The first annual Dan Meyer Awards were a big success. While most of the world is focusing on players that succeeded in 2013, the DMAs focused on the dark side of batting statistics. Today, we are focusing on pitchers who were terrible in 2013. And despite this being more of a pitching era than a hitting era, there are no shortage of terrible pitching performances in this past season. This is the first annual Kyle Davies Award.
Kyle Davies pitched for seven seasons beginning in 2005 with the Atlanta Braves. After toiling there for two and a half years, the Braves traded him to the Royals for Octavio Dotel. If you really want to know how unsuccessful Kyle Davies was as a pitcher, all you have to do is ask any fan of the Kansas City Royals.
Davies compiled a lifetime ERA of 5.59 to go with a WHIP of 1.618 in 151 appearances, 144 of which were starts. Davies gave up over a hundred runs in two of his seven seasons. And it appears that he may not be done with his career. He pitched in the Twins' minor league system in 2013, which makes perfect sense when you think about the way the Twins pitch.
I could have named this award after a number of guys. There were guys like Adam Eaton, Jason Bere, Jimmy Haynes and Sidney Ponson I could have named the award after. But Davies is more recent in the mind of most, so he is our guy. The danger is that Davies is only 30 years old and who knows, he could come back and be decent and make a name change necessary.
Anyway, on with the awards. These are our candidates for starting pitchers. In order to qualify, a starter had to pitch 130 innings.
Barry Zito. Barry Zito was a hero in the 2012 post season. Unfortunately, that success did not carry forward to 2013. In essence, he was a disaster. He allowed 231 base runners in 133.1 innings. Woof. That's bad. That translates to a 1.70 WHIP which tied for the Major League lead with another of our candidates. Batters had this triple slash line against him: .318/.383/.491. Compare that to Matt Carpenter's triple slash line: .318/.392/.481. Zito's OPS against was .874. Carpenter's was .873. That means that every single batter Zito faced was Matt Carpenter! And that includes facing pitchers! His RA9-WAR was -2.4 and his rWAR was -2.6.
Edinson Volquez. Volquez is the cautionary tale for those who think Phil Hughes will settle down in a bigger park. The Padres thought the same thing when they acquired him as part of the Mat Latos trade. And that is what the Dodgers must have thought when they acquired him from the Padres. What were they thinking!? Volquez led the majors in earned runs allowed with 108 in 170.1 innings of work. Wee! His ERA was the third worst in baseball and although FIP puts him better, he still finished with a RA9-WAR of -2.4 and an rWAR of -2.4.
Lucas Harrell. God bless those Astros pitchers. They took the ball every fifth day and got hammered and still took the ball out there to do it again. That takes character, man. So don't forget that no matter how much we now make fun of his numbers. Harrell tied with Zito for the highest WHIP at 1.70. He struck out 5.21 batters per nine while walking 5.15 batters per nine. His 88 walks allowed was the highest in baseball. His FIP of 5.42 was the highest on our list. His winning percentage of .261 was the third lowest among starters and worse than his team's. RA9-WAR of -2.2 and rWAR of -1.6.
Joe Blanton. The Angels hoped that Joe Blanton would resurrect his career in California. Instead, that career sank to new lows. He went 2-14 with an ERA of 6.04. Ouch. His OPS against was .904! That means that every single batter that faced him was Edwin Encarnacion. Blanton allowed homers at a clip just under two per nine innings. In other words, he got blasted on a regular basis. Blanton finished the season in the bullpen but still compiled the necessary innings with 132.2. RA9-WAR of -1.9 and an rWAR of -2.0.
Those are our four candidates. So which would qualify for the worst? Gosh, it is hard to pick. If we combined the RA9-WAR with rWAR, the tallies would be: Zito at -5, Volquez at -4.8, Harrell at -3.8 and Blanton at -3.9. If you went by that, Zito would be the winner.
All of Zito's problems were on the road. He was actually 5-2 with an ERA under four at home and was 0-9 on the road with an ERA over nine! It was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-like. Volquez was equally bad at home and on the road and in the first half and second half. He was consistently bad.
Harrell was bad at home and worse on the road and bad in the first half of the season and worse in the second half. The same thing holds true with Blanton, who did not start a single game in the second half of the season.
All are great candidates for this award and I would not have a problem with any of the four choices. I think I would go with Edinson Volquez because he had the most innings of sucktitude and was consistently bad at home, on the road, in the first half, in the second half, as a Padre and as a Dodger. He never deviated from his deviant pitching. He is my pick for the 2013 Kyle Davies Award.