Dixon Anderson vs. Kevin Miller: Who should take the role of Cal’s Sunday starter?

Should Kevin Miller take the Sunday starter role? courtesy of the dailycal

In a bit of surprise move, senior Kevin Miller took the mound on Sunday against Oregon State to start the game. Typical Sunday starter, junior Dixon Anderson, did not pitch in the game or all weekend. Presumably, Miller will be taking the Pac-10 role from now on. But which is the best option?

Miller: 5-4, 2.31 ERA, 66.1 innings

Anderson: 4-2, 4.28 ERA, 54.2 innings

From a purely statistical viewpoint, Miller is the key choice. But looking at just ERA, wins, and innings is a bit of a flawed viewpoint. Digging deeper finds this:

Or should Dixon Anderson keep the role? flickr.com

Miller (schedule adjusted): 1.96 ERA, 3.16 FIP

Anderson (schedule adjusted): 4.12 ERA, 4.48 FIP

FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is a stat that takes in account the 3 things pitchers have complete control over: strikeouts, walks, and home runs and puts that into an ERA number. Miller has been lucky, as has Anderson, but even when you take account luck and schedule, Miller’s been the better pitcher.

The only thing Anderson has on Miller is stuff. Miller relies a lot on a deceptive fastball that’s only around 91-92; Anderson has MLB stuff that leads to him getting drafted highly despite only decent college results. He’s thrown harder, but it seems that at least early in the year he was sitting in the lower 90s. The fastball has plus movement, and he mixes in a splitter, a slider and a curve. If there’s an argument for Anderson, it’s the fact he’s got ace stuff.

The verdict: For now, the Pac-10 starts have to go to Miller. Keep Anderson ready for the postseason with the mid week starts against UC Davis and Pacific, and continue to monitor the situation. Definitely keep Anderson in the conversation, but Miller is the better choice for the games against tough foes such as UCLA and Stanford.

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Tags: Cal Baseball

  • Cal BB Fan

    You might want to throw Kyle Porter into he mix. Check out his stats & record, add the relief performance at Oregon State, factor in he’s a lefty, don’t forget about his command of all four pitches, and there’s a legitmate case for the coaching staff to give him the Sunday start over Miller or Anderson.

  • Michael

    While Porter’s definitely an interesting guy who should merit consideration, I think it’s between Miller and Anderson simply because they’re upper classmen and have earned the right to take the ball in big situations. Not to say Porter can’t do it; but his career high IP is 5 innings in his lone start, and typically Pac-10 starts go much deeper. He’s going to be a huge part of the team next year though.

    Thanks for the comment! I appreciate the feedback, and I do agree that Kyle’s an intriguing option but at this point Anderson and Miller are (in my opinion) the two options on the board for Esquer. I think he should be at least considered, but I doubt the coaching staff agrees.

    • Cal BB Fan

      I agree that Miller or Anderson will get the start this weekend, but suggest that Esquer will start one of these two on Saturday instead of Sunday. Cal matches up better with Cole and Plutko. Bauer is the best pitcher on UCLA’s staff and Esquer’s management style is to limit the damage rather than go for the win. He’d rather concede the Saturday game in hopes of getting two out of three instead of going for the sweep.

      Miller and Anderson have only had one good outing each against Pac-10 teams and have been mediocre to bad in the rest. They’re upper classmen and should get the nod first, but should also be held to higher standards.

      I’d like to see Esquer give Porter a shot in the weekend rotation as his stats are arguably the best on the squad and he has been solid in long relief. Against Oregon state weekend before last, he started the 3rd inning giving up only 1 run in 4.1 innings. Believe he would have completed the game without the rain delay. Check out his HS stats if you get a chance, he’s the real deal and has already demonstrated that as a freshman he can compete with the big boys. Against Rice, he struck out Anthony Rendon twice in the 4 innings he pitched facing only 14 batters while striking out 5 with 1 hit, 1 walk, and no runs. Anthony Rendon should be a top 10 pick in the first round on 6/6.

      Regardless of who gets the start this weekend, I hope that Cal can play well … the bats need to come alive and be consistent to have any shot of taking the series.

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