What I’m about to say is heresy to Braves fans. And it’s even more outrageous given the timing of my defense. But, I have a confession to make: I think Adam Bernero isn’t that bad a pitcher and he should continue to pitch for the Atlanta Braves. Now, before I get into it, I want to keep something straight. I’m not campaigning to get the guy in the Hall of Fame or even on the All-Star team. My point is that Adam Bernero has been a decent major league pitcher this year.
Let’s look at Bernero over the 2005 season compared three other benchmarks.
Name/ Group ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 K/BB FIP Adam Bernero 6.49 1.56 7.12 2.51 1.05 2.83 3.97 Braves Bullpen 4.75 1.59 6.58 4.16 0.93 1.58 4.47 NL Mean 4.41 1.41 6.50 3.38 1.07 1.92 4.42 Jorge Sosa 2.78 1.46 6.39 5.19 1.00 1.23 4.95
As you can see, except for ERA, Bernero has performed better or about the same compared to the rest of the Braves bullpen, the mean of the NL, and even Jorge Sosa. Why do I put in Sosa? Well, because Braves fans everywhere our heaping praise on this guy, with some people suggesting he should keep a permanent spot in the rotation. The thing is, though Adam Bernero hasn’t pitched so well over his career, he’s doing things this year that prevent runs much better than in the past. His failures this season have been from being bad in high leverage situations, which are very visible. The runs he’s given up the past two games have been on dinky hits. ERA is a terribly variable stat to judge pitchers, and especially relief pitchers. And concentrating on a few bad outcomes, diverts attention from good performance, on which we should be making our judgments. Adam’s enemy has been bad luck more than himself.
It’s important to remember the advice of Paul DePodesta:
I christened the new model in the front office: “be the house.” Every season we play 162 games. Individual players amass over 600 plate appearances. Starting pitchers face 1,000 hitters. We have plenty of sample size. I encouraged everyone to think of the house advantage in everything we did. We may not always be right but we’d be right a lot more often than we’d be wrong. In baseball, if you win about 60% of your games, you’re probably in the playoffs.
I would advise the Braves to stick with Bernero if he keeps pitching like he has been. Always remember, be the house.