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Friday, March 21, 2008

Comments

Call me crazy, but I'm sure we'll see a lot of Eaton, Madson, and Romero all in the same game this season.

If Eaton has a decent outing today, the race for the 5th starter's spot is over. If he has a bad outing, then it's a wide open battle again. Here's hoping he looks decent. I don't like Adam Eaton but, if he can get his act together, he has a better chance then either of the Durbins to be a middling starting pitcher.

I think with his outing last season, the 5th starter "competition" is pretty much over. Unless he gives up something like 6 runs today, i think the spot is his.

Ruiz guns down Span trying to steal second. No doubt about it.

I think after his last outing, the 5th starter "competition" is pretty much over. Unless he gives up something like 6 runs today, i think the spot is his.

DOB: So you're saying the odds are 50-50 that Eaton wins the 5th starter's job?

Sorry for the double post. I realized a mistake on the first one too late to stop it.

BAP-Haha yeah I guess. Even if he blows up today, I still think he has the inside track. Management will point to that one start and say he deserves it.

Helms goes down on three pitches, struck out looking. Sums up the likelihood of his future career with the Phillies, eh?

Nice bit of running by Olmedo and third base coaching by Steve Smith. Nice to see Victorino make Livan pay for that walk, especially after mowing down the first eight batters.

bap, Adam Eaton has only been a "middling starting pitcher", even at his very best.

If he wins the fifth starter spot (which will happen because he's getting paid, and because management will not cut bait and admit they made a mistake), I think the best hope for Eaton is an ERA around 5.00 - 5.25, and maybe another 10 win season.

That basically means he'll average (+ or -) 5 innings and give up 3 runs.

If he does that, BeerLeaguers, indeed all Phillies' fans, will rejoice.

Eaton is certainly getting it done in the best way today: 3 K, 4 GO in 3 innings. 2 hits but both in his first inning.

Maybe he's aware of the significance of Clout day as well?

Runner in scoring position, one out, Helms up. Weak infield pop up.

Wheeeee... Helms pops out with two on and one out.

Someone tell Helms that clout day was yesterday.

Taguchi comes through... nice job. I think we'll be very happy about this signing by the end of the year.

Runner in scoring position, two out, Taguchi up. Solid line drive base hit.

I don't know how more clear it has to be. Helms is useless. He must go.

Let the Eaton resurgence begin!

If Eaton keeps this up, his ERA will be under 5 by the time he gets pulled.

I always said that Eaton was a great...

wait. No I didn't.

CJ - It'll be great to have both Burrell and Taguchi available in a game where we see Billy the Rat. Have fun getting through those two, jackass...

Well I guess the 5th starter is decided.

Adam is getting it done because he FINALLY told someone he screwed up his back picking up a cage last July, which led to screwing up his shoulder by compensating for his back.
He could have solved this problem 9 mos. ago, but he hid it. I'd bet this is his biggest problem, and half his injuries are from hiding something else.
Hamels took care of his problem last Sept., took the heat and returned w/ effective stuff in 4 to 6 wks.
Adam is not alone in doing this; Maine did it last year for 3 mos., as well, to the tune of a 6.14 ERA in that frame.

So does Eaton go out for a sixth inning?

I didn't know the Twins were going to sub in their players. That said, there isn't any need for Eaton to go back out.

Eaton did today what Kendrick did yesterday. He threw strikes and he kept the ball on the ground.

Both of these pitchers have the ability to do that... maybe not consistently... maybe not enough to maintain an ERA under 4 (or in Eaton's case, under 5)... but if we can get double digit wins and ERA's around 4.50 out of both of them... we'll all be happy, I think.

Although I think Talvenada is jumping to conclusions based on just a few innings from Eaton, it is true that Eaton' ERA made quite a jump in the second half last year, from 4.41 to 5.06. His other stats (OPS, BA) went up as well. As did, his BABPIP.

