Saturday, February 10, 2007

Chad Orvella: More Questions Than Answers

Usually I like to give a firm opinion in these player profiles, but in this case I don't have one yet. I posted the following on rotojunkie this morning to see if anyone over there can help me out...I'd love to hear your opinions as well:

Can someone explain Chad Orvella to me?

How does someone whose minor league stats are IP:149.2, K:215, BB:26
Do this in the majors last year: IP:24.1, K:17, BB:20

Usually I would assume that there's an injury...but that doesn't make sense here. I haven't seen his minor league game logs, but it looks like he dominated in the minors, got called up and sucked in the majors, was sent down and dominated in the minors again, and then got called up and sucked again in the majors.

I don't really believe in 'quadruple A' players who dominate in the majors but don't have the stuff for the majors.

Is he one of those guys who just fall apart when the spotlight is on them...sort of a variation on Ankiel? Or is there some other possible explanation?

On another note...there's something else I'd like to ask for some help on. In an effort to get the word out about this blog I've been swapping links with other useful fantasy baseball sites - basically if their advice seems good and they update the site often I'm happy to let people know about them. If any of you have any suggestions of sites not already in my link list, let me know.


MO Boiler said...

A comparison would be Matt Garza. He dominated in the minors, too, but in a small sample size in the majors, he walked a ton more batters than his typical minor league rate and thus, struggled. I am of the opinion that these differences are a result of guys just being nervous/uncomfortable upon their first few major league appearances. I can't believe these guys won't settle down at some point in their first full major league seasons.

As for Ankiel, you're incorrect about the timing of his struggles. He dominated in his first full major league season, posting a K rate of over 10.0/9 IP and walk rates that rivaled his previous seasons in the minors (4.69/9 IP in AAA in '99, 4.63/9 IP in the majors in '00). He never quite settled down from his struggles, although he only walked 3 batters in 33+ innings at all levels in 2004 before hanging up the pitching cleats in spring training 2005.

Alex said...

You're completely right about Ankiel - I wasn't trying to suggest that hitting the majors was the initial trigger for his problems...just that once he started having problems they seemed to affect him more in the majors than the minors, and that they certainly seemed to be mental, not physical.

Actually, Garza's K/9 and K/BB rates in the majors weren't so bad. Despite the high ERA I think his first year wasn't really discouraging (for me that is...I'm sure he was discouraged) so I think he's a better comp for Orvella's first year in the majors. Orvella's 2nd year was completely bad that I would have thought something was physically wrong with him, except that he pitched great whenever he was in the minors.

MO Boiler said...

Ankiel did have something like 17 walks in 4 innings at AAA in '01 as part of his free fall after he started the season with the Cards. His problems really were beyond explanation.

Looking at Orvella, I see he was a shortstop in college. Wow - for a guy to put up numbers like he has in the minors after making the switch only four years ago is pretty impressive. Perhaps the position switch has something to do with his struggles. Either way, I'd bet on him having a solid season in the majors and sticking sooner rather than later. Don't think that'd put him in the closer's role right away, though.

I'd be happy to swap links with you, although I'm not in complete control of the site I write on at this point. I'll talk to our "webmaster" - I've been meaning to get the links updated for awhile now.

Alex said...

mo - Which site is that?

MO Boiler said...

It's a Cardinals site, not a fantasy site. The link is on my commenter name.