Mariners Analysis

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Washburn is what he is

It's funny reading the papers after Jarrod's start against the Royals. The familiar line goes... pitched great except for those two mistakes.

Except that's how all #5 pitchers play the game. If you let every pitcher go back and "erase" key events, of course the line looks better. What if Joel Piniero could take back every 1st inning he every pitched in a Mariner uniform... would his numbers look better? Of course.

Washburn didn't make two "mistakes" yesterday. He is a throw-to-contact pitcher and he's trying to get the batter to get himself out. When he catches too much of the plate, sometimes the hitter flies out, hits it right too somebody, misses the ball or hits a home run. We could count a dozen pitches that were solidly in the middle of the strike zone last night, but we only get excited when the other team hits a home run or drives somebody in.

Despite what the team says, Washburn is the 5th best starter on the team. He's basically a slightly above replacement level pitcher who is going to have Ryan Franklin type games. Sometimes the other team hits every ball right to a Mariner defender and the team and McLaren praise Washburn for a great outing. Sometimes the batters drive the ball out of the park and everyone talks about the "mistakes."

This post isn't to pick on Washburn. He's a decent guy who's trying to pitch well and get a win at Safeco. This post is more about understanding what Washburn is- an overpaid starter who was signed by Bavasi to restock a system that was so bereft of arms he felt like he had no other choice. Washburn and Silva don't pitch the same but expect similar trajectories. A few years from now Carlos will be cashing those $12/mil checks as he describes his "mistakes" to the media as the #5 pitcher on the team...