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September 15, 1998

Prospectus Notes - National League

Playoff pitching update and all the youngsters in the East

by Dave Pease

Playoff Pitching Update

The Astros, Braves, and Padres are all neck and neck, and it's anyone's guess who will have the league's best record once the season ends. But earlier this year, circumstances looked much more favorable for the Braves and Padres than they do now as far as postseason pitching goes.

At the break, the five most dominant starting pitchers in the league included Braves Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and Padres Kevin Brown and Andy Ashby--and no Astro, a harbinger of trouble for Houston in a short series. Now, Ashby has fallen off the list altogether with a VanPoppel-like streak since the All-Star break, and the previously invincible Maddux has been hittable lately. The Astros sport the best offense in the league, a rejuvinated Randy Johnson, and the continued success of Jose Lima and Sean Bergman, which makes them strong candidates to represent the National League in this year's World Series.

A look at the top teams' probable postseason starters:

Houston Astros
Randy Johnson
Pre-ASB: 126 IP, 126 H, 3.47 K/BB, .338 OBP, .415 SLG, 5.07 ERA
Post-ASB: 104 IP, 65 H, 4.96 K/BB, .239 OBP, .251 SLG, 1.30 ERA
Jose Lima
Pre-ASB: 121.2 IP, 131 H, 4.14 K/BB, .304 OBP, .443 SLG, 3.70 ERA
Post-ASB: 99.2 IP, 83 H, 6.45 K/BB, .259 OBP, .373 SLG, 3.34 ERA
Mike Hampton
Pre-ASB: 107.1 IP, 117 H, 1.57 K/BB, .350 OBP, .379 SLG, 2.93 ERA
Post-ASB: 85.1 IP, 93 H, 1.93 K/BB, .341 OBP, .440 SLG, 4.32 ERA

Atlanta Braves
Greg Maddux
Pre-ASB: 146.1 IP, 111 H, 6.76 K/BB, .238 OBP, .272 SLG, 1.54 ERA
Post-ASB: 92.1 IP, 75 H, 3.50 K/BB, .278 OBP, .336 SLG, 3.12 ERA
Tom Glavine
Pre-ASB: 123.1 IP, 117 H, 2.15 K/BB, .313 OBP, .359 SLG, 2.63 ERA
Post-ASB: 92 IP, 74 H, 1.94 K/BB, .288 OBP, .290 SLG, 2.64 ERA
John Smoltz
Pre-ASB: 65.2 IP, 65 H, 2.95 K/BB, .332 OBP, .430 SLG, 3.84 ERA
Post-ASB: 91 IP, 76 H, 4.75 K/BB, .264 OBP, .292 SLG, 2.57 ERA

San Diego Padres
Kevin Brown
Pre-ASB: 134.2 IP, 126 H, 4.21 K/BB, .293 OBP, .321 SLG, 2.67 ERA
Post-ASB: 101.1 IP, 81 H, 6.11 K/BB, .266 OBP, .257 SLG, 1.95 ERA
Andy Ashby
Pre-ASB: 142 IP, 127 H, 2.63 K/BB, .287 OBP, .385 SLG, 2.54 ERA
Post-ASB: 72 IP, 81 H, 2.33 K/BB, .346 OBP, .370 SLG, 4.88 ERA
Joey Hamilton
Pre-ASB: 122.1 IP, 130 H, 1.16 K/BB, .368 OBP, .416 SLG, 5.15 ERA
Post-ASB: 77.2 IP, 72 H, 1.71 K/BB, .328 OBP, .368 SLG, 3.13 ERA

Youth Movements

With the acquisition of Kevin Orie from Chicago, the Florida Marlins don't have a single position player over 28 in their starting lineup (which is even younger with Luis Castillo replacing an injured Craig Counsell). It isn't often a starting lineup is this young in the majors, but the Montreal Expos are fielding a lineup that is nearly as young.

Some of these players are going to be great ones; a few of them (Vlad Guerrero, Edgar Renteria) already are. It's nice to see teams who can't (or don't want to) compete go with youth movements instead of winding up like the Royals.

Gregg Zaun, C, 27
Derrek Lee, 1B, 23
Kevin Orie, 3B, 26
Edgar Renteria, SS, 23
Craig Counsell, 2B, 28
Luis Castillo, 2B, 23
Cliff Floyd, LF, 25
Mark Kotsay, CF, 22
Todd Dunwoody, RF, 23

Chris Widger, C, 27
Brad Fullmer, 1B, 23
Corky Guerrero, 2B, 23
Orlando Cabrera, SS, 24
Shane Andrews, 3B, 27
F.P. Santangelo, LF, 30
Rondell White, CF, 26
Vlad Guerrero, RF, 22

Dave Pease is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Dave's other articles. You can contact Dave by clicking here

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A Quick and Dirty Guide to 1998 Park Factors

1998-11-11 - Transaction Analysis: October 6-November 11
1998-10-06 - Transaction Analysis: September 26-October 5
1998-09-30 - Playoff Preview - Houston vs. San Diego
1998-09-15 - Prospectus Notes - National League
1998-09-09 - The Week in Quotes: August 3-September 9
1998-08-28 - BP Balloting: Dave Pease's Ballot
1998-08-03 - The Week in Quotes: July 13-August 2