06 August 2010
| Barry Enright
has now started seven games for the Diamondbacks since being called up from AA Mobile at the end of June, and has allowed 3 ER of fewer in each of his starts. It's actually even better than that, as Enright has allowed 1 ER twice, 2 ER four times, and 3 ER only once. This consistency actually started while Enright was pitching in Mobile. For the year, Enright has now made 21 starts overall, and has allowed 3 runs or less in 18 of his 21 starts, and only gave up 4 ER in the other three starts. In addition, Enright has thrown at least 5 IP in all 21 of his starts this year, and at least 6 IP in 16 of his 21 starts. Here is Enright's Earned Run breakdown by start:
The big question is - can Enright continue to pitch this well? There are a few causes for concern. First, Enright has been walking more batters than he should - 3.24BB/9 IP, which is more than double his rate in the minors. Second, his strikeout rate has dropped from 8.0K/9 in AA down to 6.0K/9 in the majors. These two stats, along with his 5 HR allowed in 41 IP, combine to give him a Fielding Independent ERA (FIP) of 4.41. FIP has been shown to be a better predictor of future ERA than actual ERA itself. So how has Enright managed to keep his ERA so low thus far? Enright's Strand Rate is an incredible 87% percent so far - that is, 87% of the baserunners that Enright has allowed have been left on base. This is by far the best value in the majors among starting pitchers. For comparison, here are the LOB rates for some other pitchers:
While Enright's performance at stranding runners has been outstanding so far in 2010, it's unlikely that he will maintain a better rate than every other pitcher in baseball. So it shouldn't be surprising to see his ERA rise through the rest of the year. Even then, if his ERA approaches his FIP value of 4.41, that would still be a fine season for a rookie pitcher making the jump from AA. It's also quite possible that Enright will bring down his walk rate a little and settle into an ERA in the high 3's or low 4's, which would make Enright an extremely valuable member of the Diamondbacks' starting rotation for this year and the future.