Most of the baseball world laughed at Ed Wade and Drayton McLane when they traded for Randy Wolf at the trade deadline and claimed it would be enough to put the Astros in playoff contention. Looking at his ERA of 3.57 with the Astros, one would assume that Randy Wolf definitely helped us make the push and should be re-inked to shore up our pitiful starting rotation. As has been discussed at length by many people, me included, ERA is one of the worst things to look at to appraise a pitchers performance. So lets take a gander at what was going on under the hood of Randy Wolf's ERA to demonstrate how ludicrous of a signing he would be.
I'll use my calculations using the DIPS 3.0 method, stat corner's tRA* (a regressed to the mean evaluation, click here for a detailed explanation), xFIP, and then Colin Wyer's MARCEL projection of his tRA*:
These numbers represent measures of Wolf's true talent in his tenure with the Astros (or in the case of the projection, his last two years, I believe) and they indicate that my reference to Wolf being a fluke yesterday wasn't far off the mark. The thing that is truly distressing is that Wolf's MARCEL projection indicates that the lightening in a bottle he captured (primarily through a 75.4% LOB% and a HR/FB rate of 8.7) are unsustainable in the long run -- especially his incredibly low home run rate. There was nothing outside of his luck inflated strand rate and home run rate that would suggest that Wolf can possible replicate his limited success an Astros uniform (his K/9 dipped slightly, but so did his BB/9 to offset it). Further, his injury history calls into question the ability for Ed Wade to even legitimize this signing as an attempt to hold onto an innings eater. Clack recently complied a quick way of demonstrating Wolf's innings eating capabilities:
WOLF (since 2004)
Average IP 113
High IP 189
Low IP 56
Sure, average isn't the best measure of central tendency, but it gets to point across: Wolf missed a significant amount of time because of shoulder injury. His last surgery dealt with a frayed labarum -- not a good thing.
The numbers certainly don't hold a lot of positives for Randy Wolf. At this point, I have to wonder how Ed Wade gets to hold his job if he's not paying someone to check a few sites and crunch a few numbers to tell him that (if he's looking for someone, tell him I graduate in May). There's just no excuse or valid reason for re-signing Randy Wolf. Doing so is just one terrible gamble given what we know of its expected value: 4.93 tRA*
In an effort to create some interactivity I'm now including a poll: