Pedro Watch (or, Will the Real Pedro Please Stand Up)

No reason to panic yet, but Pedro Martinez’ start this year warrants at least some concern. YF’s bombastic comments about Pedro after his second (and masterful) start were premature, just as any “he’s done” post might have been (and please note that no such post was ever made). However, Pedro is clearly not near what he was the last 3 or 4 years at this point in the season. It’s noticeable. His velocity is down, his arm angle is different (according to the experts, not me – that’s not something I am trained to notice after a couple of games), and he is walking guys (a huge issue). He’s generally getting hit hard – these aren’t bleeders falling in.

Pedro’s wily, he has an insane changeup, he’s incredibly smart and has exhibited, in the past, the ability to adapt to his stuff, which is why there is no reason to jump ship yet. Though stubborn off the mound, he’s proven to be not that while on the rubber. But there is reasonable cause for concern. It’s about consistency – Pedro may still have starts like his second one in him, but if they come every third start or so that’s the big (and troubling) development. Let’s hope some warm weather does the trick – the coming three weeks or so will tell us much.

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  • I seem to recall Pedro getting shelled in a 10-run loss at the opening of last season as well. Is a “slow” start–ie, a couple of rough games in the April cold–something we should be expecting from Pedro? SF suggests this is a new development–are we sure? Is it just an exacerbated version of the same old thing?
    In the few innings I’ve seen him thus far (and I missed last night), Pedro has looked a lot like last year’s Pedro: not so overpowering with the fastball, but still masterful with speed change and location. Maybe the experts are correct and he’s lost his “arm angle” and a few mph on the gun–I have no idea. But he does seem more dependent on the umpire now. So I ask, what was the ump like yesterday? Was he getting “his” pitches?
    A shame we’re going to miss him this weekend.

    YF April 16, 2004, 11:03 am
  • And, BTW, I’d hardly call my initial Pedro posts “bombastic.”

    YF April 16, 2004, 11:07 am
  • Pedro ERA in April:
    1999: 2.21
    2000: 1.27
    2001: 1.80
    2002: 3.38
    2003: 3.51
    2004: 4.82 (through three starts)
    Pedro Walk Totals, April:
    1999: 7 in 36.2 innings
    2000: 8 walks in 35.1 innings
    2001: 8 walks in 35.0 innings
    2002: 7 walks in 29.0 innings
    2003: 15 walks in 40 innings
    2004: 7 walks in 18.2 innings. 4 HR allowed.
    This all should be alarming, though again, not yet reason to panic. It certainly makes one wonder if devoting $16M per year over several years to is a wise allocation of money, regardless of the Yanks’ interest. But that’s another discussion, for another time.

    SF April 16, 2004, 11:38 am
  • But there is a pattern there, at least on the surface: Pedro, over the past couple of seasons, has been weak in April, although statistically I’m actually not sure the sample is large enough to really tell us much. Last seasaon’s walk total is about the same as this year’s, per inning, and the era (whatever that’s worth), is in both instances significantly higher than his full season total.

    YF April 16, 2004, 11:45 am
  • Masterful with speed and location? Not that I’ve seen this year. And with no breaking pitch. Pedro can put his 70-75 mph change wherever he wants, but when your fastball’s in the 80s, instead of the low to mid 90s, it doesn’t matter.

    Dave April 16, 2004, 2:14 pm
  • As noted, Dave, I haven’t seen enough of Pedro to really come to any firm conclusions about his efficacy, though I would note that Jamie Moyer has done quite well with his changeup/slow fastball combination. Speed ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. And in any case, Pedro’s change drops into the 60s, no?
    I guess we’ll all get a good look at him next week, here in NY.

    YF April 16, 2004, 2:26 pm
  • The point, maybe, is that it seems that Pedro is changing as a pitcher, and significantly. Can he be the best damn Jamie Moyer? No doubt – he can be better than the best damn Jamie Moyer there ever was, which ain’t too shabby. But Pedro isn’t 40, he used to have gas (unlike Moyer, who never had it), and his numbers are climbing, in all the categories that need to not climb. So we are, I think, witnessing a moment in a career where a pitcher needs to confront changing abilities.
    As an aside, and as a matter of math, his pro-rata walks total this year is worse than last year. Calling it “about the same” is deceptive – it glosses over the downward trend, and that’s important. In the last 4 seasons, every important pitching statistic has gotten worse. Though that might not be a big enough sample to indicate everything, it certainly indicates something.

    SF April 16, 2004, 3:01 pm
  • Also, the pattern is not just that he’s generally weak in April – it’s that he’s gotten progressively weaker EVERY April, and with statistical significance in the last 4 years. This is a very important distinction, in my opinion.

    SF April 16, 2004, 3:02 pm
  • I honestly don’t think there’s enough data to infer anything of any significance regarding degenerating April totals, year to year. What’s a trend is that cumulatively, he’s worse in April than other months.
    As for his maturation as a pitcher, just where Pedro is right now in his overall development is unclear. To say that we’ve seen him reach some turning point…there just isn’t enough evidence yet. Is there cause for concern? I suppose. But the jury is definitely still out.

    YF April 16, 2004, 3:09 pm
  • And a little more credit to Dave. I realize I have rhetorically short-changed the great Moyer. In addition to his other pitches, he certainly has one dandy hook.

    YF April 16, 2004, 3:15 pm
  • Basically we agree – this is a lot of talking around the issue – Pedro’s performance is reason for concern, but nothing to panic about, not yet an indication of faltering talents on the whole. The first post made that pretty clear.
    Backing up some of YF’s claims is a poster on SoSH – see the following link and scroll down for someone who has researched within the month of April to detect intra-monthly trends. Pedro’s ERA on April 16th this year is apparently better than his April 16th ERA in the previous two. I guess you could take it down even further, but I think this thread is exhausted.
    Here’s the link:
    Lastly, no need to convince me to toot the Moyer horn – he’s been a rotisserie mainstay for me the last 4 years, and for all the deserved ballyhoo of the Heathcliff Slocumb for Lowe and Varitek trade back in the Duquette era, the Sox blundered by shipping Moyer for Darren Bragg. An awful deal.

    SF April 16, 2004, 4:05 pm