Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Radke, Wright. - Part III The "Tomo Ohka Test"

Update 12/09: What this means to be is only a simple answer to the question "is this pitcher better than our #3 starter?" A +2/+3 would have to decrease production in two categories to reach our Tomo Ohka level, so I'd say they'd clearly be expected to pitch better than our #3 unless somehting strange happens. Reverse this logic for -2/-3. The rest have to be looked at on a case by case basis. For the +1s will, anyone regress to the Ohka? Well, Byrd and Hernandez may pitch less innings so I'd make the case they are no more valuable than Ohka. For the rest I'd say Millwood has a shot at pitching better next year. I might actually make the case he's the third best pitcher left in the pool. For the 0s, will anyone increase to break the Ohka mold? Well Clement and Wells are probably already better pitchers, they just happen to have a strange stat here or there. Lowe should pitch better next year. I can't say the same for Ortiz or Milton. For the -1s, will anybody increase and get to even Ohka level? I can't even say that looking at these four. So there's no reason to sign any of these.

The free agent pitching pool got even smaller yesterday decreasing the Nats chances of signing a good pitcher and increasing the concentration of child urine. Leiter, Lieber, and Woody Williams all were signed. Now do you see what happens when you wait till the end of the day to finish your thought?

Anyway, In the first two posts of this series I simply listed the free agent pitchers available, some of their stats, and gave my off the cuff comments on them. In this one I suggest a test. The TOT or Tomo Ohka Test.

Tomo Ohka is pitcher for the Nationals. In 2002 and 2003 he had fine years (for the Expos, R.I.P.), and I project that if he's healthy he'll be the Expos 3rd starter. The Nats need is for a #1, or possibly good #2 starter, so any pitcher we sign should be at least better than Tomo Ohka. Hence the TOT.

I feel that three things are good determinants of future performance, how many men a pithcer is letting on base, how many HR he's giving up, and how many strikeouts he got. In stat terms, WHIP, HR/9, and K/9. Ohka's stats in 2002/2003 combined give you base values of 1.32 WHIP, 1.03 HR/9, and 5.43 K/9. If a pitcher number for the same stat is outside a range (eyeballed by me) then he gets a +1 or -1 depending (positive is good), inside it he gets a 0. Then I sum up the three stats. The more positive a score the better. (I know this is messy, but I deal with statistics all day, Smart Guy. I'm just looking for a quick and dirty comparison to Tomo Ohka, so back off, Taj Mowry)

Now anyone with a -2 or -3 shouldn't even be in the discussion. There is no reason to sign these guys. So bye bye, Aaron Sele, Ismael Valdez, Omar Daal, and Shawn Estes

TOT numbers for the rest?
Martinez, Pavano, Leiter
Byrd, El Duque, Millwood, Perez, Villone, Williams
Clement, Lieber, Lowe, Milton, Ortiz, Wells
Lima, Loaiza, Nomo, Wright

What does this say? Not much more than you'd expect. Martinez and Pavano are the gems of the market. Lima, et al. probably aren't going to pitch better than a #3. The rest could be very good or could be very average.

What would I do if I were Washington? I'd go after Martinez if I could. That name and his stats. He's just too good to pass up at almost any price. Plus he has a track record. He will perfrom. Pavano may perform and that difference is huge when your doling out the big bucks. I'd skip any injury risk as the money just isn't there to waste so no Duque or Byrd. I don't think Milton can cure his HR problem so I'd pass by him too.

I'd try to get a Wells or Villone at a dirt cheap price. Steal them away before the market gets any more crazy. If not then Ortiz for a relatively cheap price. Even if he fails, he would be capable #3 for a while, and could be a very nice #2. The rest (Millwood, Clement, Perez, Lowe) will probably be overpriced for what they can deliver. Look at the market. If Lieber got 7 mill a year these guys aren't getting less than that, but they could very well pitch at the same level as not only him but good ol 2.5 mill Tomo Ohka.

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