Thursday, April 7, 2011
Sidney Ponson, 2002 Topps Heritage #237
Even though Brad Bergesen took his lumps last night, and Chris Tillman was just as shaky tonight, the Oriole pitching staff is still light years away from the dark days of the last decade. This club is equipped with several young, affordable, talented young moundsmen, and national baseball writers and scouts agree. This isn't just Syd Thrift or Jim Duquette blowing smoke.
Earlier this week I came across a blog post by William Tasker of The Flagrant Fan that sought to list the Seven Worst Starting Pitchers Ever. Before I even read about the criteria (200 career starts, an ERA+ of 90 or less, an ERA of at least 4.90), I expected to see a few familiar names, but the results were still a bit startling. Four of the not-so-magnificent seven spent some time in Baltimore, with the notorious Sir Sidney Ponson weighing in at number seven with his 91-113 W-L record, 5.03 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, and 90 ERA+. The other black and orange shlubs:
#6 was Jason Johnson, whose five years here felt like ten. He actually had a couple decent seasons in Baltimore, but when he was bad he was really bad. Take his 2000 season, when he went 1-10 with a 7.02 ERA. He hung around the majors for 11 years, chalking up a staggering 56-100 record with a 4.99 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, and 89 ERA+.
#3 was Adam Eaton, who employed a scorched-earth approach to his eight starts for the Orioles in 2009. He won two of them, which tells you all you need to know about the usefulness of wins as a statistic. The brutal details: 2-5, 8.56 ERA (that's 39 ER in 41 IP), 1.83 WHIP, 54 ERA+. By comparison, his overall stats of 71-68, 4.94 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 84 ERA+ look downright reasonable. Of course, he had the good fortune of pitching in San Diego for much of his career. Imagine the horror otherwise.
At #2 we have Jimmy Haynes, a once-touted prospect who the Birds had the good sense to deal when he still had some value. After tantalizing fans with a 2.25 ERA and a pair of wins in a four-game cup of coffee in September 1995, he was dreadful in 26 games in 1996. How dreadful? How about 122 hits and 58 walks in 89 innings (2.02 WHIP)? 82 earned runs in 89 innings (8.29 ERA, 60 ERA+)? The following June he was traded to the Athletics for DH Geronimo Berroa, who hit .260 with 10 home runs in half a season with the O's. Haynes stuck around for parts of 10 seasons, posting a 63-89 record (which includes a 15-10 mark with the 2002 Reds), 5.37 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, and 83 ERA+.
Woof. Let's keep those guys and all of their meatballing brethren in the rear view, hmm?