|1st pitch thrown by a NY Met at Citi Field)|
I widely assume that every single baseball fan knows 35-year old Livan Hernandez, and everyone knows he throws slow, slower and slowest as his pitches these days. I'm not going to highlight his career stats or anything, as he has changed as a pitcher over the past 15 years and the data from his early starts against the Mets are meaningless. His career ERA is 4.39 and it hasn't been under 4.0 since 2005; his WHIP hasn't been lower than 1.5 since 2005 as well.
To start the year, in seven starts, 4-2 record with a 1.46 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Someone explain that to me?
Looking at his pitch data, the only thing he has changed is that he is throwing more 2-seam fastballs than in the past and increased his curveball to 10% from 6%. His fastball averages about 84 mph, change-up 78 mph, slider 79 mph and curve-ball (eephus) 65 mph.
Since he faced the Mets on May 19th (6 1/3 innings, 4 hits, 3 walks, 2 runs), his ERA now sits at 3.10, and a 1.28 WHIP. He has been getting very lucky, as his FIP is 4.40, or in other words, 'typical Livan'. He is striking out a meager 4 K/9, and allowing a unsustainable BABIP of .266 (up from .197 in mid-May), which is completely fluky. He also has a 80.3% (98% LOB% in Mid-May), which is still very high, as league average is around 70% (his career is 72%). Livan Hernandez has regressed over the past 6 weeks, but he still has more to go.
UPDATE September 8: Mets faced him on July 1st (7 innings, 7 hits, 1 run, 0 walks and 7 strikeouts). Since then he is 3-6, and his record is now 9-10, with a 3.81 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. His strikeout rate as increased to a still poor 4.7 K/9, and is BAPIP has regressed closer to the mean, now up to .293, and his strand rate has regressed as well to 73%. So pretty much everything that was going for him early in the year has gone back to "typical Livan." This is a perfect case study of sabermetrics, that he started out great, but it was all based on luck. He has let up 5+ runs in his last 3 starts, but the Nationals still gave him a 1 year contract extension last week.