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The Phillies sign Aaron Cook

Jan 16, 2013, 10:30 AM EDT

Aaron Cook Getty Images

The Phillies have signed Aaron Cook to a minor league deal, reports Jon Paul Morosi. If he makes the bigs he’ll make $1.625 million.

Not a bad gamble at that price. Though I’m skeptical that he’ll be particularly useful. He has become a near-historically bad pitcher in terms of strikeout rate. Which he somehow, quite amusingly actually, got away with for a little while last season with the Red Sox.

But only for a little while. By the time the year was over he had an ERA of 5.65, and striking out fewer than two batters per nine innings had an awful lot to do with that. He hasn’t had an ERA below 5.00 since 2009.

But he’s an arm, can induce some ground balls when he’s on and there’s no harm having him around if the commitment, like this one, is small.

 

  1. alang3131982 - Jan 16, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    No one wanted to link to this stupid Deadspin article? http://deadspin.com/5926617/why-aaron-cook-and-his-two-strikeouts-are-a-nightmare-for-sabermetrics

    • Francisco (FC) - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      That article is a laugher, considering Cook did regress and ended his season badly. BTW did Deadspin ever post a follow up? Probably not, they likely want to pretend that article never happened.

    • thereisaparty - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      5.65 ERA, 5.45 FIP (or 5.89 dRA, 5.89 RRA). 2012 Aaron Cook is the poster child for DIPS.

  2. digbysellers - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    This is no good. The schlubby fella in the headband who walks around CBP selling “coe beer!” can throw harder than Cook.

  3. DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    Stick a thumb over his name, and this was last spring and Dontrelle Willis.

    I miss the days when Cy Young award winners were debuting at camp…..

    • csndrew - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      Aside from the fact that both are veteran pitchers, I don’t really see a great comparison between Aaron Cook and Dontrelle Willis

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:13 AM

        I am not comparing the pitchers themselves, I am comparing the non-excitement. And the fact that by June you won’t even remember if that happened this year or the year before (heck, I was half expecting someone to tell me Willis was 2011)

  4. mungman69 - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Useless.

  5. spudchukar - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    The addition of Cook probably won’t help the Pheelies much, but if nothing else the signing accents the ridiculousness of the strikeout argument. Not that this is the first time but I and at least some others obviously realize that it does NOT matter how a pitcher gets a hitter out, just whether or not said pitcher successfully retires the opposition. In fact, it is actually favorable to get a hitter out with the fewest number of pitches.

    • thereisaparty - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      There is nothing ridiculous about favoring strikeouts. Pitchers that can succeed with a below-average K% are not common. What is ridiculous is trying to use Aaron Cook to help your argument. A K guarantees an out. A groundball does not. One is obviously better than the other. And strikeouts keep pitch counts down.

      • spudchukar - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:08 PM

        Your party does not reside in the arena of common sense. A) A strikeout does not guarantee a
        out, the catcher must complete the play, and while nitpicking somewhat, it is not arguable. B) But what is persnickity the following: the worst fielding team in MLB, the Colorado Rockies committed 122 errors in 2012, of those a conservative amount of those, perhaps 80 were on ground balls or once every 2 games.

      • spudchukar - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:20 PM

        Somehow this posted half way through, and should read “isn’t persnickety is”.

        (Cont.) So the “guarantee” is rendered meaningless and moot. C) As to strikeouts keeping pitching counts down, I hardly know how to respond. In theory, a contact pitcher could complete a game with only 27 pitches, and a strikeout pitcher would need 81. So while strikeouts can be valuable, they are mostly wasteful. This is doctrine in the St. Louis Cardinal organization and has served them well. And perhaps if other teams adopted the philosophy it wouldn’t be so “uncommon”.

      • thereisaparty - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:14 PM

        A. Fine point, but a K turns into an out more than an even infield fly. Find me a pitcher that can induce infield flies at a 25% rate, and I’ll love him more than any K-heavy pitcher.

