When the Dodgers signed Ricky Nolasco, they were hoping that the righty would add some depth to the “not-really-weak-but-could-use-some-work” rotation. While Nolasco wasn’t a schlop in Miami, the value he added to the team was in question. In fact, since 2009, while in Miami, Nolasco seemed to be on the decline. His K/9 rate was at 9.89, a career high, in 2009. It then gradually dropped to a pathetic 5.89 in 2012. Even more alarming, his ERA- was hovering over 100 until this season. ERA- is a stat that adjusts for league average. For pitchers, 100 is the league average and if, for example, a pitcher has a ERA- of 115, that means he is 15% worse than an average pitcher. Last season, Nolasco posted an ERA- of 112. This season, he his sitting on a solid ERA- of 88. What that means is that he is 12% better than an average pitcher. Comparing Nolasco to himself, 2012 Ricky Nolasco is 24% worse than 2013 Ricky Nolasco. But the comparison doesn’t just have to between two different seasons as it seems that Miami Marlin Ricky Nolasco was never as hot as Los Angeles Dodger Ricky Nolasco.
Prior to the trade, Nolasco was 5-8, with a 3.85 ERA. Since coming to the Dodgers, Nolasco is has won 6 of 7 and is polishing a magnificent 2.20 ERA. Even better, in Miami, batters were hitting .261/.306/.406 against him. Now that he’s sporting Dodger Blue, batters are hitting .221/.279/.319 against Nolasco. And the fun hasn’t stopped, in his last two starts, Ricky Nolasco has pitched 16 shutout innings with 17 K’s and, are you ready for this, 1 walk!
Now, I’m going to be a real dick and burst everyone’s bubble. We’ve seen this before. In fact, this was Capuano’s story last year. A veteran pitcher with some good-ish stuff. Never really dominant, kind of on the decline, but had an awesome season that made him a fan favorite. Nolasco had been on the decline since 2009. One good season does not erase that. I think the guy is awesome. And I’ll take a good outing on the mound any day, but let’s hold our breath until next season.