If I told you that you had to fill 34 starts throughout the course of a season and offered you the choice between the following stat lines, which one would you take?
11-7, 3.23 ERA, 214.1 IP, 178 H, 24 HR, 58 BB, 160 K, 1.101 WHIP, 24 Quality Starts
14-7, 5.22 ERA, 194.2 IP, 226 H, 39 HR, 64 BB, 100 K, 1.490 WHIP, 14 Quality Starts
Is there even the tiniest little chance that you'd select line two? I suppose that if you were selecting a starting pitcher for your chief rival, you might go that way.
The Milwaukee Brewers, however, made a decision to swap out line two with line one when the offseason came around. They agressively pursued the free agent starting pitcher that produced line one while declining their option on the pitcher responsible for line two.
The results of those efforts are that Randy Wolf, and not Braden Looper, will take the ball every fifth day for Milwaukee during the 2010 season. Despite Looper's usually amazing and sometimes downright silly run support which led to three more wins than Wolf tallied in 2009, Wolf easily outpitched Looper as evidenced by the numbers at the top of this post.
Not only did he hold left-handed hitters to a .159 batting average in 2010, Wolf also held the right-handers down to .246 average. What's more, all of Wolf's peripherals got better in the second half of 2009. That's right folks, he got better as the year went along.
Heading into his second full season after making a mechanical adjustment while with the Houston Astros in 2008, Wolf aims to continue posting the spectacular numbers that he has been able to accumulate.
Not only should Brewers fans be happy that he'll be doing so for Milwaukee, they should be happy that the man he replaced won't be stinking up the pitcher's mound alongside him.