This Year and Last - The Starters

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How are the Blue Jays' five original starters doing as compared to last year?

When it comes to baseball and baseball stats, a lot of people - myself included - have trouble seeing things in a non-linear way. Team A is on pace to go 81-81, ergo they probably will end the season with that record. This can be a fun thing to poke fun at early in the year, for example looking at the pace a player is on in April.

For example, as of four days ago, Miguel Cabrera was on pace to hit .385/.459/.682 with 48 HRs and 196 RBIs. That's bound to happen, right?

Matt Kemp's first 29 games of 2012 saw him hit .406/.488/.832 with 12 HRs and 27 RBIs. He would end the year with 23 HRs in 106 games and a slash line of .303/.367/.538.

The same happens with some pitchers. Adam Wainwright had a 6.16 ERA after seven starts in 2012, but would finish the year with an ERA of 3.94.

Some players just start strong and end poorly, or vice versa.

That being said, I figured it would be interesting to look at stats of Blue Jays players to see how they are currently faring as compared to last year at the same point. Let's begin with the five original starting pitchers. Again, the 2012 stats represent how the pitcher did up until May 30 of last year.


R.A. Dickey

2012: 3.31 ERA .215/.267/.387 line against
2013: 4.85 ERA .239/.321/.444 line against

Dickey was supposed to be the staff ace, and so far, he has disappointed a bit. There has already been a fair bit of work done on RA Dickey's troubles this year - most of the issues seem to stem from his loss in velocity. From this you might expect to see a higher walk rate, more hits allowed, and more runs against.


Brandon Morrow

2012: 3.47 ERA .208/.270/.372 
2013: 5.63 ERA .286/.339/.541

If the average player against Brandon Morrow were an actual, real player, he would have the 17th-highest SLG in the league. That's not good. Last year, Brandon Morrow broke out, posting an ERA of 2.96 with 2.4 WAR. At this point last year, though, he was slightly worse, posting that ERA of 3.47. His numbers are definitely up (or, down, depending on how you look at it) this year, but look for things to turn around based on Morrow's generally stronger second half.


Mark Buehrle

2012: 3.26 ERA .254/.287/.392 
2013: 5.51 ERA .273/.332/.457

Mark Buehrle has ben one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball over the last 12 years, throwing over 200 innings in each while maintaining a solid ERA. This year, Buehrle's ERA is through the roof, sitting at 5.51. At this point last year, his ERA was a good as it was at any point in the season. Buehrle finished last year with an ERA of 5.56. Could the move to the AL East at age 34 do him in? Buehrle's strongest months have always been May June and July, whereas April has always been his worst. This year, Buehrle's ERA in April was 6.35, and in May, 4.89. Not good at all, but getting somewhere. I'm thinking in a linear way again.


Josh Johnson

2012: 4.87 ERA .313/.366/.405
2013: 6.86 ERA .329/.396/.482

Josh Johnson is currently rehabbing from an injury, just like he did at one point in 2007, and 2008, and 2010, and 2011, and now 2013. That's just what happens when you are 6 foot 7, weigh 252 pounds, and throw the ball 95+ miles per hour, I guess. Last year, Johnson posted a 1.87 ERA in June, when he faced Atlanta, Boston, Tampa, Toronto, and Philly.


J.A. Happ

2012: 4.37 ERA .283/.344/.491
2013: 4.91 ERA .250/.347/.406

J.A. Happ is also currently on the DL with a knee issue. Happ had ben one of the better starters for Toronto this year, despite the 4.91 ERA. Over his career, Happ has been much better in the second half of the season, posting an ERA 80 points higher than that in the first half. Happ's K/9 (7.09), BB/9 (5.18), BABIP (.287), and LOB % (69.0%) are all hovering around his career average, so I would expect that when he returns, Happ will continue to produce around the same level.

That's it as far as starters go. It seems as though compared to last year, nearly every pitcher this year is doing much worse, but I don't think I had to tell you that.

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