Filed under: News, Stats & Analysis | Tags: Chicago Cubs, Curt Schilling, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Derek Lowe, Greg Maddux, Joe Nathan, John Maine, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres
Off the cuff, I like this move. The dude just will not die; he’s been as consistent as anybody in the league for about 20 years now and didn’t seem to show many signs of age last year. Let’s dive into the numbers and see if they support that.
By most standards, Maddux was pretty successful in his first year as a Friar, posting a 14-11 record and a 4.14 ERA over 198 innings. That ERA figure is actually down a tick from his 2006 number (4.20). However, there were some signs that could be interpreted as decline. Maddux’s hit rate jumped from 9.4 in 2006 to 11.0 in 2007; this can be attributed either to a loss of control due to age or merely luck (his BABIP was a little high at .315). Predictably, his homer rate dropped from .85 to .63 due to Petco’s pitcher-friendly alleys.
Park-adjusted numbers are a mixed bag. ERA+ has him at only 98, or below the league average; however, his 35.7 VORP places him 45th in the league, ahead of such notables as Curt Schilling, John Maine, Joe Nathan and Derek Lowe. Maddux’s VORP is also up from his 32.7 last year between the Cubs and Dodgers. Finally, Maddux tied with Daisuke Matsuzaka for 27th in the league in expected wins with 13.4.
Maddux has always thrown a lot of first pitch strikes (64% career, vs 57% league average). This year, that number jumped even higher, to 68%. That might have accounted for a little bit of that jump in his hit rate; more specifically, it looks like Maddux pitched in the zone a little more last year, thinking the ballpark would back him up.
I heard many folks complain that Maddux stunk when he got deep into games this year; looking at the numbers, he was not nearly as bad as others thought him to be. From pitch 76 onward, Maddux’s ERA was 4.07 in 17.2 innings; that’s actually below his season average. Maddux had far more problems early in games; over his first 30 pitches, Mad Dog’s ERA was a painful 7.29. That would lead me to believe that Maddux has a harder time finding a rhythm now than he did five years ago.
ZIPS sees Maddux posting similar numbers in 2008; they have him at 14-11 with a 3.91 ERA over 200 innings. Sound familiar? Maddux has owned that line for the last five years. It would not surprise me at all to see him duplicate his 2007 numbers, or perhaps be a little better now that he’s learned how to pitch to the ballpark. His August numbers pointed in that direction (3-1, 2.37), but his September numbers were his worst all season (4-2, 6.14).
All things considered, Maddux looks like he’s at worst a league average starter; in this day and age, that can be hard to find, so $10M might not be overpaying for him. Beyond his performance on the mound, he appeared to help Peavy out tremendously this year concerning his approach and efficiency. Given all that he brings, this looks like a solid signing for the Pads. See the future Hall of Famer while you still can.
2 Comments so far
Leave a comment