Worrell degenerating earlier than expected
The 37-year-old setup man has been given a number of low-pressure situations, such as last night, to right the ship, but he appears to be sailing way off course. Is it a fluke, or a sign of the inevitable?
Leading analysts, such as Baseball Prospectus, didn’t target 2005 as a year of sharp collapse for the veteran right-hander. They did, however, target next season as Worrell’s decline year, going from a projected 12.9 VORP in 2005 to a 3.3 VORP in 2006. It certainly appears that his degeneration is ahead of schedule. (*see below for an explanation of VORP)
Using PECOTA, a system that compares players to similar players over the history of baseball to draw conclusions about their future performance, Prospectus generated a 2005 projection for Worrell of around 61 innings and a 3.69 ERA.
In nine innings, Worrell has been far from reliable, allowing 17 hits for an 8.00 ERA, earning a little better defense-independent ERA of around 7.22.
The most amazing part of all this is how eerily similar his season has been to another struggling reliever, 40-year-old Steve Reed in Baltimore. Reed ranks number one on Worrell’s list of most comparable pitchers, and like Worrell, he wasn’t expected to have rapid decline until next season. (12.7 2005 VORP, and a 6.2 2006 VORP)
Here are their general stats side-by-side. It’s almost like the two got together and decided to pack it in.
2004 Steve Reed: 65 G, 3.68 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, .281 BAA
2004 Tim Worrell: 77 G, 3.68 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, .254 BAA
2005 Steve Reed: 9 G, 8.68 ERA, 2.04 WHIP, .341 BAA
2005 Tim Worrell: 9 G, 8.10 ERA, 2.10 WHIP, .404 BAA
Any way you crunch his future projections, the present Phillies cannot go forward with a setup man that’s allowing opponents to bat .404 against him.
VORP: Value Over Replacement Player. The number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same percentage of team plate appearances. VORP scores do not consider the quality of a player's defense.