Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Reader Blog: Piling on John Grabow

I wasn't here to express this at the time but I thought the signing of John Grabow to a 2 year contact for around 3 million per year was a complete waste of resources. You never give a multi-year contract of this amount to a mediocre middle reliever.

The problem with Grabow is that Hendry apparently didn't believe he was mediocre. This is because of Hendry's reliance on ERA as a main indicator. Here are Grabow's ERA's the last 4 years:

2006-4.13
2007-4.53
2008-2.64
2009-3.36

Looks like Grabow magically got better. But did he?

There are only 3 things a pitcher can do to keep runs off the board. He can strike out hitters, he can keep his walks low, or he can keep the ball in the ballpark.

Judging by those stats above, Grabow must have gotten better in one of those skills.

Was it strikeouts?

K rate last four years:

2006-8.53
2007-7.32
2008-7.34
2009-7.09

Nope. Grabow has missed fewer bats over time not more. He must have developed better control:

BB rate last four years:

2006-3.88
2007-3.31
2008-4.38
2009-4.98

Wow, he has become more wild, not less. This is amazing, he's striking out fewer batters without seeing his walk rate drop and still his ERA goes down?? How could that be. Oh, right what about the HR?

HR rate last four years:

2006-0.90
2007-1.05
2008-1.07
2009-0.62

Oh, so the HR rate DID go down in 2009. How'd that happen? Luck. It is almost a fact that all pitchers will allow around 10% of their flyballs for HR's. Grabow is not very much of a ground ball pitcher so he allows his share of flyballs but allowed just 5 HR of 87 flyballs in 2009.

On top of this, hitters only hit .279 on batted balls in play and only .251 in 2008, btw. He is not going to allow 2 run HR in the 8th every time out but really what we are looking at is the right handed version of Aaron Heilman. I hope I am wrong about Grabow but when you have a limited budget, you don't spend it on mediocrities who got lucky the last two years.

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