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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Brad Radke

Brad Radke

Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: February 05, 2011 at 01:29 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. OCF Posted: February 05, 2011 at 06:43 PM (#3744070)
RA+ Pythpat equivalent record 154-119, which looks distinctly better than his actual 148-139. On that basis, call him underrated. Very little "big year" credit, so you can't make him a peak candidate. Could have been an "accumulator" had he kept going, but he didn't; his last season was at the age of 33. Did he leave because he got hurt? I don't remember. Generally healthy before then. Some possible comparisons suggested by that equivalent record: John Caldelaria, Curt Davis, Sam McDowell, Allie Reynolds.

Since I'm not comparing him to anyone who ever got significant HoM support, he doesn't look like he makes it to a ballot. But a good pitcher, in any case.
   2. Santanaland Diaries Posted: February 05, 2011 at 07:14 PM (#3744090)
Did he leave because he got hurt? I don't remember.


Radke had a torn labrum that he could barely pitch through his last year, and then had a stress fracture in his shoulder as well that sidelined him for a while. I think he was not interested in having further surgery and trying to come back, and I believe he'd had some health scares for his kids caused by mold in their home, so the desire to spend more time with his family wasn't just cliche.

I'd noticed that he was a good match for Reynolds in value before; a nice contrast, given how differently they got their results. Radke was fun to root for: threw strikes and worked quickly. As OCF says, not at all a HoMer but a good player I was glad to have on my team.
   3. WillYoung Posted: February 08, 2011 at 01:31 AM (#3745561)
One of my favorite things about Bradke is that as his career progressed and he lost velocity, his hair got progressively "slicker."
   4. Sweatpants Posted: February 08, 2011 at 02:04 AM (#3745580)
In the NBJHA, James writes about two "almost absolute facts:

1. That all good young pitchers with strikeout rates below 4.00 per game disappear quickly.

2. That all pitchers who have long careers start out with strikeout rates in excess of the league average."

Brad Radke was pretty much a complete exception to both of those points. He posted a strikeout rate of 3.7 per nine innings in his rookie season, and only once did his strikeout rate exceed the league average (that in 1997). It's weird - I would have guessed that the ideal pitcher to pull this off would be an extreme groundballer. That wasn't Radke at all. He did consistently put up exceptional K/BB ratios in spite of his relatively low stikeout totals.
   5. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 08, 2011 at 02:23 AM (#3745589)
True or false:

Brad Radke has more career WAR than Jack Morris.
   6. WillYoung Posted: February 08, 2011 at 02:30 AM (#3745592)
I was at Bradke's MLB debut when he pitched in long relief in a game just after the '95 strike. He had about ten family members sitting down the row from me and they were trying to order beer (IIRC, they were from Wisconsin somewhere). The first beer vendor who walked by was only selling premium beer. They were incredulous about his selection and demanded that he "send Wally over."
   7. OCF Posted: February 08, 2011 at 02:38 AM (#3745596)
Given what #4 says about strikeouts and walks, it feels really weird that I mentioned Sam McDowell - it's hard to imagine two pitchers with less in common. I'm just saying that the career pitching value wasn't too dissimilar, however differently arrived at.

Not answering Dag Nabbit's question directly (i.e., not looking at WAR yet), what about RA+ equivalent record? I said 154-119 for Radke. I have Morris at 226-199. That's a difference of 72-80. I'd take 72-80 as positive value and thus point the arrow toward Morris. Or, turning those equivalent records into Fibonacci Win Points, that's 148 for Morris, 121 for Radke, with neither one having much in terms of big seasons.
   8. DL from MN Posted: February 08, 2011 at 05:03 AM (#3745665)
One of the more unlikely 20 win seasons you'll come across.
   9. Aaron Gleeman Posted: February 08, 2011 at 05:28 AM (#3745678)
Radke is one of my favorites ...

In his final season Radke had a 7.44 ERA through 10 starts, but then went 13-5 with a 2.70 ERA in his last 18 starts despite stories about him struggling just to brush his teeth or comb his hair because of the arm problems. He had a pretty good shot to crack 200 wins if he had more motivation to undergo surgeries and keep pitching.

He had one of the best changeups I've ever seen, which is how he thrived despite a high-80s fastball, and no pitcher with at least 2,000 career innings during the last 75 years has a lower walk rate than his 1.6 per nine innings.

