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Soft tossing lefties

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Hi everybody. My name is Joe and I'm a Giants fan. I write for a blog called Giants Cove

Remember us? We have the nice ball park on the water. We were in the world series a couple years ago. We have Barry Bonds, or at least what's left of him.

Without Bonds we had a rough season. The fact that Mike Matheny was arguably our best hitter this season speaks to our 75-87 record.

There was one bright spot for the Giants this season.

Well actually there were two. The first is that Edgardo Alfonzo got hurt so we only had to watch him come to the plate 402 times rather than 600. Of course, it wasn't any easier to watch his replacement, Pedro Feliz, bat 615 times.

Getting back to bright spot. 24 year old lefthander Noah Lowry was great for us this season. Lowry lives with his changeup which he fearlessly throws in any count. That led to Tom Glavine-comparisons from every media member so I decided to see the extent to which this is true.

For reference; ERA+ is the baseball-reference stat, SO Rate and BB rate are Baseball Prospectus translations

How can I put this delicately. Glavine was brutally bad his first two years. He is one of the more remarkable pitchers in baseball history as he has 275 wins and an ERA under 4 while averaging 5.35 strikeouts per game in an era when multiple hitters top the 150 mark in strikeouts.

I wonder if Tom will thank the 1990's strike zone in his hall of fame speech?

Glavine really started to "get it" when he turned 25. In 1991 the lefty threw a career high 246 innings with an adjusted strikeout rate of 8 game, the highest of his career. Glavine also lowered his adjusted walk rate to 2 per game. 1991 (although 1998 was arguably just as good) will turn out to be the best season of Glavine's career barring Roger Clemens inhabiting his body next season.

One part of Glavine's game that is underrated was his ability to keep the ball in the park. That's why he was able to remain valuable despite not great BB and SO rates. Glavine habitually underperformed his ERA according to advanced metrics. Over the course of his career Glavine got a lot of help from good defenses, but no doubt was a great pitcher.

I didn't include Lowry's first stint with the Giants in 2003 when he pitched 6 1/3 innings. Lowry has been better than Glavine at the same age. Glavine threw more innings at the same age, but that's because he was the Braves best option back in their dark days of the late 1980s. Not because he was ready.

My only worry for Lowry is that he not be overworked. I'd like to see him stay in the 200 inning range next season. The question is how high is his ceiling? I'm always skeptical of pitchers who perform well without grade A fastballs.

Not to sound like an oldschool baseball scout, but there just aren't that many pitchers who maintain a good strikeout rate without more than one plus pitch unless its the fastball.

I would like to see him work on a two-seam fastball and add that to his repertoire. I think it would be a great combination to have with the change-up.

I just wanted to include him to show that at the same age you possibly could've argued that Rueter had the chance at a Glavine-like career. That's just by comparing the SO and BB rate, not other factors. Rueter posted ERA+ of 107 and 120 in his first two years as a full time starter before completely falling off in 1998 and 1999.

If anything, Glavine should teach you to wait a while before you give up on a young pitcher. Good thing the Giants didn't trade Jerome Williams.