Pump the Brakes on Jeremy Hellickson for President | The Process Report

Pump the Brakes on Jeremy Hellickson for President

By R.J. Anderson //

I tweeted this yesterday, but wanted to put it in a substantive location for future reference. Through three starts, Jeremy Hellickson has a FIP around 2.43. That is very, very good. Stephen Strasburg made 10 starts before going on the disabled list and held a 2.16 FIP before Sunday’s rough outing versus the Florida Marlins. Teammate Wade Davis made six starts at the end of last season with a 2.90 FIP with a 3.4 FIP through his first three starts. David Price’s FIP was over 5.2 after his first three, higher than Doug Waechter who fell to the earth quickly after an impressive debut.

What this means is very simply: we do not know what Hellickson’s true talent level is right now. We can guess (league average would be a good guess) or estimate based on minor-to-major league equivalencies and translations, but what we do know is that his true talent level is not – is not – around a 2.5 FIP. Cliff Lee is the best pitcher in baseball and his true talent level is right around a 3.00 FIP; Roy Halladay is right up there too and he had not posted a sub-3 FIP season since 2002. And so on.

Hellickson has pitched well. He’s been the best starter on staff over those three starts, but that does not mean this will A) continue or B) should be the expectation heading forward. Will he perform better than league average? It’s certainly not out of the question – see Jeff Niemann last season – is it guaranteed? No. See Wade Davis this year. Hellickson might be the best pitcher in the rotation by 2012 or he might not. We don’t know enough yet to say either way.

Speaking of Davis. He’s on the disabled list (obviously) but while doing the data-mining for this post, I threw together a graph of his season to date separated by four game stints:

I’ll have more thoughts on him once he returns, but the near-symmetry of the data tempted me into posting it ahead of time.



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