Saturday, June 16, 2012

Blind Loyalty

I got a little hot under the collar when I saw the following come across my twitter timeline last night.

"That 08 draft that Wade/Heck used to praise is showing nothing. Castro can't hit/field and Lyles can't pitch. "

When I came to the defense of Lyles and Castro, I was accused of "blind loyalty."

Let's just set aside the fact that there are still almost a dozen other players from the 2008 draft in the system, including J.B. Shuck, Ross Seaton and Luis Cruz, who are still successfully making their way through the system. Let's just focus on Castro and Lyles.

Jordan Lyles is 21 years old. Let me repeat. Jordan Lyles is 21 years old. He made his first start in the major leagues when he was 20 years old. Through 27 games (22 starts) at the major league level, let's see how Jordan Lyles numbers compare to another young pitcher who recently came through the system through an identical number of starts.

Innings Pitched
Jordan Lyles - 131.2 IP*
Bud Norris - 119 IP

*Note that Lyles innings are higher mainly due to 5 bullpen outings.

Jordan Lyles - 5.40
Bud Norris - 5.29

Jordan Lyles - 1.473
Bud Norris - 1.555

Hits per 9
Jordan Lyles - 10.4
Bud Norris - 9.8

HR per 9
Jordan Lyles - 1.4
Bud Norris - 1.2

SO/BB Ratio
Jordan Lyles - 2.1
Bud Norris - 2.2

Yeah, and Bud Norris was 4 years older than Jordan Lyles when he made his major league debut. "Lyles can't pitch." At 21 years of age on a rebuilding team, in a year in which Lyles has been racking up frequent flyer miles between Oklahoma City and Houston, he "can't pitch." Most 21 year olds are playing A ball right now, not the majors. I don't know how Lyles will continue to develop. He may never make it as a truly successful major league player, he may not hit his stride for another seven years, or he may continue to develop into the middle rotation starter than many of us think he will become. But to say he "can't pitch" at this point in his career is ludicrous.

And then there's Castro. He'll be turning 25 on Monday so I suppose we should put him out to pasture because he hasn't developed into a star in the 39 games he's been in since missing a season due to two separate injuries. "Castro can't hit/field."

In Castros' last 28 games, he is hitting .318/.392/.545. In his last 14 games, he is hitting .348/.333/.435. But he "can't hit." Mmm, OK. He does have five errors (second in the NL) and four passed balls (third in the NL) so far this season which I admit is high. I'd like to see him cut down on those. Do you know who led the National League in passed balls in his first full season in the major leagues? That would be Johnny Bench. He was in the top five in errors as a catcher five times and passed balls four times during his career. Now, I'm not even remotely suggesting that Castro will be another Bench, but can't we give Castro just a wee little bit more time before we decide that he "can't hit/field?"

Finally, let's examine the phrase "blind loyalty." Blind means being unable to see. Loyalty means a strong feeling of support or allegiance. I strongly support Jason Castro and Jordan Lyles because I want them to succeed even though I am unable to see what their ultimate destinies are to be. If that means that I am blindly loyal, then so be it.

1 comment:

  1. Get'em Jayne! Well put with plenty of hard evidence!