Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Also sucking: Barry Zito

"Jeremy Brown isn't Zito," says one of the scouts. But he is. A lot of people in the room have forgotten that the scouting department hadn't wanted to take Barry Zito because Barry Zito threw an 88-mph fastball. They preferred a flamethrower named Ben Sheets. "Billy made us take Zito," Bogie later confesses.

Moneyball, Michael Lewis.

Billy Beane made the A's take Barry Zito over Ben Sheets. For the A's, it worked out nicely. For anyone else...I have my doubts.

Oakland's home park factor for HRs: 0.852 (with 1 being average, and lower numbers favoring pitchers.

Wrigley's park factor for HRs: 1.212.

So, roughly...for every 5 homers hit in Oakland, 7 will be hit in Wrigley.

Barry Zito not only led the American League in walks (with 99), but he also did so with a deplorable groundball/flyball ratio of 0.89 - the second-best of his career. He allowed 27 home runs in 221 IP, which translates to 38 in Wrigley. (By comparison, Pope Carlos allowed 20 HR in 214 IP, and 21 the prior year in 223 IP.) Zito allows a worse batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage than Carlos - and that's with a pitchers' park on his side, as opposed to Carlos working in a hitters' park for half of his starts. Are we even seriously thinking about signing this guy? When taking park factors into account, Zito hasn't been a #1 starter since 2002. Yet we're supposed to believe that Zito is the answer to our pitching problems?

I'm going to make this very, very simple - some might say that Rich Hill is the poor man's Zito. I say that Zito is the poor man's Rich Hill, and I'm willing to back that up.

We can save a shit-ton of money by not signing Zito and using our superior version of the lefty curveballer, so why not just stand pat? As for backing it up - I am willing to make this wager with any sexy female Cub fan/THS reader. I will bet that Rich Hill has a better park-adjusted ERA next year than Barry Zito - I'll take Rich, you take Barry. Winner gets to be on top.

Get back to me on this.


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