After the Miami Marlins decided that Albert Pujols was not coming to South Beach, they decided to pursue their consolation prize. The Marlins signed the crafty lefty, Mark Buehlre, right away. They then made a big push for C.J. Wilson, ultimately, that did not work out.
In Buehrle, the Marlins did add what they have been missing since they traded Dontrelle Willis left after 2007: a lefty starter who can go 200 innings without much of a problem.
Although Buehrle is not known as an overpowering pitcher, he has been one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball for the past decade. Buehrle will essentially be the replacement pitcher for Javier Vazquez, who has retired (unofficially). Here is a look at Buehrle’s stats over the past two seasons and his career.
The consistency in his stats are obvious. In the last three years, Buehrle has not seemed like he lost much despite losing almost two percentage points on his strikeout rate. Over the past three seasons, he has posted a 3.91 ERA and a 4.12 FIP. Those numbers are fairly consistent with his 3.80 ERA and 4.13 FIP from 2000-2008.
Two things that should help Buehrle as he ages over the course of his contract are his switching to a less hitting friendly league and his move from hitter friendly park, to what looks like will be a pitchers park. U.S Cellular Field rivaled Coors Field in extreme home run friendliness. Now Buehrle will be moving to a stadium that is very likely going to suppress home runs.
Buehrle has already done a great job to surpress home runs at home, so even if he improves, it would help him improve his ERA, but it would not be improving by a lot more.
The league average has been 2.4 percent, so if Buehlre can improve on his 2.8 percent at home, he should see an overall improvement in his stats, but still, it will not be by much.
Here is a look at some projections for Mark Buehrle in 2012:
The projections for Buehrle in 2012, to no ones surprise, are a lot like his stats throughout his career. As a soft tossing left handed pitcher, Buehrle will not be affected much by a loss of velocity. He depends more on locating his pitches for strikes and working quickly to keep the hitters off balance. If he can continue to do so, he will be able to post consistent numbers throughout his contracts tenure in Miami. If not, he will still likely be a very reliable pitcher for at least two more seasons before he starts to see a massive decline.
ZiPS is the most optimistic about Buehlre’s stats in 2012, but at the same time, they only project him to go 178 innings. Te Fans of Fangraphs are the only ones projecting 200+ innings from Buehrle. I am in agreement with them. The Marlins are going to need 200 innings from Buehrle in order for them to get their moneys worth and be contenders.
Here is a look at my projections for the crafty lefty.
I have Mark Buehrle as a 2.5 WAR player. My projections fall right into line with the projections of the three systems above. The Marlins would be more then happy to get this type of production from Buehrle, especially if Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez can stay healthy. With these three, the Marlins have a solid trio of starters.
Mark Buehrle would need to have this type of production for all four years of his contract for it to be worth the money the Marlins paid. But the Marlins will surely be happy with this type of production in 2012 and worry about the future later.