It is time to look at the final component of the 2009 vs. 2010 series: the pitching. Thus far, we have seen an improvement in the offense, but a defensive decline. For the pitching element, I am using Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP). This removes defense from the equation, looking only at strikeouts, walks and home runs. We already examined the defense, so there is no reason to account for it twice by using ERA. By plugging innings pitched and FIP into the following formula, we can find pitching runs above or below average. The average FIP in 2009 was 4.32.
[(IP * 4.32)/9] – [(IP * FIP)/9]
Here are the 2009 Pirates pitchers.
Overall, Pirates hurlers came in at about 26 runs below average. Below are the 2010 pitchers. Included are each pitcher’s CHONE-projected FIP, plus an expected inning total. Inning counts are based on the CHONE projections, plus some adjustments that I made to make everything fit correctly. I divided this batch of pitchers into starters and relievers (average FIP: starter – 4.44, reliever – 4.1). You may notice that I have Kevin Hart in both sections, as I expect him to get some work both in the rotation and out of the bullpen this year.
The Bucs are projected to be slightly above average this season, with the starting rotation providing the bulk of that strength. The team should see an improvement of about three wins due to the pitching. Paul Maholm projects to throw the most innings and post the best FIP among starters. Charlie Morton should also have a solid season, with Zach Duke and Kevin Hart turning in productive campaigns. Ross Ohlendorf will be the big disappointment on the mound this year. In the bullpen, Octavio Dotel and Joel Hanrahan should be the top relievers. This is an unspectacular group, but there should not be any huge holes.
We have one more installment remaining in the 2009 vs. 2010 series. Check back in the near future, as I tie everything together for an overall 2010 team expectation.