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just another suppan knockoff

here are the starting pitchers' lines for the cardinals' last two games at shea stadium:

IP H R ER BB SO
jeff suppan, october 19 2006 7 2 1 1 5 2 n.d.
mike maroth, june 25 2007 7.1 2 1 1 2 4 n.d.

nice of maroth to do that, because i had already been planning to write a post this morning likening him to suppan. i realize i do this a lot --- i compared ryan franklin to suppan here, and i compared miguel batista to supps here, and just last week i compared looper to him. i guess supps is such an everyman that he is similar to all pitchers; maybe that explains why his list of comparables at Baseball Reference is over 8,000 names long. . . . . ha ha ha, i kid. anyway, here's yet another "this guy is just like suppan" post; i never tire of writing them, and you never stop clamoring for them.

let's begin with their current-year numbers:

w-l era whip era+ avg obp slg k/9 inn inn/
start
qs
pct
age
suppan 8-7 4.90 1.495 87 .297 .355 .464 4.3 101 6.1 38 32
maroth 5-2 4.73 1.564 89 .303 .371 .538 3.4 85.2 6.0 36 29

aside from the slugging percentage, maroth has been more or less the equal of supps this year; the rate stats are slightly worse, but the differences lie mainly in the fact that maroth has been pitching in the dh league. both guys eat innings, throw quality starts about a third of the time, and more or less keep their teams in games.

the similarity deepens as we expand the comparison over a period of years. here they are from 2004-2006:

w-l era whip era+ avg obp slg k/9 inn/
start
qs
pct
suppan 44-26 3.95 1.402 108 .273 .336 .432 5.2 6.0 52
maroth 30-29 4.48 1.394 98 .289 .337 .454 4.6 6.1 45

once you adjust for league, there's little to distinguish these 3-year stat lines from one another. even the apparent difference in won-loss record is probably just an illusion; suppan's teams ranked 1st, 4th, and 6th in the league in runs scored from 2004-06, while maroth's ranked 8th, 11th, and 5th. i'm too lazy to look up the actual run support each pitcher received, but suppan obviously received more --- to the benefit of his w-l mark.

it remains to be seen whether the theoretical similarity between these pitchers will manifest on the diamond. it might not --- maroth is recovering from arm surgery, similar to the one that sidelined chris carpenter (removal of bone chips in the elbow), and his peripherals look pretty shabby at the moment. but it's not unreasonable to hope that the change of leagues, coupled with distance from the injury, will raise maroth's performance into the league-average range. if it works out that way, then the cardinals' plodding, patient approach toward rebuilding the rotation --- maddening though it has been to some fans --- will look pretty good. maroth is locked up through 2008, and he'll cost less than half of what far more troubled pitchers are making via free agency. so the cards may have filled the hole in the middle of the rotation without sacrificing the payroll flexibility needed to address holes elsewhere on the team. they're only committed to maroth through age 30; suppan's contract runs through his age-35 season.

st louis did lose half a season waiting for this guy to shake loose; that is true. but better that, imho, than a bad contract that hamstrings the franchise for the next three years.

one other similarity between suppan and maroth, by the way; seems like they're both pretty good guys. read derrick goold's Bird Land post on maroth. whether or not you like the guy's pitching, you'll at least respect the type of person he is. more on maroth at tigers blog Bless You Boys. also:

  • the cards will activate troy percival today. he threw 6.2 innings at memphis, gave up 1 run, struck out 9, walked 5.
  • the cards' other memphis reclamation, tomo ohka, threw a decent game last night: 8 innings, 8 hits, 4 runs (3 earned). he only fanned 2, however, and gave up a homer. the cards have to make a decision on him now --- if they don't activate him, he can walk away from the deal. the results are pretty inconclusive so far; it's thought that the cards might ask ohka to extend the trial period for another start or two. if he forces a decision, i'd say the cardinals have no choice but to cut him loose --- especially now that they have maroth.
  • also on the rehab watch: carp may make his first minor-league start next week, and looper may rejoin the rotation as early as this weekend.
  • edmonds is getting cortisone shots now; he's the new larry walker.
  • the cubs' fans have come unhinged.
  • jeff weaver is f*cking sick of this sh*t, godd*mnit.