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Why the Astros NEED Another Great Pitcher and Why that Pitcher Might Not Be Ben Sheets

Almost a month ago, I posted this chart:

Roy Oswalt 4.18 (-).35
Brian Moehler 5.03 (-).29
Randy Wolf 4.80 (-).07
Brandon Backe 5.32 .84
Wandy Rodriguez 4.09 .17

It's the final Defense Independent Pitching Runs Allowed Averages and their differential from the actual Runs Allowed Average for the Astros pitcher's in 2008.  A few things should pop off the chart:

1) Roy didn't have a good year.  But for reasons we've already hashed out -- he was most likely injured early on -- we'll give him a flier on the year.

2) We definitely saw the upper limit of Brian Moheler's ability this season.

3) Randy Wolf wasn't that good of a pitcher.

4) Brandon Backe probably should have done a lot better than he did -- though better is a relative term.

5) Wandy Rodriguez has what it takes to be a legitimate number two next year -- this analysis proves that contention.

Looking at the potentially unchanged rotation going into next year is frightening.  We'd have an Ace, and a No. 2, and then three number five or worse pitchers.  We'd have to pray that Alberto Arais or Felipe Paulino could slot in somewhere in the void and that Moehler repeats his ridiculously lucky season.

If the Astros want to go to war with that, more power to Ed Wade and Drayton...their glasses must really be tremendously half full.

The rest of us see this and think: something's got to be done.  I've made my case on here for the fact that Ben Sheets might represent an exploitable market inefficiency because of his well publicized injury woes in September.  Looking at his usage data, it was clear that he was abused and most likely strained his forearm as the result of this -- an injury expert even backed me up on this claim.

All the while though, I've been moving forward talking about how we need a top tier FA because our DIPS indicate we're going to suck, but I never even bothered to look at the guy I was already championing as our big splashy FA signing.  When I finally realized that this afternoon, here's what I found:


Ben Sheets 4.37 (-)1.01


He'd be our clear number three for about 3 years and $45 million.  His line drive rate and home run rate were absurdly low, which is why there is such a large gap.  He might be able to find a middle ground, but the health and luck make me too skeptical.  So there you go, I'm rescinding my support for Ben Sheets to get inked by the Astros; which sends me back to my fake GM drawing board.