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Why Nate Robertson Might Be Better Then We Think

Nate Robertson had a solid season last year, but his record didn’t neccesarily reflect it.  He finished the season at a dead even 13-13 and while he posted a rock solid 3.84 ERA and a 137/67 strikeout to walk ratio in a career high 208 2/3 innings he may have been even better then what those numbers indicate.

Baseball Prospectus tracks a statistic call pen support which tracks the number of runs that the bullpen gave up that ended up getting tacked on to the starter as runs.  Nate Robertson finished with a fourth worst 4.336 pen support in all of baseball.  And while Robertson does share some of the blame because those runners reached base because of him, you also have to ding the pen for letting them score.  Regardless, if you take those four runs off of his earned run total, you’re talking about an ERA of closer to 3.66, which would have put him right behind Justin Verlander (3.63) in the top ten in the American League.

For comparison sake, Verlander was second worst on the team with a 2.598 pen support.  The pen actually helped out Jeremy Bonderman with almost one run saved while Mike Maroth was the biggest beneficiary of the Tigers solid bullpen with a -1.581.  For Zach Miner and Kenny Rogers, the effect was pretty much neutral.

While Robertson’s W-L record in 2006 was worse than expected considering his ERA, he may have been fortunate in other respects. His name shows up iin this article — http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/baseball/mlb/02/19/fangraphs.projections/1.html — as a pitcher that several projection systems all agree should be expected to have an ERA in 2007 of about 4.20 – 4.40, which is higher than last year’s ERA.

Posted by Michael on March 17th, 2007 at 6:33 am

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