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Some More Washburn

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Graham's Note: I'm going to be joining Jeff in out-of-town-land this afternoon, but before I leave I wanted to throw a tiny little post up to tide everyone over (for a little while at least). After all, who doesn't like looking at Jarrod Washburn's numbers?

So we've spent a reasonable amount of our August gloating that someone took the Jarrod Washburn bait and even gave us a shiny prospect in return. After all, we said, the Tigers should have expected this. Washburn has been a bad pitcher, and four months of superficially great numbers shouldn't have given their front office amnesia. But now things are getting silly: Washburn was taken out of his last start in the first inning, having given up four runs in one inning to the Royals (caveat: his knee was swelling up). Not even Carlos Silva managed such a feat this year. So just what's going on with Washburn? Is he pitching the same as with us, but getting unlucky? Is his defence screwing him over?

Table 1: Comparison between Jarrod Washburn's advanced statistics in Seattle and Detroit (2009 only).

Nope. Not the defence. Washburn's gotten worse by a lot in every meaningful category. Strikeouts are down by almost a third. Walks are up by a factor of 1.25. His home runs per ball in air rate has more than tripled. His runs allowed and innings pitched for each of his starts have spiked/been in freefall:

Figure 1: R/9, R, IP for each of Washburn's starts in 2009.

This isn't regression. It's not even close. Those numbers are utterly, utterly abysmal. For those of us expecting Washburn to go back to being normal Washburn in Detroit, we were almost as wrong as the folks thinking he was going to be good. One might have expected him to give up five or so runs per nine and be his usual back of the rotation self. Instead, he's put up a tRA over eight with the Tigers. Damaged goods? His knee has been a problem all year, but it's starting to get worse, which might have something to do with it - I doubt, however, that that's the whole story or he wouldn't have lasted as long as he did in Seattle, where he reportedly was in so much pain that he couldn't walk between starts. I'm at a loss. Washburn just shouldn't have been this bad, and while the situation is beyond hilarious, it's a bit baffling.