Our favorite "voice of summer" on the Tigers Radio Network, Dan Dickerson, stopped in on Twitter to make a few comments about the signing of Jordan Zimmermann. For those not familiar with Dickerson: first of all, you're doing everything wrong and you should question your life choices up to this point. Second, Dickerson is a long-time student and lover of advanced metrics, and regularly peppers his play-by-play breaks with stats and facts about strikeout-to-walk ratios, WAR, defensive runs saved, ballpark factors, home and road splits, FIP, and other such goodies.
In short, when Dan Dickerson registers his opinion on a free agent signing like this and uses sabermetrics, it's probably a good idea to take notes.
Here are the highlights:
- Zimmermann has a career average of 32 starts per year in four full seasons since his Tommy John surgery in 2009
- Over the last five years, Zimmermann has a 3.14 ERA with BB/9 of 1.7 and a K/9 of 7.3
- Although Zimmermann posted a career-high 3.66 ERA in 2015, he kept his walk rate low
- His strikeout numbers were down in 2015 compared to the year before, but were still "right at career rate"
- Zimmermann gave up 24 home runs in 2015, another career high, but over the past four seasons has averaged 17 home runs per year
- Despite all the home runs in 2015, his extra-base numbers went down to a career-low 25 percent
- "The thing you really like – he’s a strike-thrower. And guys who throw a ton of strikes tend to have success – and consistency year to year."
- Zimmermann's strike-throwing percent in 2015 was 68%, which puts him in the top 15 starters in baseball, a list that included "Scherzer, deGrom, Price, Lackey, Sale, Harvey and Kershaw"
- "The collective ERA of the top 15 strike throwers in the [majors] was 3.23, which just happens to be the same as Zimmermann's career ERA"
- Addressing the concern that "many believe the shelf life of the [Tommy John] repaired elbow is roughly 7-8 yrs," Dickerson noted that "the guy the surgery was named after pitched 14 yrs/2500 innings AFTER his surgery."
- Additionally, "other pitchers who've pitched a long time after [Tommy John] surgery - AJ Burnett (12 yrs/2200IP), and David Wells (23 years - had surgery in [the minors])"
When your team's play-by-play announcer goes hunting for stats on Baseball Reference, it's a good thing.
Here is a list of the top 15 starting pitchers in 2015 (ERA-title qualified only) by strike-throwing percentage, courtesy of Baseball Reference.