Here's a Thought: Statistically, the 10 Worst Starters of 2009 Are...
Continuing my statistical adventures that began when I looked at the 10 best relievers of 2009 (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/312131-heres-a-thought-statistically-the-10-best-relievers-of-2009-are), here are my 10 worst starting pitchers of the past year, as stated by True ERA.
Let's take a look at one leaderboard nobody wants to be on.
No. 10: Shane Loux
Need a strikeout? Don't call this guy.
Loux had a horrific 2.93 K/9 rate this year. There are position players who could top that.
The Angels righty had a 5.86 ERA this year, and he deserved it—his True ERA was 5.86 as well.
No. 9: Rich Hill
Hill throws a pretty curveball, but his, ahem, iffy mechanics (what is up with that shoulder tilt?) lead to awful command. A torn labrum in 2009 didn't help.
And that is how 7.80 ERAs are made.
To be fair, that overstates Hill's ineptitude a bit—his True ERA is a slightly less horrific 5.89.
No. 8: Ross Detwiler
Detwiler combined a poor K/BB ratio (1.3 K/BB) with terrible line-drive problems (25.1 percent LD) in his rookie season with the Nationals.
He escaped with a 5.00 ERA, but he deserved nearly a run worse (5.91).
No. 7: Ian Snell
Snell struggled to throw strikes before and after a trade from Pittsburgh to Seattle, amassing a 5.15 BB/9 rate for the year, with just 1.07 K/BB.
He struggled with line drives as well (22 percent), leading him to a woeful 5.92 True ERA.
No. 6: Lucas French
A rookie acquired from Detroit during the year, Lucas French was another Seattle started who bombed down the stretch. He just couldn't keep his fastball and changeup out of the middle of the plate.
The result: A bunch of liners (22.9 percent) and homers (11 in just 67 1/3 innings).
French's 5.94 True ERA shows he's far from a major league pitcher.
No. 5: Jason Berken
Another rookie who got shelled, Berken was somehow allowed to start 24 games, in which he posted a 6.51 ERA and 6.00 True ERA.
Berken had the same problem as French—too many meatballs—leading to a high line-drive rate and home run rate (I won't even bother with the numbers).
Pitchers like French and Berken, who don't have a ton of "stuff," need to stay out of the middle of the plate. They sure didn't this past year.
No. 4: Justin Lehr
Lehr is a veteran reliever-turned-starter.
The whole "turning from reliever to starter" thing didn't really work out in 2009.
Lehr gave up 14 homers in just 65 1/3 innings, nearly 2 HR/9 IP, one of the worst ratios in the majors.
Too many fat 86-mph fastballs and hanging 79-mph sliders...6.12 True ERA.
No. 3: Oliver Perez
The worst lefty in baseball last year adds insult to injury by being one of its most highly paid.
It's impossible to succeed when you walk eight batters per nine innings. And on top of that, Perez allowed 1.64 HR/9 IP as well.
His 6.82 ERA overstates the problem, but it's a major problem, leading to a 6.13 True ERA.
No. 2: Micah Owings
Well, at least he can hit.
Owings doesn't strike players out, he has below-average control, and he gives up too many homers and liners. Any questions as to why he's here?
You can't make up for a 6.23 True ERA by hitting.
No. 1: Daniel Cabrera
As bad as the nine other pitchers on this list were in 2009, none were anything close to as bad as Daniel Cabrera.
Micah Owings' True ERA was 6.23. Cabrera's was a whopping 6.93, nearly a full run above that.
Cabrera's 23/42 K/BB ratio is borderline comical. He can't throw the ball over the plate. Period.
Without the plus velocity he once had, Cabrera is unable to strike many batters out, and his homer and liner rates aren't anything special.
That just leaves baseball's ugliest K/BB ratio, and it completely undoes everything for the former Oriole.
Barring some huge strides in the minors, I wouldn't expect to see Cabrera pitching more than a few big league innings ever again.
Here's hoping no GM is stupid enough to let him.