Stroped It Up: Blaming Duquette and Buck

Posted Sunday June 23, 2013 at 2:26:22 pm in Real Sports

Sometimes, just sometimes, it seems necessary to put decision making by both Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette under fire. And that decision making has to do with the roster management and usage of Pedro Strop.

I know what you may be thinking. Duquette and Buck brought the O's their first winning season since 1997 last year. And their first playoff berth as well. But they're human, and they can make wrong moves. It's one thing to do it once or twice, but the continued poor management of Pedro Strop is a real head scratcher.

Let's put some things in perspective about Pedro Strop. He was traded to the Orioles back on August 31, 2011 as the Player To Be Named Later (PTBNL) in the Michael Gonzalez deal. He proceeded to put the following numbers up in 2011 and 2012 for the Orioles:

  • 2011: 0.73 ERA, 12 1/3 IP, 0.892 WHIP, 8.8 SO/9, 2.2 BB/9
  • 2012: 2.44 ERA, 66 1/3 IP, 1.342 WHIP, 7.9 SO/9, 5.0 BB/9

What should immediately stand out between 2011 and 2012 is the BB/9. 2.2 in 12 1/3 IP for the Orioles in 2011, but 5.0 in 66 1/3 IP in 2012. Strop's career BB/9 is 5.5, so what he did in 2012 was more indicative of what would eventually happen in 2013 (and going forward).

So, the arm is electric. He's relatively young (just turned 28 this year) and cheap ($503k this year). And he accumulated 0.7 WAR in 2012. Pretty solid for a reliever.

But let's look to a specific time period in 2012. Prior to the August 27th start against the White Sox, Pedro Strop had a 1.43 ERA. His full numbers up until that game:

  • 176/289/218 - 507 OPS
  • Only 1 home run allowed
  • 62% of his pitches were thrown for strikes
  • .228 BAbip
  • 1.077 WHIP
  • 7.62 SO/9
  • 4.29 BB/9
  • 5.40 H/9

Downright dominant aside from the walks.

But from August 27th on?

  • 8.38 ERA in 9 2/3 IP (15 games)
  • 383/491/553 - 1.044 OPS
  • 1 home run allowed
  • 62% of his pitches were thrown for strikes
  • .472 BAbip
  • 2.899 WHIP
  • 9.32 SO/9
  • 9.32 BB/9
  • 16.77 H/9

Downright terrible. Night and day. Hit hard, lots of walks, big ole ERA.

But was that just a small sample size? Could he revitalize things for the 2013 season? Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter thought so. Most thought so. Me included. But sometimes you have to be practical.

On May 24th, Pedro Strop was placed on the DL with a "lower back strain". His numbers on the season up until that point:

  • 6.11 ERA in 17 2/3 IP (22 games)
  • 212/358/394 - 752 OPS
  • 3 home runs allowed
  • 56% of his pitches were thrown for strikes
  • .212 BAbip
  • 1.586 WHIP
  • 8.66 SO/9
  • 7.13 BB/9
  • 7.13 H/9

A lot of walks were Pedro's problems. Some bad luck as well. Oh...and the home run ball.

People (including myself) thought Pedro's DL stint was simply a matter of roster management due to Pedro's struggles (and not an actual injury at all). But if you truly want to get Pedro righted, why not put him on the 30 day rehab assignment and take up as much time as necessary?

Duquette opted not to and instead reinstated him from the disabled list as soon as he was eligible on June 8th.

And that was a big mistake. Since then, his numbers have not been stellar in high leverage situations.

In his 3 appearances since coming off the disabled list with runners on:

June 12th:

Runners 1st and 2nd, none out against the Angels. Orioles ahead 5-3. Leverage Index of 1.88. High pressure situation.

Result:

3 hits, 1 walk, 1 home run, a 5-2 Orioles lead was turned into an 8-5 Angels lead in the blink of an eye.

June 21st:

Runners 2nd and 3rd, 2 outs against the Blue Jays. Tie game (6-6). Leverage Index of 4.63. High pressure situation.

Result:

1 hit allows the game winning run to come in.

June 3rd:

Bases loaded, 2 outs against the Blue Jays. Down 10-4. Don't know the Leverage Index, but...

Result:

1 hit, 2 inherited runners to score as well as an earned run of his own.

His other appearances not including runners on base (3 appearances)?

3 IP, 6 SO, 0 BB, 2 H

Downright dominant. Filthy even. Great movement on his fastball.

Including today Strop has allowed 10 of 17 inherited runners to score.

All that said, I think Buck is mismanaging Strop. He should only be in mop up games or do or die situations (i.e. bullpen completely used up). By no means should he be in high leverage situations.

So, I have to call a spade a spade here. One for Dan Duquette not putting him on a rehab assignment (we have any number of relievers in the minors that could take his spot) and Buck for using him in high leverage situations. Especially in the same week.

I fully understand that sometimes you have to look past the statistics, but Buck's mismanagement of the bullpen has cost the Orioles 2 games in 9 days...all due to the poor use of Pedro Strop.

I'll just leave this little diddy here:

Not including today, Pedro Strop's 2013 numbers with runners on:
343/477/714 - 1.192 OPS in 48 plate appearances

With no runners on:
170/278/255 - 533 OPS in 55 plate appearances

Buck needs to use Strop properly. Low leverage situations. No runners on would be ideal.

I still feel that Strop would get claimed if he was DFA'ed. Due to not putting Strop on a rehab assignment, we have to deal with a reliever who can only be used (reliably) with no runners on.

The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer’s view