Eno Sarris

Baseball Daily Dose

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Deserving the Win

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Wins are not a great statistic until you zoom out on a full career. Until you're talking about at least a year's worth of work - and most likely, twenty years' worth of work - they just aren't a great statistic.

See last night for some great examples. How about Carlos Zambrano getting the win despite allowing five runs on seven hits and three walks in fewer than six innings of work? Well, at least he did hit his 22nd career home run to help his cause. Esmil Rogers allowed seven hits, and three runs, and walked four against two strikeouts, all in 5 2/3 innings. He got the win. Kyle Drabek, interesting mostly for his ability to get groundballs (and his pedigree), walked four and threw 115 pitches in 5 1/3, but was bailed out by his teammates and didn't get the loss. The most egregious example might be Kyle Davies, who gave up ten hits and five runs in five innings - and got the "W" when Francisco Liriano dropped another turd of a game. Don't give up on Liriano just yet. He's still got the strikeouts, is showing better control, and was hurt by the poor defense behind him - Michael Cuddyer played second base yet again. But don't go running to get Davies, obviously.

On the other side of the coin, check out Ervin Santana. He allowed three runs in seven innings and didn't get a decision in the 12-inning affair with the Indians Wednesday night. That marks the third time this season that he's given up three runs in more than 6 2/3 innings, and he doesn't have a win yet. He's still pitching well, he's showing great control, and should be owned in all leagues. He'll get a win eventually. Ted Lilly pitched decently against San Francisco - only two strikeouts, but no walks, seven hits and four runs in six innings - but got the loss. If he hits your waiver wire, he's a decent pickup. Max Scherzer only gave up two runs to the vaunted Rangers offense (with seven strikeouts in six innings), but his own lineup couldn't get him the win. Oh, that daggum win.

* The White Sox bullpen is imploding right now. Ozzie Guillen says he doesn't have a closer after Chris Sale, Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain all conspired to blow Wednesday night's game. Sale even allowed three runs without getting an out! Thornton go the loss when he allowed three runs of his own, and Crain wasn't much better. Now all three have been replaced in the middle of a save opportunity at some point this season. Only converted infielder Sergio Santos has not fallen apart this year, so perhaps he's next in line to try on the Closer's mantle. It's hard to figure out right now, and there's too many options to really handcuff them all. Don't drop Thornton or Sale yet, but if you have room, Santos has velocity and stuff and could be an interesting speculative play.

In Washington, the two candidates have pitched well, but they'll continue to share save chances. Maybe it's because Sean Burnett is a lefty, or because Drew Storen is the Closer of the Future, but Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said they will continue to see opportunities. Our position has, for the most part, been that Storen will win out eventually. This seems like step one in that process, but it's still too early to drop Burnett in most leagues.

* Some older dudes showed they still had some spunk Wednesday night, and most are mixed-league relevant while they are still healthy. Chipper Jones hit his first home run of the season and is now hitting .310. Orlando Hudson, now a veteran, hit a walkoff single Wednesday night, but he's an empty batting average these days. Maybe he won't have a nice batting average ever again, but Alfonso Soriano's fourth home run of the year Wednesday night means he still has power. Lance Berkman hit a grand slam (his fourth home run of the season) and is looking spry. Wait until running around in that outfield starts to get to him.

* The Dodgers went with the lower-upside Ivan DeJesus to replace the injured Rafael Furcal, passing over one of their top prospects in Dee Gordon. The son of Tom Gordon is hitting .360 on the young season, but doesn't have any power, and hasn't shown much plate discipline in the past. He's more tools than results right now, but at the very least, he should stick at the position. That's half the battle when selecting shortstop prospects.

