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Thursday, January 10, 2013

David Wells and Kenny Rogers

Wells was eligible in 2013. Rogers is eligible in 2014.

DL from MN Posted: January 10, 2013 at 12:13 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 12, 2013 at 06:39 PM (#4345755)
David Wells in my mind is a slightly better version of Jack Morris. The comparison isn't perfect, but it's not bad. I will remember Wells for his baggy uniform and for having good control. And especially for having a long, slow decline -- basically holding steady as a league average pitcher for years -- despite the fact that the conventional wisdom was that, being a fat guy, he was going to burn out quickly. It was funny to watch Baseball Prospectus predict year after year that it was the beginning of the end. It's fun that he lasted until age 44.

Quoting now from Baseball Prospectus's annual:

Before age 35:
"His style makes him fun to watch, but also means that once he loses a little more off the fastball, he could get hammered. He’s at the age it could happen. Maybe one more good year. Maybe."


Before age 36:
"When he goes bad, he's going to go quickly."


Before age 37:
"I expect one more year at around his 1997 level of performance with about 50 fewer innings, then a sharp decline that’s going to look very bad."


Before age 38:
"At age 38 with a waist to match, he's a bad risk."


A fun career, and a very good one. Not a Hall of Famer.
   2. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 12, 2013 at 06:49 PM (#4345757)
As to Kenny Rogers, there are two things about his career I will always remember:

1. The Yankees signed him in 1996 off of a career year, and then when he repeated his career averages instead of his career year, he became the poster boy for not being able to handle "the pressure of New York."

2. Game 3 of the 2006 ALDS. Yankees fans and media types were sure that Rogers would crack under the pressure of facing The Yankees in a 1-1 swing game in Detroit. Rogers put an end to that in what was one of my favorite baseball moments ever. From wikipedia:

Feeding off a crowd witnessing its first playoff game in nineteen years, Detroit pitcher Kenny Rogers pitched 7 2?3 innings of scoreless ball, earning a victory and standing ovation from the Comerica Park crowd in a 6–0 Tigers win. Rogers was throwing as hard as 92 mph in the eighth inning, topping usual top speed by 3–4 mph


A very good pitcher, one who seemed to get more than was expected out of a mediocre K rate, including pitching until age 43, but not a Hall of Famer.
   3. Lassus Posted: January 12, 2013 at 07:23 PM (#4345769)
When Rogers walked into that game in 1999, I said to myself: "This guy looks like a loser." We all know how that turned out. I can't process what he did afterwards, because he's been dead to me since.
   4. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 12, 2013 at 07:25 PM (#4345771)
What game in 1999, Lassus? I vaguely recall a 1999 playoff game for the Mets in which he walked a hitter with the bases loaded to end the series for the Mets. I presume that's what you're referring to.

Not being a Mets fan, the image is not seared into my memory :-)
   5. JJ1986 Posted: January 12, 2013 at 07:27 PM (#4345772)
It was Game 6, after the amazing Game 5 (Grand Slam Single), plus a 5-run comeback in Game 6 itself and then (I think) an 8-7 lead that the Mets eventually blew.
   6. flournoy Posted: January 12, 2013 at 08:03 PM (#4345788)
That's the game. Good times!!
   7. OCF Posted: January 13, 2013 at 07:09 PM (#4346403)
Wells:

Actual record: 239-157
RA+ equivalent record: 207-175

Rogers:

Actual record: 219-156
RA+ equivalent record: 194-173

Rogers has a very large discrepancy between his actual record and his equivalent record. It's as large as the discrepancy for Jack Morris. Wells has an even larger such discrepancy, the second largest in my entire table (after Christy Mathewson).

I would rank Wells as the better candidate of the two. I have him approximately level with Morris, and also similar to Vida Blue, Mickey Lolich, Milt Pappas, Larry Jackson, and Mel Harder. Rogers would fall below all of those.

Both Rogers and Wells had very late peaks and were successful pitchers into their 40's. The 1930's saw some successful older pitchers, but it was a different model. The archetype then (and there were others somewhat like him) was Ted Lyons. Lyons was known as the Sunday pitcher. The schedules then featured frequent off-days during the week and frequent weekend - especially Sunday - doubleheaders. It would have been hard to manage a strict 5-man (or 4-man) rotation through such a schedule, and having a starting pitcher who pitched one a week, during the doubleheaders, stabilized the staff. Lyons and the others that I'm talking about had had parts of their careers in which they'd been full-time starters. As older pitchers, they were no longer physically capable of sustaining that effort over the season. They needed more rest. But given that rest, on the once-a-week schedule, they were quite effective.