I agree... two straight positive outings for Eaton. No need to throw him back out there and have him screw things up.

Bold prediction: At this time next year, the hot topic on Beerleaguer will be whether or not Adam Eaton can repeat his Cy Young performance of 2008.

And Eaton is back on the mound...

Tal, if that's true, that's great news, but I'm skeptical Eaton's struggles were due to the back.

Prior to the all-star break:

101 IP, 108 H, 67 K, 48 BB, 5.69 ERA

Of course, he was even worse *after* the break, but he has a lot more work to do other than getting healthy.

CASEY SMITH ALERT!!!!

He's in the game.

CJ, if Adam Eaton starts 30 or more games, and his ERA is 4.5 or better, I'll buy you a steak dinner - wine included.

I think my money is VERY, VERY safe.

OTOH, if I have to pony up dinner, his performance means the Phillies probably make the playoffs, so I'll gladly open the wallet.

Sophist, what numbers are you looking at?

Before we crown him the Cy Young winner in jest (I know you're kidding, BAP), let's not forget that the wind is blowing in and Brian Onora has a very large strike zone today. But he is making pitches - working both sides, working the slider down, some decent two-hop grounders. He's not shy about throwing curves today, too. It's an important step.

I would take a 5.00 ERA from Eaton this year and be quite happy, as long as he gives us 170+ innings.

I've never seen any statistical analysis on this point, but it seems to me that there are three kinds of fifth starter situtions: (1) Pretty decent pitchers, who could be better than a fifth starter on most teams; (2) Fifth starters who can generally be counted on to not get blown out in the third or fourth inning and who give their teams a chance to win the majority of the time; (3) Round robin fifth starters, since the team just doesn't have anyone who is really good enough to be a fifth starter in the major leagues.

The Phillies were counting on Eaton last year to be (2). [Why they would pay a guy like that $8+ million per year is beyond me, but ours is not to question why.] Instead, after the all-star break, he really turned into (3), necessitating the round robin that featured such replacement starters as Segovia, Happ, Castro, and Ennis. It also directly led to the tired train-wreck that became end-of-the-year Alfonseca, et al.

If Eaton could turn into a solid (2)-type fifth starter, who would give the Phillies 32 starts and give up fewer than five runs in, say, two-thirds of them, that would be OK. He basically did that for the first half of the year last year, but then he started wetting the bed. He'll never be our playoff starter, but basic reliability and competence would be sufficient.

Down with A.B.E.! Happy Day-After-Clout Day.

kdon - I was wondering how we found different numbers as well. I went to baseball-reference.com, and did so while watching my alma mater win the the NCAAs today so, I admit, I'm suspicious of my work.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/
pi/psplit.cgi?n1=eatonad01

AWH: I wouldn't make that bet. I haven't been confident in Eaton's health at all. I worry that some of his problems may be health related. I'm also not at all confident about a 4.50 ERA. That's why I suggested anything under 5.00

I'd love 10 wins, 25 starts and an ERA of 4.80 out of the guy. That would be more than most of us expect.

Sophist,

Adam is suppose to throw on top of the ball to be effective, and he threw from the side of the ball, which got hit hard. 3 mos. of that pitching injured crap.
He can win 12 games w/ a 4.50 ERA if he's not injured, because that was his NL avg. B4 coming back to Philly. He could be an okay 5-slot starter.
Does anyone have his pitch count thru 5 innings?

kdon, it looks like I was using his career splits. My mistake. In any case, the point remains that he played much worse in the second half. Of course, he was pretty terrible in the first half as well, so it's hard to say that all his struggles are due to an injury in the summer of 07.

CJ: Um, Adam Eaton gave you 10 wins and 25 starts (actually 30) LAST season, although you wouldn't know it from reading Beerleaguer. Hell, his ERA can be 7.00 for all I care if he goes 14-10 this year.

