Now that we have 2 months of data to sort through, we start to see the sample sizes grow to about 60 innings or so for each of the starters. We can stop saying "its early" as they have about 10 starts a piece, and start looking at what each of them are going to be in 2010.
5,432 pitches have been tossed my Rangers' starters through May 31. Now, we need to look at how well they have been doing with them.
Just so we are all up to speed with the different stats, IPS is Innings Per Start and PPS is Pitches Per Start. Everything else will be metrics that I am sure you are familiar with.
Before you start, we need to establish league averages for the stats so you understand what consitutes "league average". So, here you go - These are the American League Averages through the end of May:
ERA - AL Average is 4.21 (4.16 in April)
AVG - AL Average is .258 (.256)
OBP - AL Average is .329 (.330)
SLG - AL Average is .407 (.408)
K/9 - AL Average is 6.78 (6.85)
BB/9 - AL Average is 3.44 (3.59)
HR/9 - AL Average is 0.96 (0.97)
WHIP - AL Average is 1.37 (1.37)
As you can see, from pretty much every angle, the numbers are getting worse in May. Fewer innings per start, more pitches to get there. Batting average up, Slugging is way up, and strikeouts are down. Is this a normal valley in the season or was April too good to be true for many of the pitchers?
Also, the Rangers went from 13 for 23 (56%) for Quality Starts in April, to 11 for 27 (41%) in May. This trend takes them 2nd from bottom in AL Quality Starts. Yikes.
To compare to last year's rotation, Check out the Final 2009 Rotation Profile
Feldman keeps puttering along at well below 2009 rates. In 2009, he had 1 month of over a 4.33 ERA. This year, he is 2 for 2. The league hit .245 off Feldman last year, this year they are over .300. He shows occasional flashes, but overall, Scott Feldman is not helping the doubt in your head go away if you questioned the "realness" of 18 of 31 Quality Starts and 17 wins. Feldman is, quite frankly, reminding most of what we thought he was before 2009. A guy.
HRs: (6) Adam Lind, Vernon Wells, Ryan Sweeney, Mike Aviles, Jose Bautista, Billy Butler
Rich Harden Splits
In April, I called his month a disaster. I suppose May was better in some regards (after all, he wasn't walking a batter an inning!), but there is clearly nothing here to write home about. 3 for 10 in Quality Starts from a supposed #1? Please. His May ERA was actually worse than his April. His ability to go deep in games appears relatively non-existent (aside from his glorious night in Oakland), and we shall see where this goes. But, so far, I think most people want their money back on this purchase.
HRs: (7) Alex Gonzalez, Shin-Soo Choo, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Quentin, David DeJesus, Lyle Overbay, Travis Snider
Matt Harrison Splits
What happens when a pitcher has a higher walk rate in a month than a strikeout rate? He basically gets dropped from the rotation. However, things change and he is back for now with Holland going down. My tune on Matt Harrison remains the same. In a starting rotation, he is a decent #6 or #7, but there just isn't the consistent ability to get guys out. Too many base-runners, too many Home Runs, and too little ability to pitch out of a jam with a nice strikeout.
HR: (7) Shin-Soo Choo, JD Drew, Mike Lowell, Darnell McDonald, Brandon Inge, Billy Butler
Colby Lewis Splits
Tough to complain when a pitcher converts 4 of his 5 starts into Quality starts, and for his entire 63+ innings, the league is hitting .204 off him. His strikeouts returned to their expected rates in May and the slugging against took a pretty large jump. But, Colby Lewis, at worst, is this team's clear #2 starter. At best, he is their best. Take your choice as we head to June.
HRs:(5) Jeremy Hermida, Austin Jackson, Eric Patterson, Eric Chavez, Jose Bautista
CJ Wilson Splits
I think WHIP tells you almost all you need to know about how well a pitcher is doing. Lewis and Wilson have sub 1.20 WHIPs, while Feldman and Harden are over 1.60 (league average is 1.37). If you don't allow baserunners, you seldom get in trouble. Your HRs allowed are always solo shots, and the skies are not cloudy all day. Good news: Wilson is 7 for 10 QS, which leads the team. Bad News: his last 3 starts in May were not quality at all. We will be keep a close eye on his next few to see if the real CJ will please stand up.
HR: (4) Torii Hunter, Juan Rivera, Alfonso Soriano, Orlando Hudson
Derek Holland Splits
Small sample size for the Dutch Oven, but we still see some very nice things like his K'rate and his WHIP. But, this we know about Derek. When the opponents hit the ball, they hit it real hard. His opponent's slugging percentage of .481 is way over the league average. In 2009, his opponent's slugging was at .511, so this is not a new trend. They don't always hit Holland, but when they do, it is either over the wall or off the wall. This is a bad trend that needs to change - I believe it suggests that the opponents sit on a particular pitch, and if they guess right, it is not difficult for them to do severe damage.
HR: Mike Napoli, Torii Hunter, Alfonso Soriano, Starlin Castro