How do you analyze pitching?

We’ve spent some time here this offseason talking about pitching and the Orioles’ hopes and goals to add some. So that leads me to a question for the readers today: What do you look for in a pitcher?

What stats are important to you in sizing up a pitcher’s talents? Do you put emphasis on ERA or WHIP, innings, homers allowed or strikeout, walk and groundball rates? Do you look at sabermetric stats like Fielding Independent Pitching?

For me, it’s not necessarily about one stat, but getting a picture of a pitcher’s ability by looking at several to get an overall assessment.

One stat we can probably agree on that is not that important is wins. Between needing run support along with defensive and bullpen support some nights to get wins, a starting pitcher has some of that out of his control. Some nights, you get cheap wins and some nights you deserve one and don’t get it.

We just can’t put too much weight on wins or win-loss record. In 2010, Felix Hernandez of Seattle went 13-12 and won the American League Cy Young Award over Tampa Bay’s David Price at 19-6. King Felix actually had an 8-10 record in mid-August of that year, but he won the award by a comfortable margin as the voters realized he made 10 starts when the Mariners scored one or zero runs.

Once you find a pitcher you like, you have to now factor in the price and contract terms for a free agent. What is the correct value for the talent and how much is that player truly worth in years and dollars?

So what numbers tell you the most about a pitcher?

I wrote here last night about Eduardo Rodriguez getting a start in the Arizona Fall League championship game on Saturday.

It’s a nice honor for a top O’s pitching prospect. He took his game to a higher level this year and finished so well at Double-A Bowie. While his stats are not impressive in five AFL starts, it’s a small sample size, and he may be tiring a bit after a long year that began for him in big league spring training camp.

Maybe the O’s want to see if the kid will dial it up on the big stage on Saturday.

Kudos to the Surprise Saguaros, a club featuring eight O’s prospects, on getting this far. It is also nice to see such a great baseball guy as Bowie manager Gary Kendall leading that team and getting some recognition for being such a solid baseball man. Few love the Orioles more or have worked harder for the organization, mostly out of the limelight, for as long as Kendall, a Baltimore native.

I won’t be surprised if the Saguaros win Saturday. Yes, I went there.

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