I can't believe I'm starting to sense a comfort level that the "worst pitcher in the NL" ("an ordinary, unexceptional pitcher last season" is quite forgiving) is going to be the 5th starter on this team. Mission accomplished by the Philly Front Office Spin Doctor Department.

I think I just vomited in my mouth.

clout: The reason I'd want a lower ERA is because that generally means he pitched deeper into games. His short starts, even when he did get wins, certainly taxed our bullpen.

Time to jump off the Casey Smith bandwagon. He threw one away.

Told you he was a bum!!!!

Not to mention, CJ, that the odds of his going 14-10, while posting an ERA like last year's, are incredibly slim.

Will,

My post is not a comfort level for Adam, but the guy had a career-bad year. Guys rebound all the time, and pitch like crap when they hide injuries. I'm more concerned that he'll have an injury to hide, but w/ Benson we have a replacement if that happens.

"Hell, his ERA can be 7.00 for all I care if he goes 14-10 this year."

You can't really mean that.

In order to do that, the Phillies would have to average well in excess of 7 runs per game in his starts.

If they did average more than 7 runs per games, 14 wins would be a terrible return.

Slocs, yeah, I've done that before on B-Ref. On the basic point we agree however.

Tal, what with the "Adam?"

Eaton is never going to pitch deep into games. He hits the wall early, as we even saw today. It's not the end of the world if your No. 5 starter hits the wall around the sixth inning, but it's NOT ok for him to hit the wall by the fifth (especially considering the lack of depth in the Phillies' bullpen). And it's especially not ok for him to hit the wall by the fifth, if he also yielded a 3-run lead in the first, as he so often does.

It all flows from the first inning with this guy. I'm resigned to the fact that Eaton will always struggle in the first. But if he can get out of it without too much damage, as he has done in the last 2 games, it keeps his pitch count lower & enables him to maybe give you 6 decent innings -- or close to it.

Tal: Before his setback, I placed the odds at about 50-50 that Benson would recover enough to actually make a start for the Phillies this year. I'd now say the odds are no better than 40%. I think we're tilling at windmills if we think that Benson is going to come in and save the day.

CJ: The day Eaton was signed I posted here that I didn't like it because Eaton had one of the worst IP/per start of any active pitcher with more than 300 career IP. Eaton has NEVER gone deep in his starts. The Phillies presumably knew this when they signed him.

BAY,

He has trouble in his first 2 inns. because it takes him 2 inns. to get the FB speed up to his max, which is why the pen isn't for him.

kdon: Actually, no. There are a myriad of ways he could go 14-10 without the offense averaging "well in excess of 7 runs per game in his starts." Think about it.

I can't wait for your explanation of how 14-10 would be bad from your 5th starter. This will rival your "Sanches contributed more than Alfonseca" argument.

"Eaton has NEVER gone deep in his starts. The Phillies presumably knew this when they signed him."

I don't understand. It's still a valid criticism on CJ's part.

So you're happy with a starter who doesn't pitch deep into games with a 7.00 ERA?

Clout, you're being ridiculous. Wins as a valid measure of a pitcher's success?

I'm happy to debate other points, but the notion of being happy with a starter who would post 170+ innings of 7.00 ERA is absurd. No wonder you liked Alfonseca - you love to give credit to pitchers for things they have no control over.

Well after all of that chaos, it looks like the Phils are right back to where they started 2007: with too much quality starting pitching. Once Benson gets healthy, which of our six starters is going to be moved to the bullpen? Charlie's biggest challenge will be managing the egos of this group of superstars. Maybe we'll move Myers back to closer, and with Lidge healthy and Gordon's curve biting again, we'll have the best back-end bullpen in the NL. It makes you wonder if this team has a shot at 110-115 wins this season.

sifl -- sarcasm alert?

"can't wait for your explanation of how 14-10 would be bad from your 5th starter."

Well, this is easy. If he posted a 7.00 ERA while doing it.

