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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Jeff Suppan earning his keep…...

In 2007 Jeff Suppan threw more than 200 innings.  And that pretty much sums all the positives.  After a fast start Jeff became quite hittable surrendering 243 by season’s end.  A good many pointed their fingers at the Brewer defense and as many here know Doug Melvin attempted to address that issue with the signing of Mike Cameron to play centerfield with Bill Hall moving to third and Ryan Braun heading out to left field.

After today’s win over the Rockies Suppan has an ERA under 4.  So who is responsible for this progress?

Well, Mike Cameron missed the first 25 games and during his absence “Soup” did not fare well surrendering 40 hits in 34 April innings.  Five homers didn’t help.  Come May Jeff still gave up a hit an inning, walked even MORE guys on a rate basis yet saw his run prevention improve. 

Interestingly, Jeff has been lights out at home (1.50 ERA) and dreadful on the road (ERA over 6).  Even accounting for the vagaries of ERA as a useful stat that’s a stark difference.

Ah, but there are some “tells” available to us.  His Groundball to fly ball ratio is at 1.70 which would be a career high for Jeff if he keeps that pace.  And the Brewers are fourth in the NL in double plays turned.  And even MORE remarkable is that in 2007 Jeff had 11 hits batsmen, 7 wild pitches and gave up 7 stolen bases with nobody being caught.

In 2008?  2 hit batters.  No wild pitches.  2 stolen bases and 5 caught stealing.

Naw, couldn’t be.  Jason Kendall??  For the record the Brewers team totals for wild pitches, etc. are on pace to be lower in 2008.  And if not for Manny’s wild streak early that wild pitch total would be even further reduced.

Maybe folks focussed on the wrong defender as making a difference…....

Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 08, 2008 at 11:09 PM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers

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   1. JoeHova Posted: June 09, 2008 at 12:49 AM (#2812372)
Wild pitches aren't on pace to be very much lower (maybe 5?). I don't know how big of a difference Kendall is making. He's catching a great amount of basestealers, which is nice, but I still think his positive effect may be somewhat overstated.
   2. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 09, 2008 at 01:03 AM (#2812378)
Joe:

Let's note that when Hall was playing third base he was worse than Ryan on a rate basis. Braun is below average in left though not a diaster. Rickie Weeks is still blah. Cameron looks good but as I mentioned missed a lot of time.

Kendall has been in there from Day 1. Actually playing more than he should given his age and position but that's a discussion for another time.

Anyway, I thought it deserved a mention......
   3. JoeHova Posted: June 09, 2008 at 01:17 AM (#2812382)
I agree, he's been good defensively and deserves some praise. I just think it's hard to give him as much credit for everything that's gone right as I've seen him getting on some Brewer websites.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: June 09, 2008 at 02:15 AM (#2812414)
In 2007 Jeff Suppan threw more than 200 innings. And that pretty much sums all the positives.

Objection!

He had a 97 ERA+. That's not shabby. That's also only the second time he'd been below 100 since 1998.

Who deserves credit for this year? Why not Suppan? His ERA+ (108) is pretty much right in line with the pitcher he has been since 1998. The WHIP is towards the high end for him, but that's mainly a suprisingly high walk rate -- pretty much everything else is within career norms (except I suppose the GB rate from HW's intro). If he brings the walks back under control, he's pretty much the same pitcher he's always been.

My guess (and it is as WAG as you can get) is if you put him in front of a good defense, you get something like a 108 ERA+; mediocre is probably around 103; poor is probably around 95.
   5. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: June 09, 2008 at 12:55 PM (#2812586)
My guess (and it is as WAG as you can get) is if you put him in front of a good defense, you get something like a 108 ERA+; mediocre is probably around 103; poor is probably around 95.

If this is true, could a catcher account for 13 ERA+ points? Intriguing.
   6. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 09, 2008 at 12:59 PM (#2812589)
I don't know that I would qualify the Brewers defense as "good" right now. It's better than last year.
   7. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 09, 2008 at 01:21 PM (#2812613)
Kendall has had good defensive seasons in the past, so I wouldn't rule it out. During his last Pittsburgh season in particular, he covered an awful lot of ground on bunts, nubbers, and popups.

I'm amused by Harvey's remark about Kendall playing too much for a veteran, because that's absolutely textbook Kendall. He'd play 200 games a year if you'd let him. To get him off the field, you pretty much have to sneak up behind him when he isn't looking, and then stab him in the kidney.
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 09, 2008 at 01:28 PM (#2812619)
Vlad:

I understand that is Jason's mentality. But the guy is in his 30's, has caught a LOT of games and it's early June and even a casual Brewer fan can sense that he is playing too much.

It's why the MANGER needs to step in and tell him to take a seat. Rivera isn't awful and would probably be a good fit with Parra as a "regular" setup along with a Sunday every so often.
   9. The Polish Sausage Racer Posted: June 09, 2008 at 04:49 PM (#2812858)
Count me in the Kendall is underrated column. I've always liked his approach to the game, but yes I wonder how long his body will hold up. Use him while you've got him, I guess.
   10. Russ Posted: June 09, 2008 at 04:55 PM (#2812867)
Kendall is one of the most competitive players in modern baseball history. He has always been athletic for a catcher, I think that it just takes the right kind of coach to help him work on what he needs to improve and channel that drive in the right ways. He has long been my favorite player and my birthday doppleganger (born exactly one year before me -- on the same day as Derek Jeter, but I like Kendall better), so YMMV.

I must disagree with Vlad on one issue... you'd probably have to stab him in both kidneys. And be sure not to miss, because we've seen what he can do (e.g. Gary Sheffield).

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