For basically his entire career people in Minnesota tried to figure out why he always stunk in the first inning. He had a 5.05 ERA in the opening frame, compared to a 4.07 ERA in all other innings, and in many years the first-inning splits were pretty gross.

Obviously winning 20 games for a 68-94 team is pretty remarkable, but how he did it was even crazier. He won 12 straight starts from June 7 to August 4. During that stretch the Twins were 12-27 when he wasn't the starter.

Since the strike in 1994 he ranks 17th among all starting pitchers in WAR, which is awfully good for a guy who was barely above .500 and made just one All-Star team.
   10. WillYoung Posted: February 08, 2011 at 02:49 PM (#3745757)
For basically his entire career people in Minnesota tried to figure out why he always stunk in the first inning. He had a 5.05 ERA in the opening frame, compared to a 4.07 ERA in all other innings, and in many years the first-inning splits were pretty gross.


I remember going to games and people would put money down on what EXACT time Bradke would allow his first homerun. I remember quite a few times when 7:11 was the winner. Oh, and don't forgot Opening Day 2000.
   11. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 08, 2011 at 06:59 PM (#3745998)
In the NBJHA, James writes about two "almost absolute facts:

1. That all good young pitchers with strikeout rates below 4.00 per game disappear quickly.

2. That all pitchers who have long careers start out with strikeout rates in excess of the league average."


he also hedged a bit, saying that sure you'd see someone post a 3.5 inn their rookie year, but if you'd look you'd see they did 8.0 in AAA and 6.0 in their MLB sophomore year, so 3.5 wasn't their true talent level so to speak...

Radke may have posted a 3.7 as a rookie, but it was 5.7 the next year and 6.8 in AA (never pitched in AAA?) so he comes pretty close to James "hedge"

But Radke was a good pitcher for a long time and it looks like he was consistently below average in k/9- he beat the league ONCE just once, in 1997.

He makes a better exception to James career length rule than James' exception: Lew Burdette- Lew had just 6 years with an ERA+ over 100, and his career was 99, Radke has 10 and 113-of course Lew had even fewer Ks (even accounting for league norms)
   12. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 08, 2011 at 07:12 PM (#3746009)
I remember going to games and people would put money down on what EXACT time Bradke would allow his first homerun. I remember quite a few times when 7:11 was the winner.

Based on my research, Radke is the only guy to give up lead-off homers in back-to-back-to-back starts.
   13. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 09, 2011 at 12:37 AM (#3746369)
He had one of the best changeups I've ever seen...
The one time I saw Radke in person (dig that 1st inning), I saw that change. Screwed up not only the batter*, but the next few men up.

* - Looking at the PBP, I think it was Eric Davis, leading off the 3rd. Radke fell behind 2-0 before throwing the change, and Davis was lost for the rest of the AB. The next five guys went out on a total of 20 pitches.
   14. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: February 09, 2011 at 06:36 AM (#3746559)
and then had a stress fracture in his shoulder as well that sidelined him for a while.


Indeed, the stress fracture kept him out for the last month of the 2006 season. He made one start in late Sep before the season ended, and then got the call in Game 3 of the ALDS with the Twins facing elimination. IIRC, his shoulder had not really healed, and he was basically gutting it out with a broken shoulder. The A's knocked him around and that was his last appearance. I felt bad for him, even as an A's fan.

If you just showed me a bb-ref page with his stat line but no identifiers, I would assume he was a lefty.
   15. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: February 09, 2011 at 05:34 PM (#3746735)
   16. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: February 11, 2011 at 09:29 PM (#3748628)
I sat here for about 10 minutes trying to gin up some parody lyrics to the tune of "Brand New Key" about him (only line I've got: "You've got a Brad Radke."), and looked him up on b-r for inspiration.

Holy crap: Terry Mulholland pitched on that 2004 team, and even got 15 starts!

Damn.
   17. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: February 18, 2011 at 12:02 AM (#3752836)
That commercial deserves a bump. I can't believe I never saw that.
   18. WillYoung Posted: February 18, 2011 at 02:26 AM (#3752938)
Holy crap: Terry Mulholland pitched on that 2004 team, and even got 15 starts!


That's not even as bizarre as the team getting decent production from Jose Offerman.

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