After watching another mediocre (if not poor) performance from Bonderman last night, I hit the stat sites in search of data that make me feel better. I have to admit that I was surprised by what I found.
First, let's focus on Bonderman's problem his last two outings. He's given up 20 hits in just 11 innings while walking only 2 batters. My first assumption was that he was just getting unlucky, so I was expecting to see a high BABIP or BHIP rating supporting my assumption. I found the opposite.
Bonderman's BABIP over the last two games was only slightly over his average from the last two years, which was right around .330. Conventional wisdom for BABIP says that most pitchers will revert to the league average of ~.300 since this variable is defensively dependent. However, his history suggests that his BABIP is actually higher than the league average. In other words, he's aberrant by nature.
Then I looked up his BHIP, which is more pitcher-dependent. I found that he was on the wrong side of this average, too, as illustrated by this table:
Here again, we see that his BHIP over the last two years has been consistently higher than the MLB average. Furthermore, we can also see that his current BHIP for 2007 is well below that average. After reading, that I had to assume that his hot start was actually even luckier than I had assumed. I figured he wasn't that good, but I tempered my pessimism by focusing on his extraordinary K/BB ratio.
And that's where I found something interesting:
Bonderman has walked exactly 5 batters in 39 innings of work this year. His K-rate has remained on par with his last two years. Thus t follows that his K/BB rate has skyrocketed from 2.56 in 2005 and 3.16 in 2006 to an astounding 6.60 here in 2007.
Putting all this together, I had to ask these questions:
Could Bonderman's recent WHIP troubles be a result of him throwing too many strikes?
Does he actually need to be throwing more balls in order to keep hitters off balance?
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