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Just The Sports: Re: Randy Johnson Not An Ace

Just The Sports

Friday, August 11, 2006

Re: Randy Johnson Not An Ace

Obviously the New York sports media has yet to get this memo since they still refer to Johnson as the ace of the Yankees so I will do my part to spread the word in the hopes of imparting a slice of reality to these disillusioned people. The term staff ace is one usually based in past performances and commonly ignores what the present is shouting at us. The bigger the name and the contract and the faster the fastball was (in the past, usually), the more of an ace a pitcher becomes, data to the contrary be damned. Such can be the only foundation for even thinking to refer to Randy Johnson as an ace.

Randy Johnson is not the ace of the Yankees pitching staff. Right now, Mike Mussina is, narrowly edging out Chien-Ming Wang for that honor. Johnson is not even the second-best starter on the team or the third. He is the fourth-best and if not for the Yankees bestowing upon him the fourth-best run support in the majors (7.46 runs a start), his record would be much worse than the 12-9 mark it is right now. Based on the historical win-loss records of pitchers who have turned in similar performances, Baseball Prospectus has Johnson with an expected win-loss of 8.3-10.6. My basis for ranking him fourth, last among pitchers who have started regularly for the Yankees this season, is founded in his SNLVAR, which tells how many wins a pitcher would contribute over a replacement pitcher if he had received league average run support, but Johnson is fourth in other categories such as run average, fair run average, and pitching runs above average.

One of Randy's biggest problems, as far as results go, is his strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.86, the lowest it has been since 1994 meaning more balls are being put into play. Johnson has also allowed a high batting average on balls in play (career .301 BABIP) so the more balls are being put into play, the more hits he is going to give up. Another failing of Johnson is his inability to strand runners this year. His 61.1 LOB% is the lowest of his career. And if that were not bad enough, his home run rate is the highest mark since he first started pitching in the majors. Suffice it to say, Johnson has found a way to set career highs and career lows in all the wrong categories.

If Joe Torre were smart, when the playoffs game, he would have Mussina as his Game 1 starter and Chien-Ming Wang as his Game 2 starter and maybe Johnson as his Game 3 starter. Otherwise, he would be hard-pressed to prove to me that much about winning the series. Like my opinion counts to him, though.


  • what is with randy man, he looked so promising

    By Blogger Adam, at 12:39 AM  

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