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How do you define "ace" and is Jose Berríos one?


Vanimal46
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1 minute ago, Otto von Ballpark said:

 

B-Ref has Berrios with a couple top 10 AL ranks in those categories, prior to 2021:

9th in wins in 2017
8th in ERA (and 9th in ERA+) in 2019

And 11th in total K's in both 2018 and 2019 too.

Plus 8th in IP for both 2018 and 2019, I think that's pretty close to the characterization "routinely top 10". Keep in mind Berrios started 2017 in the minors, so 2018 was his first full MLB season.

Interesting. I used MLB.com to look up those numbers.

I didn’t look up IP because I assumed he was top ten in that stat given his health. 

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2 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

...I've long felt we put far too much emphasis on one dude who pitches three times in a series vs. a deep pitching roster that can flexibly pitch in every game, in many situations.  (Think...the Brewers in 2018 or the Royals deep bullpen, etc)

I think the Twins' playoff drought has given a lot of us the idea that once the postseason starts, baseball suddenly becomes a completely different game where the better pitcher always wins. Probably because the Twins' approach has emphasized depth over acquiring top-shelf starters, and it's a pretty convenient thing to blame when we haven't won any playoff games.

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To me, winning in the post season is important and with an ace caliber pitcher, a fanbase should have confidence they have a good chance at winning. Berrios does not inspire confidence if he's asked to start against another playoff team's best pitcher. Since Berrios is not the best starter on the Blue Jays, he probably wouldn't be asked to be #1.

  • vs. Cole NYY
  • vs. Rodon CHW
  • vs. Bassitt OAK
  • vs. Eovaldi BOS
  • vs. McCullers, Jr. HOU
  • vs. McClanahan TBR

How does Berrios stack up in a one game playoff vs. the pitchers listed above? I wouldn't feel secure to start Berrios in any of those games. I'd be thinking, "I hope Berrios gives a good start" vs. "At least I don't have to worry about whether or not Berrios pitches well"

That's the difference between Aces. The confidence in them pitching well to the point you're not worried about the starting pitching. You're worried about the bullpen or whether or not the hitters show up. 

 

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11 minutes ago, Unwinder said:

I think the Twins' playoff drought has given a lot of us the idea that once the postseason starts, baseball suddenly becomes a completely different game where the better pitcher always wins. Probably because the Twins' approach has emphasized depth over acquiring top-shelf starters, and it's a pretty convenient thing to blame when we haven't won any playoff games.

It does become a completely different game because 1/2 of your pitching staff isn't used in the playoffs.

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On 9/19/2021 at 3:32 PM, Vanimal46 said:

My position is he’s a top 30 pitcher in baseball. Is he the best pitcher on the Dodgers? Absolutely not. But he would be on probably 20 teams. And he’s young enough to still progress to the level of Scherzer and whoever else you consider a true ace. 

The question is how do you define an ace? It’s more difficult to define now more than ever. Are there only 5 true aces? 10? Regardless, Berrios is very good. I’ll take him on my team all day every day. 

Martin better be good to great. I have no confidence SWR is going to contribute anything at the MLB level in the next calendar year. If ever. 

Berrios is very good.  He'll never be Scherzer level....

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2 hours ago, Unwinder said:

I think the Twins' playoff drought has given a lot of us the idea that once the postseason starts, baseball suddenly becomes a completely different game where the better pitcher always wins. Probably because the Twins' approach has emphasized depth over acquiring top-shelf starters, and it's a pretty convenient thing to blame when we haven't won any playoff games.

Sure, but in a large stretch of those failures we were marching out the best pitcher on the planet!

Think of how many Yankees losses had nothing to do with Radke or Santana and everything to do with a futile offense or the bullpen.  If an ace was enough to feel good about the playoffs, we have very different memories of all those Johan/Twins failures.  

