Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Mark Buerhle Gets Some Love From BPFor those of you who have not seen it, here's the latest Baseball Prospectus Triple Play featuring the White Sox. Notably, BP mentions that while Mark Buerhle's performance seemed to be eroding from 2001-2003, he's pepped up this year.
After his last few starts this season, Buehrle has looked significantly better than any point in his career. His equivalent strikeout rate has jumped from 4.5 to 5.9, higher than any of his previous three full seasons; his walk rate has dropped from 2.2 to 1.4, a career low. The only reason Buerhle hasn't been even better than his earlier years in run prevention has been his higher batting average on balls in play, currently .308.
Buerhle's improved strikeout rate has not gone unnoticed, and it is a welcome sign. His decreasing walk rate is also good, and it is safe to say that Buerhle has re-established himself as one of the top 3 or 4 lefties in the American League (with Mulder, Santana, and Sabathia) this year.
It should also be noted that BP does criticize Kenny Williams' trades for Everett, Contreras and Alomar, arguing that:
Williams has strapped the Sox to Contreras' albatross contract, a salary based on nothing other than George Steinbrenner's ego and Cuban mystique. Meanwhile, he dealt Jon Rauch and Gary Majewski, two pitchers who aren't going to be stars, but could very easily become cheap, decent replacement pitchers or fourth starters, something that's much more valuable than two months of Everett's time. This winter, when the Sox have trouble signing quality players to fill holes, ChiSox fans will have to comfort themselves with the fact that the team finished five games behind Minnesota instead of seven.
I'm not in agreement with BP on this one. One, they've got it wrong on the facts; Carl Everett is signed through 2005. So it's not two months of Everett's time. And Everett does provide a replacement for Ordonez going Second, Contreras does have a high potential upside, and getting away from New York has seemed to help him so far. He'll pitch against weaker competition in the AL Central, and he seems to thrive on weaker competition. If he's a solid number three starter - 4.00 ERA or better, 12-15 wins, this is money well spent, especially since they only gave up two months of the struggling Esteban Loaiza in return.