What if: Garrett Mock
Garrett Mock was atrocious in 2009 with a 5.62 ERA and a 1.73 whip. Clearly he is beyond hope, but since I already typed his name out, I might as well give him an analysis.
Some “bad” pitchers are a few walks away from having a good year. Let’s see if Garrett Mock fits that mold. Garrett Mock has a minor league history of a very low walk rate, so he’s a good candidate for this analysis.
In about one full season’s worth of triple-A work over the last two seasons, his BB/9 rate was about 2.2. This year in mlb, 4.34. Additionally, it was 2 in a partial season in 08. Let’s work with 2.7 for 2010. That saves him .18 BB/IP, bringing his whip down to 1.55, not that good.
What else is there? His K rate was around average, 7.09/9. But historically, in Triple A he was 8.25-8.47. What’s more, he was at 10.1 last year in 41 innings. If we boost him to 7.5, that amounts to .41K/9 extra, about 1.5 outs/27 outs. That gives him .06% more innings pitched, lowering his whip down to 1.46.
But wait, there’s more. Despite an xbabip (that’s an expected batting average of balls in play) of about .290 Mock posted a disastrously unlucky .361. What does that mean? It means bad defense turned the 91 hits he should have allowed, to the 114 he got credit for. That’s 23 hits. When it’s all said and done, achievable improvement plus neutral luck puts his whip at 1.24, in the range of a very effective pitcher. His ERA would be well below 4.00 with that whip and his ground ball tendancies.
Additionally, there should be a mental benefit from not thinking you suck.