Are you really not familiar with the concept of luck? That any pitcher who managed this feat of 14-10 with a 7.00 ERA would have to be unbelievably lucky, and that a better pitcher (say a 5.00 ERA) with similar luck would likely win 18-20 games?

I mean this seems simple. Anyone agree they would be happy with a 7.00 ERA from Eaton if the pitcher went 14-10?

Clout: Just curious. What would be your attitude toward a hitter who hit .300 with 40 homeruns, but who hit just .145 with runners in scoring position? I'm pretty sure you'd say that the .145 average is random luck and that, over time, the statistic would even out with his statistics in general.

That same logic would appy for a pitcher with an ERA of 7.00 who somehow got lucky enough to win 14 games -- not that I've ever heard of such a thing actually happening in baseball history.

Clout: If you're going to talk about wins and a pitcher, at least just say you'd be happy with the Phillies winning 14 out of the 24 games Eaton started. Using an actual pitcher's W-L record to judge performance is not accurate in any way.

Kyle Kendrick went 10-4 last year.
Johan Santana went 15-13.

I guess by your standards you would rather have had Kendrick, right?

Hmmm... is it possible the Phillies will come out of camp with VD? (And not the kind they'll get from the Hooters ball girls.)

Darensburg pitches another scoreless inning to close the door on the Twins.

kdon: I think you're missing clout's point.
He is not commenting of the effectiveness of Eaton as a pitcher, but instead the overall outcome of his role in the rotation. If Eaton were to produce a 14 - 10 record, even with an ERA of 200, that would be good production from the 5th starters position.

Folks - I'm gonna have to side with clout on this one. How many pitchers in the league pitched well enough through 5 innings to gather 14 wins? Got a list together? Good. Now: how many of them were the fifth starter? If our fifth starter wins 14 games, and Myers and Hamel perform up to expectation, we'll be in great shape.

Jack et al: Wins and Losses are not a function of luck, but a function of the quality of the team. While Santana is a better pitcher than Kendrick, a Philly squad with Kendrick pitching was more likely to win a game in 07 than a Twins squad with Santana.

Adam Eaton is not a good pitcher, but if he is able to product a 14 - 10 record he would an effective pitcher for the phillies, no matter how he achieves that record.

Jack et al: Wins and Losses are not a function of luck, but a function of the quality of the team. While Santana is a better pitcher than Kendrick, a Philly squad with Kendrick pitching was more likely to win a game in 07 than a Twins squad with Santana.

Adam Eaton is not a good pitcher, but if he is able to product a 14 - 10 record he would an effective pitcher for the phillies, no matter how he achieves that record.

Greg, no I get the point just fine. The problem is that "production" is not properly measured by wins.

The stats that best capture production are those that are most under a given players control and less subject to luck and the talent of others players.

Since ERA is a faaar better measure of production than wins, a fifth starter who went 14-10 with a 7.00 ERA would not, in fact, be good production.

CJ, it's not a bet as there is no obligation on your part.

Hold me to this:

"If Adam Eaton starts 30 or more games, and his ERA is 4.5 or better, I'll buy you a steak dinner - wine included."

As I said, I think my money is VERY, VERY safe.

"Wins and Losses are not a function of luck, but a function of the quality of the team."

Greg, actually they are both, unless you think a pitcher has the ability to alter the amount of runs he choses to give up based on how many runs his own team scores.

The offense is here no matter who the 5th starter is. He doesn't get any better simply because the Phils score a lot of runs for him.

I mean, follow you own logic. You are arguing that a pitcher becomes more productive based on how many runs his offense scores. What kind of mental alchemy turns a J-Roll home run into more production from Eaton?

