Stop over-rating Scott Richmond
The de-facto “ace”, much was read into Richmond riding the pine during the 2009 WBC.
Sure, the Canadian staff was weak at best. I’ll give you that. However, let’s face facts. Richmond is at best a long relief pitcher at the MLB level.
Let’s look at a collection of Richmond’s numbers throughout his career.
Northern League (at best high A level)
2005: 4.66 ERA with a 1 – 4 record
2006: 3.03 ERA with a 3 – 7 record
2007: 4.26 ERA with a 10 – 9 record
2007 World Cup: 0 – 2 with a 9.39 ERA
2008 Qualifier: 2 – 0 with a 1.35 ERA
2008 AA: 5 – 8 with a 4.92 ERA
2008 AAA: 1 – 3 with a 3.59 ERA
2008 MLB: 1 – 3 with a 4.00 ERA, opponents batting average of .296
Sorry folks, this is not an “ace”. Better than what they had, yes, although that could be debated by some. Judging by Scott’s career stats a 4 inning appearance with 2 ER wouldn’t surprise anyone. And, at least to me, that doesn’t seem to be much to cry over.
Ian, aka The Blue Jay Hunter, is going to be sooooooo pissed when he reads this!!!1
No, not pissed – just disappointed.
Actually, I know statistically Scott Richmond is a 5th starter at best. I was just hoping that he would get a chance to shine in the WBC, and save Team Canada from elimination. But alas, he was the only pitcher on the team with relevant big league experience yet he didn’t get a chance to prove it. If Scott offers his services for the next WBC, there should be a clause that he HAS to at least see one inning of work.
5th spot in the rotation, here we come!
Was Richmond in Ernie’s doghouse or something?
Ernie is dead to me.
Okay, I don’t RSS-feed the comments to blogs, just blog texts themselves, so I could be wrong here… but I haven’t seen anyone imply that Richmond is any better than he is. The arguments I’ve seen and heard are about the wisdom of shelving your best guy – be it Richmond or someone else – for a game you weren’t guaranteed to play.
I found the Richmond love to be somewhat like the new found love for Ricky Romero. The Jays nation all of a sudden picked up on a guy that probably didn’t deserve it.
To be honest I still question whether Richmond was a better option to start than Johnson or even Perkins (who had similar if not better minor league stats than Richmond).
There are so many armchair baseball experts out there, who live and die by stats alone, and this may be a valid way of assessing a position players potential to make it in MLB as he passes thru the minor leagues, but the difficulty in evaluating a pitcher’s potential using only the same criteria, is well known.
It’s often the case, that there are a number of other factors behind the scenes that have an impact on a pitcher’s numerical stats, which if taken into account might give a budding analyst a better read on that pitcher’s real potential.
In the case of Scott Richmond I thought that it might be of use to inform you of some of the background info, which you you and other ‘experts’ are, in all likelihood, blissfully aware of.
Northern League – Edmonton Cracker Cats 2005-2007
This team finished last in the league 2005,2006 & 2007. As such, Richmond never got to pitch against the worst team in the league. Had he got to do so, more than likely he would have produced more wins during those 3 seasons.
Being the worst team in the league, the relievers recorded more blown saves than any other team and Richmond’s winning stats suffered accordingly. The team batting average was also near or at the very bottom of the league, so Richmond’s stats suffered accordingly from lack of run support.
2005: 4.66 ERA with a 1-4 record
Richmond spent only the 2nd half of the season as a reliever with Edmonton after graduating from Oklahoma State, and was limited to 50 innings.
Not terrible numbers for his 1st half season as a pro, after a full season in college; some fatigue and adjusting to the pro game.
Relievers W & L numbers can be misleading.
2006: 3.03 ERA with a 3-7 record.
Decent numbers considering his supporting cast.
Was selected Pitcher of the Year by the Cats.
2007: 4.26 ERA with a 10-9 record.
His 1st season as a starter. Opened the season with a 1-0 win over previous year’s league champions, going 8+ innings, with 6 or 7 SOs and maybe one BB.
He was selected as the starting pitcher in the Northern League All Star game, with a record of 8-2, and this was achieved while pitching on a 4 man rotation…..only 4 days rest between starts.
In the 2nd half of the season, he pitched on only 3 days rest for 50% of his starts, and the inability to match his 1st half stats was a reflection of the fatigue that he felt…….understandably!
He was selected Pitcher of the Year again by the Cats.
2007 World Cup: 0-2 with a 9.39 ERA
Still fatigued from his Nthrn League season, and his first time with team Canada and International competition. Even though his stats don’t reflect it, since he was brought into games in some really tough situations vs Cuba etc, he really impressed the coaching staff as a rookie, with his ability, toughness under pressure, leadership qualities and gunfighter mentality on the mound.
2008 FOQT: 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA
Here the stats say it quite clearly, but not all of it.
He was the ‘ace’ on the staff for Canada, and team management designed the pitching assignments for the tournament around him matching up with Korea, who went on to win Gold at the Olympics.
This means that he first got to pitch against Mexico where he got the win, and then pitched 4 shutout innings, [the max allowed] against Korea for his 2nd victory.
