Brad Penny won his 3rd game yesterday, throwing 7 2/3 IP of shutout ball. For the season, he has now made 4 starts, throwing 28 2/3 IP and posting an 0.94 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. He also has struck out 15 batters against only 3 walks. Can he continue this excellent performance, or are we going to see a large regression?
Penny has been in the Majors for 9 seasons already, so he does have a very long track record. Unfortunately for Penny, it really has been a tale of two careers, split on the injury he suffered in 2008. In 2008, he made 17 starts, posting a 6-9 record and a 5.27 FIP. The Dodgers chose not to resign him, and he started 2009 with the Red Sox. He posted a FIP of 4.49 and a 7-8 record, and was granted his release by the Sox on August 27. He wasted no time, signing with the San Francisco Giants on August 31st, just in time to be eligible for the postseason. While in San Francisco, he went 4-1 with a 4.35 FIP. Since returning from the injury, Penny has posted K/9 rates of 4.85 and 5.66, and BB/9 rates of 3.99 and 2.65.
My thoughts after the Jump...
Penny's strikeout rate so far this year is in the range of where he has pitched of late (4.71), so I think that part is real. The walk rate is much lower than he's posted at any point in his career (0.94 in 2010). I would say that there's a possibility that he will show some regression in that statistic, which will also lead to some regression in his other statistics as well. His BABIP does not particularly concern me (.275), but will see some regression as well. But I think that his current showing, coupled with his being in St. Louis and pitching coach Dave Duncan, I think that there is reason to believe that this is legitimate and that Penny will be the latest reclamation project to succeed there. I think we could see a season where Penny posts a sub-3.75 ERA, with 120 strikeouts and a 1.25 WHIP.