Greg: What you just said was sort of my point. It's why W-L records are useless to look at to measure a pitchers performance.

kdon's point was that if Eaton goes 14-10 with a 7.00 ERA, then a pitcher with a 4.5 ERA probably would have won 17 games or so. In judging a pitcher's performance you have to look at indicators of his performance that he can control, such as ERA, K's, WHIP, and the like. ERA+ is probably the best measure, although there are plentyof other stats that control for factors. Won-Loss record is far, far too dependent on factors outside the pitchers control (such as run support and team strength) to be used as a measure of a pitcher. Even Clout knows this.

Let's just put it this way. Name me one starting pitcher EVER who won 14 games while posting a 7.00 ERA. It will never happen, first, because the manager would remove him from the starting rotation long before he ever had a chance to win 14 games and, second, because the odds of any pitcher getting that much run support, and that much help from his bullpen, are infinitestimally small.

I wouldn't agree, however, that win-loss record is completely meaningless. Look at a pitcher like Aaron Harang or Jeff Francis, or even Jamie Moyer. None of these guys posts great ERAs, but all of them manage to win a lot of games because they're durable and they're consistent.

A guy who pitches 7 innings & allows 4 earned runs has an ERA of just 5.14, but it's a pretty safe bet he's going to win a lot of games.

kdon: LOL! And what if the guy with the better ERA was unlucky? You're twisting yourself into a pretzel to somehow defend the absurd position that a 14-10 record from our 5th starter would be a bad thing. LOL.

Greg: You are exactly correct. kdon and Jack are arguing their usual straw man "Oh clout is saying an ERA of 7.00 is good." You know exactly what I'm saying.

BAD, VER BAD. Picher Colby Lewis, 2003 Texas Rangers, Won 10, lost 9, ERA 7.30

"I mean this seems simple. Anyone agree they would be happy with a 7.00 ERA from Eaton if the pitcher went 14-10?"

I might be. Ultimately, I'd be happy if the Phils have a winning record in Eaton's starts.

We're getting a bit sophistical here, but I expect the Phillies to have a losing record in Eaton's starts. If they ultimately have a winning record in his starts, I will be happy. Thus, in a manner of speaking, I agree with clout. I don't really care what his ERA is, from that perspective.

From a different perspective, though, kdon is of course right. We want the team to win as many games as possible, and if Eaton pitches badly and wins sometimes, he could have pitched better and won more.

All in all, though, I think this argument is perhaps as fruitful as the Alfonseca/Sanches discussion. Perhaps less.

BAP: Moyer has a career ERA of 4.21 and during his best years in Seattle he was posting ERAs in the low 3's. The last couple years he has had ERA's in the 4's and had losing records while in Seattle, playing with a bad offense. He comes to Philadelphia, pitches in front of the best offense in the league, and magically puts up a winning record with the worst ERA of his career. Moyer is the perfect example of why W-L records are completely dependent on team performance.

BAP: "That same logic would appy for a pitcher with an ERA of 7.00 who somehow got lucky enough to win 14 games -- not that I've ever heard of such a thing actually happening in baseball history."

I certainly agree. Although Guy Bush went 15-10 with a 6.20 ERA in 1930.

JAS: You get it too, I see.

You have to appreciate a good Guy Bush reference.

AWH: I will hold you to that... because if it comes true, there's a good chance we'll be in the playoffs (barring unfortunate injuries).

BAP: Here's another way ERA can be misleading in terms of a pitcher's value.

Pitcher #1 is one of those strikeout artist guys. His WHIP is always clean, nice k/9 rate, his ERA around 4.00 but he tends to get his pitches up in the zone, so he's prone to the longball. Worse, he has no heart and fails consistently in the clutch always giving up the HR at the worst time. The bigger the game, it's almost a guarantee that he'll fail in a crucial situation (I'm thinking of Arthur Rhodes and Aaron Sele (in terms of clutchness not talent) here). His record ends up 14-10, ERA 4.00.

