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The Jays have 12 wins and 11 losses, which is more or less the same record they had when April 2005 came to a close. Too much is made of early-season struggles a similar month from any of these players would be relatively unnoticed in June or July and since the AL East still looks screwy to me (three games separating first from last?), there's not much to analyze there.

But what's up with the Blue Jays' rotation?



Let's start at the top with the big guy himself. They say April has never been his best month:


Month IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9
April 225.1 6.4 2.4 1.2
May 201.2 6.2 2.4 0.6
June 195.2 6.5 2.3 0.7
July 173.1 6.5 2.8 0.8
August 148.0 6.6 2.6 0.9
September 175.0 8.3 2.4 0.7


Well, isn't that interesting. It appears the main reason Doc struggles in April is with the long ball, as his HR rate is cut in half in the second month of the season and stays at that level.

Who does he face in April, though? Do those team hit home runs more often than others?

Roy Halladay in April, 2002-2006
Team # Starts
Red Sox
7
Yankees
6
Twins 3
Devil Rays
3
Rangers 2
Orioles 2
Tigers 2
Royals 1

More interesting results. Exactly half his April starts have been against the Yankees and Red Sox, and that doesn't count his Opening Day 2003 start against New York. Of his 160 starts from April to September, only 38 have been NYY or BOS -- in other words, 24%. So he faces the big beasts of the AL East more often in April than over his career.

Not surprisingly, those two teams are near the top in HR over the last few years.

So maybe Roy Halladay's struggles aren't struggles after all -- they're just a result of the scheduling. The first table above certainly supports that conclusion; his strikeout and walk rates for April are right in line with the rest of the year. And for all this talk, he's still pitched better this year than any other starter on the Jays. He could stand to miss a few bats, though -- only 13 K's in 25.1 IP is dangerously close to the Michalak Line.

A.J. Burnett's poor start is easily explained -- he's hurt. And his replacement is a rookie. Carry on.


Gustavo Chacin has had a strange start to the season. Consider the following list of numbers: 3, 3, 5, 3, 2. Those are his runs allowed this year in each start. It follows, naturally, that the start in which he was the best -- and he was very good yesterday -- is the one he loses. As I've said many times, W-L records for pitchers are beyond meaningless. His 9 walks and 15 strikeouts in 27.1 innings are not indicators of a 4-0 pitcher. In fact, take a look at 3.0 BB/9 and 4.9 K/9 -- those are right in line with his pre-2006 MLB totals of 3.0 and 5.3.

Has he done anything different so far than his career would suggest? He's averaging 93 pitches per start...and his career average is 95.5. The only real difference I can find is the same as Halladay -- his homeruns are up.

How about Ted Lilly?
Game Score Frequency, 2004-2006
GS Lilly Doc Diff
10-19 2% 0% 2
20-29 8% 7% 1
30-39 20% 19% 1
40-49 24% 12% 12
50-59 19% 14% 5
60-69 15% 21% -6
70-79 8% 19% -11
80-89 2% 5% -3
90-99 2% 2% 0


The 40-49 and 70-79 rows say it all, I think. If you want to go from Lilly to Halladay, simply remove a bunch of bad starts and insert a bunch of good ones.

If I had more time, I would figure out the standard deviation in Lilly's starts compared to the Jays as a whole, but I don't, and my memory tells me when I did that about a year ago, Halladay was way ahead of everyone and the other four were pretty much tied for second. So we'll have to be content with a subjective label of "Ted The Tease" for now.

And as for Josh Towers...well...I can't add anything you don't already know.

So, bottom line?

Roy Halladay will get better. A.J. Burnett will be hurt for a while. Gustavo Chacin will keep on doing what Gustavo Chacin does. Ted Lilly will roll a die to figure out how well he should pitch on any given day. Josh Towers can only get better....right?
Jays vs Yankees: A Mediocre April, For Starters | 14 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Monday, May 01 2006 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#146103) #

Nice analysis of Halladay's Aprils, Rob. 

Towers has had 5 starts- 2 against Boston, 1 against the Yankees, 1 against the White Sox, and 1 against the Twins.  Are the Royals coming to town any time soon?

greenfrog - Monday, May 01 2006 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#146104) #
There is a picture of Towers on my May 10 Jays' tickets. Part of the caption reads, "Specialty: Hot Streaks". Hmm. They don't mention the other kind.

