What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
In the last 20 games, the Rangers are 9 and 11. A lot of people are blaming Wash. But the true culprit is the starting pitching. In those 11 losses, the Rangers gave up an average of 6 runs, which is horrendous, when you consider how good the bullpen has been.
Here are the rotation's stats over the last 30 days: ERA 4.15 (18th); xFIP 4.05 (19th); SIERA 3.9 (13th).
What's really frightening is that those stats include Darvish's results, and he's pitched like an ace. If you look at the other starters over the last 30 days, the picture is bleak.
Harrison--ERA 7.08, xFIP 4.12Holland--ERA 4.05, 4.28Lewis--ERA 4.73, xFIP 4.41Feliz ERA 3.6, xFIP 4.73
Keep in mind that the league average ERA is 3.97 and the league average xFIP is 3.89. So all four of these guys have been way below average in both categories (except for Holland and Feliz with respect to ERA).
I didn't expect much out of Feliz or Lewis this year. But I thought that Holland and Harrison had the potential to be a legitimate # 2 and # 3 behind Darvish. But instead, both guys have taken a step back when we needed them to take a step forward. Combined with Lewis's collapse, the rotation seems like a glaring weakness on an otherwise incredibly good team. Another concern is that these guys aren't going deep into games. That may wear out the bullpen as the season drags on.
The question now is what, if anything, can the Rangers do about this.
Colby's ERA should be higher than that. I know that's not how ERA works, but there were like 4 or 5 unearned runs in his last start that are directly attributable to errors on his part. While Harrison's ERA happens to be higher over that stretch, I think he's been a better pitcher than Colby lately.
As for what to do about it...there's a long list of things the Rangers could do. I think maybe the question is, how much longer are they willing to let the struggling pitchers try to straighten up before they take any corrective action?
Is it too far into the season to stretch Ogando back out?
If the staff continues this trend, JD will make a bigger move at the deadline than I think he was planning to. We are all in this year...
There are at least 20 teams in MLB that would love to have the Rangers rotation "problems".
How many teams make the playoffs?
T ball, I view this season as the best chance the Rangers have ever had at a WS, and with Hamilton and Napoli likely leaving, it may be the best chance they will have for a while. Taking an average rotation into the playoffs makes it a roll of the dice.
I had hope to see Holland and Harrison take some steps forward. That doesn't seem to be happening. Maybe it will, but not yet.
If things don't improve I would look to JD making a move . Already a few names out there and there will be more as teams start falling out of there races.
Probably shouldn't discount Feldman getting a shot also. No one at Round Rock showing much as for as starters go.
I am not as worried about Holland so far, but the other three are worrying me. I'm not sure what Harrison is going thru right now. As far as team options I think you leave ogando where he is, which leaves Ross or scooter as options. If harrison continues to get rocked 4-5 starts from now I could see him and Ross switching spots. As far as outside options, oswalt could be the best option. A lot of people have been tossing around hamels, but if the rangers are serious about retaining josh it will be purely a rental and I would prefer oswalt for cash as opposed to a top prospect and cash for hamels. If the plan is to re sign hamels I may be more open to the idea. BTW I'm not saying oswalt is as good as hamels by any means.
I wouldnt be opposed to Erik Bedard as a rental either...cheaper than Oswalt im sure
I would much rather Bedard than Oswalt, if we have to go outside the organization for help. Or Hamels, but I doubt he's available even at a steep price for a rental, as the Phillies probably still think they're buyers and not sellers this year. And they might be right; the season is far, far, far from over.
If Colby sucks on Sunday, I think I'll start to really question whether or not he's lost it. 3 terrible starts in a row is very disconcerting, but 4 in a row would probably sound like trouble.
I think Hamels can be had, just wonder if the Phillies would view Mike Olt as the centerpiece like Seattle did Smoak.. I actually think Smoak's failures make it more difficult to make a case for Olt to be a "Centerpiece" .. And I would only trade Profar in a deal for Clayton Kershaw plain and simple.. Colby to SD for Quentin works for me too..
Despite Joey's article downplaying the results of the last 20+ games, I still think the team needs a # 2 pitcher. Unless LA rebounds and makes a run, I agree that the Rangers are likely to win the division. But without a solid # 2 (doesn't need to be an ace), the playoff run is little more than a roll of the dice.
