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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Knife-Twister

Steve makes me use Google to find this Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story quoting Jim Tracy about his new charges:
"From what I've seen of Kip, and what I've seen done by (new Pirates pitching coach) Jim Colborn with guys who didn't have as good as stuff as Kip Wells... yeah, I think he's much better than 8-18."
Well, Jim, we'll just have to wait on that one, won't we? I mean, it was just September when he was blaming rookies for the team's problems, when he wasn't actively evading his role. But this is brillianter still:
Tracy cited Jeff Weaver, who won 27 games the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers under the guidance of Colborn, as an example of the kind of turnaround he envisions for Wells.
Let's see: Weaver, who comes from the Bronx, a notoriously difficult environment in which to pitch, and the AL with its DH. Looking at his dERA and ERA for those years:
Year  dERA   ERA   G/F
=======================
2002  3.81  3.52  1.27*
2003  4.33  5.99  1.11
2004  3.91  4.01  1.06
2005  4.52  4.22  1.00
*In 2002 over 122.2 innings with Detroit, Weaver actually had a 1.42 G/F ratio.

So in addition to the complicating factors of pitching in New York and having to face the Red Sox 18 times or however many per year, Weaver -- even in 2003 -- was a groundball pitcher who had to rely on the likes of Jason Giambi (2003 Rate2 of 98), Alfonso Soriano (97 Rate2), Derek Jeter (80 Rate2, a career low), and the still very good Robin Ventura (106 Rate2) for his infield defense. Collectively, Yankee DER in 2003 was the second worst in the league, only behind Texas. Certainly, Colborn deserves some credit. But given the variables -- which are certainly not in play with Kip Wells -- suggesting the possibility of that kind of night-and-day turnaround is unfair to the fans, to Colborn, and to Wells, too.


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