Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What were the players thinking when they were polled? Or were they?

By Lily Deerinwater - AngelsWin.com Columnist

Earlier this month Sports Illustrated Magazine released it's  annual MLB Players Poll.  They ask as many players as they can a list of questions they'd never answer without a guarantee of anonymity.  This year 227 players participated in the poll, which was taken prior to the start of regular season play. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim starter C.J. Wilson was voted 'Most Overrated Pitcher'. 

To accurately answer the question, one must look at Wilson's record previous to the 2012 season, as well as his current stats.  Wilson became a starter for the Texas Rangers in 2010 and ended the season with a 15-8 record and a 3.35 era,  pitching 204 innings and striking out 170 batters, helping the team to their first World Series appearance in franchise history.  In 2011, Wilson improved his record to 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA, pitching 223.1 innings and striking out 206 batters, leading the Rangers to their second World Series appearance in a row. 

Much has been said of Wilson's less than stellar postseason performance, but one must remember that without Wilson there wouldn't have been a postseason for the Rangers for either season. 

During free agency many pundits discussed Wilson's age as a negative, which I dismissed. HE may be 31, but his arm isn't. He hasn't been on the disabled list since 2006 and logged just over two seasons as a starter with the Rangers.

One also must take into account Wilson's pitching style. He doesn't attempt to strike out every batter. He is tied for 3rd in the AL (and tied for 4th overall) at inducing batters to hit ground balls for double plays.

With his debut season as a member of the Los Angeles Angels well under way, Wilson's current record is 7-4 with a 2.30 ERA with 86 innings pitched and 76 strikeouts. He currently has the lowest ERA of any AL pitcher and the 6th lowest ERA in all of MLB. Wilson currently has the lowest opponent batting average (BAA) in the AL, at .189, the 3rd lowest in MLB and sports the best road ERA at (2.13). Since May 18th Wilson boasts a 0.77 ERA (35 IP – 3 ER) in five starts.

Taking into account these numbers, I vehemently disagree with the 14% of the players polled who feel Wilson is overrated. One wonders if they've been paying attention at all, because the stats and results don't lie.

The Angels ace southpaw will look to extend his win streak to four games tonight against the San Francisco Giants. The last time he faced the Giants was in the 2010 World Series as a member of the Texas Rangers in which C.J. Went a six solid innings giving his team a chance to win the ballgame (6 IP, 2 ER, 4 K). The result was a loss, but it didn't help that Giants starter Matt Cain and relievers shut the Rangers out and scored nine runs that night. C.J. Wilson had to depart the game in the 7th inning due to a blister that formed during the contest.

Parting thoughts:
I doubt the following stars in the game voted C.J. as an overrated pitcher based their past performances against the talented southpaw. David Ortiz (1-15, .077 BAA, 5 K's), Mark Teixeira (1-12, .083 BAA), Ichiro Suzuki (9-46, .196 BAA, 12 K's), Evan Longoria (2-16, .125 BAA, 6 K's), Victor Martinez (3-17, .176, 5 K's), BJ Upton (0-14, 6 K's), Lance Berkman (3-13, .231, 4 K's) and Joe Mauer ((2-22, .091 BAA, 7 K's)
Love to hear what you think!

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