Pitcher #2 is a junkballer who gives up 10-12 hits every game, few Ks but he doesn't walk guys either. He keeps the ball on the ground. He always seems to pitch to the game. If his team isn't scoring he's at his best. When his team jumps to a big lead, he relaxes and gives up 5 or 6 runs. Best of all, he has the heart of a lion. When the season is on the line, he comes up big (I'm thinking Jamie Moyer, Luis Tiant). His record ends up 14-10, ERA 5.00.

Who's the better pitcher?

Here's another way of course. You're Frank Viola, and one start you go out and give up eight runs without getting an out. If you lay that kind of an egg in three or four starts in a season and pitch pretty well in the other 90% of your starts, you can be a good and valuable pitcher, most of the time.

I don't know whose side in the argument benefits from this but Guy Bush's 6.20 year came in a year NL teams averaged 5.68 R/G. He benefitted by Hack Wilson's OPS+ of 178. (As well as a lot of other great hitting.)

The Cubs had the second best record in the league that year. That's what happens when even the bad pitchers win a lot of games.

Thus ends the completely bogus "competition" for the 5th starter spot.

As much as fans have beat down Eaton (and in many cases justified), the Phils absolutely need him to be a serviceable starter this year just as they need Gordon to be a serviceable setup man. I am convinced now that both of these guys don't give the Phils lead average numbers, they aren't going to make the playoffs.

If Hamels and Myers both win 15, Kendrick 10-12, Moyer 12-14, I'll take 14 from Eaton. That's a possible 66-70 wins from the starters. I'll take that. Enough said. End of debate.

On the flip side, if we don't get that, then we're in big trouble.

JAS - that's the best kind of pitcher. If someone is lights out 65% of the time, sort of suckyish another 20% and gets creamed the other 15%...
well, that guy could have an awful ERA, but a good W-L, especially if his team, like the Phils, is pretty consistent in their run production. An inconsistent pitcher is not as bad as an inconsistent run-scoring team.

That said, I don't think that either Eaton will give the Phils lead average numbers this year as a starter (say ERA around 4.75) or that Gordon will stay healthy/be effective.

FYI, there have been 13 seasons where a pitcher has started 20 or more games and has an ERA above 7 for the season. Horacio Ramirez accomplished this last year for the Mariners. He even got a raise over the winter. Perhaps it's because he also went 8-7. The above-mentioned Colby Lewis is the only other pitcher out of this group with a winning record.

Of course, the first to do it was a Phillie (Les Sweetland - 1930).

"kdon and Jack are arguing their usual straw man "Oh clout is saying an ERA of 7.00 is good."

Clout, your comment was pretty clear:

"Hell, his ERA can be 7.00 for all I care if he goes 14-10 this year."

Sorry, but that seems pretty clear that you are judging the value a pitcher based on W-L record, not ERA. There's a straw man alright, but you built him.

Also, I like your last post. If you were right, that pitchers actually decide when they do and do not care to give up runs, it would be fairly revolutionary.

I'm interested in your further research on ERA being a "misleading" stat.

How about this hypothetical.

Pitcher #1 is damn good but pitches for a shitty team so he doesn't win many games

Pitcher #2 sucks, but pitches for a good team who scores a lot of runs in his starts so he wins a lot of games.

Somehow I think my hypothetical turns up in real life baseball a little more often than yours does.

Patrone, before you end the debate, you may want to actually see what it was about first.

Sure I would be happy if Eaton won 14 games, but if he did it with a 7.00 ERA, it means that even a below average pitcher in the same spot could have won 17-20.

kdon, the problem, when considering Eaton is that he is what he is; he will always be Pitcher #2 who sucks, but pitches for a good team who scores a lot of runs in his starts so he wins a lot of games. (That's how he won 10 games last year.)

In the tight race we are about to face, Eaton is the crap we're gonna get. I would rather have an Eaton who goes 14 - 10 with an ERA of 5.80, than an Eaton who goes 9 - 15 with an ERA of 5.05. The extra five wins, when all is said and done, will be needed.

