Yesterday, we expressed our fear that Randy Choate might actually be able to give up a bases-empty grand slam in a 4-run game. Immediately, several commenters came to the defense of Choate, correctly citing his rough April (10.50 ERA) for his ugly 4.42 ERA. One commenter pointed to Choate’s 3.27 FIP as evidence that he has pitched much better than his ERA (click here for an explanation of FIP).

FIP can indeed be a better indicator of a pitcher’s performance. And a 3.27 FIP is generally considered good.

But is a 3.27 FIP good for Choate? More specifically, is it good for a lefty-specialist that will normally only face batters in which he has a very strong advantage during the matchup?

Let’s take a look at how lefty-specialists* in the American League have fared this season (ranked by FIP versus left-handed batters)…

As we can see, Choate is far from

the most-dominating lefty-specialist in the AL. But he is also far from the worst. In fact, we would say has been spectacularly average.

So maybe we shouldn’t be so hard on the kid. Of course that would be easier if Joe Maddon stopped putting him in to face right-handed batters. In 30 of his 70 apearances, Choate has faced at least one righty. His FIP against righties is a diarrhea-inducing 5.66.

Maybe he’s not so bad against lefties. But sweet Odin’s raven, dude can’t get righties out for shite.

*We defined a “lefty-specialist” as a left-handed pitcher with at least 20ip as a reliever, who averages less than 1 inning per appearance and is mire effective against left-handed batters.



  1. Beth says:

    He is definitely in the middle of the pack, which is OK. Interesting that he has been used more often than anyone else, but for fewer innings -- e.g. it looks as though the other lefty specialists are generally brought in less often but left in longer. Is that because Randy is so spectacularly bad against righties that he is more likely to get yanked after facing one or two batters? I can't think of any other explanations.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Well, Choate is more like how teams had been using lefty-specialists in recent years. That is, come in just to face 1 or 2 batters. But it seems other teams are moving more towards lefties that can also face righties.


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