling bunch, is pretty much your run of the mill shitty team.

    But keep an eye on the bullpen. If that goes haywire, the Giants could be in for some historical lows.

    By the way, remember this comment in regards to the Burriss/Bocock platoon at SS,

    “There must literally be at least 30 AAAA-type guys floating around who could put up better production than Burriss and Bocock.”

    How is the Ching-lung Hu SS experiment working out for your Dodgers? What’s his OPS, like .012?

  3. Nick Kapur says:

    MrLomez, I see what you were trying to do there with the jab at Chin-lung Hu and the comparison to Bocock and Burriss, but that analogy just doesn’t hold water.

    Hu is a nearly major-league ready shortstop thought of as one of the best defensive shortstops in the entire minor leagues, and has also shown the ability to hit triple-A pitching. Granted he has struggled in a part-time role in his first extended stint in the majors, but it is much more difficult to hit well when you aren’t getting regular at-bats.

    But like I said, at least Hu has shown the ability to hit minor league pitching in the past. Burriss and Bocock, who don’t have nearly the defensive reputation Hu does to begin with, couldn’t even hit back in SINGLE-A ball last year. It doesn’t mean Hu is a lock for major league success, but at least Hu is a big-time prospect, whereas Bocock and Burriss are not.

  4. Knock Bocock’s bat all you want, but the kid has as mean a glove as any. Of SS with 200 Innings or more, only Tulo, and Yunel Escobar have a better Revised Zone Rating. And he’s still about .005 points ahead of Hu.

    And my point all along has not been to defend Sabean or Bocock or Burriss, but rather that it’s no just as easy as picking up the phone to find a Replacement Level (AAAA) SS. It’s an extremely low-supply position.

  5. Ed Wade would like to cast a vote for Shawn Chacon’s left and right fists.

  6. Kirk Miller says:

    O.K., I admit I am a Giants fan, but how about Lincecum and Sanchez? Sanchez has 96 strikeouts in 95 innings and Lincecum has 103 in 102 innings. Not bad. Sanchez has 46 walks and Lincecum has 40. I realize that Sanchez is not number two on the Giants depth chart, but he is their second best pitcher.

  7. Paul Moro says:

    Kirk, that’s not an outlandish suggestion, but Sanchez isn’t there yet. He walks way too many guys. If he were pitching in a more homer-friendly environment, his ERA would probably be around league-average. Again, not a bad pitcher by any means and he’s still young enough to improve. But not quite there yet.

  8. Kirk Miller says:

    Umm, Tim and Jonathan just made a strong case for this list over the weekend.

  9. Paul Moro says:

    Come on, Kirk. You can\’t take one start out of a whole season to make a point. Lincecum is elite, no question. But again, it\’s Sanchez that falls short. If he can keep pitching like he has his last two outings, then I\’ll eat crow. But he hasn\’t done it yet.

  10. Kirk Miller says:

    Paul, I agree that claiming that they are the number one tandem is premature. One look at the numbers makes it clear that Haren and Webb are the top pair. I am merely trying to point out that Lincecum and Sanchez at least deserve mention as possible contenders when all is said and done. Note that I said they made a strong case for the list, not that they made a strong case for the top spot. Obviously, Sanchez has a track record that doesn’t suggest greatness, but if he can find a way to continue to limit his walks, as he has done lately, he could be a solid #2.

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