We are going to do a little blind exercise about the performance of two Nats pitchers. Lets look at some 2010 2nd-half stats, as well as some Spring Training stats, and then decide which pitcher you would rather have.
Pitcher 1 - 24 years-old
2nd-half 2010 - 17 games. 21.0 IP. 28 K. 11 BB. 2.57 ERA. 1.24 WHIP. .203 AVG Against. 12.0 K/9.
Spring Training - 11.1 IP. 11 K. 2 BB. 7 H. 3 R. 2 ER. 1.59 ERA.
Pitcher 2 - 23 years-old
2nd-half 2010 - 30 games. 29.2 IP. 32 K. 11 BB. 4.55 ERA. 1.32 WHIP. .252 AVG Against. 9.7 K/9.
Spring Training - 11.1 IP. 11 K. 2 BB. 24 H. 24 R. 16 ER. 11.12 ERA.
One of these players is on the Nats Opening Day Roster, and one is not. If you guessed Pitcher 2 was the player traveling north, you would be correct.
By now you have probably figured out that Pitcher 1 is Collin Balester and Pitcher 2 is Drew Storen.
I am not saying that Drew Storen doesn't deserve to be there with the big club, I am simply pointing out that it seems as though the decision for Storen is an emotional one as opposed to a statistical choice.
When I started researching this topic, I found several things that kind of surprised me. First, there is only a 1 year age difference between the pitchers, despite Balester being drafted in 2004 and Storen being drafted in 2009. Second, I didn't expect to see the huge difference in 2010 stats; I mean there is some huge differences there. Third, as relievers, Balester's ERA is a full point lower than Storen's; though with an admittedly small sample size for Balester.
I am well aware that the reasoning for sending Balester down to AAA is that it was purely based on the fact that he had an option. Where I find issue is that, Drew Storen still has several options remaining and its a lot easier to figure out potential issues in AAA as opposed to the Braves and Phillies.
So, I'll leave it to you. Would you rather have Storen with his potential? or Balester and his results?