Just about a month ago, I finally got around to writing an article I had been sitting on for almost a year: the 2000-2009 Anti-All Star Team. That team was limited to only position players, and full time starters at that. This was done because it was a lot easier than composing an entire team and it felt unfair to pick on terrible utility men and part-timers (as much as Andy Gonzalez does deserve it). There turned out to be interest in the comments for a continuation of this, extending to the fine gentlemen who toed the rubber for our beloved Chicago White Sox over that same stretch of time.
This proved to be a little more difficult, as it is much harder to set parameters. It wouldn't be fair to make a pitching staff out of a quintet of fifth starters and a handful of middle relief scrubs. Because of this, I decided to completely eliminate the middle relief category. Just like my exclusion of the utility men, I expect this to be met with some unhappiness as people want to take part in the dismantling of crappy pitchers like Scott Linebrink and Ryan Bukvich. It's just way too hard to go through and pick one horrible middle reliever from the past decade to represent them all. As for how I divided up starters, I chose to simply go with the methodology that they use over at B-R. It seems to simply go by innings pitched. I know this is a gross simplification, but it felt better than any other method I tried thinking up. Trades and rotation shuffling make the other methods far too impractical. This allowed me to sort through the top five pitchers for each team over the ten years and categorize them accordingly. Clicking the players' name will send you to a B-R link of their stats for that season. The six poor souls who pitched unfortunately to make the team are featured after the jump.
Starter #1- 2006 Freddy Garcia: Freddy Garcia lands here mostly because every other number one pitcher for the decade put up at worst a solidly above average season. His 2006 season barely registers as above average, as evidenced by his unimpressive 105 ERA+. He allowed 32 homeruns, which played a large part in his 4.53 ERA and 4.58 FIP. Despite these mediocre numbers, Freddy still won 17 games. Pitching for the team that ranks third in the American League in runs will do that for you. His bWAR of 3.4 shows that he was better than a replacement player, but no other pitcher in the starter #1 category had that low of a WAR value. I'm not saying he was terrible, but out of the ten pitchers in this column he had the worst season.
Starter #2- 2002 Dan Wright: Dan Wright was responsible for the second most innings pitched in one of the worst rotations the White Sox trotted out in recent memory. It really doesn't matter what stat you choose to look at, other than wins and losses they all look fairly bad. SO/BB of 1.92, 32 homeruns allowed in just under 200 innings pitched, a 5.18 ERA with an FIP of 4.87, and worst of all -0.3 WAR despite all those innings pitched. As one would expect, there was very little competition in the second slot for numbers these bad. Rocky Biddle's atrocious 2001 deserves being mentioned though. Wright would only go on to pitch another 104 innings in the majors after 2002. This sadly marked the high point of his career.
Starter #3- 2003 David Wells: While trading for David Wells barely cost anything in terms of talent (mostly thanks to Mike Sirotka being injured at the time of the trade), Boomer came nowhere even close to earning his $9,250,000 salary. His high salary, back issues, terrible demeanor, and poor results landed him on the list ahead of candidates like 2002 Jon Garland and 2004 Esteban Loaiza. Wells was slightly above average for his 100.2 innings, managing an ERA+ of 104. He gave up almost as many earned runs (55) as strikeouts (59). Wells was brought in to be a workhorse at the top of the rotation and to help mentor a young Mark Buehrle. And while he succeeded in helping Buehrle become the pitcher he is today, Wells failed at his primary goal. Combine that with the fact that he attacked Frank Thomas for not being tough enough a weak before the Big Hurt was lost for the season with a torn triceps, and the fat man was not long for the South Side.
Starter #4- 2002 Gary Glover: Gary Glover gets the nod here over honorable mention 2009 Jose Contreras because of Contreras' Herculean attempt to recover so quickly from a torn Achilles Tendon. Glover pitched out of the bullpen and as a starter in 2002. Man, Jerry Manuel seemed to really like doing that. Gary had a horrendous 1.359 WHIP in his 138.1 innings, with a SO/BB of 1.35 and somehow allowing 21 homeruns. These all helped contribute to his 87 ERA+ and 5.20 ERA and FIP. And this was all despite hitters only managing a .264 BABIP against him. Glover would be shipped out to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim the next season as part of a package for fellow mediocre pitcher Scott Schoeneweis. And you might remember Gary Glover better for being the unlucky guy on the other end of this.
Starter #5- 2002 Todd Ritchie: The man everyone knew would be on here, Todd Ritchie was my introduction to crappy trades. Kip Wells and Josh Fogg would both go on to become cheap innings eaters. Meanwhile the White Sox would get to enjoy one terrible season of Todd Ritchie. He pitched a miserable 133.2 innings, allowing 18 homeruns which helped lead to an ERA of 6.06. His ERA+ was a staggering 75 and he managed a pathetically bad SO/BB of 1.48. He gave up 176 hits. His BABIP was over .350, but I don't care. That is just terrible. It's 11.9 H/9! Thankfully he became a free agent that winter and would disappear after hurling 36.1 innings over the next two seasons.
2009 Bobby Jenks: Does it feel weird seeing Bobby Jenks' name appear on the roster? It felt weird typing it, but the truth is the White Sox have had some really good main closers over the past decade. Keith Foulke held it down for awhile, before giving way to an effective carousel that ultimately led to Bobby Jenks. 2009 was a bit of a down year for Bobby. His H/9 and BB/9 were starting to trend upwards along with the positive improvement in his K/9. All of this combined with allowing a career high 9 homeruns over only 53.1 innings resulted in his ERA jumping up to 3.71with a 4.47 FIP. This seemed to be the beginning of the end, as he was no longer worth what his salary would surely reach in arbitration.
Closer ammended- 2003 Billy Koch: Due to a glaring oversight on my part, Billy Koch somehow slipped through the cracks. The unbalanced goatman was brought over from Oakland along with future 2005 hero Neal Cotts in a trade that cost the White Sox Keith Foulke and a handful of crap. Without the tremendous aid of pitching in (the at the time named) Network Associates Coliseum and in the heavy San Francisco Bay air, the fireballer quickly fell off the metaphorical cliff. Koch threw 40.2 less innings than his previous season, allowed three more homeruns, and saw an increase in BB/9 and a decrease in K/9. He posted a career low ERA+ of 81 and was worth a whopping -0.9 WAR. Towards the end of June, Jerry Manuel would finally lose his patience with Billy. By mid-July, Tom Gordon and Damaso Marte had completely replaced Koch as the closer. Koch would be out of baseball forever after the 2004 season, though not without having fun at the expense of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Things I noticed: We've had our fair share of good pitching lately, but hot damn was that 2002 terrible. The list of closers also surprised me with it's depth. I had forgotten just how good Keith Foulke was and completely underestimated Tom Gordon and Dustin Hermanson as well. Now go ahead and dissect the list in the comments.