Friday, September 18, 2009

Barry Zito: A man of two halves (and a lot of spreadsheets)

It's fairly obvious to most of us that Barry Zito is for whatever reason... just plain better in the 2nd half of the season. Maybe he just needs time to get into a groove and work kinks out. Maybe he's not ready when the season starts. Maybe he's just clutch. I don't know if he's chopping the heads of chickens in the clubhouse, praying to false idols, or just having better luck with the ladies, but the guy flat out pitches better after the all star game. Maybe it's reverse Lincecum Syndrome... Zito like's it warmer.

I don't want to beat a dead horse (although I did shoot a dead horse at my buddy's ranch last weekend. Look, it was already dead from a twisted bowel and I wanted to shoot it. Yes it was gross, but...), but these numbers are just fascinating.

Check out the following extreme tables of stats. If you're reading this on a newsfeed or on Facebook, you'll need to click here and come to the site. Just the way it works.

(We're talking about a lot of info here, and it's the basis of the whole article. So just sack up and click on the link.)

Check it out:

The numbers are just eye candy to us Gyros fans. Our only wish is that he'd do this stuff all year, instead of just in the second half of the season. As we all know, every single game counts-- all season long.

The causes of Zeets's pitching genius are not fully known, but it has a whole lot to do with the man's comfort and confidence, and a ton to do with the fact that his fastball is no longer floating across the plate at 83-85 mph. I can't say that it's because of mechanics or strength, but whatever it is, it's working.

However, a look deeper into Zito's career may just prove that the guy is a slow starter.

With the exception of Zito's bizarre statistical anomaly of his 2006 season, each season shows a difference in averages: Strikeouts per 9 innings, ERA, and WHIP. The facts don't lie.

What we're talking about here is that from 2000-2008 (excluding '06), Zito lowers his ERA by 0.61 runs per game and lowers his WHIP by 0.22. It's significant enough to talk about, but not crazy. I mean, yeah, me, Bill James, and El Lefty Malo are all going crazy about it, but the astronomical difference of Zeets' 2009 season is literally off the charts (yeah, I didn't make a chart for this one).

The difference between Zito's first half and second half is +1 K/9, -2.65 ERA, and -.22 WHIP.

The guy is striking out one more guy per 9 innings and allowing almost 3 less runs.

The question is... how can we get this guy to start dealing like this in April and May?



Also, I have finalized the "Clubhouse Clique" rosters. They are as following:

The Nice Guys

-- Randy Winn
-- Travis Ishikawa
-- Bengie Molina
-- Jonathan Sanchez
-- Freddy Sanchez
-- Bobby Howry
-- Rich Aurilia
-- Randy Johnson

The Crazy Latins

-- Edgar Renteria, Colombia
-- Pablo Sandoval, Venezuela
-- Juan Uribe, Dominican
-- A.U. Velez, Dominican
-- Andres Torres, Puerto Rico
-- Merkin Valdez, Dominican
-- Jesus Guzman, Venezuela

The Sleaze Brothers

-- Barry Zito
-- Brian Wilson
-- Timmy Lincecum
-- Kevin Frandsen
-- Joe Martinez
-- Sergio Romo
-- Nate Schierholtz

The Backwoods Boys

-- Matt Cain (TN)
-- Eli Whiteside (MS)
-- Madison Bumgarner (NC)
-- Brandon Medders (AL)
-- Buster Posey (GA)
-- Brad Penny (OK)
-- Ryan Rohlinger (WI)

The So-Calers

-- Justin Miller
-- Aaron Rowand
-- Jeremy Affeldt
-- Ryan Garko
-- Dan Runzler

I still never found out where to put Fred Lewis... I'm making him an honorary member of the "Crazy Latins" even though he's neither crazy or Latin. Seems to enjoy their company in the dugout. Romo and Schierholtz were placed in the Sleaze group, as some inside information came to light.

Very important stuff.

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