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Hey, didn't you used to be Carlos Villanueva?


bjkrautk

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?playerId=28466

 

His numbers are way off his performance last year; he had more Quality Starts in September 2007 (4) than he has through 9 starts in 2008 (3). Right handers are hitting .390 off of him (1.137 OPS).

 

It's hard to say he was overworked last year as a whole, as he was great down the stretch, and the team was pretty good about not over-pitching CV and Parra in September (even when they were the Brewers best option on the mound).

 

Parra's inability to pitch through the 6th inning has been a disappointment thusfar, but CV is quickly turning into the new Designated Rotation Stooge. Dave Bush may be mediocre as a starter, but it's rare that the Brewers have been 'out' of a game when he pitched (he's actually only allowed more than 4 earned runs twice in 7 starts; by contrast, CV has allowed more than 4 runs 4 times in 9 starts). Is it an effect of the Brewers' tough schedule, the results of pitching too much in 2007, a mechanical flaw, or just me setting expectations too high for a young player?

 

(In reality, I could start this topic about 3-4 other guys: Hall, Parra, Weeks, etc. CV is the guy who just seems to be flying under the radar, as Parra has had innings trouble, and Bush was already removed from the rotation once.)

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A lot of people (Ennder for one) called for a regression in his stats this year. He left a TON of guys on base last year and his luck has run out in that regard.
"Dustin Pedroia doesn't have the strength or bat speed to hit major-league pitching consistently, and he has no power......He probably has a future as a backup infielder if he can stop rolling over to third base and shortstop." Keith Law, 2006
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Carlos' struggles are really the same as everybody on the team at the moment. I have no idea why the team has struggled so much other than maybe the combination of youth and a tough early schedule made them press more and they lost confidence in themselves a bit. I still have faith they can come around and become at least serviceable. I'm not as confindent that they will be as good as I thought they might earlier in their careers though.
There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.
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I'd say the Brewers put expectations too high for two young players, Villy and Parra.

 

Neither has ever pitched more than 150 innings or gone thru an entire season as a starter.

 

The losses of Yo-yo (obviously) and Cappy (yes, I said Cappy) are really hurting this team.

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This is purely subjective, but he seems to lose concentration on the mound at times. I know he likes to be a starter, and we really need him to be now, but he was very effective out of the bullpen last year in that 6-7th inning role. With a bunch of starters that can't get through the 5th or 6th, I wonder if he would be a good compliment to Torres in the pen at some point.
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As was pointed out (and ignored by many) in the numerous Capuano v. Villanueva threads...

Villanueva's peripheral statistics portrayed him as a pretty average pitcher. Last year Villanueva was very lucky. Capuano was very unlucky.
I think he has been even worst than expected - but he was always going to be a 4.50 ERA kinda guy.

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Villenueva's starts make it that much more obvious that his best role is as a long/middle reliever.

 

He doesn't have dynamic stuff, and he tends to start getting rocked the 3rd time through the order. He's great to get you 2-4 innings, and can be effective getting lefty hitters out with his changeup, but he has to be perfect with his pitches to get guys out and keep his pitch count low enough to get him further than 5 innings. As he's pitching right now, he's a bullpen killer.

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Villy was lumped together with Parra & Gallardo by many fans, imo largely due to his age. I think Carlos is in the same 'class' of pitcher as Bush/Cappy/Suppan, as many others have pointed out before me. His BBs from last season always baffled me (even as a RP), since it always appeared he was a more talented pitcher than those numbers showed. Unfortunately, it looks like the difference btw. '07 & '08 was simply luck.
Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
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Where have you gone, Claudio Vargas?

 

Villy has actually pitched pretty well in 4 of his 9 starts; 2 wins and 2 quality starts with no decisions. He does seem better suited as a middle relief guy, but I'd give him 3 more starts, in part because there's no one else to take his place. If those next 3 starts show no improvement then it's clearly time to try someone, anyone, else.

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When I watched him, I was annoyed by something he was doing, but I can't recall if he was doing it last year. He raises his left leg, then brings it straight down, THEN (rather than simultaneously) brings it forward. On some pitches it looks like the taps his left foot on the mound before moving it forward. I didn't see enough to know whether the tap was real and whether it was signalling a certain type of pitch. In any regard, it doesn't make for a very effortless appearance when he throws.
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At home he's been pretty good, 2-1, 3.56 ERA in 5 starts.

 

On the road, he's had it real rough, but a couple of those games were in bandboxes in Houston and Boston against power laden lineups. It doesn't help when certain guys can't catch perfect throws from short to start innings.

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If you have below average stuff for the big-league level you better have excellent command. He doesn't. He walks too many because he knows he has to be fine...then when they get on he has to bring strikes...and he simply can't live in the zone. It's strange that we have 3 starters out of 5 that can't break a pane of glass yet they have command issues. That is a horrible combination. At least Parra can hit 90 before he starts walking people.
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At home he's been pretty good, 2-1, 3.56 ERA in 5 starts.

