It's that time of year. Baseball is almost here, there is a little at the end of the gloomy tunnel we've been in for the past four months. Football is winding down, baseball teams are finalizing rosters, the last invites to Spring Training are going out, and now we begin the process of attempting to predict who will be in Minute Maid Park on April 1st. Mr. McTaggart has already taken a stab at it, and over the next few months other articles will follow.
This isn't one of those.
This is about Brad Mills and his decision on who starts Opening Day, Wandy Rodriguez or Brett Myers. It's not a decision that's going to determine the success of the season, both are good pitchers, but it's one I feel the fan base may be split on.
To begin let's take an objective approach, in which case the statistics don't favors one candidate over the other. While Myers has three more years than Wandy, their career stats are identical.
Even looking at their birth dates you realize they were born almost exactly five months apart.
Myers appeared to have the better season last year with a 123 ERA+, as opposed to Wandy's ERA+ of 108. However if you take into account FIP and WAR the playing field becomes level again. Both players FIP were in the 3.50's, and a .4 difference in WAR, favoring Myers, only accounts for the fact that Myers pitched about 28 more innings.
So then it comes down to perception and preference. Wandy has been labeled as inconsistent do to the difference in how home and road splits, while Myers endeared himself to fans and the organization last season with his 32 start streak, the opposite of inconsistent. Wandy has tenure with the Astros, but Myers has more time in the league. One's left handed, the others right handed, which does lead to another possibility of determining who goes first.
If Ryan Rowland-Smith wins the 5th starts job, that would mean three left handed starters in the rotation. Mills could want those lefties split up with righties, which would mean an Opening Day start for Wandy. If a right hander such as Nelson Figueroa wins the 5th starter spot, then maybe Myers starts Opening Day. In my opinion I don't think it matters if you split up the left handed and right handed pitchers. I'm a believer in putting your best foot forward, in which case Wandy and Myers are so a like statistically that it's not going to matter.
My preference though would be Wandy, simply because of his time with the Astros.