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Indians Pitchers' First Month 'On Pace' Projections

Earlier this week, we celebrated the precise one-sixth marker of the 2012 MLB season by looking at what numbers each Indians hitter on the 25-man roster was “on pace” for—i.e., I multiplied all their counting stats by six. Today, we turn our attention to the Tribe’s pitching staff.

Below are each currently rostered Cleveland pitcher’s “on pace” stats after 27 games (asterisk denotes stat taken after 26 games). Note that these kinds of projections are intended solely for fun. They are in no way scientific, nor do they represent my actual opinions about how the rest of the season will shake out. (click to embiggen)

Where to start? Well, the top of the rotation just looks awful. The Indians’ twin aces are on pace to combine to go 12-24, give up 54 home runs, and post a K/BB ratio of 1.0. That’s replacement-level production from the top two spots in the rotation. Needless to say some positive regression on that front would be most welcome.

Then we get to spot No. 3. I can’t decide what’s more incredible about Derek Lowe‘s season so far: that he’s on pace to win 24 games, or that he’s on pace to win 24 games with only 60 strikeouts. Either way, there’s no way that’s what the Indians were expecting when they traded for him this winter. Meanwhile, Josh Tomlin and Jeanmar Gomez‘ projections are pretty good numbers for Nos. 4 and 5 starters, albeit in fewer innings than the Tribe is hoping for.

Moving to the bullpen, two pitchers are below replacement level: Jairo Asencio and Dan Wheeler. Neither should come as a surprise as both have suffered their share of meltdowns this year, though it’s not quite fair to judge Asencio by WAR—his ability to eat innings goes beyond the number of runs he allows after more than three outs’ worth of work.

Joe Smith really needs to get those walks under control—he’s on pace to allow as many as Tomlin and Gomez combined—and Tony Sipp has many earned runs to his name as strikeouts is a troubling pace. On a more optimistic note, Nick Hagadone‘s numbers are great for a guy who started the year in the minor leagues.

But it’s the back of the bullpen where things really get interesting. Vinnie Pestano is on pace for 114 strikeouts, a ridiculous total for a reliever. And Chris Perez is on pace to shatter Francisco Rodriguez‘ record for most saves in a season. I know saves are dumb and Perez has looked shaky this year, but that’s still pretty incredible.

Generally these numbers look pretty bleak, but fear not: one-sixth of the way through the season, the Indians are on pace to win 96 games. I’m happy to deal with some inconsistent pitching if we still win the AL Central.

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Tags: Chris Perez Cleveland Indians Dan Wheeler Derek Lowe Jairo Asencio Jeanmar Gomez Joe Smith Josh Tomlin Justin Masterson Nick Hagadone Tony Sipp Ubaldo Jimenez Vinnie Pestano

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