Rotation Run-down: Ryan Dempster

ryan dempster

The rotation run-down continues with Ryan Dempster.

After strong starts to the season from Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, right-hander Ryan Dempster will look to continue the trend of quality outings.  Dempster signed with the Sox back in December and made his debut against the Yankees.  The start didn’t exactly go as planned (4 BB, 101 pitches, 5 IP). But he did manage to strike out eight.  He looked better last night limiting damage despite two errors.  In his first tour in the AL Dempster rode the struggle bus from start to start.  His ERA was no exception to the saying everything is bigger in Texas.  It shot up from 2.25 to a 5.09–he got shelled so bad it looked like the Alamo.

From this torching in Texas many questions arose: Was Dempster just out of gas, his career going downhill? Was he too accustomed to the NL?  The Red Sox believe that the answer to the first question is no, after signing him for two years at 26 million.  But the latter question appeared to be a yes.  Before donning a Ranger uniform, Dempster’s ERA hadn’t climbed above 4.80 since 2003.  But the heavy hitting AL changed that and now it’s up to Dempster to adapt.  After a two solid starts it appears that he has.

Dempster has matched his career averages so far, but one number jumps out.  His strike out per nine ratio (K/9) is an astronomical 13.5.  If you’ve seen any of his starts the high k rate jumps out at you since Dempster hasn’t lasted more than five innings in either start.  While the strike outs are a welcome sight, the high walk rate is like seeing Josh Beckett on the mound last year, fat.

The homers Dempster has let up also may jump out, but the stats suggest some bad luck. Dempster’s high ground ball percentage (GB %), 52%, and his low fly ball percentage (FB %), 34.8%, would suggest he is actually keeping the ball in the park.  Except for his freaky 25% home run to fly ball percentage (HR/FB) begs to differ.  That crooked number should even out and Dempster should find himself back to the 10-11% HR/FB he is used to.

Look for a Redempster season from the man Cubs nation likes to call The Dumpster. But as the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.

(Thanks to fangraphs.com for the stats)

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