        It is a fact that pitch-counts are reduced by strikeouts, because they are outs. Walks and hits increase pitch-counts. Missing bats means there is less of a chance for a hit. This is all fact, backed up by years and years of evidence, not some silly idea centered around how a player could throw a 27 pitch perfect game. And I have no idea why you are citing errors. What about all the ground-balls that find holes? Errors have nothing to do with this. As an aside, Coors is huuuge.

        Maybe the Cardinals’ recent success can be better explained by other factors? Like their amazing offenses.

      • spudchukar - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        So many fallacies, so little time. 1) All batted balls are not equal. 2) Of course walks and hits increase pitch counts, pitches also increase pitch counts, and is about as meaningful. 3) The art of pitching is unfortunately seldom practiced. So teams rely on strikeout pitchers because learning the art is much more difficult than just throwing hard.

      • thereisaparty - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:55 PM

        So much nonsense and anecdotes, so little time.

        How is the fact that strikeouts and low pitch-counts go together a fallacy? Strikeouts are caused by missed bats and pitches in the strike zone. How would this not help keep pitch counts low? This is common sense. Sorry, but you are wrong here. I hate to state it so bluntly.

        How are strikeouts not an “art”? You think it is easy to teach strikeouts?

        Please explain to me how pitchers control batted balls. Pedro’s peak might’ve been the most dominant in MLB history. Surely he could’ve induced weaker contact. But check out his BABIP. Why should I not believe in DIPS? You have not provided a single fact to help your cause.

      • spudchukar - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:41 PM

        Fact #1, Colorado Rockies committed 122 errors in 2012. Which deflates your argument that strikeouts, and strikeout pitchers are so vastly superior to sinkerball, pitching to contact types. I thought you could make the mental leap, but obviously not so I will explain. As I stated, a conservative guess would be that about 80 of those were on batted balls or about once every two games. So of the 54 outs in those two games, once a pitching to contact pitcher would be hurt.

        The odds are actually much less, cause A) it assumes a complete game, B) it does not include the strikeouts a pitching to contact type does acquire, and C) it doesn’t take into consideration the majority of outs a strikeout pitcher achieves, which is most often more than the strikeouts he gets in a game. So in reality it is more like once every 3 games pitched an error occurs by a fielder on a batted ball.

        But as I suggested strikeout pitcher only strikes out about 3 times more players than a pitch to contact guy, approximately 12 to 4, so the outs by batted balls is 15 to 23, so eight times a game a fielder has to make a play, which means that now once every 6 games one base runner reaches base once more for a pitch to contact type than a guy who strikes out 12.

        Of course pitch to strikeout guys, get more double plays made behind them which would nullify the one baserunner every 6 games pitched. Plus, the defenders are “on their toes”, cause they aren’t standing around, and would also nullify the one baserunner in 6 games.

        Fact #2, A pitch to contact guy can get at least one out on one pitch, and a strikeout guy needs at least 3. I also thought you could make the leap that obviously this would mean the pitch to contact guys pitch counts are lower than the power guys but I guess not. Unfortunately for you stats do not support your idea that power pitchers have lower pitch counts. The comparisons are difficult because defining pitch to contact guys is very subjective. Are they the guys who get the fewest strikeouts, perhaps, but a power pitcher who sucks also gets few strikeouts. Or are they the guys who walk the fewest, generally yes, but some very good power pitchers do not walk many and pitch to contact types can also be nibblers who do walk a lot.

        So making the comparisons isn’t easy, but the following 10 pitchers, pitched 188 innings or more, struck out 155 or less, and finished in the top 35 in ERA. J. Weaver (142), 7th, K. Lohse (143), 8th, J. Zimmermann (153), J. Hellickson (124) 14th, M. Harrison (133),16th, W. Miley (144) 18th, J Niece (155), 25th,

  6. spudchukar - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    (Again this posted prematurely), R. Dempster (153) 23th, B. Arroyo (129) 29th, P. Maholm (140) 35th.

    Fact #3, In the past 10 years the St. Louis Cardinals have a mean league average of 10th in ERA, and are 11th in runs scored over the same number of years, so it has been pitching that has been the greater measure of their success than their hitting.

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