Sunday, August 12, 2007

Did Andy Ashby Clear Waivers?

If Adam Eaton starts another game this year for the Phillies (and he will, of course), then it's pretty clear to me that this organization has no idea of what it takes to field a team that can pick up the extra handful of wins necessary in order to go from a squad that is "competitive, exciting, and likable (all great things, by the way), but with just enough deficiencies to miss out on the wild card in the final week yet again" to a team with a historically awesome offensive attack and just enough non-horrible pitching to play some meaningful baseball games into October.

I don't love relying solely on ERA to make a point (we've evolved past that), but I think Eaton's horrible ERA serves as a simple way to get across the basic premise of the post: Adam Eaton stinks at pitching right now.

Eaton in 2007 (as of 8/11): 94 earned runs allowed in 133 innings pitched - 6.36 ERA

The Phillies pitching staff in 2007: 545 earned runs allowed in 1042 innings pitched- 4.71 ERA

According to Baseball Prospectus, the average pitcher in the National League has an ERA of 4.32. This doesn't account for starters vs. relievers and all kinds of other important variables, but, again, it's simple and I'm lazy so it will have to do for now.

If we completely eliminated Adam Eaton from the 2007 Philadelphia Phillies, the team ERA would drop from 4.71 to 4.46. If Eaton was replaced by a hypothetical league average pitcher, the team ERA would drop from 4.71 to 4.44. By the way, starters who fit the statistical mold of "league average pitcher" based solely on ERA (important caveat) and our self-imposed innings pitched quota (around the 133 Eaton has pitched) include Wandy Rodriguez (4.34 ERA, 139 IP), Jarrod Washburn (4.30, 142.1), Carlos Silva (4.30, 150.2), and James Shields (4.32, 164.7) - no real point to naming names other than to establish some frame of reference.

Check out this list of starting pitchers...or occasional starting pitchers: Cliff Lee, Rick Vanden Hurk, Wes Obermueller, Rob Tejeda, Horacio Ramirez, Vicente Padilla, Jose Contreras, Jae Seo, and Casey Fossum.

Those nine men are the only pitchers in baseball with lower VORPs lower than Adam Eaton's -10.4 (minimum 50 IP).

If Adam Eaton starts another game this year for the Phillies (and he will, of course), then it's pretty clear to me that this organization exists solely to make enough idiotic decisions that all but force me to dust off this old web address and vent to an audience of a dozen loyal (crazy?) readers.

By the way, the team has been playing great baseball lately and I'm very optimistic about their postseason chances at this point. At the very least, they've had a string of some of the most entertaining games I've seen in a long while. So excuse the sporadic nature of my posting, excuse the negativity of this particular post, and join me in enjoying a team handicapped by all kinds of injuries as they make yet another push for the postseason.

I like to end on a positive note when I can. Go Phillies.