Mike Friere - Does This Drive Anyone Else Crazy?


Yes, I will admit that the title of this article is a bit vague and I will also reveal that "the drive to crazy" for me is likely a short one (I am a Mets and Bills fan after all).  That notwithstanding, what I am getting at with my initial question is the effectiveness or lack thereof of certain members of our pitching staff.  Further translated, to me "effectiveness" means reasonable pitch counts and minimal base runners allowed which translates to "fewer runs allowed" and long term success for the team as a whole.

A lack of effectiveness is essentially the opposite, which usually involves a bunch of base runners, bloated statistics and a poor record.

If you recall, a few weeks ago I produced an article in the "sabermetrics" series that focused on a pitching statistic called WHIP, or Walks plus Hits per Innings Pitched.  The formula for this statistic is pretty straight forward and the result is expressed as a ratio that hovers above or below 1.00, with a "good" WHIP in the neighborhood of 1.10 to 1.20, or so.

There is a pretty strong correlation between lower WHIP's and pitcher's success, just as there is a relationship between a "poor" WHIP and a lack of success.  Sure, there are outliers from time to time, but the general consensus is that the fewer base runners that a pitcher allows, the fewer runs that they surrender which usually means more success for everyone involved.

Nothing makes me want to turn off a game more then watching a pitcher labor through a four or five inning start while allowing a bunch of hits and/or bases on balls and throwing a ton of pitches in the process. This type of outing is usually a recipe for failure and it will also burn out a team's bullpen over time.  Not to mention that it has to suck the life out of the team in the field watching the "slow motion train wreck".

The Mets have TWO pitchers (Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler) who are guilty of this type of performance, with one of them already demoted to the bullpen and the other on the fast track for the same treatment.

For their careers, here are the basic WHIP's;

Matt Harvey (post-Dark Knight)

1.30 Career and 1.44 this season, to date.

Zack Wheeler

1.40 Career and 1.24 this season to date.

While Zack's WHIP is down a bit in 2018, it is in large part due to an excellent first start against a Marlins team that he has dominated in the past.  Last night, against a much more competitive Cardinals team, ZW threw 83 pitches over 4 innings while allowing 8 base runners and (predictably) 4 earned runs.  Yes, the Mets rallied
to win the ballgame, but they were in a 4-1 "hole" after four innings as a result of ZW's less then stellar outing (again).

Mickey Callaway (who sported a very poor 1.71 WHIP over his own career) HAS to understand the type of stress that outings like this put on the entire team.  I would not be surprised if ZW's leash is extremely short moving forward, much
like MH's proved to be.

Here's a simple solution, guys.......THROW STRIKES!


Reese Kaplan said...

That is why I was not impressed with the addition of AJ Ramos last year. He's 1.632 in 2017 for the Mets and this year has started out even uglier (though the number is better).

Tom Brennan said...

I recently posted that Paul Sewald should be moved up the depth chart past Ramos, but the game-winning hit off of Sewald was disappointingly super-hittable-looking. Paul sure does throw strikes, but he is a quarter of the way to Anthony Young at 0-7 lifetime.

Tom Brennan said...

That said, when I looked the other day, Ramos had 355 career innings, 250 hits allowed (a great hits/inning ratio) and 194 walks (a terrible walks/innings ratio). Partial answer - pitch much more to contact, instead of hoping hitters fish at bad pitches. Walks are such adrenaline doses to an opposing team in a class game. Ramos needs to throw more strikes, and let his fielders do their thing.

Mike Freire said...

Agreed on Ramos..........any pitcher in a high leverage situation needs to throw strikes. I would rather lose on a couple of well hit balls, then walking the bases full and losing on a fielder's choice, etc.

Armando Benitez nightmares, all over again.

Tom Brennan said...

Ramos is still better than Harvey, who has become Logan Verrett.

Reese Kaplan said...

I'm going to be uncharacteristically optimistic. Last night it was clear after the HR and walk that when he went 3-2 to the batter it was do or die. He got him on a routine fly ball and then got a DP ball from the next batter. He rose to the challenge. The trick is regaining that focus. I'd actually rather see him there than Ramos. (And no one is talking about how awful Blevins has been. His first ball should have been a HR if not for a great catch).

Tom Brennan said...

Blevins' evil twin has showed up this year. I hope Matt embraces the role and gets back to 95/96

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