Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What's Up With Wang?

It always seems to happen to me. I write a post called "So Far, Same Old Story,"and the Yanks proceed to score 19 runs in the next two games. And of course, it was all capped off by Captain Intangibles' big home run. So the offense has awoken, at least against a AAA team masquerading as the Kansas City Royals.

But Cheing Ming Wang had a lot of trouble with that AAA team's lineup. And after two starts, I know it's a small sample size, but the numbers aren't good. Opposing batters are hitting .326 against Wang. His control has gotten worse, too. He used to average about 3 pitches per batter; the number so far this year is close to 7.

Maybe Wang is just off to a slow start and will turn back into the guy who baffled hitters for most of '05. Or maybe all the opposing teams and their scouting reports have the guy figured out. At one point last year, YD said that Wang would be done in '06. I disagreed, thinking that Wang would have a long career as a #3-type starter.

It's still to early to tell how things will turn out, but getting hit hard by the Royals is not a good sign at all.

UPDATE: I guess you can't trust with numbers all the time. So yeah, batters are "only" hitting .326 against Wang this year.


mouse said...

I chuckle when I hear Yanks fans fellate over Wang like he's the next Koufax and then blast Red Sox fans for claiming that their own rookie pitcher, Papelbon, is the superior talent of the two. Which any rational person knows is true, because Papelbon can actually strike people out, among other factors.

Wang is very adept at keeping the ball on the ground, which is good. But his strikeout ratio is, to be blunt, very bad. He has almost no ability to miss bats, which means lots of balls in play. Mix that in with that awful Yankee infield defense and Wang is going to have times when he really gets knocked around.

It's still way to early to make snap judgments, but unless Wang develops a true out pitch, he's not going to survive on this team. No way.

alex said...

strikeout ratio doesnt mean a damn thing, as long as you can get the outs. with a sinkerballer, all you care about is the groundball ratio, and wang's is nasty. although yea he is getting roughed up a bit...although i highly doubt that opponents are hitting .789 against him...

mouse said...

Alex, you're an idiot if you think strikeout ratios don't matter. They are one of the easiest ways to predict the chances of a pitcher's longevity. Strikeouts are a measure of how well a pitcher can miss bats. If a pitcher can make batters swing and miss, he can turn 0-2 and 1-2 counts into outs without risking a ball in play. It's that simple. Pitchers that are incapable of missing bats are going to give up a lot of hits, which can snowball into giving up a lot of runs, especially with a crappy defense playing behind him.

As I said, Wang is adept at keeping the ball on the ground, which is all well and good, but he's not going to last long putting tons of balls into play, especially in the AL East. Wang needs to learn how to strike batters out consistently if he's going to succeed in the long run.

alex said...

there are PLENTY of excellent pitchers who don't strike a lot of players out. ground ball pitchers and control pitchers rely on the batter putting the ball in play.

greg maddux has a K/9IP ratio of around 6. brad radke and kyle lohse, noted control/contact pitchers have one around 5. of course, those numbers are over thousands of innings. wang's only got 120IP and is under 4K/IP. of course, he's still young. and because he can hit 95 on the gun, he can blow it by hitters if he wants. bottom line is, he'll learn. also, he gives up a hit an inning? hardly the end of the world.