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Friday, May 14, 2004

A SHINING LIGHT
Back in my preseason preview, I wrote the following:

Aaron Sele is done. He wasn't good in 2002, and he wasn't good in 2003 trying to overcome injury, walking more men than he struck out. Another flyball pitcher, he suffered from the outfield attrition, but Sele demonstrated no ability to get anyone out on his own. The Angels hope that he's recovered from injury, but his chances of finishing the season with the club are rather slim.

Let it be noted that as of 12:46 pm, DST, on May 14, 2004, Aaron Sele had the best ERA of any starter on the Angels, with a 3.62.

Can he keep this up?

Sele's peripherals are not encouraging. He strikes out a mere 4.61 men per nine innings, while walking 2.96, for an uninspiring ratio of 1.56. So he's not really getting guys out on his own; he must rely on the Angel defense.

Opposing batters hit .291 when they put the ball in play against Sele; the mark for the club as a whole is .329. So Sele has benefitted from some good defense.

But he has also contributed to his own success; he has allowed only two home runs in his 27 1/3 innings, which is outstanding. He also has his highest groundball-to-flyball ratio since coming to Anaheim, at 1.29; last year, when he allowed a substandard 1.26 home runs per nine innings, his groundball-to-flyball ratio was 0.95.

Impressively, the only home runs he has allowed were in his first appearance, in relief against a hot Texas team in that hitters' park.

Sele is keeping the ball down, keeping it in the ballpark, and letting his defense do the work. As a result, his OPS Against (706) is the lowest it has been since his rookie season.

Can Sele keep this up? Aside from his newfound allergy to the gopher ball, his peripherals are not encouraging. He's not striking out men, and it would make sense for his batting average on balls in play to go up, meaning he would allow more hits. And though he has been successful in this regard to this point, Sele has never been this good at preventing home runs; it would be optimistic to expect this to continue.

Basically, it's too early to tell. I may very well end up having been proved wrong by the end of the season. Sele can regress a little bit and still beat my expectations. Whether he can regress but still contribute to the team is another question. But for now, let's enjoy the ride as this veteran pitcher tries to hang on for just a little while longer.

Comments:
I'm beggin' ya, forget the sabremetrics voodoo bullshit. Don't get sucked in to the Paul DePodesta Emperors New Clothes crap, use your eyes and experience as a baseball watcher instead. Is Sele getting people out enough that his team is comptetive? That's all that matters. He did so in one start, but he's on a start-by-start review thing now.

Erm, yes, I loathe sabremetrics.
 
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