Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 15, 2003
BASEBALL: 2003 Mid-Year N.L. West DIPS Report
One reminder is that pitchers with very high ERAs -- the high sixes and above -- are usually both unlucky and bad -- many of them show a DIPS ERA well below their actual ERAs. Also, anything can happen in a small sample -- Randy Johnson had a less than perfect April, but his DIPS ERA of 3.01 is just fine, and suggests that a healthy Unit will be the same as ever despite allowing 30 hits in 23.1 IP so far. Also of note: Brandon Webb's 3.37 DIPS ERA may not quite stack up to Dontrelle Willis' 2.89 DIPS ERA, but it does mark him as the real deal as a good young pitcher (and here I had once thought it was just the Mets), while more-heralded teammate John Patterson really did pitch quite badly in 41.2 innings.
The rest of the division:
DIPS ERAs close a bit of the gap among the Giants' youngsters. Kurt Ainsworth still gives up too many homers, and Jesse Foppert's good strikeout rates have been undermined by too many homers and too many walks.
The DIPS system sees the Dodgers' pitching success as highly unstable; both Nomo and Ishii have starred this season almost entirely on the basis of good defense and good luck, which may not last into the second half; the system punishes them for their miserable control. But don't adjust your monitor: Eric Gagne really is twice as good as his 2.03 ERA. Best closer in baseball? Well, Rivera and Smoltz still have the postseason resumes. But Gagne's there.
Standard caveats about Coors Field pitching stats apply. Jimenez hasn't been good even when you correct for defense, but behind him the bullpen tandem of Speier and Steve Reed have been wonderful. Shawn Chacon has also put up numbers that are impressive in this context.
Few rays of light in a lost season, but Adam Eaton is one. I'd suggest that the Pads look to deal Herges and maybe Hackman as well to contending teams desperate for setup men (Brian Cashman, call your office). UPDATE: A commenter reminds me -- I'd missed this in the news -- that Herges was dealt to the Giants on Sunday.