a little followup on yesterday's looper post:
first, i sent an e-mail to david gassko, who wrote the Hardball Times article about julian tavarez's prospects as a starting pitcher. how about looper? i asked; here's his response:
As a reliever, I would project his run average (ERA plus unearned runs) to be 4.09 next year, maybe a little higher because of aging (this is just a quick-and-dirty projection). Using the same method (well, slightly altered) I employed in the Jonathan Papelbon article, it seems to me that to make a successful switch Looper would have to post an RA below 5.30 (or a ERA below 4.80). According to "The Book," the average pitcher sees his RA go up about a run when he goes from relieving to starting, and if Looper could match that, it would probably be a good switch. However, there is a selection bias in The Book's research because guys who go between relieving and starting are generally used to both. Given that Looper has always been a reliever, I think he would experience a bigger learning curve than most, and thus his ERA would end up somewhere north of 5.00, making this a bad idea.
i also heard yesterday from pzonehitter, who has sent me accurate information in the past. he relays the following:
my SB Nation colleague jeff sackmann, who writes the brewers blog Brew Crew Ball, had an awesome idea last week about how the Nationals could fill out their thin rotation: "If Bowden fails to sign enough mediocre starting pitching, he can always just put a tee out at home plate." a batting tee, sackmann explains, would be expected to have a fielding-independent ERA of about 3.20 --- a run or more better than what eaton and meche and their ilk are likely to record. "Do you realize what a breakthrough this is?" sackmann concludes. "In a year with a lot of offense, a tee could win the Cy Young Award! Why trade for Jon Lieber when you could just buy a tee?"
hey, it's only slightly more off-the-wall than the looper initiative . . . .