I'm a bit disappointed by the Jays' April. If you'd told me a month ago that Rios, Cat, Johnson and Wells would be collectively hitting .400 with 17 HR (and playing great defense); Overbay, Glaus, and Molina had pretty much maintained their career averages; Hillenbrand and Zaun had OPS's of 861 and 905; Speier and Ryan had 0.83 and 0.00 ERA's--well, I would have called 12-11 a disappointment.

Glad we're only a game out of first, but still.


Maldoff - Monday, May 01 2006 @ 09:42 AM EDT (#146105) #
I have to say it's a decided shift from last season to currently be worried about the pitching staff rather than the hitters. Too bad we couldn't combine last year's pitchers with this year's hitting! The most worrisome thing to me right now is the lack of a bullpen, other than Ryan and Speier (and I guess SS LOOGY). Last season, if we had a lead going into the 6th, I felt pretty comfortable with Chulk, Frasor, Speier and SS LOOGY (but nervous in the ninth). This year, it seems like we almost need to be in the 8th for that comfort level to return. Anyone have thoughts on Frasor or Chulk so far, and what it will take to get them back on track?
Mike Green - Monday, May 01 2006 @ 10:45 AM EDT (#146109) #
Maury Brown has an interesting piece in today's THT on the upcoming CBA negotiation and revenue sharing.  Our Jays were the 2nd largest recipients of revenue sharing in 2005, taking in $31 million.  That's not likely to recur.
jjdynomite - Monday, May 01 2006 @ 12:16 PM EDT (#146115) #
As a follow up post, a good article about revenue sharing in yesterday's NY Times (may need login if not cookied).  The quotes from Silverman (President of the Rays) and Loria about "becom[ing] a payer" and "want[ing] to be revenue-sharing contributors, not receivers", respecitvely, are pretty dubious.  The best line is: "Dan Glass, the Royals' president... did not return a half-dozen calls seeking comment."

Enforcing a mandatory minimum is a start.  However, although MLBPA is apparently too strong to go for this, having a soft cap a la basketball would be SO much better.  It still would reward good drafting and enough smart FA pickups and still allow for big payrolls.

For example, under the so-called Larry Bird rule, the Spanks would still be able to resign their homegrowns like the Jete, Rivera and Posada for 10-20 million each, with enough pre-determined cash left over to acquire a couple more studs (Sheffield, Matsui, Mussina) and a couple less duds (Wright, Pavano, Brown).  A soft cap would also be a lot less annoying than the NFL and NHL hard caps which produce such a high player turnover in order to fit under them.
Pepper Moffatt - Monday, May 01 2006 @ 12:29 PM EDT (#146116) #
Any market balancing mechanism where St. Louis is paying out money and Philadelphia is collecting it, is a complete and utter joke.
Ron - Monday, May 01 2006 @ 01:26 PM EDT (#146121) #
For example, under the so-called Larry Bird rule, the Spanks would still be able to resign their homegrowns like the Jete, Rivera and Posada for 10-20 million each, with enough pre-determined cash left over to acquire a couple more studs (Sheffield, Matsui, Mussina) and a couple less duds (Wright, Pavano, Brown).  A soft cap would also be a lot less annoying than the NFL and NHL hard caps which produce such a high player turnover in order to fit under them.

The Yanks would never go for a NBA type CBA. Sure the NBA CBA would allow them to resign all of their own players but they wouldn't be able to sign big FA's because they wouldn't have enough cap room. Just look at the Knicks as the perfect example. All they do is trade players because they don't have enough cap space to sign a big expensive free agent.

Regardless of sport, if you want a true level playing field, than you need a hard salary cap like what the NHL has. A team based in New York can't spend a penny more than a team based in Edmonton if they both decide to max out the cap.


Leigh - Monday, May 01 2006 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#146129) #

If I had more time, I would figure out the standard deviation in Lilly's starts compared to the Jays as a whole, but I don't, and my memory tells me when I did that about a year ago, Halladay was way ahead of everyone and the other four were pretty much tied for second. So we'll have to be content with a subjective label of "Ted The Tease" for now. 

Using BP's "Flake" scores - the standard deviation of a pitcher's Support Neutral Value Added numbers in each start - Lilly was the 94th, 68th, and 44th flakiest pitcher in baseball in 2003, 2004 and 2005, respectively.  He was out-flaked by Halladay in each of those seasons, as Rob suggested.

Jays vs Yankees: A Mediocre April, For Starters | 14 comments | Create New Account
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