St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Part 2 – Pitching
By Doug Vollet
I started a two part series comparing the Cardinals and Pirates after a couple of articles by David Schoenfield in which he picked the Pirates to be better than the Cards. This one and this one Here’s part one of my comparison which focused on the offense. Today we’ll look at the pitching staffs of the two teams.
|Adam Wainwright||Games Started||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Lance Lynn||Games Started||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|John Lackey||Games Started||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Michael Wacha||Games Started||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Carlos Martinez||Games Started||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
Last years won/loss records.
Waino: 20-9, Lynn: 15-10, John Lackey: 14-10, Michael Wacha: 5-6, Carlos Martinez: 2-4
Here are the projected wins for our rotation:
Waino – 11, Lynn – 11, Lackey 12, Wacha – 10, Martinez 8.
I realize wins are an arbitrary number, but wow. I know Waino had some minor offseason surgery, but 11 wins? Really? Plus an increase in all numbers across the board, making him look like a number three starter, rather than the ace he is, and I think will continue to be. Lynn ascended to the upper tier of pitchers last year. Do they think he’s going to regress? I understand Lackey’s total, and while I can understand the concern for Wacha due to the rareness of his injury, 10 seems low, not to mention only 8 for Martinez. Again, wins are arbitrary, but the drop off hear is startling. Do they know something about Waino and Lynn we don’t know? Does Steamer think Martinez is going to bomb as a starter? Perhaps it’s a reflection of our offense, which struggled to score runs last year.
Personally, I think our offense is going to improve, as is our defense, especially if Bourjos gets playing time next to Heyward as a late inning defensive replacement when we have a lead at the very least. I see no reason why all starters can’t win 12 or more games, with Waino and Lynn both topping 15 easily.
|Gerrit Cole||Games Started||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Vance Worley||Games Started||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Jeff Locke||Games Started||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|A.J. Burnett||Games Started||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Francisco Liriano||Games Started||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
Last year’s Won/Loss records
Cole: 11-5, Worley: 8-4, Locke: 7-6, Burnett: 8-18, Liriano: 7-10
Here’s the project wins for the Pirates rotation:
Cole – 11, Worley – 7, Locke 10, Burnett – 10, Liriano – 11.
Again, Steamer is skeptical. While I’m not a Pirates fan, I admire them Their front office has done a great job. Gerrit Cole is an ace in training, and I expect his numbers to be a bit better than last year. Jeff Locke, who’s still young, regressed from his performance in 2013, and I expect him to bounce back a little rather than continuing to regress. I don’t think Burnett has anything near the tire fire of a season he had with the Phillies in 2014. His best two seasons he’d had in a long time were with the Pirates in 2012 and 2013, so there’s a chance he comes closer to those numbers than what he had with the Phillies. Liriano has had two good seasons in a row with the Pirates, and I expect that to continue. Worley’s a bit of a wild card, as his last good season was in 2011. I expect some regression, but he could prove me wrong. I think the Pirates will miss Edinson Volquez, who had a good year last year, going 13-7 and with a 3.04 ERA and was their best pitcher, performance wise.
In the end, I think the Cards have the better rotation, we have a proven ace, and another guy who’s not far from that. Gerrit Cole has the potential to be an ace, but he’s not there yet. Lackey and Burnett cancel each other out, while the Cards have better depth if the back end of the rotation struggles, and that’s before we added Carlos Villanueva, another possible emergency starter. The Pirates do have Jameson Taillon, they’re version of Marco Ganzales (young stud who’ll possibly contribute to the rotation) but even with him I don’t think they match the Cardinals depth.
Bullpens: Most teams go with a seven man bullpen, so I’ll use the seven that Steamer predicts to have the most innings., which includes emergency starters Interestingly, this leaves off one of our off-season acquisitions, Matt Belisle, who is predicted to only have 35 innings with a 3.55 ERA.
|Marco Gonzales||Games||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Trevor Rosenthal||Games||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Randy Choate||Games||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Jordan Walden||Games||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Seth Maness||Games||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Tyler Lyons||Games||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Kevin Siegrist||Games||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Mark Melancon||Games||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Antonio Bastardo||Games||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Brandon Cumpton||Games||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|John Holdzkom||Games||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Tony Watson||Games||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Charlie Morton||Games||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
|Jared Hughes||Games||Innings Pitched||ERA||WHIP||FIP|
As far as saves go, Trevor is predicted to get 34 while Melancon is predicted for 35 saves. This is interesting to me, as Steamer has a few of our guys improving while it has a few of the Pirates’ key guys regressing quite a bit. As much as I’d like for Steamer to be right on this one, I don’t see Melancon, Watson *and* Hughes all regressing that much. Plus given that we lost our sub-2.00 ERA guy in Pat Neshek (fluke or not) I’m going to have to go with the Pirates on this one, as I don’t think all three players regress as badly as Steamer has them doing. Hughes, for example, only has one year (2013) with a BABIP over .267, so that makes 2013 the outlier, not last year. Watson had the highest BABIP of his career last year. Melancon’s was his lowest since his rookie year, .024 points below his career average, not that big of a difference, but an indication of perhaps a mild regression. Based on their top three, I’m giving the Pirates an edge here, until we see what Jordan Walden gives us and if any of other relievers step up.
EDIT: I know I forgot Carlos Villanueva for the Cards. He was 5-7 with a 4.64 ERA last year and had a WHIP of 1.39 and a FIP of 3.13. Steamer doesn’t project him at all, having him pitch only one inning this year. From what I’ve heard, if we have to rely on him too much, we might be in trouble.
As far as intangibles go, I think both clubhouses are strong. As far as managers, Clint Hurdle has done a solid job up there in Pittsburgh, while Mike Matheny has had his struggles (which I admittedly have focused on a bit too much) but he has grown as a manager. We’ll see how good he is once his development as a manager is complete. Both GM’s are solid, but I give the edge to Mozeliak of Huntington. Maybe it’s because he has more resources, but Mo has never been to make a trade, and so far they’ve paid off pretty well. Plus the farm has been good on his watch.Huntington will make an occasional splash, but he relies more on his farm, which is working out pretty well, especially in the past few years. Both clubhouses have solid leadership, and from what I’ve seen, a lack of egos. Good atmosphere in both places. Both teams, due to recent success, have strong fan support.
So who’ll finish in first place in the NL Central?
I’ll go with the Cardinals. We have the edge in the lineup and the rotation, as well as the bench. Pittsburgh may have a better bullpen, but the Cardinals are better overall. We’ll see if the Cards prove me right during the season.
As always, thanks for reading.