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Just The Sports: Why Arroyo Has Gotten Worse

Just The Sports

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Why Arroyo Has Gotten Worse

This post will be in direct contrast to the one I wrote earlier about why Bronson Arroyo is better this year because his better will not last much longer. His performance today against the Atlanta Braves where he gave up six runs in 4.3 innings pitched and threw 105 pitches is more likely to be a harbinger of bad things to come than an outlier start when this season is over for Arroyo.

One indicator of why his performance on the mound is likely to digress, and one I ignored earlier is his fielding-independent ERA, a stat created by Tom Tango to achieve a truer sense of how good a pitcher is doing. Arroyo's fielding-independent ERA is 3.73 while his "real" ERA is 2.79, an indicator that his "real" ERA will be "real(ly)" regressing.

The second red flag for Arroyo is the stress he has endured in his starts. His 2006 stress of 28 is the most he has had in three years. In 2005, he had a stress of 8 and in 2004, it was 7 so you can see just how large of a jump it has taken. The problem with Arroyo's handling by the Cincinnati Reds are the nine category 3 starts (110-121 pitches thrown) he has had this year. That is more category 3 starts than he had the last two years combined. For a pitcher who is not used to such abuse, he will no doubt see a decline in production.

Lest you think every pitcher who has a high level of stress will suffer from the effects of it, there are a number of major league pitchers who can hold up to high stress levels. The other pitches who are leading the league in pitcher abuse points (Livan Hernandez, Carlos Zambrano, Jason Schmidt, and Barry Zito) have been in the top 15 over the past 3 seasons and have still had a reasonable amount of success. The concern I have is that Arroyo will not be able to hold up.


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