• HaroldHecuba: Mike Mussina is EASTERN EUROPEAN, not Italian....

The emerging consensus around baseball is that former White Sox starting pitcher Jose Contreras is old and just about washed up. Certainly, his traditional stats of a 5-13 ERA and a 5.42 ERA do little to convince you otherwise.

White Sox Orioles BaseballWhich is why I was shocked when I looked at Alejandro’s White Sox WAR pie and saw that Contreras has actually been the fifth most productive player on the White Sox this year, with a 2.3 WAR. Clearly some investigation was warranted.

Reports out of Colorado are that GM Dan O’Dowd’s first choice for a replacement starter was Brad Penny, but that manager Jim Tracy, who had had to deal with Penny when he managed the Dodgers, was against acquiring him, so O’Dowd was forced to fall back on Contreras as a second choice.

But looking at Contreras’s FIP this season, it is a mere 4.12, which is significantly better than Brad Penny’s 4.48 FIP when he was signed by the Giants. Indeed, looking at Contreras’s peripherals, they are all right in line with his career norms. In fact, his groundball rate is slightly up, and his line drive and home run rates are slightly down, all of which are good signs for a pitcher.

Well, actually there is one glaring exception. Contreras’s strand rate is at 56.8%, which is one of the lowest strand rates I have ever seen. So basically, Contreras is not letting all that many guys on base, but when he does, almost half of all baserunners score.

Now, some old-school baseball guys might tell you that this is a reflection on the weakness of Contreras’s character, and that he must be somehow “cracking under the pressure” when guys get on base. But given that most stats guys are convinced that strand rate is almost entirely based on luck, and that Contreras’s career mark is a much healthier 67%, a natural conclusion to draw is that the Rockies just got themselves a much better pitcher than they maybe even realized.

Leave a Reply

Marketplace

    Subscribe via email

    Enter your email address:

    Archives

What's Popular

Featured posts

220px-Bbwaa_logo_web

December 5, 2011

Will anybody get elected to the Hall of Fame this year?

Last week, we asked you to vote for who you would like to see enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame. The verdict? If it were up to UmpBump readers, nobody would make it in. The leading vote getter (so far) is Jeff Bagwell, who has 60% support. Of course, in the real voting, players need […]

January 5, 2011

Annual UmpBump Hall of Fame Balloting: 2011 Edition

In what has become an annual tradition, we here at UmpBump cast our ballots for the Hall of Fame on the eve of the announcements of the voting for the real Hall of Fame. Voters can vote for anyone ever who has been retired from baseball for at least five years and is not already […]

According to the internet, "The Little Napoleon" John McGraw was the greatest manager of all time.

October 19, 2010

Crowdsourcing the Greats: The Top 10 Managers of All Time

Now that we’ve looked at every position on the diamond, as well as relief pitchers, we are nearing the end of our “Crowdsourcing the Greats” series. But before we finish, let’s turn one more time to the internet hoi polloi for answers on who the greatest baseball manager of all time was. As usual, we […]