NEWBERG REPORT PLUS — MARCH 25, 2007

OK. There are fewer than four people I know whose baseball acumen I consider to be virtually unassailable. One of them suggested I consider something as far as the Rangers’ pitching staff is concerned.

The way the season’s first month is constructed, the Rangers’ fifth starter will probably pitch on April 10 at home against Tampa Bay, on April 21 at home against Oakland, and on April 26 in Cleveland. And that’s it.

Let’s say that pitcher will give Texas 16 innings in those three starts. (Rangers starters as a whole averaged 5.2 innings a game last year. Their primary number five types in 2006 – John Koronka, John Rheinecker, and Kameron Loe – average 5.1 frames a start.)

Last year there was no de facto long man out of the bullpen when camp broke. It turns out there were five games in April in which a long reliever was called upon: Joaquin Benoit once, Fabio Castro once, Rick Bauer two times, and C.J. Wilson once. In those five games, they contributed 14.1 innings.

So maybe – maybe – the idea is this: as dirty as Loe has been this spring, is it possible that Texas wants to have him nail down the long man role out of the gate, where he can impact five or six games (to be determined, rather than preset) where he is needed to stem the tide and keep Texas in it, rather than earmark him to face the Devil Rays, A’s, and Indians and most likely sit the other 23 games in April?

And then, when April comes to a close, and a more regular rotation is called for as May’s 29 games loom, if Loe is still outpitching Jamey Wright at that point he and Wright can be exchanged and Loe can get the ball every fifth day.

In other words, maybe the long man will be more valuable to the Rangers in April than the number five starter will be, getting just about as many innings and contributing them in games where the situation – rather than the calendar – calls for him to get the ball.

I dunno. I’m just trying to figure out why Kam Loe hasn’t been pronounced a member of this club’s rotation, a job he was given the opportunity to win and in battling for which he certainly has done everything the club could possibly have wanted to see out of him, and this theory was as good as any I’ve heard.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

6 Comments

So Newberg what is your theory on closer? Papelbon should be a starter and give you 180+ innings? Or close and give you 80? Since Loe would be in the bullpen according to your theory he could still get the innings he would get as a starter, approximately. But with PAP as a closer it won’t even be close to the same number of innings. Anyway my point is that you should maximize a players potential especially when that player (papelbon) can be dominant. I know the closer role is important but one of our guys should have come through and if not we could make a trade. Your thoughts let me know at my page.

http://statisticianmagician.mlblogs.com/

I had a hard time following what you said, but deciding whether a particular pitcher fits best at closer vs. 2nd or 3rd starter (like Papelbon)…..as compared to long man vs. 5th man (in a month where he’d only make three starts)…..two entirely different things, as far as I’m concerned.

I will be willing to go with this latest theory on Kameron Loe. I just get a little bugged when McCarthy and Tejada get pegged to spots in the rotation without any competition. I know that McCarthy came at a price (Danks). But why #3? Why can’t he earn his spot with the rest. I know that Tejada was great at the end of ’06 and he got the same deal Kam got from his end of ’05 performance. Do you think that Loe would have larger role for the Rangers as a #3 or #4 instead of a long man? What’s the message here? “Hey Kam, you did it all, you were the best, oh by the way you’ll be long man.”
http://kamssnakepit.mlblogs.com/

How about a guy that is only 24! He has the ability to slug 35-40 homers if given enough at bats. I mean sure he playes bad defense, strikes out a ton and can’t hit good pitching, but he could DH and bat 6th and be useful. Sound good? Otsuka straight up for Wily Mo.

Joseph, how many fantasy leagues do you play in?

It was a joke.

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