Astros News

Wesley Wright Has Not Been Good and Other Obvious Things

By Editorial Staff

Have we seen enough of Wesley Wright to know what to expect from his talents? The 26-year old lefthander has pitched 133 innings in the majors over the past three seasons. In that time he’s compiled a 5.33 ERA. I’m imagining the Christmas episode of The Office where Michael Scott, after the unveiling of the Party Planning Committee’s tree simply, but rudely, states “Not…great.” And it’s hard to find a silver lining as Wright’s FIP of 5.13 over that same span indicates his ERA is on the correct side of 5 in regards to his on-field performance. Does this mean he doesn’t deserve a spot in Houston’s bullpen? Not necessarily; Although his 1.55 WHIP and 1.85 K:BB ratio would disagree.

The answer to the question that begins this post is yes. We do know what to expect from Wesley Wright. Wright is a decent lefty who’s below average against right-handed batters. Compare his major league career opponent averages:

vs RHB: .264/.361/.512, 21 HRs, .279 BABiP
vs LHB: .258/.350/.384, 2 HRs, .359 BABiP

This is the difference between Pat Burrell and an absurdly lucky Cesar Izturis. The OBP is still high against lefties due to Wright’s 4.9 BB/9 but the BABiP makes his opponent’s average much higher than it should be. Wright has been unlucky when left-handed hitters get the bat on the ball which isn’t all that often; he strikes out a batter per inning.

Wright’s major league numbers are certainly no aberration as his career minor league ERA of 3.82, 5 BB/9, and 9.3 K/9 show. So, in a limited role facing only left-handed batters, Wright has a niche. The problem is management’s inability to realize this and use him accordingly. Compare his major league career batters faced:

vs RHB: 326 ABs
vs LHB: 190 ABs

2010 showed a new low in the use of the lefty as the Astros let Wright start 4 ballgames. In those 4 starts, his ERA was 6.63; a large reason why his ERA rose for the third straight season. Wright’s career seasonal ERAs are, in order, 5.01, 5.44, and 5.73. So now the question becomes, if we have a decent lefty who is completely ineffective against right-handed hitters, is that worth a spot on the 25 man roster? Simply, no, it’s not. Which raises a harder question to answer; why did the Astros non-tender Tim Byrdak? Byrdak had a 3.53 total ERA over the past three seasons and during that span also allowed lefties to hit a measly .202/.296/.380. The team is still under-budget and they’ve signed a number of guys less-likely to help so I don’t buy money as an excuse. Maybe it’s age but if decisions are being made solely on birth year, I now have the most convincing reason the Houston Astros need new management. Wesley, oh, Wesley.