We have 4 starting pitchers who are having trouble making it through the 6th inning against teams like Hou. At this rate, the bullpen will be used by Oct. The great thing about last year was that CJ was good and some of the starters behind him stepped up. Ogando in the first half, Holland and Harrison in the second, and Lewis in the playoffs. That doesn't seem to be happening this year. Yu is the only guy who seems capable of making the chances of winning any particular game better than a coin flip. Every game seems dependent on the offense and the bullpen for a win.
To answer the thread's title: NO. Starting pitching looks like a long term strength to me right now. Yu Darvish is looking more and more like a true TORP every outing. Neftali is going through growing pains and still shows me #2-quality stuff. Derek Holland as a #3? I'll take it. And we have those three locked up through 2015.
Throw in Matt Harrison as an established #4 and young options like Martin Perez and Neil Ramirez and I'm excited about our potential rotation for the next several years. And I bet if you polled hitters in the American League they wouldn't be too thrilled about having to face this rotation for the next several years.
And to back up my post with some comparable stats to the original post:
Yu DarvishCareer ERA: 2.60; Career xFIP: 3.58 (52 IP)Neftali FelizCareer ERA: 2.67; Career xFIP: 3.95 (205 IP)Derek HollandCareer ERA: 4.68; Career xFIP: 4.02 (446 IP)Matt HarrisonCareer ERA: 4.57; Career xFIP: 4.34 (459 IP)
And for the record, all four have a sub-4.00 xFIP since the beginning of 2011. A year-plus of sample size trumps a month every time.
My thoughts on the rotation aren't just based on a month of results.
League average SIERA and xFIP are around 3.95 (among starters).
Holland's career xFIP and SIERA are 4.0. Holland was a little better last year (xFIP and SIERA around 3.8), but he has taken a step back this year. So Holland has basically been an average pitcher for hiis career and this year.
Matt Harrison's career xFIP and SIERA are both over 4.3. Last year, his SIERA was 4.09 and xFIP was 3.85. This year, his SIERA is 4.14 and xFIP is 3.92. So Harrison has basically been an average pitcher.
Feliz's results prior to this year don't count b/c he was a reliever. Lots of great relievers aren't good starters. This year, his xFIP is 4.73 and SIERA is 4.49. So he's pitched well below average. (He may get better, but he may not.)
The league average xFIP and SIERA that I cited (3.95) includes both leagues. But even if you exclude the NL, it's only around 4.05. So Holland and Harrison have been roughly average AL pitchers.
I actually agree and have had concerns since ST and even going back to last year. If Texas is all-in this season (as they should be given the contract situation with Hamilton and Nap), you can't really feel great about the prospect of starting a postseason series with Yu/Colby/Holland as your rotation. Having four #3 - #4 starters is great for the regular season but it's not ideal for the playoffs.
If I was JD, I would be focused on trying to get a guy like Greinke to make another successful postseason run.
Your claim Harrison and Holland are "average" pitchers fails to take into account they play half their games in the a ballpark that grossly inflates pitcher numbers.
SIERA is park adjusted, so it takes into account the fact that RBiA is a pitcher's park. xFIP assumes a league avg. HR/FB rate. Otherwise, it's based on variables that the pitcher controls (FB %, K rate, and walk rate). So there's not an RBiA penalty. The fact that they aren't ballpark sensitive is part of what makes SIERA and xFIP better stats than ERA when it comes to pitcher evaluation.
The fact is that Holland and Harrison have been average pitchers over the course of their careers. In the second half of last season, both seemed to be taking a step forward and developing into above average pitchers. Yet both have taken steps back this year.
Maybe they will both take big steps forward in the future. Maybe they won't. (I'm less optimistic than some. Holland has had command problems throughout his career. Harrison lives and dies with keeping the FB down and getting ground balls; he's not a strike out pitcher.) But what we do know is that up to this point, they've been average.
So Texas has 1 ace, 2 average pitchers, 1 below average pitcher (Feliz), and 1 guy who you have no idea what you're going to get out of from 1 game to the next (Lewis). That's dicey starting pitching and the results over the last 25 games are consistent with that.
You're way jumping the gun on this stuff. It's just past mid-May.
Hoalland had a series of brutal starts in June into July last year. Battered by the Yankees, the Mets & the Marlins of all people.
