Nationals Baseball: Doug Slaten lied to me

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Doug Slaten lied to me

Ok well it wasn't Doug Slaten, more his ERA and it really isn't lying, more misleading, but still. The past few posts I casually mentioned the good job the bullpen had been doing. One of the pitchers that I noted was Doug Slaten, who hadn't given up a run all year. Commenter Hoo took offense at my super casual glance at stats , said "You lazy bastard! Slaten sucks! Look at him!" (well something like that). So I did and he's right. Slaten has sucked.

Slaten has put 12 men on in 6 1/3 IP (WHIP of 1.895). He's given up 8 hits. He's brought in to face lefties and lefties are hitting .400 / .438 / .600 against him. That's terrible. Based on the hits and walks he's given up you'd expect him to have an ERA close to 5.00 and yet he hasn't allowed a run all year... or more accurately he hasn't allowed a runner to score that was his own.

Thing about relievers is that arguably their most important job is stopping guys from scoring that aren't guys they put on base themseleves. They come in to stop the bleeding. Slaten is a band-aid on a gunshot. He's come in with 20 men on base and 9 of them have scored. That's 45% - not good. The league average hovers around 30% most years. Sometimes it can be misleading to look at an individual relievers stats when it comes to how many inherited runners score. Some years you just don't have a lot of opportunity to pitch with inherited runners and a couple big shots can make you look a lot worse than you really are. Or conversely the guy that lets 4 out of 20 guys score is going to look a lot worse than the guy who let 0 out of 4. It's not misleading for Slaten though. He's had the second most inherited runners in the NL so far this year. (#1 - Clippard. Which makes sense because he followed Slaten a few times). It's fair to say he's sucked.

Of course that hasn't stopped him from looking good when the TV shows his stats when he comes in. The men he's put on base have never touched home plate. 4 times he's managed to keep them from scoring himself, once he was bailed out by Coffey, once by Gaudin, three times by Clippard. Hence the perfect ERA.

It's just another example of traditional stats not telling the whole story. (and of me being lazy)

How are the rest of the Nats bullpen doing?

Broderick 100% scored (5/5)
Burnett 50% (5/10)
Storen 40% (2/5)
Clippard 26% (6/23)
Gaudin 14% (1/7)
Coffey 0% (0/4)


bdrube said...

Another reason why I don't get the continued presence of Broderick in our bullpen. If he had H-Rod's stuff it might make sense to keep him on the roster all year and steal him from the Cardinals via Rule 5. But he justlooks like another reincarnation of Atilano, Martis, Martin or Stammen. And haven't we already got enough of them?

Todd Boss said...

I completely agree about Slaten. For me, its why I look at whip over ERA for relievers. Slaten == 1.85 whip, which means he's putting nearly 2 baserunners on per inning as a reliever. That's awful.

Problem is, who would we replace him with? We only have one other lefty on the 40-man, and that's Severino and he's god-knows-where right now in extended spring purgatory, closer to getting released than being a part of the team.

Check out this link: lists all our organizational arms with stats. Look at our cache of lefty relievers in the minors: in AAA we only have Hyde and he's been awful. Chico's been demoted to AA and isnt' much better. VanAllen has the best numbers but he's never pitched above AA. Everyone else is in the low-minors and isn't an option.

So what do we do? We may have to convert Burnett to the loogy role and bring up Kimball/Balester in his place.

brendan said...

@Todd Boss: His WHIP is now 1.89... he's getting worse!

Hoo said...

Last year was Slaten's best in a long time. I didn't expect him to replicate it but he's been awful in his role. He should get some time to fix himself but if not the best option is to DFA Slaten, establish Storen as closer and Burnett as your lefty specialist. Burnett is struggling vs righties this year anyway.

Then bring up Battlestar and Kimbrall later in the year. Team is still hoping Broderick is a gem and he can pitch multiple innings with Lannan or Livo get bombed early. Broderick should be in the Batista role so he's not costing the team much.

Team has surplus of RH relievers

Anonymous said...

Great post Harper. I cannot stand fuel on the fire Slaten. Isn't their another left handed one out kind of guy we can bring up for these kind of situations?

Harper said...

bdrube - he's just there to eat dead innings. He's probably not better than any of those guys you mention but it's the least impt role in the pen. So roll the dice and maybe he "gets it" this year? I don't know

Todd Boss - Didn't realize the lefty situation was that bad. I guess since he's 26 you could fast track VanAllen, but I'd rather them move up Kimbrall and/or Wilkie and concentrate on guys that can get everyone out.

Hooo - Burnett didn't seem to struggle in '08 and '09 v righties. His issue now to me seems more of an issue pitching from the stretch maybe? He's getting killed with runners on. I'd hate to waste a good reliever by turning him into a loogie.

Anon - see Todd Boss comment, the short answer is no. Maybe there's an old FA the Nats can toss a minor league deal at or deal for but chances are if they were worth pitching (Dennys Reyes? Ron Mahay?) they'd already be doing it for some major league team

Hoo said...

Two words: Ron Villone. and I think the Nats already signed up him earlier. And there's always Oliver Perez.

Bonsai said...

The amount of runners Clippard has inherited is almost comical. Thank god he's been so clutch (ya know, minus against a certain struggling Braves 2B...)

John C. said...

Update: After last night's debacle (for Slaten - persevering triumph for the Nats) lefties are now hitting .412/.444/.765 off of Slaten. His ERA is now 1.35, but his WHIP is now 1.950. BLECH

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