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Tier 2 Starting Pitchers

Jason Jennings certainly isn't a free agent, but he may be the best starter available through trade.  Let's take a look at how he stacks up against some of the other "Tier 2" guys being bandied about by half the clubs in baseball.  Stats are from 2006 except for Randy Wolf, for whom I used '05.

Strikeouts per nine innings:

Ted Lilly - 7.93
Gil Meche - 7.52
Vicente Padilla - 7.02
Randy Wolf - 6.86
Jason Jennings - 6.03
Jeff Weaver - 5.60
Jeff Suppan - 4.93
Miguel Batista - 4.80
Woody Williams - 4.46

Lilly, Meche, and Padilla are probably the three who might be considered power pitchers.

Walks per nine innings:

Woody Williams - 2.17
Jeff Weaver - 2.46
Randy Wolf - 2.93
Vicente Padilla - 3.15
Jeff Suppan - 3.27
Jason Jennings - 3.61
Miguel Batista - 3.66
Ted Lilly - 4.01
Gil Meche - 4.05

Wolf, as you can see, ranks well in both categories.  He will need to regain his pre-TJ control though.

K/BB (a measure of command):

Randy Wolf - 2.35
Jeff Weaver - 2.28
Vicente Padilla - 2.23
Woody Williams - 2.06
Ted Lilly - 1.98
Gil Meche - 1.86
Jason Jennings - 1.67
Jeff Suppan - 1.51
Miguel Batista - 1.31

This is where Jennings suffers, as he does not put the ball where he wants to.

Expected home runs per nine innings (each pitcher normalized to a 10.8% home run per flyball rate):

Miguel Batista -  0.93
Jeff Suppan - 0.99
Vicente Padilla - 1.05
Jason Jennings - 1.09
Randy Wolf - 1.13
Gil Meche - 1.15
Ted Lilly - 1.17
Jeff Weaver - 1.33
Woody Williams - 1.38

This is where the groundball pitchers rule.  So far Padilla is looking like the best overall pitcher.

Bill James ERA projections:

Woody Williams - 4.04
Vicente Padilla - 4.23
Ted Lilly - 4.35
Randy Wolf - 4.31
Miguel Batista - 4.37
Jeff Weaver - 4.40
Jeff Suppan - 4.46
Jason Jennings - 4.77
Gil Meche - 4.76

Nobody under 4, but a few guys will probably sneak in if they move to the NL.  I like how Padilla grades well across the board; I think he could really help a team like the Cubs.  Wolf is the upside play, but he may have enough suitors that he doesn't have to take a discount despite throwing just 136 innings over the past two seasons.  Williams is a bit like Greg Maddux, in that he's a helpful control artist who won't require a long-term commitment.  One difference is that Maddux has fewer teams for which he's willing to play, it appears. If only Weaver hadn't excelled in the playoffs, I could see him being a mild bargain.


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