For the first time in recent memory, the Angels are poised to enter a season with the Starting Pitching being the only significant question mark. By looking at ERA's, strikeout ratios, radar gun readings and the various other aspects of pitching that the media finds sexy, our pick-ups of Vargas and Blanton have left the impression with many that the Angels will be fighting an uphill battle as they go through the bottom half of the rotation.
No one really doubts what Weaver brings, and CJ put up comparable numbers to Jered until bone spurs began affecting his delivery. For his part, Tommy Hanson has gone through injuries and shoulder fatigue that have affected his velocity, so until we see how he actually performs, comparing his stats is a wasted effort. Therefore, for the reasons expressed above, I'm just going to be looking at Vargas and Blanton.
As I have a background in the industrial applications of statistics, I often look at baseball metrics and feel that in many ways they are being misused. Data is often included that is not truly relevant to the issue at hand, and other data is presented in a way that has to large a range to give a true representation of what the numbers mean.
With that in mind, I have attempted to distill the pitching stats down to those factors that actually affect the outcome of a game. I wanted to compare runs scored against and innings pitched while ignoring such things as strikouts. I have also included WHIP because it includes all men allowed on base, irregardless of whether it was from a hit or a walk. The result was somewhat eye opening.
Joe Blanton: 191 innings pitched, 30 starts, 100 runs allowed, WHIP: 1.262
Line: 6.1 innings per start, 3.33 runs scored per start.
Jason Vargas: 217.1 innings pitched, 33 starts. 93 runs allowed, WHIP: 1.178
Line: 6.5 innings per starts. 2.81 runs allowed per start.
In comparison, let's see how a few others did.
Yu Darvish. 191 innings pitched 29 Starts, 83 runs allowed. WHIP: 1.280
Line: 6.5 innings par start 2.86 runs allowed per start
Anibal Sanchez: 195.2 innings pitched in 31 starts. 84 runs allowed, WHIP: 1.270
Line: 6.29 innings per start, 2.70 runs allowed per start
Then, just to see what a truly dominating pitcher looks like:
Jered Weaver: 188.2 innings pitched in 30 starts. 59 runs allowed, WHIP: 1.018
Line: 6.27 innings per start, 1.96 runs allowed per start.
Justin Verlander: 238 innings pitched. 33 starts. 70 runs allowed. 1.057 WHIP
Line: 7.21 innings per start. 33 starts, 2.12 runs allowed per start.
Compared to Jered, he was a bit more healthy and was left in longer but gave up a bit more runs per game. Verlander also had a slightly higher WHIP, but clearly, he and Weaver were far more effective day in and day out, proving their worth as staff Aces.
What all this tells me is that, on average there is little difference in the actual effectiveness in most pitchers. Usually they are removed before they can really implode, so their innings pitched is a very critical stat. One that not only says how durable they are, but how deeply they pitch into games.
Also note that, for all of the hype and contract costs, even Joe Blanton is in the same 6 plus inning range as Darvish and Sanchez, has a very comparable WHIP and number of starts. Even his number of runs allowed is less than a full run different per start.
Considering the difference in cost between Vargas and Blanton to Darvish and Sanchez, one would have to conclude that Jedi has built a comparable staff for a fraction of the cost. They may not be as flashy, and may not throw as hard, but when it comes right down to keeping guys from scoring, they are as good as any #3-5 pitchers in the game.
I have opted to share this with the HH community as much to find out where I am in error as much as anything else, so your criticism is invited. I also apologize up front if This should have been a fan shot instead, or for any other protocol that has been ignored.