Double Play: Has Jake Peavy Returned To His Dominant Form?

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Hello, fellow seamheads. I have teamed up with Bryan Lutz to write a weekly piece titled Double Play. The purpose of this weekly blog (every Monday) is to recap and debate three topics. Although Bryan and I have similar philosophies when it comes to the game of baseball, we don’t agree on everything. Without further ado, here is our second edition of Double Play. We will debate about Jake Peavy, Delmon Young, and talk about the biggest disappointment through the first month of the season.

Is Jake Peavy back to his dominant form?

BL: For the first time in three years, Jake Peavy is healthy. I’m not assuming the former Triple Crown winner is healthy; I’m taking the words right from Jake Peavy’s mouth. During Spring Training, Peavy said several times he is finally 100% for the first time while in a Chicago White Sox uniform. Peavy was pretty good last season in the peripherals department, having a FIP of 3.21, and an awesome K:BB ratio near four. But his peripherals didn’t translate into results, considering Peavy’s ERA was near 5.

This season, however, Peavy has been lights out. Against the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, and Baltimore Orioles (who are near the top of the league in home runs), Peavy is 2-0, with a FIP at 1.92, and has a 10.50 K:BB ratio. Seeing as it’s a contract year for Peavy, I expect continued success from the veteran right-hander.

MH: Over the past two seasons Peavy has thrown 218 2/3 innings for the Chicago White Sox. Peavy’s had a tough time staying healthy, and when he has been on the mound he’s done an awful job of stranding runners. So three starts into the 2012 season, am I supposed to be impressed that he’s managed to post a 32.75 ERA (1.92 FIP)? I don’t think so.

While Bryan will likely point out that his success against the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers proves that Peavy is legitimate, it’s worth pointing out that both of those lineups are dominated by right handed hitters. The Rangers only intimidating lefty in the lineup is Josh Hamilton, while the Tigers can only claim to have Prince Fielder and Alex Avila. A real test for Peavy would be facing a lineup loaded with strong left handed bats, like the New York Yankees. Realistically, the White Sox should be thanking whatever deity they believe in after every pitch Peavy throws. Given his history, he might not make it out of his third start without calling for a trailer.

Is Delmon Young the worst everyday player?

BL: There are a lot of bad players earning a paycheck in baseball; however, there is one player that instantly comes to mind when I think of terrible baseball players. That player is Delmon Young of the Detroit Tigers. Now, I realize there are worse players than Delmon Young, but some people actually think this guy is good!

Cool, he drives in runs, outside of that he couldn’t be more worthless. In his 7-year career, Young has amassed a 1.6 fWAR, which is carried by his career season in 2008 where he had a 1.8 fWAR. So if you can do simple subtraction, you notice without his “career year” in 2008, he costs his team wins from his play. Delmon Young basically plays baseball like Helen Keller at a piñata party.

MH: Let’s get one thing straight. Delmon Young is one of the worst players in the game. He’s a horrible, lazy defender who takes poor routes and often jogs to the ball. He has no patience, very little power, and virtually no speed on the bases. But is Delmon Young THE worst player everyday player in the game? No, but that’s not for a lack of trying.

Over the past two years, that honour goes to Adam Lind of the Toronto Blue Jays. Lind has been given a chance to play everyday despite hitting 243/291/432, rewarding the Jays with -0.3 WAR while he played first base and DH. Even Delmon Young has managed to best that, hitting 285/319/448, earning 2.2 WAR over that time.

While Lind has hit for superior power, his inability to even hit for average while playing an easier defensive position has earned him the title of worst everyday player in the majors. So congratulations to Delmon Young, who narrowly escapes being named the worst player in the majors.

Who has been the biggest disappointment this year?

BL: How is Tim Lincecum not baseball’s biggest disappointment? Through three starts, Timm-ah has an ERA over 10. 10! I recently wrote why Tim Lincecum is winding down the broken road, so if you want to know my full opinion on him, you can read that here.

MH: Albert Pujols signed a monster contract with the Los Angeles Angels in the offseason. He was expected to lead them to the playoffs, or at least give them a chance of competing with the Texas Rangers. So far, he hasn’t been able to do either.

It was troubling that the past three years saw a 100 point decline in Pujols OPS. Still, given that he’s been the best player on the planet for the past decade, it’s tough to argue with signing the dominant right handed hitter. However, given that he signed one of the biggest contracts in the history of baseball, more was expected from Pujols.