Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Carrasco: Spanish For Cyrus?

Hector Carrasco continued his late-career, late-season emergence as a star pitcher, shutting down a moribund Florida Marlins offense on just two hits through six shutout innings. He earned his first win as a starter.

What can you say about Carrasco, who wins the Majority Whip for his efforts? Even before his amazingly dominant turn as a starter, he was quietly one of the league's most effective relief pitchers.

The difference really seems to be the changeup that Barry discussed last week. He's suddenly able to throw three effective pitches -- fastball, splitter, change. If you think about the pitchers who've failed as starters, but made excellent relievers, it's usually because they only have command of two pitches. Eric Gagne, for example, relies on that high fastball and impressive change. Excellent reliever, mediocre starter. Even Mariano Rivera started out as a starting pitcher with limited success. When he converted to the bullpen, he's been able to get away with one pitch, more or less.

Maybe it's possible that Hector's success is because of the opposite? That new pitch gives him just enough of a repertoire to keep hitters off balance two or three times through the order. Or maybe it's just a fluke. Regardless, it's important that the team bring him back next year, and see if he can continue this reemergence.

  • The other player to reemerge in yesterday's game was Cristian Guzman. Were it not for Carrasco's sudden turn as an ace, Guzman would've won another Whip. Guzman had three hits and three RBI. He got them on the board with an RBI single in the second inning, and blew the game open in the 8th with a 2-run double.

    Guzman was one of the team's leading hitters in Spring Training. And now he's the leading hitter in September. Somewhere he got lost for five months in between.

    If he can come to Spring Training in shape and with his head screwed on straight, he's got a good shot of contributing something to this team. All I was looking for out of him at the start was a .270/ .310/ .380 season. That's not going to put him in the Hall, but it's not disgusting for a regular shortstop either. If he can approach that, which is basically his career average, he won't be crippling the team the way he did from April through August.

  • The Nats pull to one game over .500. I'm torn between wanting to see this team hit the break-even mark, and wanting to see them finish in the bottom 15 teams, as I discussed here.

    Ideally, we'd have the best of both worlds.


    • Since Rick Short is out for the year I will spend my time leading the Anti-Guzman brigade instead.

      1) If we're going to throw out this year in factoring his career averages/expectations for next year, then can we at least throw out 2001, too? That was a serious outlier as well.

      2) With both 2001 and 2005 out of the picture. Guzman would have around a .260 / .295 OBP / .360 SLG.

      This year that would put him 14th / 18th / 16th out of 19 NL shortstops with 300+ at bats. A few points either way coudl get him around 11th/12th best but I'd say hitting his outlier-adjusted career average would be pretty disgusting for a regular shortstop.

      (and that's if the man can do that. I'm thinking .240 / .280 / .350)

      By Blogger Harper, at 9/27/2005 5:26 PM  

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