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Guthrie Doubters stand up


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...I have to say it's bizarre how the team seems to step up when he's on the hill. The Orioles seem to pull more diving plays and well-fielded tough ground balls with him on the mound. That's not to mention the number of times the humble Guthrie has attributed his success to his defense.

I don't think it's bizarre. Sounds like a normal psychological response to me, from several aspects. Players play better for someone who gives them a better chance to win. That's multiplied when the guy is likeable, too.

Can't be quantified, though, so some people won't like it.

Reading some of the comments about Guthrie today, I was reminded of this by Camus:

"How many crimes are permitted simply because their authors could not endure being wrong!"

Yeah, even Camus can be applied to baseball...

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Comparisons are made between Bruce Chen and Jeremy Guthrie. But shouldn't their "stuff," their pitching repertoire, be included in those comparisons? Chen often threw in the 70s and low 80s. Guthrie can hit 97 and can mix in a slider. His downfall is you can count on him to hang a few breaking balls each game.

I mean, so many continue to wait for the clock to strike midnight and Guthrie to turn into a pumpkin. Can Mazzone be given some credit for this turnaround? Or is this turnaround at this age so against the norm that you cannot explain it away with, "Well, it must be working with a different pitching coach who turned him around."

I know throwing 97 doesn't guarantee great "stuff" for a pitcher if the pitch doesn't move or if he doesn't have other reliable pitches to turn to. But I guess my point here is I have seen Guthrie several times on TV now and it would seem to me he has got more than enough good "stuff" to get the best hitters in the league out. Or am I wrong here and his 95 mph fastball and slider aren't "filthy" pitches?

From watching Guthrie, his downside (to me) is that he really doesn't have a plus pitch besides his fastball. His change-up and his slider are good pitches, and he has good control over them, but they aren't out pitches like Bedard's ridiculous curve.

I think he's at least a solid #2 if he can stay healthy and if he can maintain that fastball command and velocity. His fastball tails away from lefties a good 3 or 4 inches in addition to that mid-90s velocity. And he gets great marks for his intelligence, which undoubtedly helps him make the most out of his abilities.

Also, Guthrie helps himself with regard to his BABIP due to the fact that he fields his position quite well.

I have concerns about him, but the concerns don't have to do with his stats; there was clearly something about him, be it an injury or fatigue or bad coaching or whatever, that prevented him from seeing this kind of success in the minors. The best case scenario for us would be that his problems were coaching related, and his results are the fruits from mechanical tweaks and adherence to Mazzone's throwing program. But there's always the concern that his body's just not cut out for throwing a baseball over a full season and he's going to wear down. I'm more concerned about that. We'll know more at the end of the season, but with each successful start we're getting closer and closer to the point where I think we all have to start counting on him to pitch successfully behind Bedard next year.

By the way, this is a different situation from Chen's; Chen walked more batters and was a much more extreme flyball pitcher in a home park that inflates HRs and generates more groundball outs. And his xFIP was 4.92 and 4.72 2004 and 2005 - a good sign that we probably shouldn't have expected much from him in 2006, when he collapsed completely.

It's also worth noting that despite being a bit lucky with his ERA, Guthrie still ranks 12th in the AL in xFIP. (Side note: Guess who's #1? I'll give you a hint. He's a mean Canadian.)

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From watching Guthrie, his downside (to me) is that he really doesn't have a plus pitch besides his fastball. His change-up and his slider are good pitches, and he has good control over them, but they aren't out pitches like Bedard's ridiculous curve.

I think he's at least a solid #2 if he can stay healthy and if he can maintain that fastball command and velocity. His fastball tails away from lefties a good 3 or 4 inches in addition to that mid-90s velocity. And he gets great marks for his intelligence, which undoubtedly helps him make the most out of his abilities.

This is a pretty good assessment of Guthrie. To say that he doesn't have a second out pitch like Bedard's curve is hardly a ciriticism, since Bedard's curve is probably the best in baseball right now. I think he's probably been a bit lucky, but to some degree he makes his own luck. What I mean by that is that he's fast worker with good control, which keeps the defense on their toes and allows the fielders to know which way to shade based on the expected location of the pitch. I think the league will adjsut to him, but he's a smart guy and will adjust back. He's a keeper.

