John Donovan: “My brain is a Hot Pocket”

My first thought when I saw this titled link – Which AL pitcher should be the All-Star starter? Here is my early front-runner – on CNNSI was “Wow, what a totally useless article, everyone knows it’s Dan Haren, it isn’t even close.”

I was wrong…and right.

John Donovan, while presenting a multitude of evidence saying otherwise, believes C.C. Sabathia should be this year’s All-Star starter. If anyone believes at this point in the season that the two starters for this year’s All-Star game should be anyone other than Dan Haren and Jake Peavy then they are legally retarded.

He gives us a little table that shows some of the top AL pitchers with their ranking in the shown stat categories in parenthesis. I will regurgitate some of those players in the order of value according to me:

Pitcher W-L ERA K/9 WHIP
Haren 7-2 1.58 (1) 7.05 (16) 0.86 (1)
Beckett 9-0 2.88 (6) 8.38 (7) 1.00 (4)
Verlander 7-2 2.79 (5) 7.29 (13) 1.13 (10)
Lackey 9-4 2.60 (3) 6.96 (18) 1.19 (14)
Sabathia 9-1 3.09 (9) 8.09 (8) 1.12 (9)

Don’t get me wrong, Sabathia is having a great season and deserves to be on the All-Star team, but so do those other guys. Now let us delve into Donovan’s misguided reasoning.

Oakland’s Dan Haren has been fantastic and then some, a winning pitcher for a team that barely can hit. His numbers, other than his strikeout numbers, are unassailable. Better, for the most part, than Sabathia’s.
Haren is the best pitcher in the entire fricking world right now, he leads the universe in ERA and WHIP, his ERA is almost half of Sabathia’s for crying out loud. Whoops, Haren doesn’t strike out as many batters and his winning percentage is worse (he only controls one of those stats). In his two losses he gave up 1 ER (5 unearned). In Sabathia’s one loss he let up 6 ER. Here’s something interesting if you’re concerned about Ks and Winning percentage, Josh Beckett is better than Sabathia in those categories and ERA and WHIP. Donovan has seen the stats yet he continues to be ignorantly halfwitted.

Ten of [Sabathia’s] 14 starts have been quality starts, one of the best percentages in the league. Haren has made 13 quality starts in 14 tries, but Sabathia has left a game with his team trailing only once, which is something even Haren can’t claim. (Admittedly more of a statement about Oakland’s offense, but still worth noting.)
I sincerely believe that Donovan wasn’t thinking or reading or even coherent as he wrote this article. Had he been reading what he was writing he would have convinced himself that this is possibly the worst article written in the past couple weeks (I don’t understand how some of these ‘writers’ get employment).

In his past 25 starts, going back to the All-Star break in ’06, Sabathia has a 3.03 ERA. Only one AL pitcher has a better ERA in that span. That’s Minnesota’s Santana, the reigning Cy Young Award winner, at 2.99 since last year’s break. Yet Santana, as good as many of his peripheral numbers are, is only a .500 pitcher at this point this season.
Including stats from last year is also a mistake, being that there is an entire offseason and pitchers are able to experiment and add new pitches in spring training and it can leave out pitchers who missed a season due to surgery. Also, Santana has one less start, has a higher K/9 rate and a lower WHIP, his ERA is is only slightly higher. Donovan likes to belittle pitchers who receive low or inconsistent run support. Sabathia has allowed 3 ER or more in 7 of 14 starts and is 5-1 in those starts. Santana has done that in 6 of 13 and is 2-3. Haren’s highest ER in a game was 3 and he did that once, receiving a no decision. Santana has allowed a high of 4 ER in 4 games and is 2-2 in them. Sabathia has allowed a high of 6 ER once and 5 ER twice and is 1-1 in them.

The Indians are 12-2 in Sabathia’s starts this year, a number undoubtedly aided by a Tribe lineup that backs the 26-year-old Californian with a gaudy 6.3 runs of support each outing.
Wait, you do care about run support? Why don’t you mention Beckett, you ungrateful moron? The Red Sox are 10-1 in games started by Beckett and give him 6.36 runs of support per outing.

John Donovan, you are a lobotomized Hoary Marmot.

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