Pitcher B: 7.56 K/9, 2.81 BB/9, 2.69 K/BB, 1.56 HR/9, .298 BABIP, 4.10 ERA The similarities between these two hurlers should be obvious. In fact, their strikeout-to-walk ratios are identical in a like number of innings, and they're both allowing batters to reach base at a comparable rate -- facts that should result, in most cases, in ERAs that fall in the same ballpark. Unfortunately for Pitcher A, that ballpark seems to be Coors Field while Pitcher B gets Dodger Stadium: the latter hurler has allowed 30 percent fewer runs this season, all told, without doing much more (and in point of fact, a little less) to limit opposing offenses.
The difference between them? Pitcher B -- Chicago White Sox starter John Danks -- has stranded nearly 80 percent of all baserunners, allowing just 20.4 percent of them to score this season. Pitcher A, on the other hand -- Reyes -- has seen 46 percent of them cross home plate.How significant is Reyes' 54 percent figure? Let's just put it this way: since PROTRADE started collecting this data in 2002, the lowest single-season mark belongs to Derek Lowe in 2004, when he stranded just 58.5 percent of baserunners. But considering the relatively tight grouping of league-wide Strand Rates -- it's usually about 20 points that separates the highest number from the lowest -- it should be safe to say that Reyes' rate is about as low as you'll ever see, even in a small sample of innings. Oh, and for the record, Lowe's season ERA for 2004? Try 5.42. And his ERA numbers since that season: would you believe 3.61, 3.63 and 3.84, with average Strand Rates in every one, despite similar walk and strikeout numbers? So while there's no denying that Reyes looks like something other than a success so far in 2007, it would be a mistake to shower him with too much of the blame. After all, he's done everything in his power to keep runners off the bases -- that they're scoring at such an inordinately high rate is something that's a little beyond his control.
Ryan Wilkins is an editor of PROTRADE.com: The Sports Stock Market. You can reach him with questions or comments via email. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.