Big Ten Conference Recap: Iowa PitchingPosted: August 25, 2010
The team pitching recaps from the 2010 season are all linked to under the 2010 Season Recap tab. This is the third installment, focusing on the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The Iowa Hawkeyes lost in the Big Ten tournament title game after a 13-11 conference record and 30-28 overall record. Including non-conference games, the Hawkeyes scored the 7th fewest runs and allowed the second most in the league — which would indicate that they played “above their heads” for the lack of a better term.
That said, it’s hard to argue with results. So how did their individual pitchers perform? Below is a table of the raw stats for Iowa’s pitchers:
K% – Strikeout Percentage (K/total batters faced)
BB% – Walks and Hit Batter Percentage (BB+HBP/TBF)
K-BB% – Difference between K% and BB%
BABIP – Batting Average on Balls In Play
Pitches – An estimated pitch count total from Boyd’s World
TBF – Total Batters Faced
Quick note: I am ditching dERA. I had a quick email exchange with Boyd from Boyd’s World and he says that he calculates dERA every year on the fly with year-specific weights. Therefore, it wasn’t of any value at all, and will not be used in the recaps going forward.
Now, the data, adjusted versus the league average:
Due to sample size, I won’t be discussing Patrick Brennan, Kevin Gates or Jeff Pacha.
The Hawkeyes starting rotation consisted of Jarred Hippen (16 starts), and Phil Schreiber (15 starts). Nick Brown picked up 9 starts while Matt Dermody had 7. Zach Robertson had 6 out of 24 appearances, so I will lump him in with the relievers.
- Jarred Hippen posted slightly above-average K numbers (16.1%) and phenomenal BB-rate (7.0%). Hippen will be a Junior in 2011 and back atop the Hawkeyes rotation looking to increase his draft status. Given he’s a southpaw with above-average strikeout rates and great BB rates for the Big Ten, he’ll most assuredly get drafted next June.
- Phil Schreiber was the No. 2 starter for Iowa and was a nice personification of the below-average staff the Hawkeyes had. Schreiber didn’t strike guys out, was below average in allowing free passes. He had a very good Cape Cod League stint this summer, striking out 28.4% of hitters he faced for the Chatham A’s. Iowa sure would love that kind of swing-and-miss-ness from Schreiber in 2011.
- Nick Brown is a 6-foot-3, 225-pound soon-to-be Junior that picked up the third most starts for Iowa in 2010. He struck out nearly 17% of hitters he faced, but was a bit below-average in BB+. His BABIP was nearly 10% higher than league average, but a good ability to miss bats should really help out Iowa in 2011. Brown touched 90 and worked in the upper 80’s in 2008 according to Perfect Game. He was hitting 87 from the outfield as well, which shows he’s got a talented right arm. If Schreiber’s K’s don’t follow him back from the Cape, it’d behoove the Hawkeyes to see if they can squeeze more starts out of Brown.
- Matt Dermody was below average across the board for Iowa last season — though nothing substantial in any category. He was hitting 88 MPH in front of Perfect Game personnel in 2008 as well, and has a big, slender frame. Given he’s a southpaw, there’s a lot to like with Dermody. I could see Brown going into the ‘pen to replace Zach Robertson and Dermody picking up some more mid-week starts.
- Zach Robertson really is the only reliever worth noting for the Hawkeyes, statistically.. After starting in the past for Iowa, Robertson transitioned to the bullpen with resounding success. He struck out 24% of batters (155 K+) and was league average in BB% at 11.5%. John Sickels noted that Robertson was around 85-87 when he saw him against the Texas Longhorns in March, but that Robertson featured a filthy change-up.
- Zach Kenyon was below-average in K’s (85 K+), walks (97 BB+), with a worse-than-average BABIP (.337, 93 BABIP+). That said, he’s got some good projection as a senior and could be a good arm out of the bullpen for Iowa. He stands 6-foot-6, 220-pounds and the John Sickels report from the blurb above said Kenyon was “throwing as hard as [Texas starting pitcher, Brandon] Workman.” This article from Baseball Draft Report puts Kenyon as having a “low-90’s fastball, erratic curve, and solid change-up.” That would support Sickels statement that Kenyon was throwing as hard as Workman. I think there’s upside for an MLB team next summer in taking Kenyon and getting him on a regular strength-and-conditioning program, but his career has been a bit of a let down given his prototypical pitcher body and seemingly good repertoire.
Iowa’s got some talent, but are going to have to replace a large chunk of their bullpen in Zach Robertson. Maybe Zach Kenyon steps up as a Senior and posts stellar strikeout rates from the bullpen, or Nick Brown/Matt Dermody step up to compliment Jarred Hippen in the weekend rotation, but Iowa’s going to need better strikeout and walk numbers from their pitching staff. I wouldn’t put money on them to make a run to the conference tournament title game again in 2011, but if Jarred Hippen improves his above-average strikeout totals, he could carry them to another top-3 regular season conference finish.