There's just a hint of Yankee-fan entitlement going around the Rangers these days. A little spoiled by the back to back AL titles and the 13-2 start this year I suppose. But when good teams hit a bad patch, they play .500 ball. That's what's happening right now.
Silly to tag labels on some of these guys. Darvish has 8 starts. While I'm psyched about his performance, planting an ace label on him is premature. Harrson and Lewis are solid MLB starters. Not special, but solid. Holland can be special and I expect his year's end numbers will round out higher than what we've seen. Feliz is showing the type of up & and down performaces that you expect of young guys. But regardless of his command issues, he is still very difficult to hit.
I expect a some point they will peel of another win streak and lengthen their lead. But the win streaks the past two years have some later in the year. But it's coming....
I'm with Rich on this:
1) spoiled fans2) premature evaluation on Darvish3) Texas for last three years has been a consistent .500 team, with short spells of dominance (June in 2010; two 10 win streaks in 2011) that make overall numbers very good4) What RFan calls "average" Rich calls "solid" and I think both are right5) Feliz going through typical struggles of a first year starter
Really, there's nothing here that shouldn't have been expected going into the season...except Darvish being more dominant / consistent that I thought he would
Certainly no need to panic, or make personnel moves. If these guys were good enough to go with into the season, they should still be good enough.
I'm not a "spoiled fan" and I'm not panicking. The Rangers have perhaps the best offense and bullpen in baseball. They have a great defense. Absent serious injuries to key players, I think they'll win the division easily. Once that happens, I personally would like to see them win the WS, given that Hamilton is likely leaving. In the playoffs, the performance of your top 2 starting pitchers becomes crucial. In the initial 5-game series, the # 1 may pitch twice. In the ALCS and WS, the #1 and #2 may pitch twice. Having a good # 2 pitcher takes a lot of pressure off Darvish and makes the Rangers first WS championship (something I think we all want) much more likely.
And I'm not jumping the gun on Darvish. He has great stuff and a history of pitching well in Japan. The Rangers are good at evaluating talent and they paid him $100 mil. I have every confidence that he'll be a very good pitcher, maybe an ace.
You don't have to think that the Rangers are great in every aspect of the game to be a "real" fan. Starting pitching has been a problem and is the reason that the Rangers have played .500 ball the past month. Holland and Harrison could start pitching above average. If that happens, this team will be great. But frankly, we've been waiting for Holland to develop consistency and control for years, and it hasn't happened. And aside from the second half of last season, Harrison's an unproven commodity.
I'm rooting for Holland and Harrison to reach their potential. But while a lot of people are blaming the Rangers recent losses on Wash, or Kinsler, or Cruz, or MY, I'm simply pointing out the real culprit. Mediocre starting pitching. Don't shoot the messenger!
I'm not sure why recognizing that certain players have been average performers makes someone a "spoiled" fan. I haven't seen anyone suggest that Holland/Harrison suck or that Texas should move them.
What I have read and what I believe is that Texas, as currently constructed, doesn't have a great postseason rotation. It won't matter for the regular season, but when you get into the playoffs, it would be better to have a top-heavy rotation (two very good 1-2 starters) than having 1 good starter and a group of average-to-slightly-above-average starters.
If Holland develops into a legit #2, then this problem will be solved. But I would feel much better about WS hopes if Texas could improve the non-Darvish spot in the playoff rotation.
Good points, utb. I don't think Holland and Harrison are bad pitchers. I think they're average with potential to be above average. I'd be comfortable having them as the # 3 and # 4 in the playoffs. But where's the # 2? Is it Lewis? If it is, I'm going to have to buy a few extra large bottles of antacid in October. This is more about the perfect team and it's weak link (no # 2) than it is about Holland and Harrison (or Feliz).
@RFan: agreed, but I will be a bit disappointed if Holland, Harrison, and Feliz have all peaked already. I would think at least one of them still has the potential to rise to #2 or higher, even if it's still a little ways off. But we'll see.
Fortunately, Colby not only didn't suck this weekend, he was great. That was a big enough turnaround that I think we can safely say he's probably not a lost cause yet. Time to call Oswalt? Hardly. Time to be looking at ways the rotation could be improved, even if we don't act on them immediately? Of course, but that should always be the case.
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