Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Should the Cubs sign Ben Sheets?

Jack Moore from Fangraphs had this to say about Ben Sheets.

Let me preface by saying that I use to hate Ben Sheets. I hated him like the coyote hated the road runner. But my hatred would subside if the Cubs signed him.

In my opinion, the Cubs need another starter to replace losing Harden to free agency because, currently, our starting rotation heading into 2010 looks like this:

1.)Zambrano
2.)Dempster
3.)Lilly*
4.)Wells
5.)Marshall/Samardzija (who in my opinion is NOT ready)
*=currently rehabbing from arthoscopic surgery on his throwing shoulder. click here to read more.
Taking a look at our starting rotation, the Cubs pitching staff is solid 1-3. But we really do not know what we're getting with Randy Wells. The 5th starter position still seems to be up for grabs (though us here at CubsStats think Marshall can fill in nicely if he's given some consistency at the position).

However, Dempster, Zambrano, Lilly have each been hurt and I would GUARANTEE that one of them will go down next year for a significant amount of time. Then suddenly, the Cubs rotation will shrink. With an injury or two to the big three, the Cubs could find themselves plugging in different pitchers throughout the season and/or promoting someone who just isn't ready (Jeff Samardzija) just to stop the bleeding.

Sheets would come cheap(er) and if we take a closer look at some of his stats and compare them to some of the guys in the Cubs rotation, we see that a risk of signing Sheets may be worth the reward:

(as a disclaimer, I do not calculate wins/losses/era into my measurements of the production of pitchers; more on this in a later post)


K/9
BB/9
K/BB
HR/9
SO
FIP
xFIP
Carlos Zambrano
7.68
4.05
1.90
0.73
1324
3.95
4.10
Ben Sheets

7.60
1.97
3.85
1.01
1206
3.56
3.55
Ryan Dempster
7.57
4.28
1.77
0.96
1366
4.35
4.14
Ted Lilly
7.72
3.17
2.44
1.33
1308
4.45
4.34
K/9 = Strikeouts per 9 innings
BB/9 = Walks per 9 innings
K/BB = Strikeouts per walk
HR/9 = Home Runs per 9 innings
SO = Strikeouts
FIP = Fielding Independent Pitching, a measure of all those things for which a pitcher is specifically responsible. FIP helps you understand how well a pitcher pitched, regardless of how well his fielders fielded.
xFIP = Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (home runs allowed are pretty much a function of flyballs allowed and home park, so xFIP is based on the average number of home runs allowed per outfield fly)
Comparing the Cubs rotation to Ben Sheets, it's pretty obvious that he would add depth to the Cubs starting rotation. His walks per 9 innings (BB/9) is the lowest out of the four guys and his strikeouts to walk ratio (K/BB) is the most of the four pitchers. Sure, maybe his numbers are skewed a little bit because of his injuries, but I would think that would strengthen the point of signing Sheets because despite his injuries, he still remains a solid pitcher (some would say even better than some of the Cubs own starters).

The number one issue with Sheets has always been and, will always be his health. One can only hope that he remains healthy enough so that he can contribute to a team down the stretch and into October.

Will he win you 20 games? No. But he will provide you with an addition that, when healthy, can be dominant.

And dominance is something the Cubs are lacking.

2 comments:

  1. One name I think you might be leaving out prematurely is Tom Gorzelanny, who pitched quite well (for a number five starter) late in the season. Of course, with the addition of Carlos Silva, I'm thinking this whole equation goes out the window. :(

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah Gorzey did pretty well last year for us. Maybe between him/marshall there can be a healthy competition in spring training for that 5th spot.

    I already dislike Carlos Silva.

    ReplyDelete