It's simply not possible to do that under modern schedules and with modern rosters. There are no scheduled doubleheaders any more. A once-a-week pitcher would destabilize a rotation rather than stabilize it. Paying a the salary of a star (or former star) pitcher for 120 or so innings of work is no great bargain. But there's no doubt in my mind that if it were possible it would work, and would possibly work even better than it did in the 30's. There are many career-twilight pitchers who would have been quite effective in that role. Wells and Rogers, for sure. El Duque would be another. Chris Carpenter, maybe. And so on.
   8. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4346850)
Lassus and I agree on a lot of things, but Kenny Rogers isn't one of them! Ray explains why.
   9. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 14, 2013 at 03:38 PM (#4346855)
Never forget: the 1996 Yankees were undefeated in all of Rogers' postseason starts. The definition of clutch.
   10. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:09 PM (#4346949)
A very good pitcher, one who seemed to get more than was expected out of a mediocre K rate, including pitching until age 43, but not a Hall of Famer.


Rogers was very athletic and supposedly a very good fielder for a pitcher. I assume those things helped out. It's funny that he's paired with Wells here. They're sort of a study in contrasts, except you get the feeling the heavier Wells was, the better he became.
   11. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4346959)
2. Game 3 of the 2006 ALDS. Yankees fans and media types were sure that Rogers would crack under the pressure of facing The Yankees in a 1-1 swing game in Detroit. Rogers put an end to that in what was one of my favorite baseball moments ever. From wikipedia:


That was the game with speculation of pine tar use by Rogers. I guess that was the 'good cheating' then?
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4346967)

That was the game with speculation of pine tar use by Rogers. I guess that was the 'good cheating' then?


I thought that was Game 2 of the WS.

   13. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4346969)
I mentioned this elsewhere, but as far as I can tell Rogers is one of only two pitchers in the live ball era to have a season leading the league in appearances and a season leading the league in batters faced. The other one is Bob Feller, who led the league in appearances with the very low totals of 43 and 44, the second and third-lowest league leading totals of the live ball era. Rogers made 81 appearances as a short reliever in 1992 and faced 998 batters over 227.1 innings in 2000. That does nothing to advance a HoM argument, but it does help him creep towards the Hall of Unusual Careers.

   14. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:44 PM (#4346980)
David Wells in my mind is a slightly better version of Jack Morris.


I'm not a Morris fan, but my take is the converse, Morris was a slightly better version of Wells, mostly due to better in season durability, Morris was in the top 5 in IP 6 or 7 times, Wells twice.

Neither pitcher has an edge on peak, maybe Wells has a slight one, maybe

Wells 108, Morris 105- Wells had a betetr career ERA+ because Morris had more bad years,
Morris (ERA+) 70 in 153 IP, 79 in 170 IP, 83 in 141 IP, 89 in 249 IP, 89 in 106 IP, 97 in 235 ip
99 in 250 IP

Wells, 76 i 157 IP, 76 in 120 IP, 85 in 64ip, 97 in 224 ip

anyway can't really see a vote for one and not the other, Hall of Good/ Hall of Very Good, neither is close to HOM

FWIW Wells' BBREF comp list is mostly guys who were better than him, which is odd considering that Wells had such a high ERA (historically speaking for a guy with his W-L/ERA)

   15. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 14, 2013 at 05:56 PM (#4346995)
I'm not a Morris fan, but my take is the converse, Morris was a slightly better version of Wells, mostly due to better in season durability, Morris was in the top 5 in IP 6 or 7 times, Wells twice.


I think you're forgetting that Wells wasn't a full-time starter until age 30. That was the first time he got 30 starts - and he still got 2 relief appearances that year. And immediately after he was handed a full-time starting job, the strike came in 1994, limiting him to just 16 and 29 starts, respectively. He doesn't _really_ get a full opportunity to start until 1996, when he was 33. He then averaged 223 innings for his next five years, leading the league once.

So maybe that in itself means the comparison doesn't work well, but Wells has a comparable ERA+ (slightly higher) and comparable IP when adjusted for era. Though Wells did get the chance to do the easier job of relief for a while, which boosted his ERA+.
   16. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 28, 2013 at 12:50 AM (#4607142)
Bump

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