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Pitcher Analysis: Kevin Millwood

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While I hoped to have these mini-analysis' done within a week, a busy week and an extended weekend vacation pushed this one back a little longer than I anticipated. While I had planned on highlighting at least six of the starting pitchers on the market, I think I'm going to stick to Weaver, Millwood and Burnett for now and try to compile as much info on Matsuzaka for a post in the future.

A.J. Burnett is next, possibly tonight, but definitely by tomorrow.


Kevin Millwood - 30 years old - Right Handed Starting Pitcher

Performance:

2005 Totals:
ERA - 2.86
W-L - 9-11
IP - 192.0
H - 182
BB - 52
K - 146
HR - 20

Coming into the 2005 season, interest in Kevin Millwood was pretty lukewarm. He wanted a long-term deal but teams weren't lining up to give him one. He ended up taking a one year deal with the Indians, hoping to put together a season that would allow him to get a multiyear contract with some security. He did.

H/9 - 8.53
K/9 - 6.85
BB/9 - 2.44
K/BB - 2.80
HR/9 - 0.94
BAA - .248
QS% - 66%

FIP - 3.77
xFIP - 3.99
DER - ..719
G/F - 1.39
IF/F - 0.12

His record doesn't illustrate just how well he pitched this season as he was the recipient of some poor run support this season (3.98 per game). He continued his career trend of pitching more innings than hits allowed (192 IP to 182 H). He kept the ball in the park at a reasonable rate, allowing only 20 big flies on the season and only 13% of outfield flies cleared the fence. His fielding independent ERA was solid and there is no reason to believe his success won't continue.

Another positive for Millwood this season was the consistency of his peripherals in comparison to the rest of his career. He didn't see any significant spikes in stats that are often used as indicators of luck and no signs of decline. While his K/9 did see a 1.14 drop, his K/BB ratio rose by about .36. Despite the increase in his G/F ratio (.29), he does not need to induce groundballs to be effective. In fact, he has a career G/F ratio of 1.01 (and that's including this season). Yes, inducing the extra ground balls more than likely aided in his success this season, but he isn't a pitcher who lives and dies by the ground ball.  

Health:

Millwood has dealt with an assortment of various injuries throughout his career, from back to shoulder issues. He missed some time this year with a groin issue, but avoided any arm or back issues. Despite some of the nagging injuries that have taken time away from Millwood over the course of his career, he has still average 30.25 starts and 188.5 IP over the past 8 seasons. There will be a health risk involved in signing Millwood but nowhere near the risk that surrounds Burnett or some of the other pitchers out there.

Conclusion:

Unlike Burnett, Millwood has reached his peak and is still in his prime, so you know what you're getting. Millwood has been a good starting pitcher over the course of his career and there is no reason to think that he won't be for at least a few more years, if not longer. While it's hard to predict the market, Millwood is probably going to be the best value out there dollar for dollar. Unlike Burnett, you know what you are going to get and the overall risk is much less. However, if Millwood's price begins to rise to the level of what Burnett is being offered, the M's are going to have a difficult decision. Do you turn your focus to a guy who has been pretty consistent throughout his career or do you turn your focus to the guy who may be on the cusp of becoming a dominant starting pitcher for the next five years?