Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Dissecting Dice-K

Well, after tonight's baseball games it is time to analyze one of the most expensive pitchers in the history of baseball. Daisuke "Dice-K" Matsuzaka is in his first season in the States and cost the Boston Red Sox at least $104M. They paid the Seibu Lions $52M and then signed Dice-K to a contract worth $52M, which could reach $60M if he reaches incentives. Now that the season is more than 25% over it is time to take a look at Dice-K. Is he proof that the Red Sox are attempting to win championships in the same fashion as the Yankees (overpaying players) or is he a wise signing? For purposes of this argument all that crap about marketing, Japanese language signage on the Green Monster, countless press credentials and a boatload of Red Sox junk sold overseas is not going to be factored in. This is all about winning and losing. After all, aren't Red Sox fans about winning anyways? I honestly do not know what my findings will say. Obviously I think Dice-K is overrated but let's give it a look.

Here are Dice-K's primary stats through games played on June 5th (ESPN.com and baseball-reference.com):

12 starts, 7-4 record, 4.63 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 86.2 IP, 88 H, 76 Ks, 23 BB

Now those are decent stats but let's look into them a little bit deeper. Here is a list of teams Dice-K has beaten: Royals, Yankees (twice), Toronto, Detroit, Atlanta and Texas. These teams are a combined 160-186 (.462). Here are the teams Dice-K has lost to: Seattle, Toronto, Cleveland and Oakland. These teams are a combined 123-102 (.547). Not sure what this tells us exactly except that the teams Dice-K beats are bad and the teams he loses to are good?

Let's analyze Dice-K's records against teams based on record. His record against teams over .500 is 2-3 and his record against teams under .500 is 5-1. This appears to support the above assertion that he is good against crap teams and not so good against legitimate playoff contenders.

In Dice-K's defense he is 2-0 against the hated Yankees and for that I commend him. Against the Yankees Dice-K has a 6.92 ERA and 1.38 WHIP (13 IP, 13 H, 5 BB, 10 R). Something tells me in the heat of the summer (let alone October) this type of performance is not going to hold up too well. His performances against the Yankees do bring up another aspect, run support. Dice-K receives about 7 runs per start, which in my book is substantial. Now of course the Red Sox bats have been shutout twice in Dice-K's starts but that is the way the cookie crumbles.

I feel like my head is going to explode with all of these numbers but I feel a reasonably accurate picture has been painted. Red Sox fans do have excuses like: Dice-K was feeling under the weather before a start, the movement on his pitches wasn't the best or he was using a left-handed glove (well maybe not the last one). Come on, this is not jr. high girls volleyball, he is a professional so quit covering for him. I'm not real big on excuses with $100M players let alone pitchers.

If you attempt to confront a Red Sox fan with the above ammunition I can guarantee you this will be the response. "It doesn't matta, he's our third stawta at best." And there my friends is where you pounce on the mentally fragile New Englanders. You simply respond by saying, "Only the Yankees and Red Sox pay their third or fourth starters $100M." They will hate the comparison but have nothing to say in response!

(Photo from WBZ News Radio 1130 in Boston.)


Ax to the Road said...

From someone who's team craves over-the-hill former Red Sox players, this reads more like a scouting report for a player the Dodgers will look to sign in 2015.

J M Smith said...

Touche! The Dodgers do have a way of trying to revive the careers of yesterday's stars. With limited success I might add.

Hank Hagar said...

i'd rather have lowe than jd drew