The Other Fifteen

Eighty-five percent of the f---in' world is working. The other fifteen come out here.

Another variation on my standard "Jason Marquis Sucks" rant

[Wrote this up for elsewhere and wanted to save it for posterity, so the next time I hear a defense of Jason Marquis I can just link it.]

We are currently at a point where Jason Marquis is overrated - i.e., his percieved value exceeds his actual value. Jason Marquis has almost always been an overvalued pitcher, because baseball systematically overrates groundball pitchers - guys like Marquis in particular.

The reason why is pretty simple. Errors commited in 2007:

Outfielders: 484
Infielders (minus pitchers and catchers): 1838

That is an amazing difference. That is a phenominal difference. That is the sort of difference that blows my mind. And an error is a Get Out Of Jail Free card for crappy pitchers, because it lets them give up runs with abandon for the rest of the inning without having to take any responsibility for it.

How does this relate to Jason Marquis? Simple. 2007, NL and AL (I should have split them up, but this should serve to illustrate):

Average ERA: 4.47
Average RA: 4.83
Average URA: 0.36

ERA I’m sure you all understand. RA uses both earned and unearned runs, URA is Unearned Run Average, basically RA minus ERA.

Now, Jason Marquis, 2007:

ERA: 4.60
RA: 5.21
URA: .61

Jason Marquis gave up unearned runs at twice the league average. And Cubs fielders gave up the fewest “unearned” runs of any team in the National League.

This is not a fluke, an accident or an artifact of sample size - this is because Jason Marquis is a ground ball pitcher without notable skill.

This entirely ignores the fact that Marquis had a pitiful strikeout rate and caught a bad case of gopheritis during the summer. Oh, and the fact that Marquis did not cut down on his walk rate after it spiked up in his disasterous 2006 season. He’s a walking time bomb and if the Cubs can trade him while he still has value, then do it. Pitch Jo-Jo the Dog Faced Boy in his rotation spot if you have to, just get him on the first flight out of Chicago.

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8 Responses to “Another variation on my standard "Jason Marquis Sucks" rant”

  1. # Blogger Benjamin

    Super interesting. Thanks.  

  2. # Anonymous DeRoMyHero

    I'm not going to disagree with your assessment that Jason Marquis is not the second coming of Greg Maddux. In fact I marvel that "Mr. Brains" (aka Tony LaRussa) and "Mr. I'll turn it around" (aka Lou Pinella) took so long to figure out what Bobby Cox figured out a long time ago.

    However, because, in my opinion, baseball has over-expanded and there is a dearth of pitching available, guys like Jason, Lohse, Carlos Silva, etc. seem to be in demand. The question -- for which there might not be an answer -- then becomes: How do you calculate the value of mediocre innings in saving the bullpen? It is easy to say that the Cubs would be better if Jason did end up on the DL, but would a AAAA pitcher like John Wasdin really be just as good? If Wasdin would be "just as good", then we should sign him for the minimum and dump Marquis's contract somewhere. But, if Wasdin would not be as good, then we need to learn how to tolerate Jason, maybe even show him some love. This goes double if we send Marshall and Gallagher away in exchange for an unneeded addition to our 2B collection.  

  3. # Anonymous Jettero2112

    Jason would have value on the market as an inning eater. Only problem is he needs to be on a team with a ton of run support. I'd guess he may be gone to you know where in a deal for you know who.  

  4. # Blogger jack

    I know this doesn't have anything to do with Marquis, but I this is my first time visiting here, and I just read your previous post about Roberts potentially heading to Seattle.

    Now, you don't consider Brian Roberts to be a right-handed version of Juan Pierre, do you?

    For one, Roberts is projected by PETCOTA to out-slug Pierre by 82 points in 2008. In fact, in the past three seasons, Roberts has out-slugged Pierre by 79, 22, and 161 points-- and the season he only beat him by 22 was the year Roberts was coming off of a devastating elbow injury that sapped all his power.

    Furthermore, Pierre's best OBP in the past 3 years was .331. Roberts has been better than that every year.

    And finally, Roberts is a second baseman with defensive value, while Pierre is now a useless left fielder.

    Oh, and Roberts is a switch hitter.

    Maybe I misunderstood what you wrote-- at least I hope I did. Because if you were seriously trying to say Roberts and Pierre are essentially the same player, than this page lost all credibility before it even earned any.  

  5. # Blogger Colin Wyers

    Juan Pierre has his uses - he's about a 1 win above replacement outfielder, can play respectable defense so long as you don't need him to flash an arm.

    Of course, making him your starting left fielder and paying him out the nose for the privilege is stupid on stilts, but I do preach not holding a player's utilization against him and so I'm trying to be reconciliatory towards Pierre.

    The "right-handed Juan Pierre" wisecrack was about the Cubs need to find someone like Marlon Byrd and had nothing to do with Roberts per se. Sorry if that wasn't clear.  

  6. # Blogger Colin Wyers

    DMH: There is absolutely a lot of chaining effects going on, and a lot of it is hard to quantify - I can sit here and say that saving the bullpen is meaningless because teams should just be using trash pitchers and cycling them out anyways, but it's a lot harder to be the guy defending it to the press corps later that evening when Schmuck the Three-Time Washout loses the game for you.

    But as far as the idea that expansion has thinned out pitching depth - maybe, but that's not the only effect going on. Teams tend to value pitchers on measures like ERA, which is really a function of:


    And then they look at W-L record, which adds offense to the mix.

    And since they have a difficult time isolating out the talent element they rely on the pedigree of a "major league track record" as a winnowing effect. It's just a horribly inefficient market all around.  

  7. # Anonymous DeRoMyHero


    Assume that Gallagher, Marshall, and Colvin are traded for an addition to Hendry's 2B collection. Assume that there are no significant injuries during ST. What would your 5 man starting rotation be on Opening Day?  

  8. # Blogger Colin Wyers

    And death is not an option?

    Lesse... well, at this point you have:


    And I guess it comes down to how those guys look in camp. Marquis is probably the favorite out of that nexus of suck, and Hart's probably right behind him.

    Juan Mateo, by the way, is my dark horse pick to make the rotation out of spring training. By dark I think I mean an absolute black hole, but there it is.  

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