What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
All-Star selection, 33-34 starts, 230.0 IP, Cy Young candidate. Can he do it?
It's said that you can do anything you set your mind to. Can't wait to see Matt Harrison continue to crush critics into fine powder this season!
Can he throw 230.0 innings? Highly unlikely.
Will he be a Cy Young candidate? Doubtful.
I'm thinking something more along the lines of 210.0 innings, a solid 3.8-ish ERA, and 3.5 fWAR.
Nothing wrong with setting lofty goals to see how close you can come to achieving it. Did he happen to say e was in the "best shape of his life?" :)
You ever wonder what happens to the baseball players who ARENT in the best shape of their life?
Yes, but we'll probably never know, because no one ever admits they're not.
I was referring to another thread on here
On a thread or two last year I made some comparisons between Harrison and Greg Maddux. It wasn't well received by some. Undaunted, I'll take another shot.
Over Harrison's last 56 starts he's put up a WHIP of 1.26, ERA of 3.22 and K/BB rate of 2.5. Harrison was 25/26 years old in his 4th and 5th seasons in the majors over that span.
In Maddux' 5th and 6th seasons in the majors during is age 24 and 25 years, here is what he put up. A WHIP of 1.22, ERA of 3.40 and surprisingly, a K/BB rate exactly equal to Harrison's 2.5.
There's not a hairs breadth of difference in their performance over similar spans at similar points in their careers.
I'm NOT (this certainly got lost last time I posted this) saying Harrison will have Maddux' career. Damn near nobody ever has had that kind of career. I AM saying that those expressing a degree of certainty that the luck dragons will to turn on Harrison might have that wrong. Players grow and develop. Harrison is getting great tutelage, and is determined to keep developing.
He does't have to grow and develop like Maddux did to continue to put up really good numbers. But, if he continues to grow and develop just a bit more, maybe folks will hop off the luck dragon podium and give him some credit for developing his craft.
Good luck Matt.
Harrison has always been doubted, but year after year he keeps firing away and getting better. Are his goals a little lofty? yeah, but i'd rather him set high goals and have something to work for. And if he keeps improving as he has been he may even achieve these goals, it's entirely possible. "Aim small miss small."
Yea, this is nothing new. Hes said that winning the cy young was the goal each of the last 2 seasons. Its one of the things I like about harry. He's not afraid to have high standards. Whether anyone else thinks he's capable of it or not. HE thinks he's capable of it. And usually its not just the goal, its steps to get better (like improving his pitch sequencing last year or working on his slider this year).
Seeing Harry pitch into the last 3rd or finish, will convince me. Mind-set, stamina and a trueout-pitch makes Harry a good #2 or in the future, even better. Same goes for any pitcher withlofty goals of being an Ace or a contender/winner of the Cy Young Award... even at the Temple.
doesn't look like he has said he is in he best shape of his life yet, lol.
Guy, I think you had a nice narrative-driven argument for your Matt Harrison-Greg Maddux comp, but I'm more inclined to follow xFIP and K/9 IP rates than I am WHIP. If you are going to go with WHIP, might might as well just look at the opponent's wOBA vs. a hitter.
It's undeniable that the luck dragons (strand rate, specifically) played a big part in why Matt Harrison finished the season with a 3.29 ERA, despite his peripherals suggesting he was more of a 4.00+ ERA pitcher, according to xFIP and SIERA. That said, we've asked the question before: "If he's done it two years in a row, what's to say he can't just consistently outperform his peripherals year after year?"
Well, I think we will see this year and next (and three more after that), but I tend to take the school of thought that says he's been cheating his predictive stats and will fall to earth eventually. (And when I say fall to earth I mean an ERA in the 3.80-4.00 range, which I will gladly take from my #3 starter.)
* that should read "wOBA vs. a pitcher."
"These CANS... somethingswrong with these CANS". Steve Martin, "The Jerk"*see what I did there?
Eric, my biggest issue with your arguments towards harrison is the assumption that he wont keep evolving as a pitcher. Developing as a pitcher, like a power hitter, is a marathon not a sprint. History is littered with guys without prototypical "ace" stuff that developed into aces from know-how and will (a la maddux or cliff lee). To say Harrisons ceiling is a #3 is short-sighted. Right now, I think he's borderline 2-3. But, I think he's developed his mental game over the past couple years. He doesnt really have those "deer-in-the-headlights" moments anymore. If he keeps developing his confidence and mental toughness, I think he can be a #1. Maybe not as dominant as a King Felix or Kershaw, but more like a Tim Hudson or Chris Carpenter (yes, I know he would have to get his GB rate up). But, he's gotta keep developing.
I'm not as up on the new metrics as some, but I'm learning. I assume that BABIP and HR/FB% are both metrics that would suggest luck is favoring, or not favoring, a pitcher.
Amongst starters (99) with at least 150 innings last year, 37 of the had a lower BABIP than Harrison and 31 of them had a lower HR/FB%.
I don't doubt the concept of luck impacting smaller sample sizes. I just don't know that it is to the degree some think. Those numbers would suggest he's "luckier" than average last year, but a third of the starters were luckier.
This will sort itself out over the next couple of years. I think there's more to his performance than a disproportionate amount of good luck. And, I think he's still developing as a pitcher and has a good chance to compensate for a turn for the worse in the luck department with his continued development as a pitcher.
