Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Can Liriano keep it up?

Will Liriano keep it up? It’s a tough question, one that we cannot know for sure. So I thought I would look at some other great rookie pitchers of the last 3 decades. I picked 3 who seemed to fit the bill as a “phenom” in their rookie season. The three are Mark Fidrych, Fernando Valenzuela and Dwight Gooden.

All of them were Rookie of the Year winners and all had great rookie seasons. They also had a lot of media attention. That is one thing that Liriano hasn’t quite received yet.

Liriano has only pitched in 81 innings so far this season. So it is still early to look at him. But I still would like to know where he stands compared to these other phenoms.

Liriano 9 1 1.99 2.42 0.265
Gooden 17 9 2.60 2.09 0.290
Valenzuela 13 7 2.48 2.96 0.255
Fidrych 19 9 2.34 3.65 0.247

Of the 4 only Gooden had a better DIPS than his real ERA. He was really the only pitcher of the bunch who didn’t get a lot of luck in his rookie season. He was just that good. Valenzuela and Liriano have DIPS about a ½ a run higher while Fidrych’s was over a run higher than his real ERA.

Players tend to move towards their DIPS in the following season since it is a better indicator of their ability to pitch.

Of the 3 only Gooden did improve. It isn’t difficult to see why. In his rookie season he had a BAPIP of.290, about average. If he gets anymore help from his defense he is bound to pitch better the next season. He did.

Fidrych was the really lucky player. His ERA was much better than how well he really pitched. He did not strike out many players and relied on his defense a great deal. That with a little luck helped him to his spectacular ERA. Because of injuries he hardly pitched much ever again. So he was never able to match this season again.

Gooden pitched great and even better sometimes over the next 10 years, then drugs and injuries finally caught up to him.

Valenzuela pitched very well over the next 6 years before his career tooka decline.


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