May 17, 2010

Mini Series Preview: Colorado Rockies (19-18) at Starlin Castro (16-22)

This is only a 2-game series so I'll make this preview brief. Here are the Cubs and Rockies team numbers, with their NL rank in parentheses

wOBA.337 (6th).341 (4th)
UZR-3.3 (11th)-0.6 (8th)
Starter FIP4.05 (8th)3.73 (4th)
Starter xFIP4.17 (8th)3.81 (4th)
Relief FIP3.50 (3rd)4.23 (12th)
Relief xFIP4.42 (14th)4.34 (11th)

Wow - I don't think I've ever seen as big of a FIP-xFIP split as the Rockies bullpen. They've been incredibly lucky with the HR ball, even more so considering where they play half their games. They've had decent luck on balls in play too, with a .283 BABIP in that cavern of a ballpark (contrast with the Cubs' pen's .335 BABIP)

Pitching matchups

Monday: Aaron Cook, RHP (4.58, 4.87, 4.37) vs Randy Wells, RHP (3.02, 3.66, 4.18), 7:05 PM CT
Cook is a groundball machine, guys who FIP tends to undervalue. He's pitched incredibly poorly this season, and from the looks of it a big part of it is his non-sinker fastball. It's tough to tell from Fangraphs' pitch value chart, since they combine all fastballs into one category, but he's seen a 10 to 15 run per 100 pitches drop in effectiveness. His secondary pitches have never been special either. He's still getting plenty of GB so it's probably his 4-seamer. Wells has done a great job at keeping up his stellar K rate, posting a full 2 K/9 higher than his breakout year last season, while walking even less batters and allowing fewer HRs. His bloated 4.57 ERA is pretty much entirely a factor of his .348 BABIP. I'm a broken record on this, but great work by Wells and Rothschild for avoiding the sophomore slump so far.

Tuesday: Jhoulys Chacin, RHP (3.54, 3.60, 4.65) vs Fail Whale, RHP (4.18, 4.26, 4.35), 7:05 pm CT
Who is this Chacin guy? I was never high on the Rockies rotation except for, of course, Ubaldo Jimenez. I saw the guy pitch in person last year and even from the upper deck I could tell how electric his stuff is. It's too bad the Cubs aren't facing him in this series, because I'd love to see it. I was surprised to see that he threw a no-hitter though. His stuff is as electric as Z's once was (with even MORE velocity) but he has an even bigger tendency to throw too many pitches early in the game. But I digress - I'm supposed to be writing about Chacin (dying laughing). He filled in for Jorge De La Rosa after he went down with a hand injury a few weeks ago and has pitched quite well despite the lousy projection. He gets a decent number of strikeouts and groundballs (a good fit for Coors) and has good projectability - he should be a #3 starter at worst going forward. Maybe not this year though. Silva, meanwhile, is on a roll, and is 4-0 despite throwing three straight starts that are much mroe typical of what we should expect from him - a total line of 16.1 IP, 25 hits, 11 runs, 11 strikeouts, 6 walks (more than I expected), 28:20 GB/FB ratio.