AND, if Eaton goes 14 - 10 with an ERA of 5.80, it does not make him a better pitcher than if he goes 10 - 14 with an ERA of 5.40, but the outcome for the team is certainly better.

My preference, incidently, is the both/and, not the either/or: Eaton with an ERA of, say, 4.80 and a W-L of 15 - 9. But we all know how likely it is that that Eaton will emerge.

He's never gonna be a good pitcher - but if he gets lucky enough to pitch well at the right times, I'll take it. I want the wins.

"I would rather have an Eaton who goes 14 - 10 with an ERA of 5.80, than an Eaton who goes 9 - 15 with an ERA of 5.05. "

Andy, I agree. But wthis is different than what clout and George said. They both said they didn't care what Eaton's ERA was, as long as he won 14.

As Mike H.'s numbers demonstrate, it would take a historically unique from the Phillies offense to turn a pitcher with a 7.00 ERA into a 14 game winner. If the Phillies did somehow manage such an impressive offensive output in Eaton's 25-30 starts, it would be a major waste if all they got were 14 wins out of it.

kdon: It may have been clear to you but many other posters here know exactly what I saying. If I can get 14-10 out of the 5 spot, I could care less about the other stuff. It has nothing to do with the quality of the pitcher himself.

As for your other laughable statement that there's no such thing as pitchers who toughen up in the clutch and relax when they can I can only assume you've had no contact whatsoever with anyone in professional baseball.

You honestly don't think there such a thing as pitchers who consistently come up big in key situations? I wonder if Jack Morris would agree with you.

How did I miss this gem:

"If his team isn't scoring he's at his best. When his team jumps to a big lead, he relaxes and gives up 5 or 6 runs. Best of all, he has the heart of a lion."

WTF?

so clout - what you're really saying is that you want the team to score 8 or more runs every time with the 5th spot in the rotation, and if they don't, that is just bad luck for the pitcher of record, and in turn, the team in general.

Tim: Wow, are you high? It's too early man. I didn't say anything close to that.

Poor kdon. He's just baffled today.

"If I can get 14-10 out of the 5 spot, I could care less about the other stuff."

But why, when a pitcher with even a 5-5.50 ERA would win more?

And I didn't deny the existence of clutch pitching, I just said I think it is less prevelant than pitchers whose true talent is obscured by wins and losses.

In other words, there are more Adam Eatons than Jack Morrises.

I mean, there is a reason why Morris had that rep: it was rare. And whatever it was, Eaton sure as hell doesn't have it.

JAS/Clout: I basically agree with you. ERA is by no means a perfect measure of a pitcher's performance and win-loss record is by no means meaningless. An example close to home is Clay Condrey, who had a handful of spectacularly bad games last year, but all of them in games where we were already ahead or behind by insurmountable margins. On the other hand, in close games, he was very solid and, as a result, he managed to post a 5-0 record.

That said, it would be pretty difficult for a starting pitcher to have an ERA above, say, 5.50, without a fairly consistent level of ineptitude.

Andy: You and others are all missing the point- there is no "Eaton who goes 14-10 with an ERA of 5.80" and an "Eaton who goes 9-15 with an ERA of 5.05". There is only Adam Eaton, who will probably have like a 5.25 ERA. That's it. The wins and losses are related to 2 things: his ERA, and his teams offense. His ERA is not good. If the record is good, then it will be because his team scores a lot of runs in his starts. Simple as that. This whole thing is retarded. Eaton is not a good pitcher, and thats all you need to know.

Clout's hypothetical situation is irrelevant. It's as simple as this: the pitcher with the better isolated numbers (ERA, ERA+, Defense Independent stats, K rates, etc)that he can control is the better pitcher. Now, of course a pitcher who has the mental toughness to pitch through the pressure of a big-game situation is worth more. But the better pitcher is the better pitcher, won-loss record be damned. This whole cyclical argument is a joke.

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