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Community Projection: Barry Zito

So it all comes down to Barry Zito pitching in Coors Field. The entire season. Everything the Giants worked for over the past six months. All of our dreams as fans -- our hopes for the 2012 season. It all comes down to Barry Zito in Coors Field for this must-win game. MUST WIN.

This reminds me that we're still missing a community projection on Barry Zito. There's still time before his first eight earned runs of the season.

It was so cute last year when I expected Barry Zito to be a perfectly capable fifth starter. Ryan Vogelsong filled in for him, and using "statistics" and "reason", it was pretty obvious that Vogelsong was going to turn back into the pitcher who pitched horribly for two different Pacific Coast League teams just a few months before. Zito, though, was going to be fine. Not good, but not terrible. Overpaid, but still worthy of a rotation spot. Basically, what Zito did since he arrived.

He was terrible. Aw, heck, let's take a gander:

Apr 3 6.0 3 3 2 5 1 4.50
Apr 10 5.1 6 4 5 1 0 5.56
Apr 16 1.2 3 2 1 0 0 6.23
Jun 28(2) 7.0 4 2 2 3 1 4.95
Jul 2 6.0 5 0 2 1 0 3.81
Jul 7 8.0 4 1 0 7 1 3.18
Jul 16 3.2 7 8 4 3 2 4.78
Jul 26 7.0 6 6 2 4 3 5.24
Jul 31 5.0 8 5 2 4 1 5.62
Sep 16 1.0 1 0 0 1 0 5.51
Sep 22 1.0 1 2 1 1 1 5.75
Sep 24 1.0 2 2 3 0 0 5.98
Sep 27 1.0 1 0 0 2 0 5.87
53.2 51 35 24 32 10 5.87

Wheeeee! And in the spring he showed up with a new pitching motion out of the stretch, in which he crouched down like he was dookin' before every pitch. It was like he went to the world's worst PR firm for advice, and they said "Our internal numbers say that Giants fans can't get enough of Aaron Rowand! Have you thought about emulating him at the plate, or on the mound?"

And the results speak for themselves. They're swearing a lot. Screaming racial epithets in church. But they speak for themselves. Nineteen innings. Thirty-two hits! Twelve walks. Other than the 44 runners in 19 innings, he looked good. Spring-training stats don't mean anything ... except when they so clearly suggest that you're right to expect what you're expecting. Zito was awful last year. There was every reason to believe this would continue. The early returns are that things have gotten worse.

I think I'm the last "he could be competent" believer left. I'm not suggesting that he can be as helpful as he was in 2009, but I'm thinking some sort of middle ground between last year and '09 is possible. Something more like 2008. I'm typing this an hour before his first start of the year, which is in Coors Field. This is going to look really stupid.

Still, I'll stick with it. Having limited faith in Barry Zito to start the 2012 season is like making honest arguments for the artistic merits of an Ed Wood movie. Feels like I'm in the studio with Dirk Diggler, laying down some tracks for an album that sure sounds like it's going to be at least decent. But there's no sense jumping ship until later on this afternoon ...

Barry Zito
IP: 174
ERA: 5.10
BB: 81
K: 129
HR: 22
Bounced from rotation?: No
Eventual replacement?: N/A

You can also use this thread for your Vernon Wells trade ideas.