Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wolf Gone Wild

When the Milwaukee Brewers inked Randy Wolf to a deal this offseason, they had a lot to like.

Wolf had nice strike out numbers. He had decent control. He was able to limit the longball and pitch deep into games. There were a lot of reasons why the Brewers used a good chunk of change on the 33 year old veteran southpaw.

Problem for the Milwaukee Brewers is a lot of those qualities Wolf possessed in the past couple of seasons have completely disappeared in Milwaukee.

Strikeout Rates

2007- 102.2 IP, 94 K's (8.24 K/9)
2008- 190.1 IP, 162 K's (7.66 K/9)
2009- 214.1 IP, 160 K's (6.72 K/9)
*2010*- 78 IP, 49 K's (6.28 K/9)

Walk Rates

2007- 102.2 IP, 39 BB (3.43 BB/9)
2008- 190.1 IP, 71 BB (3.36 BB/9)
2009- 214.1 IP, 58 BB (2.44 BB/9)
*2010*- 78 IP, 39 BB (4.50 BB/9)

Home Run Rates

2007- 102.2 IP, 10 HR's (0.88 HR/9)
2008- 190.1 IP, 21 HR's (0.99 HR/9)
2009- 214.1 IP, 24 HR's (1.01 HR/9)
*2010*- 78 IP, 15 HR's (1.73 HR/9)

Average Start Length

2007- 18 Starts, 102.2 IP (5.7 IP/Start)
2008- 33 Starts, 190.1 IP (5.8 IP/Start)
2009- 34 Starts, 214.1 IP (6.3 IP/Start)
*2010*- 13 Starts, 78 IP (6.0 IP/Start)

I really can't fault Doug Melvin with the signing of Randy Wolf. No one could have predicted this bad of a start from Wolf. His walks are up. His strikeouts are down. The number of fly balls he gives up has skyrocketed and has lead to an astronomical 1.73 HR per nine at the moment.

Coming off an absolute career season in LA last season made him one of the best free agent options last offseason. The only thing I was worried about with Wolf was he was coming from the NL West.

One look at Wolf's 2008 and 2009 season will reveal one thing: light opponent lineups. It's no secret, the NL West is not filled with offensive juggernauts. Wolf pitched in LA in 2007 and 2009 before pitching in Houston and San Diego in 2008. Facing the likes of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Padres and Giants can only help a pitcher.

Regardless of who he was facing, Wolf was still really incredible last season. I ask anyone to predict this bad of a fall off. Sure his strikeout numbers have dropped each of the last four seasons, but his walk totals had also dropped.

The biggest worry I have about this contract is the future. If Wolf is unable to regain his form, the Brewers could be in real trouble. It's gamble enough to spend a lot of money on an aging pitcher, but it's even worse when said pitcher fails to repeat any of his numbers from the prior year. The only thing I know if Wolf is a good pitcher who should only get better. Or at least I'm praying for that.

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