Due For Some Mean Regression: Part 2

1 of 3

The first place we’ll look for possible ‘luck’ or mean regression is the 3 teams’ pitching staffs. The questions, again, are ‘did the Tigers get lucky in 2011’ (relative to the Twins and Indians) and ‘do we expect the Tigers to fall back to the pack in 2012?’ Justin Verlander – though we all knew he was good – obviously outperformed anyone’s expectations in 2011 as did Jose Valverde with his perfect 49 saves so we’d probably figure we know what we’ll find.

We’ll start with the Tigers pitchers:

Although Justin Verlander and Jose Valverde did pitch significantly better than that Marcel projection, that isn’t exactly the rule for the staff as a whole. Joaquin Benoit and Dan Schlereth pitched a bit better than expected, but the rest of the bullpen was lots worse. Ryan Perry was a mess and the remaining 3 members of the Tigers’ projected bullpen either did not pitch (Zumaya) or were so bad when they did that they spent most of the season in Toledo. The arms that rotated in from AAA to replace those who were demoted (which included Perry and Schlereth at times during the season) was – aside from Al Alburquerque – woeful. The two Davids (Pauley & Purcey) brought in through trades were every bit as bad.

While Verlander was great, the rest of the Tigers opening day rotation underperformed – though they did all stay healthy, particularly important given how poorly Tigers’ spot starters fared. Max Scherzer was expected to be a 4-5 win second ace, but he wound up with an ERA of 4.43 due to problems with the long ball. Brad Penny wasn’t able to miss any bats and ended the season with an ERA close to a full run higher than his projection. Rick Porcello also gave up a lot more runs than we would have expected. Though Phil Coke wasn’t very good as a starter in the first half of 2011 and wound up back in the ‘pen, it’s difficult to say if this could be called ‘bad luck’ since his projection was as a reliever and came fairly close to the numbers he put up in the second half as a reliever. Nonetheless – it’s worth noting that the Tigers had hopes for the Coke experiment and that they were dashed. Doug Fister was acquired mid-season to fill the Coke hole and he was amazingly good – clearly we can’t expect Fister to match his 1.78 ERA as a Tiger in 2012. But, we can expect Scherzer and Porcello to bounce back, whoever replaces Penny to be less bad and Justin Verlander to hold onto some of the strides he seemed to make last year.

Next, the Indians: