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Tom Verducci's View
Tom Verducci
May 22, 2006
PLAYING IT COOL IN THE BRONX
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May 22, 2006

Tom Verducci's View

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Extra Mustard
by Baseball Prospectus

WHICH STRUGGLING PITCHERS ARE PRIMED FOR A REBOUND? Pitchers don't have much control over what happens to a batted ball--the defense, the park and the breaks of the game determine whether it becomes a hit or an out. So in looking for pitchers who are likely to improve on their poor early results, pay attention to those with good ratios (K's/9 IP, K's/BB, HRs/9 IP) and unusually high batting averages on balls in play (BABIP). For example, the Mariners' Felix Hernandez, with 43 strikeouts, 16 walks and six homers allowed in 391/3 innings at week's end, hasn't pitched as poorly as his 4.58 ERA would indicate. He's been hampered by a .349 BABIP, which figures to come down. The Brewers' Ben Sheets has a 28-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, a much better indicator of the quality of his pitching than his 6.64 ERA, which is inflated by a .481 BABIP. The Twins' Scott Baker, the Phillies' Jon Lieber and the Marlins' Dontrelle Willis should also show improvement soon.

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