Your 2006 Giants: The Wright Man for the #5 Starter
Here are other posts on Wright:
- http://biasedgiantsfanatic.blogspot.com/2006/01/giants-doing-wright-thing.html: covers most of the arguments I am making for Wright as #5 starter for the Giants in 2006, particularly his success on the road, how there were aberrations in 2005 that made his road stats look worse than usual, and the need to give Hennessey every chance to have a breakout year in 2007 because he proved to be so dominating but not in a consistent manner.
- http://biasedgiantsfanatic.blogspot.com/2006/02/article-on-wright-in-chron_114092823767679317.html: has interesting comments on Wright from his former catcher in Colorado who happens to be our leading candidate for backup catcher this season.
- http://biasedgiantsfanatic.blogspot.com/2006/03/rueter-retires-and-wright-speculation.html: speculation that Wright would be in line for long relief if he don't make starter, seems like that would be one too many relievers or that means only one of the three rookie relievers from last season will make this season, most probably Munter. But it looks like Correia is now up for this long relief role, which makes sense given how poorly Fassero did as a starter in 2005 plus the need to leave Hennessey alone in AAA to mature and learn to be consistently as dominating as he showed he could be in 2005, but would follow up with very poor outings.
- http://www.mccoveychronicles.com/comments/2006/3/7/153944/0953/3: in addition I posted on McCovey Chronicles, which has become my blog home away from blog home, that when you look at Ron Shandler's PQS rating for Wright's starts in 2005, while he was a mediocre 30% DOM overall, when you looked only at his road games, it was a sterling 47% DOM with only 7% DIS, both very good rates from top of the rotation guys, not something you would expect out of a bottom of rotation guy.
- http://www.mccoveychronicles.com/comments/2006/3/28/171936/410/4#4: I got my elevator speech on Wright down pat, this one repeats much of the first post, plus I threw in a new twist: since he is an extreme groundball pitcher, he should get more doubleplays probably. If you subtract his DP/GS from his BR/9 figure, oops, I should have used his DP/9 rate of 1.2 instead of the 0.8 DP/GS rate - I quoted a reduction to a 1.42 WHIP but it should have been reduced to 1.38, which is a good WHIP rate for a starter. Also, I noted that given his road numbers and potential at AT&T, he should do no worse than the various #5's we have trotted out over the past few years - Jensen, Foppert, Moss, Hennessey - while giving Hennessey a chance to concentrate on getting himself ready to take a rotation spot in 2007, because when he is going good, he is dominant, but unfortunately he was inconsistent the past two seasons, going from bad to great to back to bad in successive starts. We need to harnest his strengths and maximize his potential. As I noted in another thread above, 77% of all minor league starting pitching prospects fail when they come up without a full year of AAA pitching, whereas only 33% fail with a full year, or looking at it the other way, without a full year, only 16% do well, with a full year, 56% do well. Compelling numbers to just keep Hennessey in AAA in 2006 and get him ready for 2007.
He has shown the stamina and ability to throw 180-200 IP in a season, which will be good for saving the bullpen, though he has not done it often, so I don't know if it was stamina/injury or just poor pitching that stopped him, though I've read that he has had an injury history (according to Baseball Prospectus' team health report, fee but most of it is readable for free). With a low 4 ERA lifetime on the road and potentially under 4 ERA pitching at AT&T Park in 2006, he may be able to get his overall ERA into the high 3's and perhaps better, depending on how much of an advantage he gets from pitching in AT&T Park. But at worse, he should be as good as any of the #5 starters we have had over the past few years.
He's not going to get a lot of strikeouts but it should be decent enough rate (5-6 K/9) and his walks will be horrendous, but he gets an extraordinary number of ground balls to fly balls, his GB rate is 10 percentage points better than Schmidt and he had a similar looking chart to what Matt Morris did his last four seasons, that should deliver a lot of double plays and force outs. His past DP/9 rate reduces his WHIP nicely into the 1.3 range, which is good for any pitcher, let alone #5 pitchers. Plus he keeps his H/9 down around 9 or one per inning, which helps a lot with his high W/9 rate. He seems like Rueter in that way, Kirk would rather walk you than give up a hit.
He could potentially pitch as well as Morris did last season on an overall basis, making Wright the new Kirk Rueter of the rotation: high walks, low strikeouts, somehow gets batters out enough times to keep the score close enough for the team to win eventually. I wouldn't be surprised if he has a W/L record like what Rueter used to put up for the Giants regularly. At worse, he will be an adequate #5 starter and won't harm the Giants playoff ambitions, though he won't help either if this occurs. At best, he could put up Rueter-like number of wins with horrible other stats, looking like he did it with mirrors. His sinker and groundballs will be the keys to his success or failure. I think most of the signs point to him succeeding and possibly doing very well for us in the starting rotation, assuming he can stay healthy.