Unlike Part 1's look at team performance, looking at individual pitching performance for a minor league team is much more of a problem. As mentioned, the Bulls have had 30 players throw the ball this year, but 6 of those don’t really count. Several others have only made very brief appearances before going up to the Rays or back to Montgomery (Brandon Gomes, Jim Patterson, Kyle Winkler). A few others are simply gone from the Rays system (Andy Oliver, Grant Balfour, Preston Guilmet, Matt Buschmann, Ronald Belisario). And at least one will probably make his way back up (Bryce Stowell). That doesn’t count the back-and-forths. So, take all of these charts with a grain of salt and if there’s a number that seems odd, check out the innings pitched number, we could be dealing with a very small sample size. We’ve essentially pared this down to the folks who might at start out the post-All-Star Break with the Bulls. Very likely that at least one, probably two, will not be on the active roster next Thursday.
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I’m fairly agnostic on the ERA vs FIP (Fielding Independent Percentage), so here are both in one chart, sorted by ERA. Since some folks seem to think that FIP says more about the future, then a high FIP/low ERA seems weaker than the opposite. Overall, this is not a particularly impressive set of numbers. Only Scott Diamond among those left standing in the starting pitcher crew has particularly good numbers. Andrew Bellatti has been with Tampa Bay or on the DL most of the season. Jhan Mariñez looks awfully good, and Jim Miller has been something of an iron man keeping things alive. The best Bulls starter, Matt Buschmann, and the best reliever, Ronald Belisario, didn’t make it through the season in the Rays system. (Voice from back of head — “Get over it, Chris, they’re gone” Yeah, but… )
The Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched (WHIP) stat shows some of the weak spots on the crew.
Lastly, our home-brewed measure of pitching efficiency, or pitches per out, also sorts out in an interesting way.
This table is sorted by wOBA, a newish hitting stat that has a great reputation. Mostly it tracks OPS, on-base percentage plus slugging, but the stats geeks think it works better. Also included is Weighted Runs Above Average (wRAA), a number that speaks to me as a way to judge how much a player is contributing to the team. What jumps out for 2015 is how much Taylor Motter has contributed to the Bulls this year. He has a terrific wOBA and a team-leading wRAA. Well-deserved All-Star, even if he didn’t play.
Tim Beckham was just called up, but I left him on the list just to show where he fit among the rest in his short time with the Bulls this year. We will have to see if Richie Shaffer's star continues to shine. No reason for it not to. Boog Powell’s numbers will likely drop just a bit (but that means he may stick with the Bulls the rest of the year rather than get called up). What’s a considerable worry for the Bulls, Tampa Bay (likely), and the individual players, are the young men on the 40-man roster who are not doing so well — Ryan Brett, Mikie Mahtook, and Hak-Ju Lee. No doubt they can turn things around. But time is running out for this year.
* = Players on 40-man roster of Tampa Bay Rays