The end of spring training is drawing near. With a few games left San Diego Padres manager Bud Black will have to make a decision on his fifth starting pitcher to complete the rotation. The current rotation consists of James Shield, Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, and Ian Kennedy.
The two favorites for the fifth and final spot are free agent signee Brandon Morrow (former Toronto Blue Jay) and second year player Odrisamer Despaigne.
Now lets take a minute to compare these two pitchers. These pitchers will be compared based
on FIP (fielding independent pitching), WHIP (walks, hits, and innings pitched), and SO/9 (strikeouts per 9 innings).
Yes, I know I didn’t include ERA. The reason for that is ERA is a misleading statistic and often times does not tell us the whole story.
He is a 8 year veteran and played recently for the Blue Jays. In 2014 he finished the season with a 1-3 record and posted a 5.67 ERA in 13 appearances.
As a first year player for the Padres in 2014 he finished the season with a 4-7 record and posted a 3.36 ERA in 16 appearances.
By looking at the ERA it is clear that Despaigne (3.36 ERA) is the superior pitcher but that is misleading because many things could affect the ERA outside of the pitchers control such as errors, poor defense, luck, and etc.
So the next part is the FIP, both Morrow and Despaigne are almost identical. This is a more accurate reading of a pitcher because it takes defense completely out of the equation and solely focuses on the pitchers performance per Fangraph.
An average FIP in Major League Baseball is approximately 3.8. So both players hover around between average and above average.
So what this means is Morrow’s ERA (5.67) is a little bit inflated opposes to Despaigne who is right about his skill level.
Next, is the WHIP which is walks plus hits divided by innings pitched. This calculates the effectiveness of each pitcher inning to inning per Fangraph.
In this stat Despaigne has the upper hand again with a 1.215 WHIP which is above average in the Majors versus to Morrow who has a dismal 1.650.
Lastly, we will look at the strikeout rate of each pitcher. Morrow is a clearly much better than Despaigne in this category. Morrow has a 8.1 SO/9 compared to Despaigne’s 6.1. This indicates that Morrow can get more strikeouts and reduce the workload for the defense.
Now based on this information both players are very mediocre. The question lies if whether the Padres want to go with an established veteran in Morrow or give a shot to the second year pitcher in Despaigne?
Either way both players are prone to giving up a lot of hits. Every fifth day will be a tough day for the Padres. As long as they can get quality outings from their other 4 starting pitchers the Padres should be in great shape to keep up with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL west race.
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