Sunday, August 29, 2010

Is it time for the Padres to dump Correia?

With the Padres suffering through their longest losing streak of the year, questions about the makeup of this squad have started to arise.  The first place everyone looks is at their offense.  Aside from Adrian Gonzalez, the team hasn't received a lot of production.  They haven't had a solid leadoff man all season, and the lack of protection for Gonzalez has been apparent.  Despite their league-leading ERA, their pitching staff has been far from perfect.  Kevin Correia has been one of those guys this year, as he struggled throughout much of the season.  After coming off of a very solid 2009 season, Correia hasn't looked the same as last year.  So should the Padres consider parting ways with my fellow Grossmont College Griffin?  Let's take a closer look.

Correia 2009 stats:  12-11, 3.91 ERA, 198 IP, 194 hits, 64 BB, 142 K's
Correia 2010 stats:  10-9, 5.29 ERA, 136 IP, 142 hits, 59 BB, 105 K's

When you look at his regular stats, it does look pretty ugly.  He is allowing more than a hit per inning, plus his walks are up considerably.  In 2009, Correia walked 2.9 batters per 9 innings, while in 2010, it is up to 3.9 per 9 innings.  His hits are also up slightly, from 8.8 per 9 innings in 2009, to 9.4 in 2010.  With the increase in these numbers, Kevin is allowing an extra 1.6 baserunners per 9 innings.  He has also allowed 18 Home Runs this year, when he allowed 17 Home Runs in all of 2009.  But there are also other factors to look at.

The website www.fangraphs.com breaks down many different categories of statistics, that give us a better determination of what else could cause the difference from one year to the next.  His velocity is down this year, from 91.7 MPH last season, to 90.9 MPH this season.  Correia is also throwing his two-seamer a lot more this year.  His statistics last year showed he threw his four-seam fastball and slider the most of all his pitchers, while this year he has thrown four times as many two-seamers as he did a year ago.  Hitters have responded by pounding him this year, as he hasn't mixed in his offspeed stuff as much as he did a year ago.

So looking at the statistics, should the Padres consider dumping Correia?  As of now, I would say no.  The Padres would just end up replacing him with an unproven starter from the Minor Leagues, such as top-prospects Corey Lubeke or Simon Castro.  Chris Young is about to be sent out on a minor league rehab assignment, so having his presence for a final playoff push.  But for now, the Padres will have to hope Correia finds the command that has alluded him this season.

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