All Things Baseball

Free Agent Profile: Jason Schmidt

Jason Schmidt

After profiling three of this offseason’s big-bats, this is my first profile of a pitcher. That honor goes to former Giants’ ace Jason Schmidt, a veteran who can get it done when his team needs a quality outing, and one of the premier pitchers on the market. Whether he goes to a contender or a pretender, an AL team or an NL team, a team with a terrific starting staff or a lowly rotation, Schmidt will have a terrific influence on the club he joins for 2007 and beyond.

Here’s a look at Jason Schmidt’s statistics from 2006…

  • Record: 11-9
  • ERA: 3.59
  • WHIP: 1.26
  • BA Against: .238
  • Games: 32 (32 starts)
  • Innings Pitched: 213.1
  • Hits: 189
  • Runs: 94 (85 Earned)
  • Walks: 80
  • Strikeouts: 180
  • Homeruns Allowed: 21

As you can see, Schmidtty’s (as he was called in SF) base statistics are very solid, worthy of being an ace, or at the very least a #2 starter on any rotation in baseball. There’s more evidence of Schmidt’s value if you take a look at his “situational” statistics, which are below.

  • Bases Empty — Opponents BA: .251
  • Runners On — Opponents BA: .218
  • RISP — Opponents BA: .197 — terrific
  • RISP w/2 outs — Opponents BA: .165

In other words, Schimdt does an excellent job when there’s a runner on, holding to less than 2 hits per 10 at-bats in those situations (combined). The .251 BA with nobody on is acceptable, because that means that just 1 of 4 batters hitting with nobody on gets on base — a very solid ratio because that means 3 of those 4 are returning to the dugout shaking their heads. Need more evidence of the quality Schmidt brings to the mound? Here are his “split” stats.

  • Vs. Left-handed hitters: .262BAA
  • Vs. Right-handed hitters: .215BAA
  • At home — (ERA/WHIP/BAA): 3.45/1.23/.228
  • Away — 3.75/1.30/.249

There are two potential concerns about Schmidt, and both of those come from his statistics later into outings and in the latter half/third of the season. Take a look at Schmidt’s pitch-by-pitch numbers…

  • Pitches 1-15: 6.12/1.32/.280 — slow starter, aren’t we all?
  • Pitch 16-30: 2.67/0.89/.154 — great job of settling-in
  • Pitch 31-45: 2.10/1.03/.181 — is he in a groove, or what?
  • Pitch 46-60: 3.90/1.27/.208 — a little slow-down
  • Pitch 61-75: 3.38/1.34/.280 — clearly starting to get tired
  • Pitch 76-90: 3.03/1.52/.300 — that WHIP and BAA are huge for Schmidt
  • Pitch 91-105: 5.16/1.46/.241 — a little shellacking going on now

I won’t go any farther than pitch number 105, because most starters don’t get past that mark. Here’s the problem: notice how Schmidt’s ERA starts rising after pitch #45 and how his WHIP creeps up toward 1.50 and beyond soon after that. His BAA gets to .300 in the 76-90 range which is of huge concern. That 5.16ERA in pitches 91-105 is reflective of the .300 BAA in the earlier 15. In other words, after the 4th inning, Schmidt starts to get a little shaky. By the 6th inning, he’s usually in a lot of trouble and it’s time to take him out of the game. That’s a concern, especially for teams looking for Schmidt to become their ace and also for clubs with unspectacular bullpens.

Now take a look at Schmidt’s pre- and post-All Star Break statistics…

  • Pre ASB: 2.78/1.11/.216 — spectacular May and June led to those numbers
  • Post ASB: 4.76/1.48/.267 — clearly getting worn out

If you knew that Schmidt’s monthly ERA never went below 4.00 after the All-Star Break, I think you’d be a little concerned as well. If your best starting pitcher is tired and tanking as the season enters its home stretch and your club is in the midst of a hotly-contested playoff race, wouldn’t you be concerned?

Here’s a mini-scouting report on Schmidt:

  • Fastball: 91-95 with movement — very effective pitch/strikeout pitch
  • Change-up: 70’s — extremely effective as a complement to fastball
  • Curve/Slurve: 70’s-80’s — used sparingly but can be a solid pitch

He has one of the best change-ups in baseball (not as great as Johan Santana’s, of course, but still terrific) and Schmidt uses the slow-ball as a perfect complement to his heater. There’s no problem with Schmidt’s “stuff”, as long as he trusts it every time he hits the mound, which was an issue in some starts, when his curveball ran wild and his fastball stayed high. It’s not much to worry about however, especially compared to the durability concerns.

Clearly, the biggest issue with Schmidt is his durability. The 33-year-old is a veteran competitor, so his heart and determination to win need not be questioned. His “stuff” is also terrific, as I’ve already said. That leaves the quandary of Schmidt’s decline in the latter half of the season, and how to resolve it. Perhaps the smartest thing to do would be to limit Schmidt to a certain number of innings in the first half of the year; of course that requires a top-notch relief corps, something that fewer than half of the MLB’s teams can boast. There may be no solution to this problem, which also might not be a problem at all, because Schmidt hasn’t shown similar 2nd-half downfalls in the past. It may be much ado about nothing, but that nothing is a whole lot of something when you’re talking about your ace, who’s raking in 10+ million a season.

Where will Jason Schmidt be pitching in 2007

I’m almost certain that the San Francisco Giants will not bring Schmidt back, because GM Brian Sabean seems to think that Schmidtty is past the peak of his career. That said, the veteran righthander will be highly valued this offseason, because the 2006 free agent class is far from rich in starting pitching. Schmidt, at worst, is in the top-4 of this year’s free agents, and at best, he’s on top of everyone else. That makes him ultra-valuable, and will have his agent’s cell phone ringing nonstop. Teams that will show interest in Schmidt include the Seattle Mariners, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, and Texas Rangers (among others). Those 4 are likely the favorites to land Schmidt’s services for next season, though other teams, such as the White Sox, may have an outside shot at signing him.

My prediction: Schmidt will be a Mariner in 2007, and he’ll sign a 4-year deal in the neighborhood of 40-45 million.

I think Schmidtty will go 14-10 with a 3.60ERA and 180-190 strikeouts in 2007, while recording a WHIP around 1.25.

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Tomorrow’s Profile: Alfonso Soriano


Trivia Time!

Yesterday’s question (see — Free Agent Profile: Frank Thomas) was…

Who gave Frank Thomas the nickname “Big Hurt”?

The correct answer…

Frank Thomas was dubbed the “Big Hurt” by announcer Ken “Hawk” Harrelson in the early-1990’s.

Today’s question is…

Which team drafted Jason Schmidt in the 1991 Amateur Draft?


One Response to “Free Agent Profile: Jason Schmidt”

  1. Fantastic post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic?
    I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more.
    Appreciate it!

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