Baseball Evolution first created the
Mark Redman Award in
2006, so we only have follow-up data for a half dozen pitchers. Let's see
what we can glean from it:
Jose Contreras 2006: 13-9, 4.27 in 196 IP
Jose Contreras 2007: 10-17, 5.57
in 189 IP
Jose Contreras 2008:
7-6, 4.54 in 121 IP
Jose Contreras 2009:
6-13, 4.92 in 131.2 IP
The inaugural AL winner certainly continued to tumble after a poor end to the
2006 season. In fairness, Contreras was listed as a 34-year old in 2006
and may in fact have been much older. His decline may not be
relevant Jackson, who won his award during a season in which he was primarily 25
Jeremy Bonderman 2007: 11-9, 5.01 in 174.1 IP
Jeremy Bonderman 2008:
3-4, 4.29 in 71.1 IP
Jeremy Bonderman 2009:
0-1, 8.71 in 10.1 IP
Here is a far better comparison, since Bonderman was 24 when he won his award
and is a fellow Tiger to boot. The record and ERA here are misleading, as
the former 1st-round pick struck out 145 batters while walking 48 in 2007 before
fanning just 44 and walking 36 in fewer than half as many innings the following
year. Bonderman's record and ERA weren't far worse in 2008 only because of
a fluke of small sample size.
And with Bonderman, the lack of a meaningful sample size is the real story.
He certainly lost effectiveness after his Redman win, but he more starkly lost
his health. After averaging 30 starts per season in his first five big
league seasons, Bonderman has made only 13 over the past two years.
Garrett Olson 2008: 9-10, 6.65 in 132.2 IP
Garrett Olson 2009: 3-5,
5.60 in 80.1 IP
Olson, too, lost playing time in the season following his Redman Award, but
in his case, it was not due to injury. The Seattle Mariners were in
contention last season, and could not afford to put up with bad Olson outings
the way that perennial cellar-dwellers like the Baltimore Orioles could in 2008.
So even though Olson's 2009 numbers were a substantial improvement over what he
managed in 2008, the M's put him in Triple-A for two stints totaling nearly two
months and shuttled him between the rotation and the bullpen while he was in the
majors And actually, in his 11 starts, Olson went 3-5 with a 6.49 ERA,
which isn't an improvement on his 2008 numbers.
Like Bonderman, Olson was 24 in his Redman season, so his failure to
recapture the success he had in the first half of 2008 is applicable to Edwin Jackson.
Derrick Turnbow 2006: 4-9, 6.87 in 56.1 IP
Derrick Turnbow 2007: 4-5, 4.63
in 68 IP
Derrick Turnbow 2008: 0-1 15.63 in 6.1 IP
Relievers are notoriously fickle. That said, Derrick Turnbow had one of
the most drastic turnarounds of any reliever in history. Turnbow was one
of the most effective closers in baseball in 2005. Four years later at the
age of 31, he was out of baseball. Clearly, the turning point was the
summer of 2006, although Turnbow was at least serviceable in 2007. His
situation is certainly different from Edwin Jackson's as a starter, but there's
no denying that his disastrous second half in 2006 was a bad omen of things to
John Maine 2007: 15-10, 3.91 in 191 IP
John Maine 2008: 10-8, 4.18 in 140
John Maine 2009: 7-6, 4.43 in 81.1 IP
Not much to analyze here. Maine has seen his effectiveness and
durability steadily decline in two years since winning a very tight Redman Award
over Jason Marquis. It is worth noting that Marquis has been pretty solid
over the past two seasons (although he still falters in the second half).
Had he gotten the Redman nod over Maine, this analysis would look a bit better
for Jackson an d the D-backs.
Jonathan Sanchez 2008: 9-12, 5.01 ERA in 158 IP
Jonathan Sanchez 2009:
8-12, 4.24 ERA in 163.1 IP
Finally, we found a Redman winner who was legitimately better the following
season. Sanchez and Jackson won their awards at the exact same age.
The difference was in their component ERAs. Sanchez had a Fielding
Independent ERA (FIP) of 3.90 in 2008, over a full run lower than his actual ERA
of 5.01. Jackson had a FIP of 4.34 last season, nearly three-quarters of a
run higher than his actual 3.62 ERA. Redman issues aside, we would expect
Sanchez to improve on his 2008 ERA and Jackson to decline from his 2009 ERA
based on the ratios of strikeouts, walks, and homers for each pitcher.
Sanchez was unlucky in 2008 while Jackson was fortunate in 2009.
Looking solely at the season following a Redman Award, we total the
The Redman Year: 61-59, 4.97 in 908.2 IP
Year After Redman: 38-51, 4.78 in 712 IP
This isn't at all what I expected. I figured that with the first part
of a Redman season being so uncharacteristically dominant, the following season
would necessarily be a letdown. It turns out that the second half of
Redman seasons tend to be uncharacteristically bad as well, so the following
season tends to feature some evening out. The win-loss record of Redman
winners tends to get a little worse while their earned run averages improve a
bit. Neither trend is very statistically significant.
But there is something to be gleaned here. Check out those innings
pitched totals. After averaging 151 innings per season during their Redman
years, these six pitchers averaged just 119 the following season. Remove
the one reliever from the group and we see a decline from 170 to 129. When
we move one more year past the Redman season, things get even worse. A
disastrous second half could be indicative of an injury for starting pitchers -
injuries that recur in subsequent seasons and become career-threatening in some
This is particularly bad news for Edwin Jackson, who already had so many
injury red flags surrounding him that you might think a swarm of NFL coaches
were watching instant replays near him. Jackson surpassed his 2008 innings
pitched total by just over 30 last season, which is the point at which we can
expect injury trouble in the subsequent season due to the sharp increase in
workload. Furthermore, Jackson had 18 starts in which he threw over 100
pitches, three in which he surpassed 120, and one dubious start in which he was
asked to throw 132 pitches. Since Jackson regularly throws his fastball in
the mid-to-upper 90s, these high pitch counts take their toll on him more so
than they would for a soft-tosser.
The ironic part of all this is that the D-backs purportedly traded the
younger, cheaper, and more-talented Max Scherzer for Jackson because they
believed that Scherzer was an injury waiting to happen. On the contrary,
Jackson is unlikely to reach 150 innings in 2010 and I will go on record as
saying that he will not reach 200. Things could get even worse beyond
2010, but focusing just on this upcoming season, Edwin Jackson is extremely
unlikely to spend the entire season healthy and effective.
With the lack of depth in their starting rotation, the Diamondbacks can
ill-afford to have that happen.
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