Wednesday, March 23, 2005

D-Back 2005 Preview: Shawn Estes 

The D-Backs signed pitcher Shawn Estes
Though we're not really sure if his best is
Obscured by Coors Field
Or if he will yield
Home runs or doubles the fastest

Back to the limerick previews. And not a moment too soon. I mean, how would you live without the review of the pitcher for whom the best thing that can be said about his signing is that it's just for one year? But the cynicism of the prior sentence aside, I think that the key here is in BP's discussion of Estes, in which they say that Estes wasn't abysmal last year, "merely lousy." And that's what we're getting, a $2.5 million pitcher who should be good for 150 to 200 innings of replacement-level stuff (or slightly worse - over the past three years, Estes' combined VORP is -14.9). A flyball pitcher in a hitter's park who doesn't strike out that many more hitters than he walks.

But here's one thing: BP thinks Estes will actually have a positive VORP in 2005 -- 9.7. (ZIPS, it should be noted, is more pessimistic, with worse hit, strikeout, and walk ratios.) In win shares last year, he was, well, average. Which brings us to the other thing: an "average" or even a "merely lousy" pitcher would be a significant improvement from the wasteland that was 60% of the rotation last year. The pitching in the 3 through 5 slots truly was abysmal. And while part of me thinks that the loser between Gosling and Halsey for the #5 slot could outpitch Estes, the other part of me says "we thought that about Fossum, Gonzalez, Good, and every other pitcher we brought up in to get bombed." So I'm going to fear the worst and hope for the best. (Though D-Back fans will fear that a good season will lead to a disastrous multi-year signing next offseason.)

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