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Ben Sheets K Rate - ignore

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Postby Tarheel00 » Wed May 02, 2007 9:42 am

Last night was frustrating to watch. He was actually ahead in a lot of counts, but just couldn't get the Ks. For example, the first run scored against him was an RBI by Looper (the pitcher) after being ahead 0-2 on him with two outs! Can't afford to give up hits in that situation. At least he got the W.
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Postby brandnew » Wed May 09, 2007 10:02 pm

I stumbled upon this article... not sure if it's been posted by anyone, I thought it might help Sheets owners feel a little better, especially after Sheets picking up some Ks in his last start.

Brewers ace Ben Sheets was thrilled about the mechanical fix he made on Tuesday night, and that thrilled his pitching coach.
...
The key was harnessing his curveball. Maddux noticed in earlier starts that Sheets was releasing his curveball too early. That led to the pitch staying up in the strike zone, instead of down in the dirt, where Sheets often likes to use it to induce swinging strikeouts.
...
Both of the Cardinals' runs off Sheets scored before he recorded his first out of the third inning. But after a Chris Duncan home run and an Albert Pujols single, Sheets retired 12 of the final 13 hitters he faced.

"Everything just looked sharper," Sheets said. "I think it can bode well in the future. I've proven that as long as I'm healthy, I'm going to eventually figure things out."


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Postby Scooter1027 » Wed May 09, 2007 10:22 pm

Doughhead wrote:
Old_Style wrote:He's pitched 30 innings so far this year. I'm pretty sure his K/9 ratio will get a little better by the end of the year.


That kind of seems like a lazy assessment to me. If anything, his strong career K/9 (particularly in the last 3 seasons) indicates that this is abnormal--he has had enough starts and accumulated enough innings that this looks a lot more like a trend than an anomaly.

The thing that really stands out is the fact that in 17 starts last year, he struck out 5 or more batters 15 times. And in starts where he went at least 5 innings, he was 15/15 in getting at least 5 outs via the K. In 9 of those 15 starts, he got at least 7 (and hit double digits three times). In six starts so far this year, he hasn't struck out 5 in a game once. Six starts is a fairly small sample, but it's not that small. We're talking 0 for 6 in 2007 vs. 15 for 15 in 2006. That's a trend in my books.


You seem to be arguing against yourself here, even amidst your somewhat condescending "lazy assessment" comment. Are you saying that you think the 42 innings he has "accumulated" so far this season is more of a trend then the past 3 seasons? I don't think there's a statistician on Earth who would agree that 6-7 starts (in a guy's 173 start career) is a statistically significant sample size. Especially since he pitched against the Cards twice, the 2nd best team in baseball in avoiding the K. This is his performance over a month and half. Would you call Derrek Lee's 2 HR thus far a trend? Pujols' .252 BA? I guess my point is that I don't know how his season will pan out, maybe he ends up with a disappointing K total this year. But if I were to bet on it, I'll go with the career output, not the performance over 6-7 starts.

Oh, and for those interested, he did have his best K rate of the season last start (5 in 6.1 IP), the first start after tweaking his mechanics.
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Postby Doughhead » Wed May 09, 2007 11:08 pm

Scooter1027 wrote:
Doughhead wrote:
Old_Style wrote:He's pitched 30 innings so far this year. I'm pretty sure his K/9 ratio will get a little better by the end of the year.


That kind of seems like a lazy assessment to me. If anything, his strong career K/9 (particularly in the last 3 seasons) indicates that this is abnormal--he has had enough starts and accumulated enough innings that this looks a lot more like a trend than an anomaly.

The thing that really stands out is the fact that in 17 starts last year, he struck out 5 or more batters 15 times. And in starts where he went at least 5 innings, he was 15/15 in getting at least 5 outs via the K. In 9 of those 15 starts, he got at least 7 (and hit double digits three times). In six starts so far this year, he hasn't struck out 5 in a game once. Six starts is a fairly small sample, but it's not that small. We're talking 0 for 6 in 2007 vs. 15 for 15 in 2006. That's a trend in my books.


You seem to be arguing against yourself here, even amidst your somewhat condescending "lazy assessment" comment. Are you saying that you think the 42 innings he has "accumulated" so far this season is more of a trend then the past 3 seasons? I don't think there's a statistician on Earth who would agree that 6-7 starts (in a guy's 173 start career) is a statistically significant sample size. Especially since he pitched against the Cards twice, the 2nd best team in baseball in avoiding the K. This is his performance over a month and half. Would you call Derrek Lee's 2 HR thus far a trend? Pujols' .252 BA? I guess my point is that I don't know how his season will pan out, maybe he ends up with a disappointing K total this year. But if I were to bet on it, I'll go with the career output, not the performance over 6-7 starts.

Oh, and for those interested, he did have his best K rate of the season last start (5 in 6.1 IP), the first start after tweaking his mechanics.


What I'm trying to say (not very well, I guess), is that his first 6-7 starts were very unlike his outings from last year--not two or three of them, but all of them. Six or seven starts with limited K numbers compared to zero outines with normal K numbers (normal for Sheets that is) is a red flag to me that he is not pitching the same as last year or in any of the seasons since his breakout.

I can ignore one of two rough outings, but when all of them have been bad in terms of Ks (again, bad by Sheets' standards), I think there is a reason for concern, especially since Sheets has always had a history of injuries and a history of changing his delivery to compensate for those injuries. I was looking for some compelling reason why he was 0 for his first 6 starts in terms of striking out five batters when he hadn't done that once last year (not once!). I have a hard time believing that he was just getting bad breaks for the first 6 games. Maybe hitters were making adjustments, maybe he was fighting through some nagging injury, maybe he was working on something mechanical (it sounds like this might be the case). But at any rate, there needs to be some explanation. It just seems crazy to me for us to write off 6-7 consecutive starts to begin the season as a nothing more than a statistical anomaly when Sheets has always been so consistent when it comes to striking batters out.
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Postby Ender » Thu May 10, 2007 8:22 am

Sheets has always had a history of injuries and a history of changing his delivery to compensate for those injuries


he's had one injury that bridged two years, he has the 8th most IP of any pitcher in baseball since 2001. Stop saying he's injury prone~.

Anyway its not his velocity thats at fault, he's able to throw all of his pitches just fine. He's hitting the ball better than ever, he's in a good mood which is a key indicator of health for Sheets. He's in much better shape than he was last year. The one thing that is different is he's having problems locating his pitches. Its slowly getting better and I really wouldn't be worried about it.
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