Thursday, February 28, 2008

Brian Bannister in 2008

My original idea for this entry was to write a column explaining why Brian Bannister's 2007 season was a fluke and that he would regress in 2008. I was going to start with his below league average BABIP and then discuss how his low strikeout rate was an indication that he is not a sub 4.00 ERA pitcher. I was going to conclude that his 12 wins and 3.83 ERA in 2007 was the product of good luck and the Royals should not count on a repeat in 2008. As I was doing the research for the entry I came across an interview with Brian Bannister on where he addresses his BABIP and how he uses it and other sabermetric statistics to evaluate his pitching.

I don't know of another pitcher that has his stat line broken down in as much detail as Bannister. One of the more interesting of Bannister’s breakdowns was his comparison between his fastball and curveball.

Here is a comparison of the batting averages and slugging percentage on my fastball vs. my curveball: Fastball: .246/.404 Curveball: .184/.265

I wonder how many MLB pitchers use this type of information when preparing their pitching game plan.

Bannister’s closing comment was the one that made me forgo my original entry:

My explanation for why I have beat the average so far is that in my career I have been able to get a Major League hitter to put the ball in play in a 1-2 or 0-2 count 155 times, and in a 2-0 or 2-1 count 78 times. That's twice as often in my favor, & I'll take those odds.

I still have concerns about Bannister’s collapse in September and his low strikeout rate but I am not going to rush to judgment because of his low BABIP in 2007. As a Royals fan I was not rooting against Bannister. After reading what Bannister had to say, I am hopeful he might indeed be a solid pitcher for the Royals in 2008 and beyond.

All Royals fans and sabermetric types will enjoy reading the Bannister interview at I high recommend to every baseball fan.

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