Monday, Michael “RandBall” Rand and I got into a Twitter argument about Twins starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey.
As always, Mike was optimistic; he thinks Pelfrey will have a good year in 2014. I, however, think Pelfrey – in keeping with his long and distinguished tradition – will stink next year. I think my reasoning is sound: Pelfrey was never that good in the National League, which when it comes to pitching is basically Triple-A. Then last year in the American League, following Tommy John surgery, he was rotten all year.
RandBall, however, remains optimistic, and so he proposed a wager. A beer windfall – beerfall? – awaits the winner of the following bet, which was arbitrated by local baseball expert Aaron Gleeman:
If Pelfrey throws at least 180 innings, AND beats the average for American League starting pitchers in ONE OF ERA, K/BB ratio, xFIP, WHIP, and OPS against, then Rand wins. Otherwise, I win.
I’d say the odds are roughly 95% in my favor, to be honest. First of all, thanks to the Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes signings, the Twins rotation is not the junior-high band concert it used to be; Pelfrey won’t get 34 starts no matter how badly he pitches, like he might have in past years. He’ll have to pitch well to make it to 180 innings, and he’ll have to stay healthy all year, and if the bet was “will Mike Pelfrey pitch 180 innings this year” I think I’d still be the favorite to win.
Even if Pelfrey does hit the innings target, though, he has to beat the average in one of those five categories. And he won’t. He’ll never get near the average in K/BB ratio because he strikes out nobody and would have to walk about five guys total all season to get close to the AL average. Because he strikes out nobody, he gives up a ton of hits, so you can throw WHIP and OPS against out, too. And it’s not like the Twins are good enough defensively to keep runs from scoring when the ball’s flying all over the ballpark, so his xFIP and ERA will be plenty high, as well.
Anyway, there’s your wager. I’m thinking about asking Mike to pay up now, as I don’t want to wait until next October to collect.