Stats & Info: Gil Meche

C.J. Wilson is in position to cash in big

November, 1, 2011
11/01/11
10:57
AM ET
C.J. Wilson
Wilson
Despite going 0-3 with a 6.08 ERA in five postseason starts, Texas Rangers ace C.J. Wilson is in a great position this offseason. Wilson is the best starter available on the free agent market, now that CC Sabathia signed an extension with the New York Yankees. His case is aided by the recent history of free-agent spending on starting pitchers.

Going back to the offseason prior to 2006, there have been nine contracts of $50 million or more given to starting pitchers. Excluding Daisuke Matsuzaka -- since he had no major-league statistics to compare prior to coming to MLB -- Wilson’s seasons leading into free agency compare well.

Derek Lowe, Ryan Dempster and Gil Meche are poor comparisons given pre-free agency track record and the return expected around the industry. Wilson will be in his age-31 season in 2012. He’s accumulated 10.5 Wins Above Replacement in the two seasons preceding his free agency, third behind only Sabathia and Lee during the period being analyzed.

Interestingly enough, the three best-compensated pitchers during this period are all left-handers. Barry Zito’s contract is considered among the worst ideas of all-time, which seems to place Wilson in the “gap” between the Sabathia/Lee class and the Burnett/Lackey class.

Wilson’s 10.5 WAR is 29.6 percent higher than Burnett’s 8.1 mark prior to his free agency. If you scale that relative to Burnett's contract, Wilson could expect to receive $21 million per season.

On the flip side, Wilson contributed 76.1 percent of what Lee did prior to his free agency. Based on that, he’d be expected to receive $18 million per season. Splitting the difference, Wilson could be looking at a contract with an average annual value of $19.5 million, or $97.5 million in a five-year deal.

His agent can argue Wilson is superior to the likes of John Lackey and A.J. Burnett -- even without the aid of hindsight -- and thus we’re already starting to look at contracts approaching $90 million.

As we saw with Jayson Werth this past offseason, it only takes one team to change the expected market for a player. As such, don’t be surprised if the Rangers ace lands one of the richest contracts in the history of the sport for his position, particularly given the idea that he has so few innings on his arm relative to most pitchers who reach free agency.

1st Pitch: Fastballs that aren't working

May, 14, 2010
5/14/10
12:55
PM ET
Quick Hits: Not all fastballs are created equal. Let’s take a look at some pitchers whose fastballs just aren’t getting the job done this season.

* Opponents have swung and missed on Jason Hammel’s fastball just 5.4 percent of the time (league average: 14.3) and are batting a league-high .426 against his heater.

* Kevin Millwood has allowed eight home runs off his fastball this season, two more than anyone else.

* Wandy Rodriguez has thrown his fastball for a strike just 57.6 percent of the time this season, the league average is 63.7.

* Opponents are batting .392 against Carlos Zambrano’s fastball this season, well above the league average of .280.

* Ryan Rowland-Smith has yet to record a strikeout via the fastball this season. Opponents are hitting .324 with a 1.074 OPS against his heater.

* When Justin Verlander’s fastball has topped 95 mph, opponents have swung and missed just 15.0 pct of the time (lg avg: 19.4). They’re hitting .275 (lg avg: .243) against his 95 mph fastball and have hit a league-leading three home runs off it.

Today’s Trivia: With his 0.93 ERA through seven starts, it’s a good bet that Ubaldo Jimenez will set the Rockies record for the lowest ERA prior to the All-Star Break. Which pitcher holds the current record, set in their inaugural season in 1993?

Today’s Leaderboard: The red-hot Padres remain in first place in the NL West, but they have shown a weakness this season. Three Padres are tied for the worst batting average against fastballs 94 miles per hour or faster. As a team the Padres are batting .216.

Key Matchups: Alex Rios, who is batting .429 in May, has a chance to stay hot tonight. He’s batting .583 (14-24) in his career against Royals’ starter Gil Meche.

It will be tough for Dallas Braden to duplicate his perfect game tonight if Erick Aybar is in the lineup for the Angels. Aybar is a career .412 hitter (7-17) against Braden.

Trivia Answer: Armando Reynoso entered the All-Star Break with a 3.03 ERA in his rookie year in 1993. The only other Rockies starter with an ERA under 3.50 entering the All-Star Break was Marvin Freeman (3.18) in 1994. Since Coors Field opened in 1995 the top pre-All-Star Break ERAs belong to Kevin Ritz (3.50 in 1995) and Roger Bailey (3.50 in 1997).

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