Posted by Dan
There seems to be a concensus that Jeff Suppan has been horrible this season, and I’m sorry to say that I disagree. I will preface this by saying I was happy when they signed Suppan, and I’m probably less disappointed than some. I think the average fan probably set their expectations too high after Suppans post season last year, and the amount of money involved in his contract. Here are some of Suppan’s stats from 2005-2007:
K/9 = 5.2 – 4.8 – 4.5
BB/9 = 2.9 – 3.2 – 3.1
HR/9= 1.10 – 0.98 – 0.78
FIP = 4.48 – 4.68 – 4.49
So, his K rate, BB rate, and HR rate are all very similar. His K-rate has been declining the past 3 years, now to a pedestrian 4.5/9. FIP (stands for Fielder Independant Pitching) is defined by The Hardball Times as, “a measure of all those things for which a pitcher is specifically responsible. The formula is (HR*13+(BB+HBP)*3-K*2)/IP, plus a league-specific factor (usually around 3.2) to round out the number to an equivalent ERA number. FIP helps you understand how well a pitcher pitched, regardless of how well his fielders fielded.” For example, in 2005 Suppans FIP of 4.48 exceeded his actual ERA by nearly 1 full run (3.57), which means he pitched more along the lines of a 4.50 ERA than a 3.50 ERA. Suppan is a product of the Cardinals defense, which is better than that of the Brewers. That said, this year his FIP of 4.49 is lower than his actual 5.08 ERA meaning that he’s probably due for the same statistical correction that I correctly predicted for Capuano and Bush (not to toot my own horn).
That said, I still don’t hate the Suppan deal. I trust that Melvin and Antonasio wouldn’t have brought in Suppan if they felt it would cost us the ability to extend some of our better/young players (Sheets, Fielder, Weeks, etc.). I could be wrong about that, though. For the year, Suppan is 24th in MLB in Inning Pitched, and his durability is a big reason he was paid as well as he was. To be anything more than slightly disappointed in Suppan this year, is probably the product of setting expectations too high.