 

On the road, he's had it real rough, but a couple of those games were in bandboxes in Houston and Boston against power laden lineups. It doesn't help when certain guys can't catch perfect throws from short to start innings.

Those are all good points. Even though Brewer defense has been better this year, I still think they do little to help guys like Villy, Suppan, and Bush. It seems there have been several examples by other teams this year, where a player made a fantastic defensive play that effectively killed a rally attempt by the Brewers. You just don't see Brewer OF'ers crashing over the wall or diving and sliding, or making over the shoulder catches.

 

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You just don't see Brewer OF'ers crashing over the wall or diving and sliding, or making over the shoulder catches.

 

I disagree with the this. I can think of one instance off the top of my head where Hart kept a ball in the yard and prevented a game changing homerun. The infield defnese has been the real problem.

There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.
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Agreed with Buc. Cameron is a fantastic defender, Braun has made a few diving and/or running catches already, and Hart has turned into a good defensive OF (imho). I think the OF is our defensive strong-suit.
Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
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My take:

 

Outfield defense = average (with Braun learning as he's going)

Infield defese = TERRIBLE.

 

As for Villy, he was hyped up so much that he never had a chance to reach people's expectations. When people are talking about your poise like it's your greatest attribute, you are porbably in trouble.

 

Villy's probably not the sub 4 ERA pitcher he was last year nor the 6+ ERA pitcher he's been so far. His HR rate is bloated right now, so he's bound to improve. He's valuable but nothing special.

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If you have below average stuff for the big-league level you better have excellent command. He doesn't. He walks too many because he knows he has to be fine...then when they get on he has to bring strikes...and he simply can't live in the zone.

I really noticed this yesterday. Villy has fantastic off-speed and breaking stuff, but his fast ball, at least yesterday, is pretty bad. It's slow and has no movement. I was nervous whenever he threw it, as it looked like a batting practice fastball. And as you, said, if he's not throwing strikes consistently with his other stuff, he's in trouble when he has to bring the straight pitch.

To his credit, I was impressed with how he pitched after he loaded the bases with no outs yesterday. He kept Crisp off balance and was able to strike him out after a long battle, not giving in by just serving up a fastball. He did the same to Lugo (was it Lugo?), but Lugo laid off a couple nice breakers and eventually walked. The hit to score two runs was extremely lucky - the batter flailed at a "pitcher's" pitch and dinked it to right.

 

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My take:

 

Outfield defense = average (with Braun learning as he's going)

Infield defese = TERRIBLE.

This is the way I feel. I remember Hart's excellent catch and I agree Cameron is an excellent outfielder. Braun will be fine in LF. Basically I think defense is essential but somewhat overrated. The teams seems to have been built on the notion the offense will score 5+ runs a game and the pitching and defense will be good enough to win the majority of games. With the offense struggles this year, the poor defense and lack of dominant starting pitchers really stands out.
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My take:

 

Outfield defense = average (with Braun learning as he's going)

Infield defese = TERRIBLE.

This is the way I feel. I remember Hart's excellent catch and I agree Cameron is an excellent outfielder. Braun will be fine in LF. Basically I think defense is essential but somewhat overrated. The teams seems to have been built on the notion the offense will score 5+ runs a game and the pitching and defense will be good enough to win the majority of games. With the offense struggles this year, the poor defense and lack of dominant starting pitchers really stands out.

 

If it's essential, not sure how it can be overrated. Anyhow, the Brewers are above average in turning the double play. Plus HArdy is a very steady SS at making routine and slighly diffiuclt plays. Those are the only things keeping the infield defense from being horrible. Also, Kendall's shocking performance at throwing runners out has to be considered. Bottom line, defense is far from the top reason Villy (or any other pitcher) has struggled.
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OK, maybe I should have written "important" instead of essential. (Sheesh!) Anyway, I feel defense is "important" but good offense and pitching are more important. And yes, part of what makes good pitching is often good defense; especially for pitchers who don't have overpowering stuff.
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I know it's stating the obvious, but the home runs are killing Villanueva. He allowed 16 last year in 114 innings and this year he's allowed 12 in 49 innings. That and just all the hits he's allowed, 64 hits in 49 innings while in his first two years he was under a hit per inning. There might be some bad luck this year with more singles finding holes, but given all the homers he's allowed, odds are bad command is the by far biggest culprit. Villanueva doesn't throw hard, like Dave Bush, when either guy leaves 88mph fastballs and hanging curves over the middle of the plate, bad things likely will follow. In only 90 innings, the two combined have served up 20 home runs, that's flat out ugly.
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Villanueva doesn't throw hard, like Dave Bush, when either guy leaves 88mph fastballs and hanging curves over the middle of the plate, bad things likely will follow.

To be fair anytime a pitchers throws a hanging curve it gets crushed the majority of the time. Beckett did that to Hardy and the ball was gone and I believe Braun also had a hanger that he hit for a home run. Also when a power pitcher leaves a fastball over the middle of the plate the majority of the time they are not going to over power the hitter. So bad things are likely to follow no matter if you are throwing in the upper 90's or in the mid to upper 80's.

 

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