Twins Starting Pitcher PECOTA Comparables

PECOTA's 2009 player cards are ready, so let's have a little fun.  We already know who our five starters will be, and here are their comparibles...

Name

Comp 1

Comp 2

Comp 3

Comp 4

Comp 5

Scott Baker

Kevin Millwood

Dustin Hermanson

Doc Medich

Jim McAndrew

Ed Halicki

Francisco Liriano

Ken Holtzman

Chan Ho Park

Jim O'Toole

Steve Avery

Wilson Alvarez

Kevin Slowey

Bob Sebra

Andy Sonnanstine

Scott Sanderson

Reggie Cleveland

Brad Radke

Nick Blackburn

Mike Harkey

Billy Wynne

Mike Scott

Mark Clark

Josh Fogg

Glen Perkins

Allen Watson

Brian Anderson

Nino Espinosa

Neal Heaton

Jerry Augustine

Baker:  Millwood is a decent comp for a number one starter, particularly when PECOTA is using '02 as the comp year.  It was one of Millwood's three best years, and if Baker is able to win 18 games this year, the rest of his numbers should be pretty good as well.  Hermanson had a career ERA+ of 104 over 12 years, but never pitched a full season after year seven.  Medich was effective throughout his career in terms of baserunners, but still the definition of average as he managed a career ERA+ of 99.  McAndrew's career lasted just seven seasons, limiting base runners but still out of the league by age 31.  Finally, Halicki had four good seasons before hitting a stumbling block two years running, and was out of the league before he turned 30.

PECOTA thinks:  If Baker can stay healthy, he has the potential to be an effecitve and reliable starter for many years.  There will be some down years, but the body of work should be solid.

Liriano:  Holtzman pitched in the majors from 19 to 33, had a career ERA+ of 105, and for the majority of that career was very effective.  Park is sort of a contemporary here, although he's on the tail end of his career; fifteen major league seasons with his best years from '96 to '01.  The last few years haven't been as fruitful, to say the least.  O'Toole also had a pretty good stretch in the middle of his ten-year career.  Former Brave "ace" Avery is on another end of the spectrum, where his best years were in the first four years of his career, and then hung on by his past successes like Park.  Finally there's Alvarez, who had a long career, but only had a few years of solid success in the first half of it.

PECOTA thinks:  Liriano can have a long career if he avoids injury, but as a starter his days as a front-line man are probably numbered.  A move to the bullpen by the time he's 30 might be the best way to squeeze the most out of his talent.

Slowey:  Sebra had a flash career, with no success.  Sonnanstine is a contemporary of Slowey's, and had a pretty good second professional season with the Rays in '08.  Sanderson, particularly effective earlier in his career, had an 18-year career.  Cleveland was largely average over the course of his 12-year career.  And look at that--it's Slowey, not Baker, who gets the Bradke comp...and during his 20-win season in 97!

PECOTA thinks:  Slowey is as good now as he'll ever be, and while he can have a few effective years going forward he'll be into decline by the time he turns 30.

Blackburn:  Nick's number one comp had decent career in terms of years, but rarely did he see a lot of innings.  Wynne's career was short and, like Harkey, his comp year is brief and a tad disconcerting.  Mike Scott was a good starter from '85 - '89, even winning 20 games in the last year in that stretch, but his comp year is '82 and a long way from being anything resembling good.  Clark's career wasn't bad, but his comp year was.  Last but not least, Fogg has been a guy with lots of opportunities but not a lot of success.

PECOTA thinks:  Blackburn will have opportunities to have a decent career, but if it happens it won't be this year.

Perkins:  Watson as  number one comp is pretty bad, if we're being diplomatic.  Not bad as in "a bad comparison", but bad as in "I really hope Perkins doesn't pitch like Watson".  Anderson is more of the same, a part-time starter and part-time reliever.  Espinosa had a short, bell-curve career...but his comp year of '79 might be the best we could hope for on this list for Glen.    Heaton is back in the mold of Watson and Anderson, and Augustine is just more of the same.

PECOTA thinks:  Perkins is a flash in the pan.

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