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This is a pretty good assessment of Guthrie. To say that he doesn't have a second out pitch like Bedard's curve is hardly a ciriticism, since Bedard's curve is probably the best in baseball right now. I think he's probably been a bit lucky, but to some degree he makes his own luck. What I mean by that is that he's fast worker with good control, which keeps the defense on their toes and allows the fielders to know which way to shade based on the expected location of the pitch. I think the league will adjsut to him, but he's a smart guy and will adjust back. He's a keeper.

Good points, Frobby.

And, even if he's only a #4 starter in the big scheme of things, he's a pretty darn good one to have because he throws strikes and should go deep into games.

If you listen to Palmer talk about him, he insinuates that when he is on his game, the batter is hitting his pitch. I think getting ahead of hitters as often as he does makes the hitter defensive, making them less likely to hit a good pitch.

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You can be lucky over a whole season.

I hate the term lucky. It's not about luck, it's about minimizing the risk so in the end it looks like luck. That's when you throw in the variable about how good a pitcher's stuff is and how he can control it.

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You can be lucky over a whole season.

Rodrigo Lopez and his 5+ ERA winning 15 games in a season is called luck! Guthrie and his under 3 ERA with ONLY 6 wins due to the bullpen and/or offense blowing another 4 or 5 games games is NOT luck. If anything, Guts has had BAD LUCK on his side this year. He's got high 90's heat, can locate his pitches, and seems cool under pressure. I think we may have stumble donto something special here!

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I hate the term lucky. It's not about luck, it's about minimizing the risk so in the end it looks like luck. That's when you throw in the variable about how good a pitcher's stuff is and how he can control it.

Well the guys with the best stuff in baseball still usually have their BABIP in the 280-300.

He has been lucky...You can't deny that.

Now, the question is, how lucky has he been and what would we be looking at if his stats were more "normal"?

That is the question.

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Rodrigo Lopez and his 5+ ERA winning 15 games in a season is called luck! Guthrie and his under 3 ERA with ONLY 6 wins due to the bullpen and/or offense blowing another 4 or 5 games games is NOT luck. If anything, Guts has had BAD LUCK on his side this year. He's got high 90's heat, can locate his pitches, and seems cool under pressure. I think we may have stumble donto something special here!

In the w/l column, he has been unlucky..I agree with that. But that isn't what i am talking about here.

Really, what it all boils down to is how can you project him out long term.

This year is one thing...But how will he do long term?

That is really the issue.

He has good numbers for this year...A great ERA. He has surprised the hell out of me thus far and i wouldn't have thought he would be this good.

But, he still has to prove that he can do it with more normal numbers.

He still needs to prove he can do it as his innings continue to pile up and he needs to prove, next year, that this year isn't a fluke.

We all should need to see him do these things before putting him on a pedestal.

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In the w/l column, he has been unlucky..I agree with that. But that isn't what i am talking about here.

Really, what it all boils down to is how can you project him out long term.

This year is one thing...But how will he do long term?

That is really the issue.

He has good numbers for this year...A great ERA. He has surprised the hell out of me thus far and i wouldn't have thought he would be this good.

But, he still has to prove that he can do it with more normal numbers.

He still needs to prove he can do it as his innings continue to pile up and he needs to prove, next year, that this year isn't a fluke.

We all should need to see him do these things before putting him on a pedestal.

All valid points. But let me ask you this. If Texas called and said, we'll give you Mark Teixiera for either DCaBB OR Guthrie, straight up, which of the two do you send? (and saying you would wait to sign Tex as a free aganet is not an allowable answer in my little game!)

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All valid points. But let me ask you this. If Texas called and said, we'll give you Mark Teixiera for either DCaBB OR Guthrie, straight up, which of the two do you send? (and saying you would wait to sign Tex as a free aganet is not an allowable answer in my little game!)

Its a tough question.

I want to see more of Guthrie but DCab is more expensive and will continue to be so.

I am not convinced Guthrie is going to be a back of the rotation guy for the next 5 years yet....But i am also not convinced DCab will either.

I guess it would be DCab but it is purely a money thing.

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