Monday, June 23, 2008

2/3 of the way to the moon is good enough, I guess

From the Archive: May 6, 2007
[the return of the Rocket]

I don't need, or mean, to start a whole trash talking yankee thing. but I do feel the need to explain why I'm not that concerned about the Clemens acquisition, even though I am admittedly annoyed by it (for historical reasons)

Last year, Clemens averaged less than 6 innings per start (113 IP, 19 GS)

He made only 5 starts with exactly 7 IP, and never more.

Of the remaining 14 starts, in 6 he went less than 6 IP; so he actually went fewer than 6 innings more frequently than he went 7 (and again, never more than 7)yet despite these low innings totals, he still averaged 97 pitches per start.

So what the yankees have gained is a 6 inning pitcher who throws 100 pitches. that is, a 6 inning 100 pitch pitcher in the national league, with no DH, and in a particularly weak division, (last year of his 7 wins- 2 vs milwaukee, 2 vs pittsburgh, 2 vs cubs)

And he is now another year older and has to face patient lineups like boston and toronto, who are far superior to those above mentioned clubs. i'd be pretty suprised if he ever goes more than 5 innings against the say hello to mr. vizcaino, bruney, and henn.

[yankee fan 1 replied:]

The fact that you actually felt the need to write a preemptive email is clearly indicative that this is already in your head jonah. always a bosox fan and always an inferiority complex. we'll talk about the merits of this signing in october.

[yankee fan 2 replied]

So it's the contention of the redsox nation that roger clemens is past his prime? rationalize much?

[My response:]

Hey hey. I admitted I was annoyed by the clemens signing. but just because of symbolism, history, etc., which is all essentially off the field stuff. on the field, you have what was described above; a guy who as often as not won't go 6 innings. is he better than igawa? I guess so, though the only game this year the yanks won vs the sox was when an injury forced torre to start igawa in a game he wasn't supposed to.

the basic point is that yankees are not adding a halladay or a santana, but a middle of the rotation, guy, and clemens will not help the yankees by taking away innings from their middle relief corps.

and its not about whether clemens is past his prime- whether he used to be roger clemens or jaret wright or smokey joe wood- all that matters is who and what he is now, on the field, apart from the marketability and name-brand value associated with his logo (I mean, his name.)

the numbers don't lie; clemens labored to get through 6 innings against n.l. central teams for half a season. he won't pitch for the yanks for a month, and then he's got to deal with the a.l. east. So yes, of course we'll see what happens. and what will happen, often enough, is mike myers pitching to david ortiz in the 6th inning.

[yankee fan 1 replied:]

and jonah, in response to everything you have said...statistics can always be used to prove a point, whatever that point may be. but more importantly you have no idea who roger clemens is now until he pitches THIS season. so let's can the talk of his numbers last year, because according to your own statements his numbers from last year ought to be irrelevant, as it is the here and now that matter most.

[my response:]

If the past is irrelevant, what makes you think the yankees are getting a good pitcher? why aren't the yankees signing me? if you ignore my past, which largely consists of 78 mph fastballs and sitting on the couch, maybe, for all they know, I could go spin a 2 hit shutout tomorrow.

last years stats are relevant because, presumably, they describe the abilities of a player physiologically similar to the player who is about to start pitching in a yankees uniform. his stats from toronto in 1997 or pawtucket from 1984 do not satisfy this criterion.

that being said, of course there is always an air of indeterminacy about the future- as they say, that's why they play the games. But players really do exhibit a great deal of consistency; the sheer sample size and extended duration of baseball virtually guarantees it. and players rarely, without illegal drugs, get better after the age of 32, let alone 45; at his age, the previous year's statistics are a reliable indicator of the following year's ceiling, and so suggest a certain degree of decline, as well.

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