Sunday, February 20, 2005

By The Way, Didja Know He's a Two Time All Star?

Esteban Loaiza was apparently the pitcher of the day, as the Post, Times and Nationals own website weighed in with articles on the northpaw.

They indicate that the team's cautiously optimistic. And that's probably about all they should be. The quotes indicate they know that 2003 was a huge fluke for Loaiza, but, at the same time, they think he has a chance to return to form. And they're hoping that the cliched 'change of scenery' is what was missing.
"You just don't know what you're going to get," Bowden said. "Is he capable? Absolutely. He's done it before. Will he do it for us? We don't know."
The 2003 season "may have been an [aberration], because he's never done it before that and he didn't do it after that, but he's certainly a better pitcher than what his record indicated last year," Robinson said. "If he had [pitched like] the year before, he wouldn't be in this camp " he'd be someplace else. I'm happy to have him here. He makes our pitching staff stronger, and we'll be able to compete better with him here and I think he'll win his share of ballgames."

There's no doubt that Loaiza had an amazing 2003. But to continue to expect those kinds of results, when no other season in his career comes even remotely close is silly. But, if you subtract that year from his record, he has a 79-80 record for his career. That season, he had an ERA+ of 154. (ERA+ measures ERA in comparison to an average pitcher and for ballpark. Average is 100.) His next three best seasons? 111 in 2000, 110 in 1999 and 104 in 1997. Those incidentally, are the only seasons he's had an ERA below league average in his career.

If Shaquille O'Neal goes 10-10 from the free throw line one night, would we think he's finally solved his problems at the line? Nope, we'd chalk it up as a fluke.

That's all 2003 was for Loaiza. For whatever reason, everything fell in his favor. Sometimes that happens. It's not a bad thing. But, what is bad, is when everyone sits around and plans on him being able to recoup some of that greatness. As with all things in baseball, it's possible. But that doesn't mean it's even remotely likely.
After I finished this, I saw that Nationals Inquirer had already added his two cents--actually, from the look of it, it's more than two cents. :)


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