Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Kyle Lohse signs with [MLB Team]

Note:  Kyle Lohse has not signed a contract, to my knowledge.  I just got bored waiting for it to happen and wrote this: 

Citing a report from [well-known and well-followed reporter that no one seems to like] Kyle Lohse signed a free agent contract worth [some years, some money] with [MLB Team], ending a long drawn-out process that most are [past tense emotion] to see ended.  [MLB team] has no doubt improved their rotation, but did so at the cost of [a draft pick of some sort].  Lohse is coming off of two good seasons with St. Louis and should provide some value to his new team.  Now that the long wait is over, was Kyle Lohse worth waiting this long for?

Lohse has certainly been a [positive adjective] pitcher over the past half-decade.  He is probably best known for [being a quietly effective pitcher; his soul patch; trying to break a hole in Ron Gardenhire's door].  While we may scoff at his notoriety, Lohse was a key contributor to St. Louis's NLCS team.  Of course, he was also shelled in Game 7 of that NLCS, only working into the 3rd inning.  Is it possible that he waited to regress until the last possible second?  I suppose it's possible. 

Kyle Lohse has never been a strikeout pitcher, although his strikeout rate isn't all that far off of league-average.  Last season, he posted a 16.6% K rate, which was just a tad below average.  What Lohse has consistently done in his Cardinals career is limit walks.  Limiting walks limits base runners, which limits runs.   This is certainly a factor in Lohse's favor. 

Was he a bit lucky last season?  Lohse posted a 77.2% strand rate, which is about 7% higher than his career average.  That number should stabilize for sure, and might even regress.  Lohse worked with Yadier Molina in St. Louis.  Will [new catcher] hold runners like Molina?  Molina is elite, [new catcher] is not on Molina's level.  How will this affect Lohse and his ability to hold runners?  Time will tell, but [MLB team] better hope this number doesn't regress too far.  

A final factor, St. Louis's park played roughly league average for pitchers last season, while [his new park] played [somehow].  Will this affect his overall statistics?  The only logical response would be, [it's possible]. 

I remember Kyle Lohse from his Twins days.  Back then he was extremely frustrating to watch.  He'd flash something positive, then get into trouble and end up getting yanked in the middle of an inning.  He seemingly always gave the ball to the manager with a big, dramatic eye-roll and then would go sulk in the dugout.  It was always obvious that Lohse was not long for the Twins organization.  The fans always wanted [something good] and Lohse always seemed to deliver [something bad].

So, what happened to Lohse when he got to St. Louis?  Well, Lohse really had two careers in St. Louis.  In three healthy seasons, Lohse had very good walk rates and stayed healthy, giving the Cardinals about 200 innings on average.  In two unhealthy seasons, Lohse was inconsistent, didn't limit walks and only provided about 200 innings in all.  The problem is that there is no way to know which Kyle Lohse [MLB team] has signed.  He could stay healthy, work well with his catcher, limit walks and have a great season.  Or, he could be injured, petulant, start walking more batters and have a poor season.  Is this uncertainty worth the loss of [a draft pick of some sort]?  I'm not so sure.

Here are Lohse's ERA+ figures over the last five seasons.  Is this a player who deserves [the contact he received]?

2012 - 134 [good]
2011 - 109 [fine]
2010 - 59 [gross]
2009 - 86 [not as gross, still gross]
2008 - 112 [nice]

Not the most consistent fellow, eh?

In the end, I strongly feel that [MLB team] will get [a version] of Kyle Lohse.  Lohse will pitch [some] innings, limit walks, and ultimately perform [as a pitcher, in some capacity].  I'm not sure that the move makes [MLB Team] that much better, but it certainly doesn't make them worse.  At worst, Lohse is a mid-rotation starter, on a team that [needs a mid-rotation starter to some extent].  The fans certainly have to view this as a [signing]. 

***Update, I found this image of Lohse with [MLB Team]:

[Blog writer] is a [blogger] who started [name of blog]  He works [a real job] and probably [should devote more energy in that area].  You can reach him by [email] and [on Twitter].         

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