It is easy to forget about Chris Narveson in this pitching rotation. Sometimes I think of Chris as the “5th Beatle”. Yovani Gallardo has been our ace since 2009 (John Lennon), Zack Greinke came crashing into Milwaukee on a blazing white steed(Paul McCartney), Shaun Marcum wowed fans with his ability to win games without a fastball(George Harrison), and Randy Wolf is the crafty veteran who quietly goes about his job (but is too good for Jonathan Lucroy…oh…and he’s Ringo in this analogy). Then there is Chris Narveson. Good enough to be a part of the gang, just not in public.
You may remember that prior to the 2011 postseason, Narveson was moved to the bullpen in order toprovid e some left-handed depth. Not because he wasn’t good enough, but because…well there weren’t 5 Beatles. No team went into the playoffs with a 5 pitcher rotation, although the Phillies probably could have, they did not. Narveson took his demotion like a champ, because he is a team player. And truthfully, I think he was just happy to be a part of a postseason roster.
Chris had a solid 2011 regular season, that was almost identical to his 2010 season. And if you know anything about me, you will know that I like my pitchers to be consistent. Chris Narveson is as consistent as public library hours.
In 2010, the Brewers asked a lot more of Narveson than they did in 2011. His role was much more stressful because the team was not filled with aces. It was surprising that his numbers did not improve due to the decrease in pressure however. Narvs started 28 games in 2010 and then again in 2011. His records were 12-9 and 11-8, respectively. Prior to 2010 Narveson had only started 5 career games, so his first full season as a starter was pretty impressive. After 2010, I thought we had a legitimate number 3 starter in the making, but I am not so sure about that anymore. The only noticeable difference in his statistics from 2010 to last season was his ERA, it dropped by half a run.
Now I would like to credit Narvey with this improvement in ERA, I firmly believe that it had something to do with being the number 5 starter. Thanks to his role on this team, he has been able to fly under the radar and sneak up on teams. There is not a team in major league baseball that spends their travel flights going over video of Chris Narveson. Certainly not when Gallardo, Greinke, and Marcum could be taking the hill in a series. Chris is like the penny between the couch cushions, you forget about it for a while, but when you found it you are glad it was there all along. Thus is Chris Narveson, the penny between the Brewers couch cushion.
Thankfully, he is consistant. What does that mean for 2012? Well I have two estimates for Narveson. Both are based off of him playing a full season, but I think either one could be correct:
Possibility A: 4.15 ERA, 13-8 record, 128 strikeouts, 64 walks, 78 earned runs, and 0 complete games
A: This is based off of Narveson performing almost exactly the same as last season. No better, no worse. I believe the teams defense will be better, so we will see some improvement in wins and ERA, but probably not much else.
Possibility B: 4.77 ERA, 11-10 record, 120 strikeouts, 72 walks, 93 earned runs, and 0 complete games
B: This projection is based off of Narveson falling into his old habits of walking batters. If he keeps his walks down, then these numbers willl not come to fruition. I envision this as a worst-case scenario.
These possibilities are based off of no calculation or formula. They are nothing more than educated guesses based off of what we have seen from Narvs over the past two seasons. Chris will win more that 10 games and probably lose less than 10 games. The guy will never strikeout 200 batters, but he will also give up very few home runs. Everything about Chris and his game is consistent.
How many times can I use the word consistant in one article?
Look, we all like Chris. He is a nice guy and a very serviceable pitcher. When you take into account that he is our 5th starter, all of these things are actually pretty spectacular. There are teams in the majors, hell within our division, who would kill to have Narveson as their 5th day specialist. While the tone of this particular article is indifference, it is not due to me being ungrateful. It is just hard to get excited about the guy because he is…well…consistent. Consistency isn’t sexy. Therefor Narveson isn’t sexy. Thus why he gets this obligatory article.
Love you Chris. Prove me wrong. Give us Greinke numbers. Rock our fricking socks off in 2012.