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2 hours ago, bean5302 said:

To me, winning in the post season is important and with an ace caliber pitcher, a fanbase should have confidence they have a good chance at winning. Berrios does not inspire confidence if he's asked to start against another playoff team's best pitcher. Since Berrios is not the best starter on the Blue Jays, he probably wouldn't be asked to be #1.

  • vs. Cole NYY
  • vs. Rodon CHW
  • vs. Bassitt OAK
  • vs. Eovaldi BOS
  • vs. McCullers, Jr. HOU
  • vs. McClanahan TBR

How does Berrios stack up in a one game playoff vs. the pitchers listed above? I wouldn't feel secure to start Berrios in any of those games. I'd be thinking, "I hope Berrios gives a good start" vs. "At least I don't have to worry about whether or not Berrios pitches well"

That's the difference between Aces. The confidence in them pitching well to the point you're not worried about the starting pitching. You're worried about the bullpen or whether or not the hitters show up. 

 

Is Clayton Kershaw an ace?  I'll just suggest you take a gander through the last ten years of playoff stats and see how this is largely a myth.  People forget that even great players struggle and the small sample of the playoffs has chewed up many a good ace.  Or good offense.  Or good bullpen.

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We had a number of losses despite good starts by Johan Santana, Nick Blackburn, Boof Bosner! etc. Most of the time, the offense failed to show up and/or the opponents bullpen stepped up (NY 2017) after we knocked around their "ace".  

Another, probably better, indicator of postseason success is payroll. Payroll creates depth. The Yankees don't usually rely on the Dobnaks of the world to start a playoff game. And if a big bat goes down, they have several in reserve. And our payroll issues is an ownership problem.

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Jumping in without having read all the comments, so I apologize if this is duplicative.

To me, an Ace is the leader of a team's rotation, not a general term to use to apply to all pitchers in aggregate ("Is so-and-so an ace?"). Every rotation has an ace, but not every ace is of the same caliber. Additionally, throughout a season the staff ace can change.

Berrios was unquestionably the Twins Ace this season. That doesn't add to the value Toronto paid for him in the trade though, just as his value does not decrease since Robbie Ray is the Jays ace.

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3 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

Is Clayton Kershaw an ace?  I'll just suggest you take a gander through the last ten years of playoff stats and see how this is largely a myth.  People forget that even great players struggle and the small sample of the playoffs has chewed up many a good ace.  Or good offense.  Or good bullpen.

Clayton Kershaw was an ace. Suggesting somebody take 8hrs out of their day to write a report proving it to you is BS. Prove he's not yourself.

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20 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

Clayton Kershaw was an ace. Suggesting somebody take 8hrs out of their day to write a report proving it to you is BS. Prove he's not yourself.

Clayton Kershaw is an ace.  He's also been downright awful in the playoffs.  Which was my point and doesn't need a lot of work to demonstrate:  https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/k/kershcl01.shtml

He's a decidely not-Acey postseason pitcher.  Based on what you said above, that would disqualify him.

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2 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

Clayton Kershaw is an ace.  He's also been downright awful in the playoffs.  Which was my point and doesn't need a lot of work to demonstrate:  https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/k/kershcl01.shtml

He's a decidely not-Acey postseason pitcher.  Based on what you said above, that would disqualify him.

Would it? Would you have confidence in Clayton Kershaw in his prime? I did. I expected the "fluke" bad performances were just that. Flukes.

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3 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Would it? Would you have confidence in Clayton Kershaw in his prime? I did. I expected the "fluke" bad performances were just that. Flukes.

Dodgers fans were not confident.  His legacy has been tarnished by it.  You can find a lot of articles like this:

https://www.theringer.com/mlb/2018/10/29/18039728/clayton-kershaw-los-angeles-dodgers-world-series-failures

I'll restate my thesis:  we make too much of "aces" in the playoffs.

