A Picture's Worth 1,000 Words
no, not this 8x10, doc. the next pic






(1) There are certain things the above FIP (fielding-independent pitching) stat says, and certain things it doesn't.  

(1a) One of the things it probably doesn't say, necessarily:  that James Paxton comes to 2017 camp "a favorite to make the rotation."


(2) It's interesting that Fangraphs' WAR has Paxton for 3.4 WAR in half a year, and B-Ref's version of WAR has him for 1.1.  Entertaining!  Maybe one of you denizens wants to summarize for us what this tells us about the two WAR variants.  Besides the fact that Fangraphs likes "what they shoulda done, coulda done, and woulda done" and Baseball-Reference goes with "what they did done."  

(2a) Hm.  Maybe one of you denizens also wants to look up Nelson Cruz' performance as measured by these two estimable websites.  That's only a related grok, because in Cruz' case the two websites are not trying to oppose "theoretical vs. reality-retical."  They value the same results very differently.  


(3) Rick Porcello is 22-4 in Fenway.  J.A. Happ is #21 in FIP.  No doubt Wade Miley will rack up six or seven WAR next season.  Pitching is up and down, amigos.

(4) Matt Shoemaker, who is a favorite SSI comp for Nate Karns, is running seventh in the league - by definition an Opening Day Starter performance.  Last year he was 7-10, 4.46, with an 85 ERA+ and Angels fans raged against him; this year he mostly got luckier.

7.7 K, 2.3 BB, 1.6 homers = Shoemaker 2015 = meatball

8.0 K, 1.7 BB, 1.0 homers! = Shoemaker 2016 = envy of the league

9.2 K, 3.8 BB, 1.3 homers ouch = Nate Karns to date = out of baseball, as far as we know

9.4 K, 3.2 BB, 0.9 homers = Nate Karns next year, probably = 17-7, 3.14 record

(5) Justin Verlander is running #11 in the American League this year.  When Felix has problems, I always think hopefully of Verlander ... Cy Young pitcher for about a decade, terrible year at age 31, interrupted year at age 32, arm got a little rest, bounced back to Ace status.


And here's the vid of Zeus' last start.  The camera angle in Minnesota is unique, directly behind the pitcher; the visual is less aesthetic but you gain a sense of what Paxton is capable off from a straight-on vector.  He didn't even have the big fastball going.


Dr D



Zeus WAS amazing on Friday.

One of my concerns with Paxton remains, that after his eyepopping 4-start cameo in 2013 he has the following Games Started numbers in his first three potential full-seasons: 13, 13, 19 (and probably 21).

The other concern Paxton has gone a long way toward convincing me he's overcome it. His so-far-career-long tendency to pitch lights out until he runs into some adversity, at which point he falls apart. His overall number have looked pretty doggone good (3.40 career ERA). He looks like The Incredible Hulk for three innings until somebody makes an error, at which point he suddenly transforms into Bruce Banner. This phenomenon does underscore how unhittable he is when he's going good, because his ERA takes into account the meltdowns. It's why in private (and occasionally here) call him Rockhead. But at some point this season he started pushing through jams with regularity.

It's a cryin' shame he got that line drive to his elbow. The September injuries to Taijuan Walker and Paxton surely altered the M's destiny in 2016. The team's adversity started the moment of Paxton's injury. 

If Zeus and Phad Thai both put together full, healhty seasons next year that'll go a long way to creating a context which will allow Felix to fully figure out his reinvention. Add in one more productive year out of Kuma and we've got something. But it all hinges on Paxton and Walker.

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