Sunday, May 14, 2006

When the Heck Did You Sneak Back In?

Missed today's game, for which I had tickets, because 1) mom takes priority over baseball and 2) today was a rare double-feature, with Mother's Day falling on my brother's birthday.

So I've been busy. I didn't blog about yesterday's win--the A's managing to make Jaret Wright look like a decent pitcher--or Friday's gem of a game by Chien Ming Wang. I didn't even get to see today's matchup, yet another bad loss for Randy Johnson. But when I looked at the box score at the end of the day, I saw a presence that I thought banished from the Major Leagues.

Yes, Scott Erickson "contributed" to the A's Mother's Day 7-1 win, which took the brooms out of the hands of the Yankee Stadium faithful. Erickson pitched an inning and two thirds in the game, didn't allow a hit but was charged with a run after turning the game over to Ron Villone with two on and two out in the eighth.

How the heck did Scott Erickson get on the roster? I remembered that he'd gotten an NRI to Spring Training, but had the impression that he'd sucked. What gave me that impression? Only the fact that Scott Erickson has sucked for many, many, years.

Here's some stats on Erickson, starting as of his age 30 season:

Year Team(s) IP ERA ERA+ WARP
1999 BAL 230.3 4.81 100 5.0
2000 BAL 92.7 7.87 60 -0.3
2002 BAL 160.7 5.55 79 1.0
2004 NYM/TEX 27.0 6.67 72 0.0
2005 LAD 55.3 6.02 67 0.3

Now, he lost 2001 and 2003 to injury. Still, what part of this record makes anyone think this guy can hold down a major league job? In addition to the 55 plus bad innings Erickson put in with the Dodgers last year, he pitched another 40 innings in the Pacific Coast League--with an ERA of 7.20.

What'd Erickson do to merit a call-up this time? Well, first of all, Tanyon Sturtze went on the DL with a sudden case of shoulder tendonitis. You'll pardon a little cynicism, but over the course of the past six weeks, nobody mentioned Sturtze being injured. He just sucked. So it might be a case where he's suffering from "he sucks" and he's willing to go on the DL rather than getting released.

Back to Erickson. Looking at the pitchers at AAA Columbus, let's play a little game called "Player A, Player B":

Player A 23.3 14 2 2 11 30 0.77
Player B 20.3 20 7 6 3 21 2.66
Player C 17.0 11 10 8 11 11 4.24

The player who gets called up to replace Sturtze is (no surprise here) Player C. Player B is Mark Corey, a former major leaguer who's the Clippers' closer. Player A, of course, is the perennially-disrespected reliever, Colter Bean. Just based on their performance in the minors, both Players A and B should get a call-up well before the ballclub gives Player C a shot.

But obviously, the Yankees organization doesn't want anyone to think that it's a meritocracy. What on earth they think Erickson can do, that Bean can't, I have no idea. Bean's on the 40 man roster, he's pitching well--if he doesn't get the call in this situation, then when will the call come?

Back tomorrow with the Week in Review.

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