Thursday, December 10, 2009

What is a #2, #3, #4, #5 pitcher?

Last post, I took a look at some criteria for what constituted an ace or a #1 pitcher. The list was very small, only 5 current pitchers. During the research, by my personal criteria for a #2, I determined that there was a huge number of #2's in the league (or "almost-aces"). Here's my personal criteria for a #2:
-- between 180 to 200 innings consistently
-- less than 9 Hits/ 9 IP
-- between 7.5 K and 9 K/ 9 IP
-- less than 3.5 BB/ 9 IP
-- ERA under 3.50
As I said before, I would rather have two #2's instead of one #1's and a bunch of junk. Two #2's (or "almost-aces") spread your risk out a little more and can provide fits if both pitching in the same series. If one is a righty and one is a lefty, that's just icing on the cake.

Here's who I determined are #2's....
CC Sabathia (K level has been dropping over the past few years)
Javier Vasquez
Halladay (he's extremely durable, but has never been a strikeout pitcher)
Jared Weaver
King Felix (K rate)
Josh Johnson
Wandy Rodriguez

So that's 18 #2's, with a couple of guys to keep an eye on (Scherzer, Edwin Jackson -- ironically traded for each other) for 2010.

Let me run the basics for the other 3 rotation spots and give a Pirates-related example:
DBS Criteria for a #3 pitcher
-- 170 to 180 IP
-- 8.5 to 9 Hits/ 9 IP
-- 6.5 to 7.5 K/ 9 IP
-- 3.5 BB/ 9 IP or less
-- 3.50 to 4.00 ERA
Paul Maholm is pretty much a text book #3

DBS Criteria for a #4 pitcher
-- 160 to 175 IP
-- more than 9 Hits/ 9 IP
-- 6 to 7 K/ 9 IP
-- greater than 3.5 BB/ 9 IP
-- 4 to 4.50 ERA
Basically control is what separates a #4 from a #3, as these guys usually only have 2 pitches with an average 3rd or watch their control escape them on a given night. Charlie Morton last year was a #4

DBS Criteria for a #5 pitcher
-- 150 IP to 165 IP
-- more than 9 Hits/ 9 IP
-- less than 6 K/ 9 IP
-- greater than 4 BB/ 9 IP
-- 4.75 or greater ERA
A number 5 is a guy without a true go-to strikeout pitch, usually doesn't have above-average velocity and may only have 2 pitches. These guys can be valuable if they are slightly better than the opposition's #5, but for the most part these guys are 1 start away from going to the pen.
Jeff Karstens last year was, at best, a #5.

Hopefully this helps next time you hear someone at a bar refer to Zach Duke or Paul Maholm as our "ace". I'll be the guy sitting next to him with an uncontrollable facial tick when he says that.

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