This dialogue does make it that much more fun to watch the game when Harrison is on the mound.
nateaggie writes: Eric, my biggest issue with your arguments towards harrison is the assumption that he wont keep evolving as a pitcher. Developing as a pitcher, like a power hitter, is a marathon not a sprint.
Hey man, I like that you keep the faith, but Harrison isn't a young buck anymore. He's a big boy. He'll be in his age-28 season, so for all we know he's already peaked in development. Back-to-back sub-3.4 ERA seasons is a nice feat for him. Here are the reasons I don't think he'll keep it up:
2011: ERA = 3.39 ; xFIP = 3.85 ; SIERA = 4.092012: ERA = 3.39 ; xFIP = 4.13 ; SIERA = 4.27
Basically, SIERA hates Matt Harrison.
Luck Dragons --
2011: .290 BABIP ; 72.3 LOB%2012: .284 BABIP ; 78.6 LOB%
Basically, he stranded a shit load of runners last year.
In 2012 he struck out 5.61 batters per 9 innings. He walked a pretty impressive 2.49/9IP. In 2011, his K rate was 6.11 and walk rate was 2.76. So more or less, he had the same year two years in a row, with 2012 being the luckier one. His problem pitching in Arlington is that he doesn't strike enough hitters out. Eventually those fly balls are going to start leaving the yard, and his ERA will look like Derek Holland's last year.
His ERA in 2012 should read 3.29*
It really irks you when you're not perfect, huh? Whelp, that's just perfectly Nerdish
Xfip and SIERA may hate Harrison but both of the last two years was well under his Xfip. He may have had just do fluky years and this may be the year he comes back down to normal, or he may just keep on rolling and getting better.
I really think the reason he has been able to "over-perform" and leave so many runners on base is simply the defense. With the Rangers having one of the better infields in the MLB he just throws strikes and makes them put it on the ground and most of the tie the infield has his back. Too many pitcher try and throw fancy mumbo jumbo pitches and get a strikeout, only to leave it over the middle and give up a hit. Harrison hits his spots and lets the batter put the ball in play, that's why he is/will be successful whether SIERA and Xfip agree or not.
He did strand a lot of runners last year with the 9th highest strand rate in the majors amongst starters with 150 innings. Others in the top 20 last year for stranding runners; Price, Dickey, Weaver, Sale, Cain, Hamels, Cueto, Kershaw, Verlander.
That's a pretty fair collection of hurlers. I don't think they were all lucky.
The issue is that every single one of them has a higher K rate than Harrison and the conventional wisdom of the metrics is that K'ing someone is an acceptable way to strand a runner and other methods are inherently lucky. A pitcher that doesn't have tremendous swing and miss stuff just might be able to induce poor contact in higher leverage situations. Just as strikeout pitchers might make a better pitch with a runner on second to get a K, a contact pitcher might make a better pitch to induce a poorly hit ball in play.
That strand rate doesn't HAVE to be luck. It can him excelling in high leverage situations. We'll see where this goes with Harrison.
Matty falls somewhere between a good #3 to a promising #1, if he continues to move upwards.I'd like him to find/maintain a 3.50ish ERA and continue throwing through the 6th/7th innings, tocancel the luck factor out. I'd be more than happy. I think he's capable. Big year for Matty.
Thats kinda how i feel hubz. Pitching tends to skew older than most pro athletes. Carpenter and Lee didnt have breakout seasons til their year 29 and 30, respectively. Not saying harrison will get there, but to say he cant is short-sighted. Hes probably more likely to digress than progress. But, with the drive and the unsatisfied-ness (its a word trust me) he seems to exude, i wouldnt be surprised if he continues to develop.
Since I think both sides of this discussion are entrenched pretty deeply in their stances, this seems like a great topic to revisit after the first couple-few months of the season. I like Matt Harrison, a lot, but I am of the opinion he's a strong #3 starter, with the type of ceiling to be a fringe-#2 (which he has been the last two years).
I like him on the staff, and he's a good bet to justify his $55 million contract, and probably produce between $15-$25 million in surplus value on top of it. My issue is that, as far as being TORP, I just don't see it. He only strikes out about 6 hitters every nine innings, and that's not a number jumping to like, 8/9IP, for instance. He relies greatly on his defense.
I don't know why Matt Harrison has to get the "ace" label dumped on him. I wish he could just exist as a top-40 to 50-ish Major League pitcher.
I'm on-board with Hubz as well. I don't believe Harrison will ever be a #1, or even a #2... but he would probably be better than most #3's in baseball. If he gives us 200 innings with an ERA somewhere in the 3's every yeat, I'd be more than pleased with his career. I will admit I was very nervous everytime he took the mound... and I probably will be fthat way forever simply because he's not going to shut down the other team. He may go on a nice run of 4 or 5 starts where he's lights out, but he's going to keep the defense busy and there's always that chance those fly balls end up in the seats. With that said, if he continues to pitch the way he did last year, I will be very pleased and I could see him winning 17+ games.
Here's a question for you; if you were JD and the White Sox offered a straight up trade of Danks for Harrison, would you do it? Before you answer, lets assume Danks came off his best season and Harrison came off his best season...who would you rather have? Does Danks offer more TORP potential than Harrison?
Here's another question; would you trade Harrison for Lester straight up? Lester had a horrible 2012 but he's a legit TORP when he's on his game? Conventional wisdom would say yes, you should do that deal, but I'd still stick with Harry.
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