Brett Myers is set to start the spring training home opener for the Houston Astros on March 1st. What amazes me is how well Myers pitched in his first season as an Astro after his two previous seasons in Philadelphia. His 2009 was interrupted by a hip injury forcing him to the pen when he returned. He finished the season with a below league average ERA+, same as 2008. In Houston, however, Myers turned it around. This season, the Astros will be looking for him to lead their rotation.
For most of his career, Myers has been a better pitcher versus left-handed batters. Righties have hit .270/.323/.458 against him compared to .248/.325/.408 against lefties. His last two seasons in Philly were no different. Take a look at the following splits:
Myers saw little change overall versus LHB last season as he continued to pitch well against them. He was able to bring down his walk rate and his line drive rate, but for the most part his performance remained unchanged.
Myers was far more successful against right-handed batters last season. He was getting more swings and misses, and as a result his strike out rate increased. His line drive rate decreased about the same amount as it did against LHB. The most outstanding number is the 170 point decrease in slugging percentage. While Myers was pitching in a pitcher’s park last season according to park factor, one has to wonder how much the Astros’ own offense contributed to that. And even if Minute Maid had some effect on his performance, Myers pitched just as well on the road in 2010 (Home: .255/.294./.374 | Road: .243/.305/.384).
In a post to follow, I’ll get into some more specifics regarding Myers’ improved 2010 season...