As a follow up to my projections of Blue Jays hitters, I thought it would be fun to look at how the Blue Jays pitchers would fair according to my creative math. It all started with me asking myself: “Is it too early to think about September and possibly even October? How will the Blue Jays end up? Will they be in the race for a division title? Or, will they be chilling in the basement watching the playoffs on TV?”
There is a point near the beginning of a season where fans can say, “Man, if so-and-so continues hitting like this, he’ll have a monster year” or “So-and-so is on pace for X number of this or that”. It is fun to watch your favorite player do well and think about what could be. After all, every year starts with ‘what could be’. I thought it would be fun to take a look at what could be for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Despite the shaky start for Blue Jays’ pitching, the inability for everyone not named Mark Buehrle to go any longer than 6 innings and the monster that has struck: Walkzilla, there are some positives to be found…really…you just have to look hard to find them. Buehrle is off to a very hot start. Dustin McGowan and Drew Hutchison appear to be healthy. Todd Redmond has an ERA of 2.60. So, let’s take a look at where the Blue Jays’ pitchers could end up at the end of the season.
To predict a pace for performance, I will use a VERY simple formula to calculate a prediction for players for where they could end up by year’s end. By NO means is it accurate or even logical. It is just meant for fun. So, if you use it to place bets, don’t come crying to me when you lose. Here’s the formula. I’ll look at an individual stat (stats from BaseballReference.com), say strikeouts, for a given player. As of Monday, the season is 25 games old, or 15.43% complete. If you take the stat and divide it by 15.43 then multiply by 100, (in theory) you should come up with a number that will give you an idea of the pace a certain player is on. (ex: 10/15.43 X 100= 66.67) As I said, it is an over simplified way to look at stat projections. It is certainly not going to be a real indicator of success. It is nowhere near the scientific formulas employed by Sabermagicians, odds makers or anyone with credibility, really. It takes nothing into account but what has been done and how much more time is left. It’s just fun to do. So, here we go:
Let’s start with the aforementioned Todd Redmond. Already he has pitched 17.1 innings out of the bullpen. He’s put up 15 K’s to go with 5 BB. If we apply my formula, he should end up with something that looks like this: 112 innings, 97 K, 32 BB. That’s right, folks. Todd Redmond is on pace to pitch 112 innings for the Blue Jays. Who would have predicted that? And, look at those strikeouts! 97! To go along with 32 walks, that is not a bad season, really. That is a K:BB ratio of roughly 3:1. I’ll take that from a guy who was on the starting rotation bubble. Realistically, these numbers won’t hold up. There will be injuries. This is the Blue Jays, remember. Redmond will probably be asked to start on occasion. There, I said it. That alone will skew his numbers. But, 97 K’s!
In the same vain, Esmil Rogers is an interesting subject. He’s another guy who was given a (brief) look for a job in the rotation. So far, he’s put up 14 innings, 16 K’s and 18 hits. Applying my math, he’ll end up with 91 innings, 104 K, 117 hits. Like Redmond, the idea of having Rogers eat up that many innings may frighten some fans. But, we should keep in mind that he pitched 137 innings last year. Granted, injuries played a big role in how much time he saw. But with 5 months to go with THIS rotation, that many innings is certainly a possibility. Last season, he also gave up 150 hits while striking out 96. In reality, my math may actually be close to what we should expect from Rogers. My projections for him are only slightly below his numbers from last year. If he can stay fresh in the bullpen, he may land a lot closer to my creative math induced predictions.
Now for the starters…R.A. Dickey has put up less than ace-like numbers. So far, his numbers look like this: 2W, 34 hits, 20 earned runs, 18 BB and 30 K’s. These numbers are ugly by themselves. Now, let’s apply my math to them to see what we might be looking at by the end of the year: 13 wins, 220 hits, 130 earned runs, 117 BB, 194 K! The win total should hold up, but…ummm….the walks! Never in his career has Dickey come close to 100 walks. The most he’s had is 71 last season. In his Cy Young season (2012) he had 54. Yet, here he is, on pace for 117 free passes. Ugly! The hit totals are just a tad higher than his career high of 207 set last year. But, the strikeout totals would be nice, no? 194 would be just beautiful. And, it is not out of the realm of possibility. In 2010, he had 230. If you can ignore the walks (I sure can’t) we should expect my numbers to hold up…reasonably well.
Brandon Morrow is another case of interest. He’s not off to such a hot start himself. He’s sitting at 5 games started, 22 1/3 innings pitched, 19 hits, 16 BB and 24 K’s. That means that he is on pace for: 32 (!) starts, 144 innings, 123 hits, 103 BB, 155 K. Well, these numbers are going to bring about a lot of laughter since they are based on Morrow making 32 starts. We all know that that is not even close to likely given his injury history. But, for the sake of argument, say he does. Look at how many innings he’d toss in those 32 starts. Just 144! In a full season of ball, a starter should be up over 200 innings. Again, not likely for Morrow. But, it points out his issue early on. He’s not collecting enough innings. And we wonder why Redmond and Rogers are collecting innings…His projected walk totals are quite high (hence him not lasting through innings), but his K totals are certainly within reach. Assuming health, of course.
I thought I’d end on a high note. Let’s look at Mark Buehrle’s numbers. As of Monday, he’s got: 4 wins, 33 1/3 innings, 33 hits, 8 earned runs, 8 BB, 19K. He’s BY FAR been the best starter for the Blue Jays. Let’s see what we have to look forward to: 26 (!) wins, 215 innings, 52 earned runs, 52 BB, 123 K. Can you say Cy Young?! 52 earned runs over 26 wins?! And, just 52 walks?! Before I get too carried away, I have to remember that it is Mark Buehrle. His highest win total (19) came in 2001 with the Chicago White Sox. Even when he won the Cy Young in 2005, he only had 16 wins. We shouldn’t expect 26. As for the 52 walks, it is eerily close to his career average. His 162 game average sits at 50. As well, my projected strikeout totals are 5 less than his 162 game average! How’s that for crazy math? As well, Buehrle is also sitting on a 13 year streak of 200+ innings. And before you start getting creeped out by my mad math skills, I will concede that my projected totals for earned runs is roughly half of his 162 game average. So, there goes that theory…
Other projections to note: Brett Cecil is on pace for 110 strikeouts! Dustin McGowan is on pace to throw 110 innings. Like Morrow, his issue lies in the number of starts. He is on pace to make 32 starts. That means an average of just under 4 innings per start. Yikes! In comparison Drew Hutchison is on pace for 168 innings. In those 168 innings, he’s on pace for an other-worldly 214 K’s! The good news is that both players are healthy and are contributing. Period.
Whether you buy into my creative math or find it freakishly good, this season will give us lots to look forward to. These “predictions” were meant to be fun. I wouldn’t go betting large amounts of money based on anything you’ve read here. Again, some are absolutely ridiculous, others, not so much. Despite what some will say, there is no ONE way to predict future performance. All we can do is follow along, hope for the best and enjoy the ride. Baseball is a wonderful game in that it provides countless opportunities for thought and debate. That is why we love it.
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