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Thinking about Chuck James

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Thinking About Chuck James

Back in October 2005, I mentioned that Chuck James of the Braves was my favorite pitching prospect. I gave him a B+ in the 2006 book, and so far at least he's done very well in the majors, even though he doesn't have a blazing fastball and he's a strong fly ball pitcher.

Will this continue?

PECOTA isn't optimistic, diagnosing him with a 59% collapse rate for 2007 and just a 21% chance of further breakout or improvement. His comps are scattered, including guys like Dan Schatzader, Jarrod Washburn, and Sterling Hitchcock at the top, but with Luis Tiant and Juan Marichal, of all people, peeking in the middle ranks. Ron Shandler at Baseball Forecaster is a bit more optimistic than PECOTA, but still foresees slippage in James' number this year. The Bill James Handbook is most optimistic of all.

2006 Numbers: 3.78 ERA, 125 innings, 105 hits, 96/50 K/BB.
PECOTA weighted mean forecast: 4.63 ERA, 152 innings, 151 hits, 121/56 K/BB.
Baseball Forecaster Forecast: 4.06 ERA, 160 innings, 125 strikeouts
Bill James Forecast: 3.53 ERA, 186 innings, 163 hits, 164/61 K/BB

What do I think?

Well, I'm biased in his favor so I think he'll do something similar to what he did last year, say ERA around 3.80 or so, with some slight improvement in his component ratios, such as a somewhat lower walk rate. I'll shoot for 3.85 ERA, 180 innings, 125/60 K/BB.

What do YOU guys think about Chuck James? Is he a future Jamie Moyer, long-term successful finesse lefty? Or will he fade quickly?