Monday, August 18, 2008

Case in point: You can never have too much pitching

Does anyone remember that Brian Bannister guy who out-smarted hitters, picked up victories and stole the hearts of Royals fans last season? Some of us even made cases to push him to the top of the rotation this year - ahead of Greinke and Meche after going 12-9 3.87 ERA 44BB 77K in 165 IP in 2007.
OK, so maybe not THAT many fans wanted to push him above Greinke, but you get my point.
Well, it seems that same Bannister fellow is on the cusp of hitching a ride to Omaha - or as I call it a "get-your-head-out-of-your -butt" move alas Billy Butler and Mark Teahen have rightfully experienced over the past couple of seasons. After the debacle that took place at Yankee Stadium last night, Bannister probably should have at least a few shirts and dress slacks hanging neatly in the back seat of the car, just in case.

In his last 10 games Bannister is 1-6 8.14 ERA 48 IP 67 H 44 ER.
His strikeouts this year are up (91K's in 25 games in 2008 compared to 77K's in 27 games in '07) but that's the only thing that has improved over last season. He is getting hit hard - really hard.
In 2007 Banny went 12-9 with a 3.87 ERA over 27 appearances. So far in '08 he has went 7-12 5.96 ERA in 25 games with 140.1 innings logged. Now, the wins and losses portion can easily be distorted. Instead let's look at a few other comparables that tell a more telling tale.
2007: 165 IP 156 Hits 76 Runs 71 Earned 15 HR 1.21 WHIP .409 SLG .303 OBA 8.51 Hits per 9
2008: 140.1 IP 166 Hits 99 Runs 93 Earned 22 HR 1.52 WHIP .472 SLG .352 OBA 10.65 Hits per 9
Looking at those numbers makes me wonder if this all is just "a confidence thing" as Trey Hillman has pondered, or else it's possible Banny was just real lucky last year. One thing I have ranted about all year is how many fastballs the Royals staff has thrown in two strike counts in which they are ahead in the count. Big leaguers can hit good fastballs, they don't always hit good breaking pitches.
Of course, guys like Greinke who are blessed with 97 MPH arms can get away with blowing one by a hitter in 0-2 counts - Bannister isn't so blessed. I just don't see him keeping hitters off balance and guessing the way he was last year. I would love to see the pitching charts on this one, I'm pretty sure I would be right on with my guesstimate that he's thrown many more FB's.
Maybe he just needs to see Zack's doctor, but this is my $.02 worth.
He better stock up on socks and underwear.

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