This is the first pitching update I have posted for 2008. I've decided to only post the statistics for starting pitching at this point. There just are not enough games yet in the books to make the relief statistics very meaningful yet, plus I am still trying to figure out how I will rework my relief points system from last year to make is a bit better (in the SABR sense).
I have made a few changes to the starting pitching chart. I will only include statistics from NCAA games, so my figures will not always agree with those posted at the KU website as they also take into account NAIA games. I also decided to simply track quality starts against all teams rather than limit this statistic to only RPI Top-100 programs. As last year, I am only using statistics accumulated in starts for this table. So, even though Andres Esquibel actually leads the team in innings pitched (!) only his performance in his lone start will be reflected below.
After the table I will add a few comments in the "read more" section if you care to go further. Hope you enjoy the numbers. Many baseball fans live for this stuff. Feedback is always appreciated.
A few things jump out at me looking over these numbers. The first is how dominant Shaeffer Hall has been so far. Those are just jaw-dropping numbers. He has been helped by getting the lightest schedule of the starters. Of his four starts only Missouri State is likely to finish with an RPI under 150. Just the same, Wow.
Nick Czyz got off to a very poor start in Hawaii but pitched competitively at Vanderbilt and was excellent in his last two starts vs. NDSU and at Texas. I understand from Tom Hedrick that he was dealing with a nagging sore arm for most of last year and is only now feeling back up to full strength. His BB/K ratio must be drawing some scouting attention. The main obstacle for Czyz this year will probably be economizing his pitch counts to allow him to go deeper into games. If Nick pitches as well the rest of this season as he did in Austin he is going to accumulate some Big-12 victorys.
Wally Marciel has been the KU pitcher garnering the most attention nationwide so far this year. He even has his own nickname now at Rivals.com. Marciel pitched well in his first three starts but did not perform well this weekend in Texas. His peripherals do not stack up well with Hall and Czyz, but I think I am safe in saying that he is recognized as the staff ace at this point and will continue to be sent to the mound by Price with confidence.
Sam Freeman does not lend himself well to statistical breakdowns like this. His overall numbers went from average to poor on the strength of one disastrous start vs. NDSU, but even with that start set aside his numbers do not impress. The funny thing is, Sam has gotten the job done three of the four times he has been sent out there and, while it may sound like a cop-out analysis, Freeman is a better pitcher than his numbers. I look for his strikeout totals to rise throughout the year. I also expect he will develop the stamina and arsenal to go deeper as the year goes on.
This week KU will play eight games in five days. I expect Coach Price will call on Esquibel, Garcia and one more reliever to start during this stretch. I am not sure who the #7 starter will be but I wouldn't be surprised to learn it is Matt Lane. Just the fact that I can name six starters without pause really speaks to the amazing job Price has done recruiting arms over the last two years. This weekend Texas ran out of pitchers on Sunday while Kansas still had fresh arms ready in the pen. Who would have ever thought such a situation would ever develop in a UT-KU series just two years ago.