Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Examining Jeff Suppan

All of the discussion about the Brewers 2008 starting rotation has surrounded Ben Sheets’ health and free-agent status, the youth of Yovanni Gallardo and Carlos Villanueva, the battle for the final spot between David Bush, Chris Capuano, Claudio Vargas, and Manny Parra, and which of that last group might get traded. But because of all of those discussions, the forgotten man in the shuffle other than a mention that he will be there, might be the most valuable of the bunch, Jeff Suppan.

Suppan enters the second year of a 4-year, $42M contract making him the third highest paid Brewer behind Ben Sheets and Eric Gagne. The by end of his contract, undoubtedly several of the Brewers’ young stars will pass him by on the salary scale and if he maintains his consistent performance will be an absolute bargain.

Suppan led the Brewers with 33 games started and 203 IP last year. He also tied Ben Sheets and David Bush with 12 wins. Since 1999, only Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Livan Hernandez have started more Major League games.

In each of the last three seasons, Suppan has finished strong – further testament to his durability.

Year 1st Half 2nd Half
2005 4.21 2.78
2006 5.83 2.39
2007 5.00 4.12

In the major stops in Suppan’s career, he has been slightly more successful than the teams he has been on:

Team Suppan

W L Pct W L Pct
1995 to 1997 Bos 249 219 .532 9 6 .600
1999 to 2002 KC 268 379 .414 39 51 .433
2004 to 2006 StL 288 197 .594 44 26 .629

With an improved defense in 2008 it would not be a stretch for Suppan to win 16 games, as he did twice with the Cardinals in 2004 and 2005. If that happens, there will be baseball in Milwaukee in October.

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