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Community Projection Review: Zach Duke

Here's a review of our projections for Zach Duke.

Community 191 IP, 127 K, 49 BB, 3.53 ERA
ZiPS 181 IP, 117 K, 42 BB, 3.73 ERA
Actual 215.1 IP, 117 K, 68 BB, 4.47 ERA

Among individual guessers, CPfromNJ was the closest, predicting a 4.10 ERA with 120 strikeouts and 65 walks. He did think Duke would do all that in 55 fewer innings than he actually pitched, but he was the only one who was close on the ERA. Psk984 got the innings pitched, strikeouts and walks basically right but missed on the ERA.

The season Duke had wasn't the one we hoped for. What we projected was realistic - it was only slightly more optimistic than ZiPS. What neither ZiPS nor the community knew was that Duke would begin the year with problems with his delivery, or problems with pitching coach Jim Colborn, or both, and that he'd stumble out of the gate as a result.

Well, maybe "stumble" isn't the right word. In April and May, Duke had ERAs of 4.50 and 4.10, respectively - not bad at all for most starters, but a far cry from the 1.81 ERA he put up in a half season in 2005. In June and July 2006, though, he was horrible, putting up 6.29 and 6.39 ERAs, with unpalatable peripherals to boot.

In August and September, Duke still wasn't striking anyone out, but he trimmed his walks considerably and put up monthly ERAs of 4.08 and 2.30. Duke also did a better job keeping the ball on the ground as the year went on. Because we know all that and ZiPS doesn't, our projections for 2007 will probably again be slightly more optimistic than ZiPS. Duke's year may have been disappointing overall, but there's still a lot to like here.