Underrated John Gant

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This topic contains 32 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by Brian Walton Brian Walton 2 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #88611
    stlcard25
    stlcard25
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    Excellent post, Bob. I suppose another thing to consider for Shildt is that you’d presume you will have Carlos Martinez and/or Alex Reyes available for some of those later season innings if Gant starts to need more rest or becomes ineffective. The Cards have some pretty good arms in the wings right now.

    #88656
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    gscottar
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    Great post as usual Bob. Very enlightening.

    One obvious thing I would add is that our starting rotation just hasn’t eaten enough innings this year, whether that is poor execution on their part or a quick hook by Shildt or both. By my rough calculations the starting rotation has logged 57% of our innings and the bullpen 43%. In my opinion that is highly unsustainable. The ratio should be closer to 70-30 or 65-35.

    #88707
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    Bob Reed
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    Thanks very much for all the kind words, you guys.

    “I suppose another thing to consider for Shildt is that you’d presume you will have Carlos Martinez and/or Alex Reyes available for some of those later season innings if Gant starts to need more rest or becomes ineffective.”

    Agreed, 25. I think it’s not unreasonable to expect two or three eventual good bullpen contributions from among Martinez, Reyes, Ponce, Gomber, Woodford, Helsley, and maybe even fast riser Jesus Cruz. But the real problem right now is…

    “…our starting rotation just hasn’t eaten enough innings this year, whether that is poor execution on their part or a quick hook by Shildt or both. By my rough calculations the starting rotation has logged 57% of our innings and the bullpen 43%.”

    Yeah, I’d say “both,” gscott. Entering play Wednesday, the Cards were 21st in innings by starters, and 12th by relievers. They’re averaging almost exactly 5 innings per start, and really they need to get to 5.5 or a bit better. Or they’ll burn out more than just John Gant. Especially if they have an extra inning game or two during a protracted stretch without any off days.

    I think Shildt’s single greatest managerial strength so far — tactical strength anyway — has been removing his starting pitchers before they go too deep. To paraphrase a famous baseball axiom, it’s better to remove a starting pitcher one inning too soon than one batter too late.

    But if Shildt’s cautious approach is to work, you better have a deep pen, and you better get the periodic 7-inning start. I’m concerned that the latter feels unlikely, and the former I just don’t know. I think it’ll depend on the aforementioned potential reinforcements.

    Giving up lots of walks and homers at anything like the current rates(s), and NOT getting burned by them just isn’t a repeatable thang, I don’t think. Before today, across all MLB, Redbird relievers were a horrid 10th percentile in homer rate, and only a bit less horrid 20th percentile in walks. That’s a very scary combo. Makes that #4 ranking in bullpen ERA look awfully fragile.

    #88720
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    Minuteman3
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    Isn’t is funny that the only pitcher who seems to be able to make it 6 innings consistently is Waino – the old guy? I think he could have gone 7 yesterday had his spot not came up to bat with a runner on. Using him to bunt didn’t seem to make much sense either.

    The home runs don’t concern me much because it was the Brewers mashers who did most of them and you won’t find many teams with that many guys who can hit even good pitches out of the park or many home run heavens like Miller Park. Seems the walks have been much reduced as of late also. Waino had only one yesterday despite not nibbling very close at times.

    #88741
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    14NyquisT
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    Gant may have been in line for that 5th spot now that Wacha is ILed, but his value in the bp right now would be tough to replace.

    Reyes starts for Memphis today and would be on course to pitch again on Tuesday.

    #88742
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    PadsFS
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    Bob Reed

    With tonight’s two-inning stint, Gant is now on pace for 90 appearances and 120 innings — both wildly unacceptable. He likely won’t last through June. But that’s okay. (For the team, if not for John Gant.)

    Every single April we go through this. It is wildly unacceptable to me to paint Shildt as over-using anyone.

    Gant has pitched back-to-back twice all year, never three times. He’s had a day off, or two, or three after every single other appearance. He will undoubtedly have more help later in the year and especially in September.

    But because it’s April, we have a stacked deck of off-days. Presenting data in games or innings pitched based on a 162-game schedule that is skewed to the summer is not accurate.

    Last year it was Jordan Hicks and several years ago it was Walden.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Avatar PadsFS.
    #88753
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    Bob Reed
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    You make some fine points, Pads, about the specifics of John Gant’s season thus far. To this point perhaps one could argue that Gant’s been hard-used, but not quite abused.

    But I don’t think I would use Walden to buttress my argument, were I you. (That is, if you’re arguing that Gant could be used frequently now, and be just fine later on.) Through the team’s first 15 games in 2015, Walden was on pace for 119(!) appearances and over 100 innings. He made one more appearance before breaking down, and he hasn’t thrown another MLB inning since.

    As for our current closer, young Howitzer Hicks at his most-used juncture last year was on pace for “only” 74 games and 96 IP through April 24, the first 22 games of the season. So never was he at the Gantian usage level we’ve seen this season. (Of course, we could adjust for Hicks’ age or number of pitches thrown relative to Gant, or the off days, etc.. Angels and devils are both in the details.)

    “Isn’t is funny that the only pitcher who seems to be able to make it 6 innings consistently is Waino – the old guy?”

    Well said, Minuteman. I admit I didn’t and don’t have much faith in Waino logging a quality season as an MLB starting pitcher. Over the winter I wanted Adam and the team to announce his plans to be nothing but a reliever from here on out. After all, he hasn’t thrown 30+ innings with a sub-4.40 ERA since 2014. But as you say, he deserves full marks for eating innings so far.

    #88758
    Brian Walton
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    A reader commented to me on Twitter about the overuse concern. My response was similar to Pads’.

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