Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wandy Rodriguez: Breakout star in 2010?

Rodriguez, who is on the Astros, was amazing in the final couple of months of 2009, with the exception of 1 terrible start on August 14 at Milwaukee, where he gave up 10 ER over 4 IP:

14-12, 205 IP, 3.02 ERA, 191 SO, 63 BB, 3.06 SO/BB

July-October: Final 17 starts (minus 1)
8-6, 1.97 ERA, 99 SO, 21 BB, 4.71 SO/BB

One concern about whether he is capable of becoming a star is that he is 31 years old and that seems a little old to finally become an elite pitcher.  It does happen, though: one recent example of a late bloomer was Chris Carpenter, who was mediocre until his late 20's, and excepting injuries, has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since he turned 30.  Randy Johnson also struggled with control issues until he hit 30, and then became of the all-time greats once he improved his control.

Rodriguez's steady improvement in his SO/BB ratio is an encouraging sign for his 2010 performance:

2005: 1.51
2006: 1.56
2007: 2.55
2008: 2.98
2009: 3.06
Final 17 starts (minus 1): 4.71

Based on how he finished last season, it seems very possible that he could to reach 200 IP, 200 SO, 3.20 ERA and 4.0 SO/BB.  If he put up those numbers, he would join an elite group of pitchers:

200 IP, 200 SO, 4.0 SO/BB, 3.20 ERA (2006-2009)
Johan Santana 2006
Roy Halladay 2008-09
Javier Vasquez 2009
Dan Haren 2009
Zack Greinke 2009

He's been constantly improving for a couple of years, so his impressive 2nd half doesn't appear to be a fluke.  If he stays healthy, and the Astros aren't terrible, he could make a run at 20 wins.

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