Fact or Fiction examines the 2010 performance of a player, good or bad, and determines whether he'll duplicate his numbers in 2011 or it was just a fluke. Today's Fact or Fiction looks at Houston starting pitcher Brett Myers
Prior to the 2010 season, the former first round pick for the Philadelphia Phillies experienced up and down seasons while splitting time between the bullpen and the starting rotation in Philadelphia. From 2007 through 2009, Myers posted a 10-12 W-L record, a 4.56 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP over 43 starts and 56 relief appearances. Along with uninspired production, Myers also missed most of the 2009 season due to hip surgery. During his time in Philly, Myers was a career bust who had little fantasy value.
During the month of January 2010, Myers signed a one-year deal with the Houston Astros with the assumption that he would help bolster a poor starting rotation which at the time consisted of Roy Oswalt
, Wandy Rodriguez
, Bud Norris
, Felipe Paulino
and Brian Moehler
. Over his first ten starts of the season, Brett went 5-5 with a 3.22 ERA, leaving fans with lingering thoughts of Myers' playing-days with the Phillies. While the first ten starts may have been less than lackluster, Myers would finish the 2010 season with his best numbers ever, posting a 14-8 record over 223 2/3 innings, a 3.14 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. Along with career bests in ERA and innings, Myers also posted 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) while walking just 2.7 batters over nine innings (BB/9).
The success that Myers had in 2010 was a surprise to all, given his past performances while playing for the Phillies. Not only was Myers able to sustain his success throughout the season, but he pitched better as the season progressed, as he posted a 8-2, 2.81 ERA, 1.16 WHIP with a 8.0 K/9 performance during the second half of play in 2010. Along with finishing last season on a high note, Myers became the fifth pitcher since 1920 to compile six or more innings of work over 32 straight starts. Along with at least six innings of work over 32 of his 33 starts, Myers showed growth in his control of the strike zone along with keeping his batted balls on the ground, which is reflected by his 48.7% ground ball percentage.
So what can be attributed to the success Myers had in 2010? While luck and a simple change of scenery could be factors, it could be that Myers has finally solved his own pitching mystery at the age of 30. Along with many factors aligning for Brett last year, his pitch-type selection offered hitters a different look than it did while he was with the Phillies.
Over his nine-year career, Myers has thrown his fastball 52.9-percent of the time, but in 2010, Myers threw a fastball 43.6-percent of the time. The rest of the time, Myers threw his slider (27.9%) and changeup (8.2%) - and speaking of throwing his slider, the 27.9-percent was the highest of Myers' career, with the next highest percentage occurring in 2008, which was 18.4-percent. While his secondary pitches are not dominant, any time you can keep from relying on your fastball over 50-percent of the time, it can play a factor for success in keeping the hitter guessing.
While many will assume Myers had a "fluke" season in Houston last year, that's simply not the case. Pitching over 200 innings again in 2011 is reasonable and while regression is likely for his ERA, Brett is capable of sustaining his strikeout totals along with a respectable WHIP. All signs point to Myers repeating his success that he experienced in 2010.