The Amazing Criswell

kazuneko

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Nov 10, 2006
2,866
Honolulu HI
Was surprised to see that Cooper Criswell didn’t have his own thread- though I think that shows just how unexpected his early performance has been.
Understanding that it’s still early, it’s still a bit shocking how much he’s contributed. He now has a 2.10 ERA in 25.2 innings.
Having seen none of his starts, I’m just curious to know how the board explains his performance. Does anyone see this as sustainable or is this simply an example of the flukiness of early season stats?
 
Mar 30, 2023
215
Was surprised to see that Cooper Criswell didn’t have his own thread- though I think that shows just how unexpected his early performance has been.
Understanding that it’s still early, it’s still a bit shocking how much he’s contributed. He now has a 2.10 ERA in 25.2 innings.
Having seen none of his starts, I’m just curious to know how the board explains his performance. Does anyone see this as sustainable or is this simply an example of the flukiness of early season stats?
According to this, his success so far is a result of really good command making up for sub-MLB level stuff:

https://www.overthemonster.com/2024/5/9/24150722/red-sox-news-and-analysis-cooper-criswell-is-an-important-part-of-the-red-sox-pitching-staff

The final pitch in the inning serves as a good illustration of who Criswell is. It’s left up slightly, and it’s almost out of the park. Without overpowering stuff, he has to rely on command to get outs. If he can’t hit his spots, which will likely happen at some point (see AB #3), he’s going to be punished. Thus far, he’s hit his spots, mixed his pitches well, and filled a spot in the rotation admirably.

When reinforcements to the rotation arrive in the coming weeks, Criswell may find himself in Worcester awaiting his next opportunity. When that time comes, and it will, I’ll feel more than comfortable with Criswell on the mound. He’s a five-and-dive guy, and that’s likely his peak, but that’s more than okay from the million-dollar man.
 

nvalvo

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Jul 16, 2005
21,863
Rogers Park
Was surprised to see that Cooper Criswell didn’t have his own thread- though I think that shows just how unexpected his early performance has been.
Understanding that it’s still early, it’s still a bit shocking how much he’s contributed. He now has a 2.10 ERA in 25.2 innings.
Having seen none of his starts, I’m just curious to know how the board explains his performance. Does anyone see this as sustainable or is this simply an example of the flukiness of early season stats?
It does not seem especially flukey. He gets very little swing and miss, but he's around the zone with a broad array of pitches, so it feels like he earns the chases he gets. Because of the modest strikeouts, I would expect some BABIP-induced blowups, but he isn't getting crushed out there at all: wOBA of .282 against an xwOBA of .299. He's given up four HR already, but because he's walked only 5, that hasn't hurt much. Still — not a guy I think we want to see face an order three times!

It feels like watching the Cubs' Kyle Hendricks. Similar kind of ~7 K/9, ~1.5 BB/9 profile.
 

chrisfont9

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SoSH Member
It does not seem especially flukey. He gets very little swing and miss, but he's around the zone with a broad array of pitches, so it feels like he earns the chases he gets. Because of the modest strikeouts, I would expect some BABIP-induced blowups, but he isn't getting crushed out there at all: wOBA of .282 against an xwOBA of .299. He's given up four HR already, but because he's walked only 5, that hasn't hurt much. Still — not a guy I think we want to see face an order three times!

It feels like watching the Cubs' Kyle Hendricks. Similar kind of ~7 K/9, ~1.5 BB/9 profile.
It may not be flukey but it is a departure from his past record, so his current command seems to be a major new evolution in his pitching. Even in college he had a 3 ERA, and he was worse in the minors. His current FIP is a rather hilarious 3.92, almost two runs above his ERA. Of course, there are always a few guys getting by on pure command, and if he's the next one of those to come along, I'm happy to have him. The current performance won't last, but even his regressed self could be a valuable contributor for a while.
 

joe dokes

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Jul 18, 2005
31,140
Because of the modest strikeouts, I would expect some BABIP-induced blowups, but he isn't getting crushed out there at all: wOBA of .282 against an xwOBA of .299.
Not sure if this theory is supported by his current performance, but writ large, he's the kind of pitcher that can survive with a major league defense behind him. Whether its the direct effect of making plays, or the indirect effect of pitching with the knowledge that the gloves behind him dont suck.
 

normstalls

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Mar 15, 2004
4,519
I had no luck finding anything useful on BR or Cots. Do the Sox own his rights beyond this year?
 

nvalvo

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Jul 16, 2005
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Rogers Park
There is a mention in the MLBTradeRumors post from when he was signed that the Sox can control him for several years if they want.

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2023/12/red-sox-cooper-criswell-agree-to-major-league-contract.html

Kind of funny that this is perplexing but I guess the Sox don't sign many pre-arb free agents that we actually care about long term.
Well, it generally takes a weird roster-management disaster for there to be a pre-arb FA with an option left. He’s still technically a rookie, I think, despite a few cups of coffee.

The fact that he got $1m rather than the minimum suggests there was at least another team interested.
 

BringBackMo

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Jul 15, 2005
1,369
It may not be flukey but it is a departure from his past record, so his current command seems to be a major new evolution in his pitching. Even in college he had a 3 ERA, and he was worse in the minors. His current FIP is a rather hilarious 3.92, almost two runs above his ERA. Of course, there are always a few guys getting by on pure command, and if he's the next one of those to come along, I'm happy to have him. The current performance won't last, but even his regressed self could be a valuable contributor for a while.
That’s a good point. If his FIP were his ERA we’d be delighted with that kind of performance out of a scrap heap starting pitcher. Don’t know how much of this Breslow-Bailey pixie dust is just luck, but wow have their results this year been amazing so far.
 

KillerBs

New Member
Nov 16, 2006
953
It is noteworthy how careful they have been to limit Criswell's usage. He hasn't thrown more than 80 pitches, faced more than 19 batters or pitched into the 6th. If he can (literally) shoulder a heavier load, he could be a nice piece going forward, as a long man in the pen if not a starter, even with the 2 percentile fastball velo. There are some intriguing SO?W ratios in his minor league stats.

What they do with him when Whitlock returns will be interesting. If he stays in rotation and it is Whitlock to the pen, this maybe suggests they think of him as a real SP option going forward. Perhaps more likely they are thinking to rotate Criswell, Whitlock and Winck through the 5th spot in the rotation in an attempt to get at least 100-110 IPs out of each.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Mar 11, 2007
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A little love for Criswell? Bounced back from a rough start with a QS tonight. Looked like he was going to fall apart early but really looked good. 5 innings 1 run? From any teams 5th starter? Hell yeah