Big Ten Conference Recap: Ohio State Pitching

The team pitching recaps from the 2010 season are all linked to under the 2010 Season Recap tab. This is the eighth installment, focusing on the Ohio State Buckeyes.

After a brief break to look at some Runs Above Average for individual pitchers, I’m back to my team-by-team pitching reviews for the 2010 season.

The Ohio State Buckeyes pitching could easily be summed up in two words: Alex Wimmers. But, that doesn’t make for a good read, does it? If you paid attention to the leader boards I posted in both of my RAA posts, you’ll note a lack of OSU pitchers on there not named Wimmers.

Below are the raw statistics for the Ohio State pitching staff in 2010:

Name CL K% BB% K-BB% BABIP Pitches TBF
Best, Eric SR 0.183 0.076 0.107 0.352 757 224
Bobinski, Brian JR 0.085 0.127 -0.042 0.429 234 71
Brown, Cole FR 0.000 0.182 -0.182 0.412 72 22
McKinney, Brett FR 0.158 0.134 0.024 0.372 1004 291
Minium, Theron JR 0.127 0.106 0.021 0.299 637 189
Rucinski, Drew JR 0.170 0.089 0.080 0.373 1143 336
Shin, Eric JR 0.143 0.143 0.000 0.429 146 42
Strayer, Jared JR 0.115 0.109 0.005 0.343 589 183
Wimmers, Alex JR 0.293 0.085 0.207 0.322 1068 294
Wolosiansky, Dean JR 0.147 0.081 0.066 0.369 1511 455

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

I’ve included each players class in 2010. An asterisk denotes that the player was a redshirt player.

If only Alex Wimmers had pitched more than 73 innings in 2010. Ohio State finished the Big Ten season at 11-13 and 28-23 overall. Below are all of the statistics above, adjusted against the league average.

Name CL K+ BB+ K-BB+ BABIP+
Best, Eric SR 117 134 255 98
Bobinski, Brian JR 54 90 -101 76
Brown, Cole FR 0 42 -433 81
McKinney, Brett FR 101 83 57 92
Minium, Theron JR 81 108 50 113
Rucinski, Drew JR 109 122 191 92
Shin, Eric JR 92 76 0 76
Strayer, Jared JR 74 105 13 101
Wimmers, Alex JR 188 126 494 107
Wolosiansky, Dean JR 94 129 157 93

The starting pitching really started and ended with Alex Wimmers and “three other dudes that happened to be the first pitcher used by Ohio State on multiple occasions.” Okay, maybe I’m overdoing it, but the gap between the Ace and everyone else is pretty substantial.

The Starters

  • Alex Wimmers is now property of the Minnesota Twins and had a fantastic pro debut. His junior season in Columbus was stellar, but an argument could be made that it was a slight step back from his sophomore year — despite the paltry ERA he sported in 2010. Wimmers K’d 29.3% of batters faced and walked 8.5% — that gives him K+ and BB+ numbers of 188 and 126. That’s just unreal. He had a lower-than-average BABIP (just .298 versus a league average of .345) which is why my Adjusted Runs Above Average stat penalized him so much. The most astounding number for me: Wimmers allowed 58 hits and just 9 of them went for extra bases (6 doubles, 3 triples, 0 homers) for an extra base hit percentage allowed (XBH%) of just 15.5%. The league average in the Big Ten from 2007-2010 for pitchers was 26.7%.
  • One of those “other dudes” to take the baseball for starts was Dean Wolosiansky who led the team with 14 starts and 95.1 innings. Wolo struck out a bit less than league average, but accompanied that by walking less than the average rate, as well. His .369 BABIP was a bit bloated, which could reverse itself in 2011.
  • Brett McKinney started the second most games of any Buckeye, accruing 11 starts. He’s kind of the opposite of Wolo statistically: above-average strike out rates, but worse-than-average walk/HBP rates. Like Wolo, he sported a higher-than-average BABIP at .372. Because of that, McKinney’s performance was better than it appeared on the surface, but he was still a below-average pitcher over all. However, as a true sophomore in 2011, I wouldn’t worry too much about his performance. He wasn’t an abysmal pitcher, as really all you hope for is near-league average production from a freshman.
  • Drew Rusinski picked up 10 starts of his own and posted some solid numbers: 17% K, 8.9% BB. Whether he gets some more starts with the departure of Wimmers or if he gets put into a bullpen Ace-like situation, Rusinski is one of the few above-average pitchers OSU trotted out in 2010.

The Relievers

  • Senior Eric Best picked up 25 appearances (3 starts) and was very solid. 18% strikeout rate and just a 7.6% walk rate in 2010. He’ll be one of the keys in the ‘pen that OSU will have to replace.
  • Theron Minium posted league-average results due to a .299 BABIP. He was below-average in strikeouts and about 8% above-average in walks/HBP’s. Minium will be a senior in 2011, so he could see an increased role in the bullpen.
  • Jared Strayer picked up the most amount of work without starting a game on the Buckeye staff — a true relief pitcher. He threw 40 innings and faced 186 batters. He was basically a clone of Minium statistically — below-average K’s, a bit above-average BB’s and will be a senior this coming year.

Ohio State really didn’t have anyone to accompany Alex Wimmers as a dominant force — either out of the bullpen or in the rotation. In doing these write-ups, I’ve seen that you can be successful with one very good (or in this case, great) starter and a reliever that can dominate. Teams like Michigan with Tyler Burgoon and Alan Oakes, or Minnesota with Seth Rosin and Scott Matyas demonstrate that the college game — due to the spread out, and shorter schedule compared to pro baseball — allows dominant pitching to control a larger percent of the teams innings.  Granted, Michigan and Minnesota had some other contributers (Bobby Brosnahan for the Wolverines and TJ Oakes for Minnesota) were also above average.

Next up in this series will be the Penn State Nittany Lions.

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