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A lot of pitchers carry the cavet 'when healthy'.  You could add Strasburg  and Thor to that category.   If you add 10 or more years, you find very few pitchers who qualify now, because most of them don't reach the majors until about 25, and 10 years is a long time.  That may be the push for the Twins, when not good, get the youngsters up here, don't waste there bullets in the minor leagues.  But service time issues play into this a lot, which is too bad.  

If you only go by world series, remember you need pitchers to get you there.  Big Don Newcome was an example of this, won 20 games almost every year, never won a world series game.  

Right now there is a very small number of aces.  Someone earlier counting, 10 was about right. 

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I think the term "Ace" gets thrown around waaaay to much.  At least what I define as an "Ace."  To me, an "Ace" is Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Jim Palmer, Steve Carlton.  Nowadays, that "Ace" is Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Gerritt Cole,  there are a couple more, but it's a short list.  Berrios is NOT an "Ace" but he's a very capable.  But as I've maintained, he's never had a season like Robbie Ray is having this year, or Rodon or Gausman.  Most contending teams must have a pitcher at the head of their rotation who fits this profile...unless you're the Dodgers and you've got like...FOUR !!  If the Twins wouldn't pay Berrios the $20 or so million per year he wanted, they'll need to find somebody who will provide MORE than Jose did at that price this off-season.  They have some talented young pitchers in the pipeline, but they need to sign and or trade for a #1, #2 and #3 even if the #3 is a Pineda reunion because there's too much uncertainty with young pitchers and young pitchers always get babied with how many innings they pitch.  They probably can't count on Ryan and Ober giving them 160-175 innings next year.  They need THREE SP's.  (anything Dobnak gives them would be a bonus).  Berrios is NOT an "Ace" but he's a solid pitcher.  Robbie Ray will pitch game #1 for Toronto.  That tells you all you need to know about Robbie Ray vs Berrios.  Ryu or Berrios will pitch games #2 & #3 (if there are games #2 & #3 for Toronto).    

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On 9/21/2021 at 8:37 AM, TheLeviathan said:

2. I'll note again - in the postseason the idea that you win with aces is overstated.  Some of the best pitching performances of the last 20 years in the postseason were by dudes who were in street clothes or struggling to keep a job only a few years later.  

Take 2019: Cole and Scherzer were great....but so was Mikolas and the Great Anibal Sanchez.  2018?  Joulys Chacin, Wade Miley, and Nathan Eovaldi.  You can look at every postseason and see that often it isn't the "ace" that pitches like one in the postseason.  I've long felt we put far too much emphasis on one dude who pitches three times in a series vs. a deep pitching roster that can flexibly pitch in every game, in many situations.  (Think...the Brewers in 2018 or the Royals deep bullpen, etc)

Sure…but how many playoff runs have been made when the top guy in the rotation is consistently outmatched? Very, very few. The exceptions…(e.,g. Brewers, Royals) are just that: exceptions.

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22 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

Clayton Kershaw is an ace.  He's also been downright awful in the playoffs.  Which was my point and doesn't need a lot of work to demonstrate:  https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/k/kershcl01.shtml

He's a decidely not-Acey postseason pitcher.  Based on what you said above, that would disqualify him.

He was very good in the playoffs and in the world series last year. 4.19 ERA in 37 postseason games isn't downright awful, although it's not Clayton Kershaw regular season level. 

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1 hour ago, jkcarew said:

Sure…but how many playoff runs have been made when the top guy in the rotation is consistently outmatched? Very, very few. The exceptions…(e.,g. Brewers, Royals) are just that: exceptions.

Quite a few, you should go look back at how many deep playoff runs were made with some fourth starter going on a bender for two weeks.  Or a bullpen that suddenly couldn't be touched.

This is a myth we tell ourselves to avoid accepting how random playoff baseball really is.

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4 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

Quite a few, you should go look back at how many deep playoff runs were made with some fourth starter going on a bender for two weeks.  Or a bullpen that suddenly couldn't be touched.

