Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Dominating Duo

During such a disappointing season, it's hard to believe the Pittsburgh Pirates have anything considered good, let alone the best in all of baseball. But there hasn't been a more dominating bullpen tandem than Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan. The save statistic gets all the attention and the Pirates off-season signing of Octavio Dotel was predicated on him sliding into the closer role. Consequently, Meek and Hanrahan have generally flown under the radar unless you're a hardcore baseball fan. But their numbers are ridiculous.  Here are the combined stats for the two.

                       G    IP      H     R   ER  HR  BB     K    WHIP   H/9   HR/9  BB/9  K/9
 Meek             48   58.1   35   14    8     3    16     49     0.874   5.4    0.6  2.5     7.6    .172/.238/.255/.493

Hanrahan     48   46.2   33   18   18*   5     14    65     1.007   6.4   1.0    2.7    12.5  .194/.267/.347/.614

Combined     --   105.0  68   32   26    8     30    114   0.933    5.8    0.9    2.6     9.8  .182/.251/.297/.548
Latos                  117.2  84   33   32   12    33    113   0.994    6.4     0.9     2.5    8.6  .195/.256/.307.563

166 batters in all of MLB qualify for the batting title as of August 3. Cesar Izturis of Baltimore is the runaway winner (or loser) in the OPS category with a .577 OPS. The next lowest are two Mariners, Jose Lopez and Chone Figgins at .601 and .622 respectively. The lowest in the National League is St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina at .638. The lowest qualifier on the Pirates is Latings Milledge at .716.

The best comp for the combined line of Meek and Hanrahan is probably Houston Astro Pedro Feliz. In 271 at bats Feliz's line is .218/.241/.310/.551. Ex-Pirate Nate McLouth's OPS of .544 got him sent to the minors. Meek and Hanrahan's numbers have been compiled against 374 at bats which makes them even more impressive. Aki Iwamura is almost the perfect comp in half the total number at bats with a line of .182/.292/.267/.558. Aki was a complete disaster during his time in Pittsburgh.

The closest pitching comp (which isn't really valid when comparing starters to relievers, but is illustrative) is Mat Latos the San Diego Padres starter who is having an unbelievable season.

When the team you root for is 33 games under .500 you look for silver linings. These two guys have been more like 24 karat gold. They are certainly worth watching.

*It is also worth a footnote that in his fifth outing of the year Hanrahan gave up 6 hits and 6 earned runs during the Pirates 20-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Bucs were down 10-0 when Hanrahan entered the game in the seventh. Toss that line out of his totals and the numbers are even more impressive .168/.230/.286/.516, virtually identical to Meek's.


Backtofoulke said...

Playing the comp game ..... do you want to know who the comp is for John Lackey, while pitching with two outs? Try Joe Mauer. In other words, the average player hitting against Lackey with two outs is one of the five best offensive players in baseball.

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