What Exactly Has Colon Been?

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

This past off-season was seen a failure in the eyes of many.  Not only did Andy Pettitte retire, but the Yankees did not sign the coveted Cliff Lee.  Instead, they had to go out and sign veterans Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon to somewhat solidify the starting rotation.  I was expecting Garcia to be half-way decent since he was somewhat successful last season with the White Sox, but Colon has been a huge surprise.

Remember, Colon started out the season in the bullpen so they could keep his arm healthy for the as long as possible.  He was very good in the few stints that he pitched and then when Phil Hughes hit the shelf because of his dead arm, he stuck in the rotation and has been the second best pitcher on the staff.  But can you make the argument that he has been as good as Lee?

First, let’s take a look at Cliff.  So far in 2011 for the Phillies, he has pitched to a 2.74 FIP and has struck out 8.91 per nine innings and has walked 1.88 per nine.  He has been basically as good as advertised because not only have his peripherals been good, but so have his outputs.  He has especially turned it up in June pitching to a 0.21 ERA, but has only okay in other months.  You could make the argument also that his stats would be a little worse if he were in the American League East.

Colon has also been very good striking out more than eight per nine and less than two per nine.  Sure he was on the disabled list for a couple of weeks, but we were expecting him to get hurt at some point and while healthy, Bart has pitched to a 2.96 xFIP.  Not only this, but he has also works very economically and goes deep in to games.

Sure they might be different types of pitchers, Lee uses all of his pitches and can throw any pitch in any count while Colon works off his fastball, but they do have a lot of things in common.  They have high strikeout rates, low walks rates, and can eat up innings. They both seem to give the bullpen a rest when they pitch, at least most of the pen anyway.  So even though we missed out on Lee, Colon has been almost as good, or maybe just as good as Cliff would have been.

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