This is a myth we tell ourselves to avoid accepting how random playoff baseball really is.

What year was it that Jeff Suppan turned into Cy Young for the Cards in the playoffs? That crazy BS still sticks with me. Of the year the Angels won and got contributions from such no names. 

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23 minutes ago, a-wan said:

What year was it that Jeff Suppan turned into Cy Young for the Cards in the playoffs? That crazy BS still sticks with me. Of the year the Angels won and got contributions from such no names. 

2006.  When an 83 win team benefited from the tyranny of small sample size we call the Playoffs.

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I haven't read the whole thread, but I don't understand why people get so hung up on categorizing starting pitchers. I think it should be the goal to have a rotation of starters who have different strengths (with at least one lefty) to give a different look for the opposing team to deal with every game, but to try to assign a classification of ace, 2, 3, etc. is totally arbitrary and, IMHO, pointless.

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4 hours ago, Nine of twelve said:

I haven't read the whole thread, but I don't understand why people get so hung up on categorizing starting pitchers. I think it should be the goal to have a rotation of starters who have different strengths (with at least one lefty) to give a different look for the opposing team to deal with every game, but to try to assign a classification of ace, 2, 3, etc. is totally arbitrary and, IMHO, pointless.

how do you feel about Pitcher Wins or Quality Starts? Some people like those stats and they provide context to those fans as to how the plyer has performed. I don't much care for the "Ace" label either, but to each their own. It's been a good debate, even if I don't get the appeal

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9 hours ago, Sconnie said:

how do you feel about Pitcher Wins or Quality Starts? Some people like those stats and they provide context to those fans as to how the plyer has performed. I don't much care for the "Ace" label either, but to each their own. It's been a good debate, even if I don't get the appeal

Assigning a 1-5 number to a starter is not a stat. It's an arbitrary label that has no empirical statistical basis.

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21 minutes ago, Nine of twelve said:

Assigning a 1-5 number to a starter is not a stat. It's an arbitrary label that has no empirical statistical basis.

It's also shorthand many of us use to describe starting pitchers and there's nothing wrong with discussing it. If you don't care for the conversation, just don't participate.

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23 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

It's also shorthand many of us use to describe starting pitchers and there's nothing wrong with discussing it. If you don't care for the conversation, just don't participate.

I'm participating by expressing a point of view regarding the topic of conversation, and I enjoy doing so.

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1 hour ago, Matthew Lenz said:

This Twins rally brought to you by a walk of the 9 batter who is also one of the worst hitters in all of baseball! Add that to my definition of what doesn’t make an ace!

I went to b-ref.com to look up what I expected to be a quick rebuttal, but guess how many times in 28 games Gerrit Cole has walked the #9 batter this season?  Zero.  Did the same in 2019.  (2020 was a bad year, he walked 3 guys, probably pinch hitters or something, I'm not gonna look in that detail.)

Berrios in 2021 has 7 - now make that 8 - such walks.  Again, I'm not going to delve in to extenuating circumstances.

So, yeah.  That's one benchmark that's interesting to look at.

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22 minutes ago, ashbury said:

I went to b-ref.com to look up what I expected to be a quick rebuttal, but guess how many times in 28 games Gerrit Cole has walked the #9 batter this season?  Zero.  Did the same in 2019.  (2020 was a bad year, he walked 3 guys, probably pinch hitters or something, I'm not gonna look in that detail.)

Berrios in 2021 has 7 - now make that 8 - such walks.  Again, I'm not going to delve in to extenuating circumstances.

So, yeah.  That's one benchmark that's interesting to look at.

He also gave up a homerun to the 9 hitter in his last outing (Ben Rortvedt).

This is basically playoff baseball for the Blue Jays and Berríos was good, but this is where you want your top starter to shove…especially against a putrid offense like the Twins. He was good tonight but also got into a lot of trouble that might turn into more runs against a better team. You need someone better than him to anchor a playoff staff.

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