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The Safest Roller Coaster in Town
by Scott Glab, BaseballEvolution.com
September 28, 2006




 
Kid with the steel stomach. 

This article is a follow up to the three way debate that Asher, Keith, and I had about Derek Lowe before the season began. Here are the original articles:


Keith: High on Lowe
Asher: Low on Lowe
Scott: Mr. Lowe's Wild Ride

I took the most easily defensable position, that Lowe's final stats for 2006 would be pretty good, but certainly not as extreme as Keith or Asher thought. The reason my article was not trivial was that I noted a pattern since 2002 where Lowe would have stretches ranging from a few starts to half-seasons where he was one extreme or the other--excellent or ineffective--followed by a stretch where he flipped to the opposite, ad infinitum. Stat tables from 2002-2005 corroborating these claims can be found in my original article. As for 2006, Lowe did not fail to live up to his billing as a theme park attraction:



Derek Lowe 2006

GS

W

L

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

K

ERA

Start April 17

3

1

1

17

9

14

11

3

7

7

5.82

April 18 - June 10

10

4

2

66.3

51

16

14

2

18

35

1.90

June 11 August 3

10

3

4

59.3

83

45

43

7

17

40

6.52

August 4 - End

11

8

1

75.3

68

22

20

2

13

41

2.39

Total

34

16

8

218

221

97

88

14

55

123

3.63

 

My predictions for Lowe 2006: 14-11, 3.73, 140 K, 1.29 WHIP

Despite the accuracy of my predictions, perhaps the disparity in Lowe's won-loss record from the prediction can be explained by the fact that Derek Lowe only yielded 9 unearned runs this year. In 2004 and 2005, Lowe gave up a total of 50 UER. This is a huge number by just about any standard of measurement, and would even make most knuckleballers cringe. As I mentioned in the previous article, there is no identifiable pattern as to why this was so. He hadn't given up gobs of UER earlier in his career, and 2004-05 spanned two teams in two leagues, and each team had stretches where their infield defense was considered near abysmal or above average in each year, thanks to trades and injuries. So basically Lowe shaved off about 17 UER from his pace of the previous two seasons, which would certainly be good for a few more wins.

Other than that, he dropped his HR total to pre-2005 levels, but still exhibited the tendency to give up many more hits and homers during his poor streaks. It actually appears that his K/BB ratio does decline during these times, but still not as appreciably as his hits and homers.

Of course, none of these results adequately explains what it is about Lowe that lends himself to such strange extremes. Once again, I can only hope that a truly dedicated sabermatrician and Lowe observer can shed some light on this in the future.

(Many thanks to the Baseball Musings Day by Day Database, without which compiling these stats would be tedious and nigh impossible.)



Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Scott Glab resides in Irving, Texas, and can be reached at scott@baseballevolution.com.


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