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Giants PECOTA comparables, Part II: the pitchers

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Thearon W. Henderson

Part two of our projection-system week continues, in which we look at the amusing/interesting/horrifying comparisons for pitchers served up by PECOTA. I should note that it's an unintentional projection-system week, but all the projections are coming out this week, and it beats talking about Bronson Arroyo again. Next February, we should just expect PSW and be happy with it.

These are names spit out by the PECOTA algorithm for various Giants pitchers, and they are for discussion purposes only. Oh, and gambling. Definitely gambling.

Madison Bumgarner - Brian Matusz, Clayton Kershaw, Mat Latos

I mean, I guess Kershaw's okay.

/makes wanking motion

And while Latos is something of a jerk-faced jerk, at least he's kind of good.


Most of the time. The outlier of those projections, of course, is Matusz, who was a hotshot prospect before he was a bust before he was a hotshot reliever. His non-injury-related velocity dip and pummeling are loosely akin to Bumgarner's problems in 2009, except Bumgarner was a teenager at the time. If I had to choose between the Kershaw and Matusz comp, I'll go with … yeah, the Kershaw. That would be much better. Go with the Kershaw, baseball gods.


Matt Cain - Roy Oswalt, Freddy Garcia, Jered Weaver
Oswalt had five more excellent years after turning 29, so if you're thinking about the guy who got pummeled as a Ranger and Rockie, think further back. The Giants would do well to get that kind of future production from Cain.

Freddy Garcia, on the other hand, is an awful Ghost of Christmas Present. He was never as consistent as Cain but, considering parks and league averages, he was often as good as Cain. Then, after turning 29, he went into a Narnia closet and never came back. There were rumors he actually started an elimination game in the playoffs last year, but I can't find anything on the Venezuelan League website. This isn't worse than the Matusz/Bumgarner comparison.

We don't know what Jered Weaver's going to do in future seasons, so the only things we know are that a) he's been pretty good, and a comparison to Cain is a positive thing, and b) one of my daughters will eventually bring someone who looks like Jered Weaver home, and I will be incapable of acting rationally.

/kid who looks like Jered Weaver tucks curl of hair behind ear

Kid who looks like Jered Weaver: Heyyy, mr. b.


Santiago Casilla - Matt Lindstrom, Will Ohman, Felix Rodriguez
This is included for obvious reasons. Can't get enough Will Ohman references. His name sounds like an exclamation of surprise or fear!

Also, Felix Rodriguez. I'm not sure if anyone got off the hook more after 2010 and 2012 than Rodriguez. When I write "got off the hook," I mean, "has a chance to be remembered partially for something else." Rodriguez was really good for a bit. He was signed by the Dodgers as an amateur, and he was given away by the Diamondbacks. The Rodriguez/Robb Nen combo was a lot of fun in 2000 and 2001, and F-Rod's career Giants ERA+ of 136 was pretty sweet, even if it didn't match his peripherals and he wasn't really that good.

Not sure why he'd be a comp for Casilla, then, other than the second half of that last sentence, which makes him just about a perfect comp.


Tim Hudson - Derek Lowe, Jose Contreras, Chris Carpenter
Combined good seasons for those three pitchers after turning 38: 1. And that was a half-season for Contreras in the Phillies bullpen.

That's terrifying.

Is there a good reason to be optimistic about Hudson this year? He's never been supremely disappointing, I guess. And he's a recognizable name with all sorts of positive connotations. He doesn't throw hard, really, so it's not like we don't know what happens when his velocity goes down a tick, even if we still haven't seen the tipping point.

I'll chalk it up to irrational sinker love/fear. The sinker is a mystical pitch, a powerful, mystical pitch, and I fear it like a caveman fears fire. Which means I respect it, too. He'll be good this year, terrifying comps be damned.


Yusmeiro Petit - Guillermo Moscoso, Kei Igawa, Philip Humber
Oh, this is rich. First off, Guillermo Moscoso is kind of the perfect comparison. There was a time when his K/BB ratios made him the low-priced darling of the nerdmunity, which partially explains his tour with the Oakland Athletics.

Moscoso is also an ex-Giant, as soon as he comes to the plate with his final pitch of the 2013 season. We think of Petit in a positive light and Moscoso in a negative light, I'm guessing, mostly because of sample-size concerns and the almost-perfect game. But Moscoso was as good a bet to have limited success as was Petit.

What's even funnier, though, is that Humber came up as a comp. He's one of the most random people in major-league history to throw a perfect game, and Petit would have been fine company for him. How does PECOTA know this stuff? Is PECOTA looking at me through the camera on my computer? Is PECOTA behind me right now? Beep twice if you're reading this TextEdit file, PECOTA.


Sergio Romo - Rafael Soriano, Jonathan Papelbon, Robb Nen
It's like Nen was included when PECOTA ran the likeability numbers and discovered that Soriano and Papelbon were a couple of dinguses. The comparisons were due in, like, an hour, and PECOTA was super hungover and kind of panicky, and it just slapped on the first Giants closer it could find on Wikipedia. What about Rod Beck? There's always room for a Rod Beck comparison, especially when you're looking at a Giants history of save-hungry dooky-tossers.

There shouldn't be anything surprising about the names on a performance level, though. They all had success. Soriano kept going, Papelbon has been a little shaky, and Nen's shoulder betrayed him. Pitchers!


Ryan Vogelsong - Chan Ho Park, Shawn Estes, Bruce Chen
You know, every time I see Estes on the telly, I think about Ryan Vogelsong, and how strange it is that one's still pitching for the Giants and one's doing television. This is, again, evidence of PECOTA's omnipotence. There's a power, here, that we don't quite understand.

Vogelsong is four years younger than Estes, if you were wondering. The Bruce Chen comparison is kind of amazing, though. He vacillates between effective and ineffective, helping a team more often than not, but the "than not" is pretty lousy.

Tomorrow is ZiPS day! Get some rest.