In Defense of Ollie
Posted by JD on April 6, 2009
Evil Ollie made his debut at Citi Field yesterday, allowing six runs in 2/3 of an inning, walking four batters, botching a potential inning ending double play, and allowing the first home run (by a major leaguer) at Citi Field, a Grand Slam by . The boos rained down before Ollie stepped off the mound, clearly not the debut he was hoping for.
Let’s make this clear: Ollie doesn’t deserve a free pass. For $36 million, he should’ve been able to stay in shape at the World Baseball Classic. He’s a grown man who conitually seems to have trouble acting like one.
That being said, I believe in Ollie. Yes, he’s a roller coaster. Yes, there will be other outings like yesterday’s. Yes, he will frustrate me and I will boo him. Here’s the thing: Ollie is supremely talented. His physical tools are all there; it’s the mental tools that are lacking. This is evidenced by reviewing his game logs from 2008.
Ollie seems to be unable to put together unbroken strings of decent outings. His first game last season against the Phightin Phils was a quality start and the home opener was oh so close. But the wheels came off in game three and Ollie allowed six runs on eight hits and and three walks. Game four was against the Phils again and he threw five and 2/3 innings of shut-out baseball. Game five was a road game against the Nats and he got creamed, allowing five earned runs in five and 2/3. Rinse, repeat, and lather.
That being said, Good Ollie typically appears when the chips are down. In 2008, Ollie went 2-1 vs. the Phils, 2-1 against the Braves, and 5-1 vs. the Marlins. He allowed exactly zero earned runs in 18 and 1/3 innings against the Phils and notched 15 K’s against 10 walks. Against the Braves, he allowed eight earned runs in 19 and 1/3 innings with 17 strike outs and 11 walks, and against the Marlins it was eight earned runs with 38 strikeouts versus 19 walks. Put another way, that’s a 9-2 record and a 1.97 ERA against the Mets’ biggest rivals.
Here’s another interesting stat: 12 of Ollie’s 34 for starts were not Quality Starts, but only three came after July 1. That means that in terms of Quality Starts, Ollie was 8-17 (47%) prior to July 1 and 14-17 (82%) after. That indicates that he’s a second-half pitcher. Wins in April count as much as wins in September, but this data point indicates that while Ollie may struggle at the start, he’ll be there at the finish.
These facts highlight why I remain confident in Ollie. I believe he will win 15 games this season and post an ERA lower than 4.50. I don’t think he’ll ever top his 2004 total of 239 stike outs, but I think he’ll get 200 this season. As a result, I’d like to announce that I’m going to drive the Ollie Perez bandwagon this season. Everyone is welcome to join, but mind the potholes: they’re doozies! I’ll check in after each of his starts to summarize the results and declare whether Evil Ollie or Good Ollie pitched that night. After all:
Why waste your time? You know you’re gonna be mine!
I’m gonna get you baby! I’m gonna get you, yes I am!