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Thursday, June 23, 2005

 

Beat on the Brat

Remember the episode of the Simpsons a few years back, where a girl of, how shall we say, greater ability moves to Springfield, becomes Lisa’s rival and makes Lisa generally feel average? Well, aside from the rival, Mark Mulder seems to have become average, or maybe a little less than in his past couple of starts. Okay, let’s go to the tape (or the stats in this case). Batting Avg Balls In Play (BABIP): 0.311 VORP (Value Over Replacement Player, readers of the Diaspora may notice that we’re HUGE fans of the VORP): 2005: 8.1 (Comparables: Jason Marquis, 8.1; Gill Meche SEA, 8.2; David Wells BOS, 8.2) 2004: 37.2 2003: 60.2 Expected Wins and Losses, 2005E(W) 4.5 – E(L) 6.3 What does it all mean? Right now, we’re not getting the performance out of our new left handed started that we need. June has been Mulder’s unmaking. His ERA for the month is 7.31, coming off a 3.72 May and a 3.50 April. Opponents are hitting .292 off of him this month, as opposed to .263 and .264 for April and May (still probably about 10 points to high for comfort). Now, when I started this post yesterday, I was asking myself questions about what’s happened to Mulder. Is this a streak or a trend? Clearly it’s a trend that dates back to his much publicized slide after the All-Star break last year. And in today’s PD game write up, Duncan acknowledges a mechanical flaw in Mulder’s delivery. So now my question is whether or not this can be fixed? For the record, I was never a critic of the trade for Mulder. I thought it was a good idea, and I thought his poor second half last season was just a slump, an off year. I post this only for comparison, and maybe to stir the pot a little bit. Dan Haren 2005 VORP: 9.6 Looking through the Cards blogs today, it seems the Diaspora is not the only one beating up on Mulder today. VEB also notes that he’s clearly not a front line pitcher anymore, hitting the nail square on the head as to the central problem with Mulder the field. Suppan is a fifth starter (see post below), a guy who’s going to give up runs but give the team a chance to win at any rate. Mulder’s supposed to be the pitcher that can steal a few games from the jaws of defeat, whether it’s a cold night for the bats (and we have seen a few this year) or a poor night in the field. Yesterday’s game against the Reds highlights was the complete opposite, a game that we lost because of the pitcher. Here’s a nice little stat (you'll find the other stats referenced herein on BP as well) that kind of reflects this, SNVA (Support Neutral Value Added). It calculates the wins above average added by a pitchers performance. Mark Mulder, 2005 SNVA: -0.5 Yeah, that’s a negative number, not a dash. Thus my whole point summed up in a single stat. Mulder, right now, is a liability for the Cards; he needs to remove the negative in front of that stat, as well as in the minds of fans, teammates, etc., and probably needs to make that and other stat numbers a larger positive to justify the personnel expense incurred by the organization to aquire him. This will also be a pretty big factor in giving the Cards a true shot at the championship this year.
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