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 Post subject: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:19 pm 
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Lots of credit has been thrown around to multiple places for this remarkable start, but one person I haven't heard mentioned much is Ray Searage.

When so many pitchers make dramatic improvements under his tutelage, I don't think there can be any doubt that he is doing a great job. Burnett, Morton, Gomez, Mazzaro, Melancon, Liriano, Locke, and the list goes on I'm sure, have all seen dramatic improvement under his watch.

I hear him on 93.7 The Fan occasionally. At first I was skeptical. But the more I listen to him, and the more I see his results, the more of a believer I become.


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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:21 pm 
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He deserves a raise.... 8-) 8-)


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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:47 pm 
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Speak of the devil...

http://triblive.com/sports/dejankovacev ... z2XoAaOLed


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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:21 pm 
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Thanks I hadn't seen that.


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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:03 pm 
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So weird, I was just thinking about this in the car today and was coming to say something about it. I heard a caller to a talk show call in and talk about how great NH is at getting bullpen guys... But how much of that is NH and how much of that is Searage?

In all honesty, almost every pitcher they have picked up over past few years has done much, much better than expected. So is NH good at GETTING these guys, or does Searage deserve the credit for making them what they are?>

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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:27 pm 
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I have no idea how to feel about Searage. Mostly, I don't know if he deserves credit for this turnaround or if the improved players do.

I feel like if he's responsible for the success this year, and not the talent level of the pitching staff increasing, you also have to give him blame for the collapses of the pitching staffs the last 2 years.

And that's kind of an uneasy feeling, IMO.

I have no idea if it's the players or Searage. I like to think it's just an improvement in player talent level (i.e. Liriano replacing Correia) coupled with a really strong defense and pitcher friendly park, but it could very well be a magical formula that Searage has found too.

Feeling as though it's the players makes me feel more confident that it's sustainable, so that's the strategy I go with. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:33 pm 
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Searage managed to get some good, consistent, inning eating starts and wins out of Corriea.

ZM

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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:37 pm 
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ZelieMike wrote:
Searage managed to get some good, consistent, inning eating starts and wins out of Corriea.

ZM


This is true, BUT, the Twins are too. He's having a better year there than he ever had here. Which is to say, he's completely and entirely average once again so I'm still thinking/hoping that swapping him out and replacing him with a guy like Liriano is the true difference.

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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:48 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
ZelieMike wrote:
Searage managed to get some good, consistent, inning eating starts and wins out of Corriea.

ZM


This is true, BUT, the Twins are too. He's having a better year there than he ever had here. Which is to say, he's completely and entirely average once again so I'm still thinking/hoping that swapping him out and replacing him with a guy like Liriano is the true difference.


Furthermore it was in the second half that Correia really struggled the past two years with the Pirates. Hitters started taking advantage of the gopher balls as the season went on. The numbers he's currently putting up with Minnesota are probably on par with where he was at this point in the seasons with the Pirates. Actually he was probably a little better in 2011 before being horrible the last few months. Ultimately he likely quit on the team when he was moved to the bullpen and wasn't shy about hating it (and even though I was fully supportive of it, I don't really blame him for wanting to start). He was an inverse Adam LaRoche when he was here. I'd be willing to bet as the season goes in his numbers with the Twins will look more like how he finished with us.


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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:02 pm 
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Yup he had an ERA+ of 78 and 89 with us. 100 this year with MIN. That'll probably drop in the 2nd half. Actually managed a 97 in 198 IP with SD two years before he came here, which is the best he's had in quite a while.

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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:29 pm 
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There are a lot of sample size issues and other issues, of course, when it comes to comparisons. But two of this year's SP's have interesting ERA+ stats:

LIRIANO:

2013 - 161
2012 - 79
2011 - 80
AL Career - 96 (840 IP's)

GOMEZ:

2013 - 130
2012 - 65
2011 - 88
AL Career - 76 (207 IP's)


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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:58 pm 
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Yeah. Crazy thing is I think Liriano might be relatively sustainable. He has a tiny HR Rate, but he's a lefty pitching in the RHB nightmare that is PNC Park. The BABIP isn't out of line with his career numbers, the GB rate is in line with his career, and the strand right is inflated a bit but likely helped by the defense behind him. He's going to get bombed at some point, all pitchers have a bad outing, but I think by and large he isn't a big time regression candidate. PNC and the defense are too friendly for his profile (good 2 seamer, lefty), IMO.