2008 AA: 5-8 with a 4.92 ERA
As a 28yr old rookie in affiliated ball, after impressing in preseason, he got the ball for the opening day game, ahead of highly touted prospects who’d been with the team for previous seasons. The Fisher Cats found a home in the basement of the Eastern League for almost the entire season, but Richmond was amongst the league leaders in SOs, even though he had a weak supporting cast.
There were also tensions and adjustments to be made coming into this situation so his numbers do not shine as bright as his ability.
2008 AAA: 1-3 with a 3.59 ERA
He was lights out in his 1st few starts, giving up just one run in a shutout loss to Pawtucket, but again the Sky Chiefs were a struggling team headed in the wrong direction. He had one poor outing lasting only 3 innings, which doubled his ERA, and fatigue was likely becoming a factor, having gone more innings than ever before in his career.
2008 MLB: 1-3 with a 4.00 ERA
Once again he finds himself on a struggling Blue Jays team that has a problem scoring runs. He went 5 or more innings in all 5 starts, giving no more than 3 runs per start, 2 of the starts were won by the team, he got credit for one of them.
All 5 starts were quite winnable, even against Cy Young winner Cliff Lee and Dice-K, but the Blue Jay bats were quiet.
Against Boston, had Vernon Wells caught a very catchable fly ball to center, [instead of over running it, and having it bounce off the heel of his glove,] it would have retired the side. Instead the next batter up , David Ortiz onehandedly blooped an opposite field home run just over the wall, allowing 2 runs to score. Had Wells caught that routine fly ball as $127M players are expected to do, Richmond’s ERA would have been 3.33 instead of 4.00 and he would have given up only the one HR in 27 innings, to go along with the 2 BBs.
So there are some of the relatively obscure facts behind the numbers which I trust that you will find at least, interesting.
In the 1st para, that should have read, “blissfully unaware of.”
Thanks for the in-depth commentary renaissance man.
I do understand what you are saying but at some point a pitcher has to win. At every level it seems like Richmond is caught on a losing team. Other pitcher’s excelled with strong records, era’s, etc during each of his 2008 stops.
When looking at the pitch f/x numbers Richmond has a decent sinking fastball, a pretty flat slider and a straight change (which I do not think complements his sinking fastball). He does not posses any above average pitches.
I do also see a number of fatigue excuses in each and every poor season/stop in hour write-up. At his age I want a pitcher that has built up his arm strength and endurance. He’s not a 19 year old kid who’s just a few years removed from high school.
Thanks for taking the time to read my dissertation Kman.
As for above average pitches, Richmond actually considers his curveball to be his best pitch, and his slider has been described as quite filthy by more than one commentator, as well as several right handed batsmen. Kelly Shoppach of the Cleveland Indians who struck out on it in three consecutive ABs, before breaking his bat over his knee, might be an insightful interviewee on the subject.
Fatigue was not mentioned an excuse, but a valid reason. Every athlete is subject to the impact of fatigue. Over the years, pitching starters on 3 days rest in pennant races or the World Series has with few exceptions, proved to be a disastrous gamble. At least one Blue Jay pitcher hit the wall at 150 innings last season, and his effectiveness plummeted subsequently. Of course it is the responsibility of every pitcher to prepare himself to maximize his stamina and durability, and to attempt to deliver his best performances with the minimum effort possible, thereby extending the number of innings in which he is able to enjoy maximum effectiveness.
There remains quite a learning curve within the pitching fraternity on the issues raised, so the ability to achieve these goals varies tremendously, much like the shelf life of an MLB starting pitcher.
yo faggot, have the balls to post your name with this article. If you are willing to make statements, at least back them up and show face. How you like them Jays today?
Just killed the Mop Up Duty.
What the heck with the negative posts, Renaissance, great analysis.
Well I think Richmond will come back down to earth at some point, I find Kmans analysis of Richmond’s past performance lacking. For instance, we all know that the Northern League does not nearly have the defence that he is enjoying now in the majors. If he is a groundball pitcher, one can assume that more groundballs will be caught so ERA is not a great indicator of how well a guy is actually pitching — that is why statheads invented composite ERA to see how much of it is defence reliant – what were his peripherals in that Northern League. Thanks Renaissance Man for bringing this all too light because I was way to pissed at the Richmond basher’s lack of depth of evidence that I was going to track down those numbers myself [until I saw your post]. Furthermore, I can’t believe K-man even used wins as a way to gauge how good he was in those leagues – heaven forbid Halladay goes 10-10 this year — that means he must be a horrible pitcher.
Richmond is not the next Halladay and I don’t think anyone is making that comparison but he is what every good rotation needs – a solid #3-5 type of guy. What is the problem if he is the next Todd Stottlemyre?
Hey everyone, thanks for all of the comments on this topic. Discussion is always a good thing.
Just to touch on things quickly, Richmond is more of a flyball pitcher than a GB pitcher. Second, I still do believe that he should have posted better ERA’s & win percentages at his advanced age throughout his minor league and independent career. Also (and I don’t know why this matters) no one is hiding on this site. We use our real names and pics in the about section (top of the page, right below the black TheScore toolbar).
I’ve posted a new article discussing Richmond’s 2009 start and my claim that he’ll regress due to a his xFIP, BABIP & LD%. If you click my name at the top of this comment it will take you to the new article.
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