Earlier I looked at how Kyle McClellan might fare as a starting pitcher. I’m still not sure the answer is crystal clear. We’ve established his has the arsenal through looking at his Pitch F/x numbers. Translating his numbers from relief to starting, I think he’d range somewhere in the 4.4-4.8 FIP range. Per 150 innings – which I feel is a reasonable estimate; figure 30 starts, an average of 5 innings per – that comes out to 1 to 1.6 WAR. So it seems like a worthwhile endeavor.
The big question of course would be about his endurance. Mac underwent Tommy John surgery in 2005 and has only started four games since then, all of which were in the minors. The most innings McClellan has ever thrown is 128, all the way back in 2004. So I definitely understand the concern, it all boils down to conditioning. The Cardinals did have success with prepping Looper to handle an increased workload, so it can be done.
A reader brought up the issue of McClellan fading as the season went on. Sure seemed right to me, as far as I could recall, so I decided to look it up. Here’s a graph -
This is both his ’08-’09 seasons combined. July is when he seems to hit a real rough patch, but he comes back strong. As far as his stamina goes, I don’t think his month-by-month numbers prove he can’t hack it, per se. He’s reportedly been working very hard to get in the proper condition. He’s years removed from any major surgery, and his mechanics seem to be mostly clean, although I’m not the expert in the field by any means. I think there’s only one real way to tell, and that’s by finding out.