In order to mark the glorious return of baseball, I thought it only appropriate to pay homage to one of the greatest movies of our generation: Bloodsport. If you are one of the people that agrees with the 33% score on Rotten Tomatoes, then I’m going to have to fight you. Disclaimer: I’ve watched the movie hundreds of times, so that pretty much means I have a black belt in all the martial arts disciplines and will no doubt kick your ass. How could you not like a movie with lines like this or or scene with this? C’mon man!!!
So, why Bloodsport? Isn’t it obvious? The participants in both are professionals of the highest order. The anticipation for the start of each respective tournament or season is euphoric. There are a plethora of different styles that are utilized in order to win. And as in every competition, there is a hierarchy among the contestants. There are the creme de la creme, Chicago Cubs/Frank Dux and New York Yankess/Chong Li. Then there are the punching bags. These are the ones I want to focus on for this article, the starting pitching rotations for baseball in particular. But before I get into that, here is this week’s muscial interlude. If this doesn’t get you hyped up, then I’m going to have to fight you.
Alright, so let’s delve into the chumps. In Bloodsport, I’d argue that those two would be Sen Ling and the guy that fights the monkey-style fighter. Sen Ling looks like a veteran and enters the fight composed. He launches some competent attacks but doesn’t connect. Then he gets the sh*t kicked out of him. To his credit, he’s able to land some punches before getting thrown out of the ring. The guy that fights the monkey-style fighter just looks wack. Is this his first fight ever? The dude tries to throw a right hook six feet in the air when his opponent is crouched down four feet below. SMH. Young and clueless.
Now, the two worst starting pitching rotations in baseball are the Padres and Reds. The Padres are rolling out Jhoulys Chacin, Clayton Richard, Trevor Cahill, Jered Weaver, and Luis Perdomo. The Reds are going with Scott Feldman, Brandon Finnegan, Rookie Davis, Amir Garrett, and probably Bronson Arroyo. At first glance, I’m going with the Padres as Sen Ling and the Reds as the guy that fights the monkey-style fighter. The Padres seem to have some veteran guys that have experience, won’t get rattled, and be able to show some competence. The Reds seem to be young and directionless. It doesn’t help that their two “studs,” Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani went down due to injury.
Let’s dig into this a little deeper.
- Jhoulys Chacin – 29-year-old right-handed pitcher. Arsenal consists of a fastball, slider, curveball, and change. Fastball velocity is around 91 mph. He will probably have a K/9 in the high-7s with a BB/9 in the mid-3s. ERA around 4. His swinging strike rate is in the 8% range and opposing batters make contact around 90% of the pitches in the strike zone.
- Clayton Richard – 33-year-old left-handed pitcher. Arsenal consists of a fastball/sinker, curveball, and change. Fastball velocity is 91 mph. His BB/9 (4.12) was almost as high as his K/9 (5.45). He’s an extreme groundball pitcher that limits the amount of hard contact.
- Trevor Cahill – 29-year-old right-handed pitcher. Often injured, Cahill hasn’t pitched over 150 innings in a season since 2012. Arsenal consists of a sinker, curveball, and change. Sinker velocity is in the 92 mph range. He is also an extreme ground ball pitcher. Unlike Richard, though, he has shown the ability to miss bats. Last year, granted as a reliever, Cahill had a 11% swinging strike rate and K/9 of 9.05. His main issue is control, as his BB/9 hovers in the mid-4 range.
- Jered Weaver – 34-year-old right-handed pitcher. Arsenal consists of a four-seam and two-seam fastball, slider, curveball, and change. Fastball velocity is 84 mph. Changeup is 77 mph. That’s like batting cage-esque. Remarkably, he’s still able to generate a 8% swinging strike rate. With that said, it’s usually not a good thing when the K/9 and ERA are both at 5.
- Luis Perdomo – 23-year-old right-handed pitcher. Arsenal basically consists of a 94 mph sinker. I guess it’s genius to place him behind Weaver in the rotation because his pitches will look more like 104 mph. Unfortunately, even with the velocity, he was only able to generate a 8.6% swinging strike rate and mid-6 K/9. As with Richard and Cahill, he’s all about generating ground balls.
These pitchers may not be good, but at least there seems to be an overall organizational plan. Make the opposition pound the ball into the dirt. Weaver seems to be a setup guy for Perdomo. Sacrifice one in order to boost the other. I like the strategy.
- Scott Feldman – 34-year-old right-handed pitcher. Arsenal consists of a fastball, cutter, curveball, and splitter. Fastball velocity is 90 mph. Feldman had a 7.1% swinging strike rate last year with a 6.55 K/9. At least his walk rate was only 2.22. Feldman is decent in limiting hard contact, but when batters do get a hold of one, they are usually dumped into the cheap seats. Couple that with the fact Great American Park was the fourth-most generous for home runs last year and that’s not a good combo.
- Brandon Finnegan – 23-year-old left-handed pitcher. Arsenal consists of fastball, slider, and change. Fastball velocity is 92 mph. He definitely has the ability to miss bats, as evidenced by the 9.6% swinging strike rate. Once he started incorporating the changeup more, the strikeout rate increased. The issue is control, as the BB/9 is around 4. He also is prone to the gopher ball. Hmmmm. De ja vu?
- Rookie Davis – 23-year-old right-handed pitcher. That can’t be his real name right? Sounds like something the name generator for PS4 would spit out. Anyways, I guess it’s fitting that he has yet to throw one major league inning. In Triple-A last season, the K/9 was 5.63. Supposedly, the fastball velocity has increased to 93-95 mph this season and he’s added a slider into the mix.
- Amir Garrett – 24-year-old left-handed pitcher. Arsenal consists of a fastball, slider, and change. Fastball velocity is 96 mph. He also has yet to throw a major league inning. In Triple-A last season, Garrett notched a 7.18 K/9 and 4.12 BB/9. Like with most young pitchers, control or lack of it is an issue.
- Bronson Arroyo – 40-year-old right-handed pitcher. I mean, come on. Dude had TJ surgery in 2014 and hasn’t pitched since. And he’s 40 years old. And when he did pitch, the swinging strike rate and K/9 were both in the 6 range. The fastball velocity is 85 mph. I think the Reds were like, “we gotta top that Jered Weaver move the Padres made.” Mission accomplished.
I knew this staff was going to be bad, but I didn’t think it would be this bad. It’s going to be fun targeting these guys in DFS.