I have biases. Everyone does. I prefer sidearm relievers to the boring over-the-top guys, I like my middle infielders to hit a little bit even if a downgrade in defense makes it a wash, and I think left-handed people are unnatural, evil people. When I’m evaluating players, sometimes I’m conscious of these biases, and sometimes I just let the analysis fly without restraint.
Relievers should strike people out. They should strike a lot of people out. If I’m building a bullpen, I’m looking at K/9 numbers first, everything else second. I don’t care how hard a pitcher throws. Sergio Romo, as you’ll see when he’s off the restricted list, rarely tops 90 MPH, but he’s a strikeout machine. All relievers should be.
Which brings us to Ramon Ramirez. The guy doesn’t strike hitters out, especially compared other relievers. Sure, he did on Friday, when it really mattered, but generally he’s a pitcher who gives up a lot of contact. As such, he’s nothing more than back-of-the-bullpen fodder for me.
But then you look at his career:
The guy keeps runs off the board, and he has for over 300 innings now. He has a 143 career ERA+. Look at the crazy company he's keeping with that ERA+ over 300 innings. What manner of witchery is this? Over his career, his SIERA is 4.22, while his ERA is 3.18. Is he the Matt Cain of the bullpen, or is he just lucky? I don’t know how to find out if he’s benefited from relievers behind him stranding more of a chunk of his mess than he had a right to expect -- at least, not without 300 hours on Baseball Reference and a research grant.
So I’ll continue to assume that the other shoe is going to drop, and then a couple of boots, followed by a pair of high heels, and I’ll wonder what in the hell is going on up there, and while I’m trying to spy on my neighbor’s freaky foot party, Ramon Ramirez will allow a bunch of runs. That’s just my bias. After 300 innings, maybe I’m just wrong. Maybe that's a useless stat when evaluating Ramirez for some reason, and maybe there are pitchers who can’t be evaluated so simply. For the life of me, though, I can’t figure out why a standard fastball/slider guy like Ramirez would be an exception to the rule.
A comment starter could be something about Ramon Ramirez, but if that's a little dull, give up your baseball biases instead. What stats or quirks make you automatically dismiss or underrate a player?