What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
Inspired by discussion in the Yu Darvish thread:
At what point can we label a pitcher as a TORP? For example, most of us would call Kershaw one. He's only 23, but he's in his 4th year already, and his numbers are ridiculous. So at what point did we determine that he was worthy of that label? What would be required for any of our pitchers to be called one?
I've heard some people (I think it was a scout or something, it was on this site I'm pretty sure) call it 200 innings/year and sub 3.00 era. i think most people would agree that is someone dependable (you know you're going to get a good game), durable (30 starts/year) and good with solid peripherals. I lean towards the "eye test" and would add that it should be someone intimidating, someone the other team doesn't want to hit against, and makes his teammates feel like they will win that night. Verlander comes to mind. I think in our rotation Ogando and Holland have that potential. They are both good sized pitchers with great velocity and movement and plus breaking stuff. They would both have to be way more consistent and Ogando would have to further develop his change-up (TORPS need several plus pitches to consistently get through good lineups). Maybe if they have a few more years in which they stay this healthy (I think they only have 1 missed start between them) and have fewer implosions they will be considered TORPS. CJ came out of nowhere and after one year entered the discussion of TORPS, though I wouldn't consider him one. I'm certainly no scout or baseball genius though.
One thing - and I'm really being serious about this - that should be factored in is the place where the pitcher calls home. Huge pitcher parks like LA and SD not only are larger, so probably a lot fewer runs are scored there, but pitchers also go into the game knowing that they can make some mistakes, since the park will be forgiving. That gives them more confidence, even at a young age, and then success just breeds more confidence. - Because I'm convinced that the mental part of the game is way undervalued.
So I guess my point is that Kershaw is definitely a TORP with LA. Would he be where he is now if he would have come up in Arlington? Maybe - but maybe not.
It's actually a good topic and one I struggle with, because I find it hard to define an actual TORP and not a pretend one. Some guys make it easy, Sabathia, Lincecum, Verlander, Halladay,, the performance is there year after year. I consider some young guys TORP's, although a long body of work isn't there, guys like Lester & Kershaw. But TORP is a moving target for most in that one year they are, the next they're not. Ubaldo Jimenez, Carlos Zambrano, Fausto Carmona.....guys like that.
I'm not sure if CJ qualifies as a TORP, although he's close. I think the Rangers have the best depth in starting pitching, in that all 5 starters are pretty good. And I think that's what decides the West for us, as it forces the Angels to win every time Weaver, Haren & Santana start, becuase they don't have a 4 or a 5.
1. 200+ IP2. A K:IP ratio of 1:1 or better 3. A WHIP of 1.20 or lower4. Fastball of 92 mph or higher5. Varied repertoire including 2 elite-level pitches and 2 average-to-good ones
@Kristen: Good criteria. Does body language figure into your evaluation?
@ Kristen W:
Greg Maddux would fail to meet your criteria (K rate more like 7/9ip; fastball more like 89-91; really had no single "elite" pitch; he just never walked anyone and hit his spots better than any other pitcher has maybe ever).
Ah thanks Scooby. Seems like most aces though these days are hard-throwing K guys a la Verlander, Hernandez, Kershaw, etc.
I did figure control into my WHIP figure.
I have a much more subjective definition for a TORP. Very simply, it's a guy who you would feel good about making a start in a short-series playoff game (assuming he's facing another TORP).
For what its worth, I think of an "Ace" as being a guy who's almost unanimously considered one of the top ten pitchers in the league. If pitching were evenly distributed--so each team had one of the top 30 pitchers as their #1--which guys would still be the favorites on opening day. So, basically, no matter who he's facing, you have a chance to win. So, right now i'd consider Halladay, Verlander, Felix, LIncecum, CC and Cliff Lee as true Aces, with Kershaw, Hamels, Greinke, Josh Johnson, Lester, Weaver, and Carpenter just missing the cut (probably in that order).
Someone asked CJ on the radio what makes a pitcher an ace. His answer was simple: 20 wins. The great thing about wins is that it takes a lot of factors into account, you know? Oh and it's the point.
The only thing I'd add is that it has to be done consistently. I don't think Aaron Sele or Rick Helling were ever aces, though they each one 20 games once. A pitcher who will most likely win 20 games year after year is an ace. No, we don't have any, and there are probably only about ten of those guys out there, which sounds about right to me.
felix hernandez isn't an ace? cc sabathia? justin verlander? cliff lee? those guys combined have 2 20 win seasons, yet most people would consider them as close to aces as there is, except for maybe halladay (4 20 win seasons).
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