I've frequented BCB for about a year now and I'm surprised that the majority consensus on the board is that Michael Wuertz has no place in this bullpen. With the recent move to Triple A, it appears the front office agrees with this opinion. Frankly, I'm a little shocked by all this. I'll admit that I don't get to watch the Cubs nearly as often as I'd like, but as an avid stat geek, I'm very surprised at all the heat Wuertz takes. I'm not trying to say that Wuertz is an incredible talent; however, for the last five years, he has consistently put up good statistics by year's end. This is no easy feat when you consider how inconsistence relievers are from year to year.
I was hoping that someone could enlighten me as to why Wuertz's perceived value is so much less than what his statistics show it to be. Is he a "choke artist"? Or are there some peripherals/sabermetric stats that I'm just not digging into that would put into context his otherwise good ERA and WHIP?
To make sure I wasn't deluding myself, I've taken the ERA, WHIP, and K/9IP for each prospective member of our bullpen since 2006 (2.5 seasons) and listed them here (without names). I wanted to see how Wuertz stacked up against the rest of our bullpen over the past few years. I also thought this might be insightful in determining who should stay in the bullpen and who should be left out.
I should mention a couple caveats. First, it is hard to compare apples to apples here since our bullpen is composed of an interesting cross-section of career paths. Obviously, some are younger than others (getting better vs. worse?) but also, there are a disproportionate amount of pitchers with a significant time as starting pitchers during this time frame. This will have a negative effect on their ERA and WHIP since starters have to go through the batting order multiple times in an outing (and hitters will adjust to them). Second, since most relievers are somewhat inconsistent from year to year (Neal Cotts is a good example), looking at 2.5 years of stats doesn't do a great job of showing you who belongs in our bullpen for the stretch run this year.
In conclusion, I hope here to promote a discussion on Michael Wuertz and also to see if BCB can figure out who these mystery bullpen men are (I'll provide the answers sometime during Saturday's game) and who on this list you would keep around for the stretch run.
2.5 Year Averages (stats sadly include Thursday's drubbing)