National League Quick Hits: Ryan Howard got hit on his right wrist, but the X-ray came back negative and he should only miss a day or two … Brandon Phillips hurt his groin early in Wednesday's game, but since he stayed in for a while, you can believe him when he says he'll play Friday … Jay Bruce (groin) didn't play but should be fine by the weekend … Aroldis Chapman didn't pitch very well, but it was his velocity Wednesday night (92-94 MPH) that has people worried about a possible injury … Wandy Rodriguez is starting out slow for the second straight year, but even though he's older than you might think (32), keep him on your bench until he figures it out … Andres Torres will run the bases on Thursday and seems like a fast healer … Jon Niese gave up seven hits, three walks and five runs in six innings against the Rockies at home, meaning he's not even a strong spot start right now … Tim Stauffer (two runs, four strikeouts, two walks in 4 1/3 innings) is a little hittable, but at least playable at home in most leagues … Angel Pagan got on base three times Wednesday night, and since he's healthy, he makes for a good buy-low … Daniel Murphy got a hit and is playing semi-regularly; deeper leagues might consider him for their MI spot … Mark DeRosa (wrist) was a late scratch; he's hard to roster anywhere … Chris Johnson, an easily-predicted sophomore bust, missed the game Wednesday with a sore elbow and is day-to-day … Chris Snyder (back), who is decent against lefties, was activated from the DL … Danny Espinosa, on the other hand, has power and speed and hit an RBI single off of Roy Halladay in the ninth Wednesday night, but his strikeout rate means the batting average will drop … Mike Morse (flu) will be back Thursday … Jaff Decker homered and doubled twice on Tuesday, and the Padres prospect is hitting .375/.516/.833 on the young season … Bryce Harper, on the other hand, went hitless in four at-bats with three strikeouts and has a 7/2 K/BB ratio so far.

American League Quick Hits: Shin-Soo Choo is coming alive (two RBI and two stolen bases); your chance to buy low on him is disappearing … Jose Bautista hit his third home run of the season in the top of the eighth to power his team to a victory; Guess the power was real … Kendrys Morales (ankle, foot) wants to return in mid-May or sooner … Chone Figgins (thumb) should be back in the lineup Thursday according to his team … It wasn't that pretty (a wild pitch, two walks and seven hits in 6 1/3), but A.J. Burnett is looking decidedly okay in the young season … Denard Span hit four singles Wednesday, but that's all he's doing right now … Matt Wieters hit his first home run of the season - maybe his third year is the charm … Grady Sizemore (knee) could be back as soon as next week … Jake Peavy (shoulder) struck out four in six innings against Triple-A in his first rehab start … Jeremy Jeffress recorded his first save Wednesday and might be first in line if Joakim Soria goes down or gets traded … Carlos Carrasco pitched well (five hits, three runs, five strikeouts, two walks in seven innings), but he's a risky pitcher against strong offenses … Jason Vargas held the Blue Jays to one run in 6 2/3 innings (he added seven strikeouts against one walk) - he's a great spot start at home in most leagues … J.J. Hardy (oblique) finally officially hit the DL … Adam Lind hasn't shown the power yet, and was out of the lineup with a lefty on the hill Wednesday … Magglio Ordonez (ankle) should play sometime in the upcoming series … Franklin Gutierrez (stomach) will begin a rehab assignment this weekend … Chris Davis came up to the Rangers to help in the wake of the Josh Hamilton's injury, but he doesn't play the outfield and will get sparse at-bats, mostly against lefties … Chris Tillman hasn't really gotten his fastball up to his old velocity levels, and the Yankees rocked him for six runs in fewer than two innings Wednesday; he's a dropper in most leagues … Mike Trout, perhaps the best offensive prospect in the minors, hit the ground running at Double-A (.318/.423/.727), but shouldn't be up until September at the earliest … Those in holds leagues can probably drop Pedro Feliciano, who is headed for shoulder surgery … Brandon Inge hit his first home run to beat the Rangers Wednesday night, but he's just not interesting at his new position … Mike Aviles played two straight days and doubled twice Wednesday night; he's play gainst lefties at least … The Rangers signed rangy, 23-year-old Cuban outfielder Leonys Martin to a contract and added him to the 40-man roster.


Eno Sarris is an editor and writer at FanGraphs.com. You can find his work gathered in one place at and enosarris.com. Follow his misadventures in writing on Twitter as well.
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