Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ricky Nolasco's ERA should fall dramatically

                                                                    (image by wikipedia)
Ricky Nolasco (2009): 13-9, 5.06 ERA, 9.45 SO/9, 2.14 BB/9, 185 IP

185 IP, 9.45 SO/9, 2.15 BB/9 (Since 1900)
Sandy Koufax 1965
Roger Clemens 1988
John Smoltz 1996
Curt Schilling 1997-98, 2001-02
Pedro Martinez 1999, 2000, 2002
Mark Prior 2003

Randy Johnson 2004
Ben Sheets 2004
Johan Santana 2004, 2007

Zack Greinke 2009

Javier Vasquez 2009
Ricky Nolasco 2009

That is clearly impressive company for Nolasco to be in, and it shows how unbelieveable that he still finished with an ERA of 5.06.  The next highest ERA of any pitcher on that list was 3.33 from Johan Santana in 2007 and 14 of the 18 had an ERA under 3.00 in those seasons. 

His inflated ERA was mainly the result of being hammered mercilessly by National League hitters in April and May:

April: 6.92 ERA, .327 BAA
May: 12.23, .365
June: 1.91, .221
July: 3.51, .228
August: 5.50, .243
September: 4.15, .221

In 2008, he was 15-8, with a 3.52 ERA and a SO/BB of 4.43 (his SO/BB in 2009 was also 4.43).  Someone who strikes out nearly 10 hitters per 9 innings while only walking 2 should not have an ERA of 5.00.  If he doesn't get off to such a slow start, he could emerge as an elite pitcher this season. 

The Marlins should be contenders, considering that they were 87-75 last year and have even been spending some money of late, and Nolasco will have to be a huge part of it.


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