Gomez and Locke still worry me. BABIP under .225 just screams regression, great defense or not. Too few guys have ever done it to expect it to happen to two in the same year (but can definitely still hope). But, I think Locke's increased K rate is very impressive and I think they have reasonable GB rates and HR rates to not expect a complete tanking from both.

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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:07 pm 
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Gomez i think is very lucky...a lot of hard hit balls right at guys. Locke, not so. I can't figure him out, and i hope it stays that way

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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:27 pm 
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I just started a thread about Locke's FIP.

His FIP since April 23, 2013 is 3.20. In other words, darn good.


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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:30 pm 
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Yeah a regression from Locke means he goes from ace to very solid #3. That won't kill you at all. The problem in the past was a guy adds on 1.5+ of ERA and he goes to a fringy #5 (like Correia). The improved K rate has really helped Locke out, IMO.

Gomez is definitely the worrisome one. But, he's likely back to the long man anyway once AJ returns.

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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:38 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
I just started a thread about Locke's FIP.

His FIP since April 23, 2013 is 3.20. In other words, darn good.


Yes, he's been excellent. At worst, with the improved K rate you're likely looking at the FIP going up to like a 3.5-3.6 if the BABIP normalizes a bit.

Might not even occur this year. There have been 8 guys with BABIP below .225 for a season since 1980. It'd just be very difficult to repeat. But if he even settles in as a guy around .260 or .270 that's exceptional.

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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:41 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
I have no idea how to feel about Searage. Mostly, I don't know if he deserves credit for this turnaround or if the improved players do.

I feel like if he's responsible for the success this year, and not the talent level of the pitching staff increasing, you also have to give him blame for the collapses of the pitching staffs the last 2 years.


Your post pretty much perfectly sums up my thoughts on Searage. As with the debate regarding managers themselves, there's always a paradox in the idea of giving credit and/or criticizing an individual or their staff who oversees progress and regression given that these are professional athletes playing at an elite level and ultimately control their own destiny.

That being said, I think Searage does deserve a lot of credit during his tenure up to this point regardless of how things really shook their way out. When he took over for Kerrigan three years ago, Kerrigan coached one of the worst pitching staffs in franchise history. Not that that is all his fault given the staff he had to work with, but it included Maholm's worst season, Duke's worst season and a comical, nightmare-ish season from Morton (not to mention relying on a guy like Brian Burres to make a ton of spot starts in a season -- remember when we didn't have the farm system we currently do?). The team as a whole also displayed increasingly poor fundamentals under Russell and his staff. If you play it black and white, then Searage certainly deserves credit for turning both Karstens and Morton around, two pitchers who had had little to no success prior. Maholm bounced back with his best season yet, and at least early on he got good results from McDonald. 2012 was a mixed bag. Three veterans who had already achieved a substantial amount of success were brought in in Burnett, Bedard and Wandy. Burnett did perform better than I think anyone realistically anticipated. McDonald had a repeat second half implosion. Correia was Correia. Karstens showed his success from the year before was sustainable.

Ultimately we obviously don't know how significant the coaching and influence really is. But as it stands he gets a glaring passing grade. I agree that this year he is benefiting from another great FA signing in Liriano, and the success of Locke and Gomez is obviously staggering. As has been the case for going on three years now, the true evaluation will be how the second half plays out.


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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:01 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
Yes, he's been excellent. At worst, with the improved K rate you're likely looking at the FIP going up to like a 3.5-3.6 if the BABIP normalizes a bit.

But the FIP stat does not rely upon balls in play. That stat is an indicator of how a pitcher is "truly" performing based upon things he controls, and the data show that Locke is doing very well - 3.20 FIP well. That FIP would rank him just a tick below Strasburg, and ahead of Madison Bumgarner, Justin Masterson and James Shields.


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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:18 pm 
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A higher BABIP, IMO, would probably decrease the innings pitched. Right now the strand rate is incredibly high and the BABIP low. Pretty much, facing the minimum batters possible.

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 Post subject: Re: The Pitching Coach
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:31 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
A higher BABIP, IMO, would probably decrease the innings pitched. Right now the strand rate is incredibly high and the BABIP low.

The BABIP is low for almost all Pirates pitchers due to (1) a very good defense, and (2) their use of shifts. The Pirates rank 6th in the majors thus far in UZR, 2nd in out-of-zone (OOZ) plays, i.e., plays that go beyond league expected range, and 3rd in range rating. All of these metrics show that the Pirates have a very, VERY good defense.

The defense and shifts are going to result in lower-than-expected BABIP. It is likely to regress a bit, but the increased K rate among Pirates pitchers (which will improve when AJ returns), along with the defense and shifts, will mitigate the regression.


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