Thursday, October 1, 2009

Penny thoughts

In 2007, Brad Penny finished 3rd in the NL Cy Young voting (Jake Peavy got all the 1st place votes, Brandon Webb was 2nd) with a 16-4 record and a 3.03 ERA in 33 starts. Oddly, he posted a career low in K/9 (5.84) and his second-worst BB/9 (3.16), but he had a league-low 0.39 HR/9. His FIP numbers were amazingly consistent from 2003 to 2007, 3.92, 3.59, 3.64, 3.89, and 3.63. (His career mark is 4.00.) Mr. Penny fell off a cliff in 2008, starting only 17 games and giving up 112 hits, 68 runs, 13 HR, and 42 BB in 94-2/3 IP, and he spent time on the DL before the LAtriners ultimately cut him loose. After signing a $5M deal with the Bosox to start 2009, Penny was again cut loose after a disastrous 24 starts (160 hits, 89 runs, 17 HR, and 42 BB in 131-2/3 IP). Resurrected by the San Francisco Giants, he's pitched very well in our last-gasp stretch run. In 6 starts (41-2/3 IP), he's given up 31 hits (5 HR) and 13 runs while walking only 9 and striking out 20. He's sporting a 4.34 FIP, and teams are hitting .209 against him. It was 4.49 in Boston, and teams hit .301 against him. The change of scenery has done him good--the AL East is a hitter's league, and the NL West has some spacious, pitcher-friendly parks. One interesting measure is BABIP--batting average on balls in play--and it suggests that Penny is enjoying a nice run of luck as well. It is .211 in SF and was .336 in Boston. Career-wise, Penny's BABIP is .303, which pretty typical for starters (Tim is .304, Matt .277) and varies perhaps by +/- 20-30 points for most guys.

This is a long, convoluted way to pose the question "do we keep him around for 2010?" He can still bring the big heat, even though he relies on groundballs more and more these days. He'll be 32 next year and his resumé includes 105 career wins, a 4.14 ERA (104 ERA+) and a 1.344 WHIP in 275 starts, and a World Series ring. Our park and our good fielding my be the right fit. What say, mates?


Ron said...

I'd like to keep him, but I'm afraid that this run of effectiveness will convince him & his agent that he is worth a whole lot more than we should be paying. If we can work it out with them, sure, why not?

Bob said...

It's ironic that he threw a complete game right after what happened at the end of his last start. Good for him. It would be fine with me if they keep him. He and Lincecum seem to have man-crushes on each other, so anything to keep Tim happy.
I'm driving to The City soon to attend the Freak Show today. I just couldn't go all year without a major league game.
Wish me luck!

M.C. O'Connor said...

Rock on, BroB!! Go, Tim!!!!!

Ron, I'm more afraid that the GIANTS will think Penny is a lot better than he actually is due to this nice run he's having for us. We love to overpay for aging vets who've left their best years behind them. We spent $8M on 45-year old Randy Johnson and couldn't get 20 starts. If we keep Penny, I hope it is for one year with lots of incentives.

Haren is very, very good. Great matchp today.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I'm a big fan of Craig Calcaterra's blog Shyster Ball. He also writes for NBC's baseball site.

He linked to one of those diabetes-inducing puff pieces from The Sporting News. Of course, this one was a gusher about our boys Matt and Tim. So, it is required reading for all RMC readers.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Just in case you have problems with the link.