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Friday, August 06, 2004

With the acquisition of Robbie Alomar, the Sox are going to be forced to make a roster move. Based on statements in the press earlier this week, I would have figured this would have meant the end of the Joe Borchard experiment. Ozzie had given a vote of confidence to Scott Schoeneweis, saying he would get at least one more start before a decision was made, but on Whitesox.com today there was an interesting article that seemed to indicate that Scotty may be headed for the DL.

Early in the year, Schoeneweis was the surprise pitcher in the AL. He had supposedly been working with pitching coach Don Cooper in spring training to add a couple pitches, including Coop's "magic" pitch, the cutter. The early returns were great. On May 30th Schoeneweis was among the league leaders in quality starts.

May 30th is a key date in SS's season. Why? -- That is the date that he passed the number of innings pitched that he had in his previous season. As a general rule, pitchers are able to increase the IP by about 15% without too much worry about arm problems. Most organizations progress a pitchers IP as they climb through the Minor League system. However not as much attention is paid to a guy when they reach the big league level, and are passed between the pen and rotation.

Year       IP

2004 111.2
2003 64.2
2002 118.0
2001 205.1
2000 170.0

Schoeneweis pitched exclusively out of the pen last season, and was shuffled between the pen and rotation in 2002. Prior to this season, his last start was June 25th 2002. He had gone a year and a half of major league baseball without making a start.

Take a look at Schoenewies' numbers before and after he reached the magical plateau of 64 innings pitched.
          BAA      ERA  

<64IP .252 3.65
>64IP .333 8.17

That's a pretty dramatic change.

That .333 BAA and 8.17 ERA are strikingly close to certain rookie's numbers, who's been dominating at AAA this season. Felix Diaz posted a 8.71 ERA with a .360 BAA in his 5 appearances with the big club. Diaz would probably be better served honing his skills for the remainder of the season at Charlotte, but if the sox drop any farther behind the Twins, any experience that he gains at the majors is going to be valuable.

It's not like he could get much worse than Scott Schoeneweis has been the last two months.