First Pitch: Erik Bedard, Kevin Correia, and Trusting Advanced Metrics

Erik Bedard had a strong start to the 2012 season. Then he went down with an injury in early May and hasn’t been the same since. Was it a result of the injury? Only Bedard can really say for sure, and he’s saying he’s healthy. After tonight’s start, Bedard has a 4.80 ERA on the season. However, his xFIP is 4.21. That’s not great, but it’s much better than a 4.80 ERA.

On the season, Bedard has a 8.1 K/9 and a 4.1 BB/9 ratio. The walks are a concern, but the strikeouts are a good thing. He’s been unlucky with a .318 BABIP, while his strand rate and HR/FB ratio are both normal.

Then let’s take a look at another pitcher. Kevin Correia has a 4.34 ERA on the season. His xFIP is 4.78. Correia has a 3.6 K/9 and a 2.7 BB/9 ratio on the year. He’s been very lucky, with a .252 BABIP and a 74% strand rate, although his 14% home run ratio is unlucky.

Two pitchers in almost the exact opposite situation. Bedard is pitching like he should have an ERA just above 4.00. Instead he has an ERA closer to 5.00. Correia has the ERA closer to 4.00, while his advanced metrics suggest he should be closer to 5.00.

When it comes to advanced metrics, people tend to be pessimistic about what they say. A guy is putting up lucky numbers? He’s bound for a regression. A guy is putting up unlucky numbers? Must be something wrong that the numbers aren’t telling us.

I tend to trust the advanced metrics, good or bad. But I think there is cause for concern with Bedard. If you break his ERA and xFIP down by month, you’ll find a disturbing trend that his season numbers don’t show.

April: 2.48 ERA / 4.08 xFIP

May: 3.91 / 3.28

June: 6.58 / 4.70

July: 9.64 / 5.05 (Doesn’t include tonight’s start)

He’s still unlucky in June and July. But even if he performs as expected, he’s not going to be pitching any better than Correia is expected to pitch.

I wouldn’t expect the Pirates to move from Bedard. I’d imagine they’ll give him some rest over the All-Star break, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they push him back in the second half rotation. But if he continues pitching this way, I could see them moving on from him prior to the deadline. The Pirates have three legitimate options in Triple-A with Jeff Locke, Rudy Owens, and Justin Wilson. They also have Brad Lincoln in the bullpen, although at this point they might be better off going with one of the Indianapolis left-handers rather than switching Lincoln’s role around so frequently.

It could be that they’ll need two of those pitchers, with Correia a question mark. And if Bedard keeps pitching like tonight, we could see one of those Indianapolis left-handers before the end of the month.

Links and Notes

**The Pirates lost 6-5 to the Giants.

**Pirates Notebook: Bedard Not Same Pitcher Since Injury.

**Prospect Watch: Owens Struggles, Big Day For Altoona Hitters.

**Hanson, Polanco Play Big Role in West Virginia Win.

**Owens Shaky As Indians Fall To Clippers.

**Alen Hanson Leads Baseball America’s Hot Sheet With Sano Comparison.

**Neal Huntington: The Most Likely GM to Make a Trade?

**Chris Leroux and Doug Slaten Outrighted to Triple-A.

**White Sox Claim Daniel Moskos.

**Andrew McCutchen Putting Up MVP Numbers.

  • Tim, if NH wanted to make a splash, shouldn’t he consider someone like Upton more so than Greinke or Hamels? Who do you think would hang up first: Hanson, Polanco, Grossman and Cain for J. Upton? Would you give up that much?

    • Replace Hanson w/ a pitcher and I’d be OK with that. I just feel that Hanson has made himself close to untouchable at this point. He is the ONLY SS w/ a stick in the system.

  • Greatone1210
    July 7, 2012 9:22 am

    Bedard commented last night that the Giants were “hitting good pitches” and that he thought he was pitching well. I was very disappointed in his attitude towards his performace. Obviously something is wrong at this point in his game and needs corrected one way or another. I understand he needs to remain confident in himself and I agree but he needs to be realistic about his performance. I found it somewhat insulting to tell the media and fans he thinks he is pitching okay. If nothing else, there are options in Indy.

  • Tim….I agree completely. However, I am hoping KC STAYS lucky and EB starts GETTING LUCKY….lol