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2008 Player Reviews: Andrew Sonnanstine

In the history of this site, no debate has been as tiresome or ridiculous as the Edwin Jackson/Andrew Sonnanstine bloodbaths of the previous season. It seemed like after every other start a new comment or fanpost would ignite the stat geeks with the scoutheads into a 100+ entry rehash of the last argument. Frankly, I think it was a healthy exercise at times. It brought up a lot of interesting perspectives and possibilities.

In the end though, Sonnanstine was the better pitcher than Jackson in 2008 by any metric you like, including: ERA, tRA, and FIP. So yeah, I've heard all the talk about how I'm a Sonnanstine homer, and how I'm in love with him, but if someone offers equal value to a true talent 4ish RA starter, then by all means I'd be fine dealing him. Otherwise, there's no reason he can't be our Justin Duchscherer for the next few seasons.

Oddly, Sonnanstine's BABIP only dropped 0.017 points. The key appears to be a homerun reduction and a LOB% regression. One of those two things was in Sonnanstine's hands. Also before I point this next item out, I'd like to quote Bill James who once wrote something to the effect of: "A great deal of what is perceived as being pitching is in fact defense."

With that in mind, Sonnanstine did change his pitch selection, or at least usage, this season. Reducing his fastball usage and increasing his cutter usage. Did that lead to improved results? I have no idea. I'm inclined to say no, since it's not like he suddenly morphed into a good pitcher.

Heading forward, I expect more of the same. Although I really hope Sonnanstine is not morphed by the media into some "gamer", "winner", "scrapper" type of pitcher. That doesn't do him justice and gives the wrong impression to the fanbase. If nothing else, write about his love of Ray Romano and Pizza Hut.