Joined: Jan. 2006
This is a continuing discussion from the UnReasonable Kansans thread, that I thought should have a thread of its own (hey, if we can have a guitar thread, baseball threads gotta be OK, right?).
Reciprocating Bill wrote:
|I'm not sure on what basis you'd expect Borowski's productivity to drop so dramatically. He saved 36 games for the Marlins in '06, and he was healthy all last season.|
The main basis for my prediction of Borowski's decline was his atrocious ERA, which topped 5 in 2007. He was the only one of the top 30 save-getters in the league to "achieve" this feat. His 8 blown saves isn't very good, but isn't abominable either. His tolerable save rate despite the poor ERA means that he gave up just enough runs to not lose, or that he blew up a few times which ruined his season averages. Looking through his game log, he only gave up 3+ runs three times (4,4,6), so it's more of the former. Anyway, I don't think there's any evidence that Borowski "gets tough" when he's blown the lead down to one run; rather it's more likely that he happened to let up his runs when he was lucky enough to have just enough of a lead to maintain it.
However, I am a little less certain now about my prediction than I was when I made it. I took a look at Borowski's peripheral numbers, and perhaps he didn't perform quite so badly as his traditional numbers indicate. While his ERA was 5.07, his Fielding Independent Pitching score was an almost-respectable 4.08. This means he allowed more runs than expected based on the number and type of balls he allowed to be put into play. There are several things that can cause these discrepencies, but the stat that jumps out at me for Borowski is his very low LOB%. Once players got on base, they scored more often against Borowski than against most pitchers. This is a statistic that is notoriously unpredictable year-to-year, and can greatly affect ERA.*
So my final analysis of Borowski is that he was unlucky to give up as many runs as he did, but lucky to give them up when he did. All in all, he's still not a very good pitcher, and will be turning 37 in May. He's been in and out of the closer's role for years, and I don't know how much confidence Eric Wedge has in him, but I suspect he'll be yanked at the early signs of ineffectiveness.
*The debate in baseball of scouting vs sabermetrics has some interesting parallels and antiparallels with the science vs creationism conflict. On the sabermetrician's side is all the science and math, whereas the scouting side relies heavily on tradition, as well as mystical concepts** such as "grit" and "team chemistry." However, in some manner the roles are switched in the baseball debate as compared with the evo conflict. In baseball, the people who tend to staunchly defend the traditional way of managing baseball franchises are the long-time players and managers themselves (the practitioners of baseball being analogous to the practitioners of science). Conversely, the sabermetric movement is a populist movement; anybody with some good math skills and the willingness to crunch numbers should be able to assess a player's value.
**This is apparently not reserved to baseball scouts. One of the girls in my high school biology class was the daughter of a scout for the Baltimore Ravens (that's Futbol Americano). Apparently some of the things that the older scouts looked for in players was just bizarre. For example, quarterbacks with pale blue eyes were thought to have poor leadership abilities (eh, Blipey, maybe that explains Damon Huard's season!).
Well, that's enough for now.
"Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?" -Calvin