Unless you have been in an internet-less void or stopped following the Braves in July 2015 (welcome back, BTW) you are aware that the Braves signed away the 43-year-old ball of fun known as Big Sexy away from the Mets. He brings his team-high career 51 WAR and his fondness for peanut butter and banana sandwiches with him.
Most projections have him as a solid 2 WAR player. I would have to think he will have more than 160 IP since he has pitched at least 190 each of the last four years and doesn't show signs of slowing down. Below is IWAG, which is pretty comparable to Steamer, if not better at predicting Braves players.
Bartolo has a slider and change, but nearly 90% of his mix are 2-seam and 4-seam fastballs. The fastballs are a little sluggish, but he is able to vary speeds with the two seam itself.
These are from the top 60 users of the two seam fastball. These pitchers vary speeds the most (see the standard deviation column). The top and bottom 5% by speed from each pitcher have been removed from my sample. Sometimes statcast will not identify a pitch type correctly. For example, it has Aaron Nola with a 75 MPH fastball which doesn't make sense. I am mainly interested in the middle anyway. Top of the list is Chris Sale and Bartolo checks in at #5. Both include nuance to their style of pitching.
The bottom of the list by standard deviation. #1 and #3 are late inning relievers. There is little subtlety or nuance to what you are trying to accomplish when your median speed is 97 in the eighth and ninth inning.
There's our friend Bartolo checking in with the #2 slowest median two-seam of the top 60 users of two-seams. But you don't necessarily need speed, just variation to get the job done. He is a throwback to the times when Maddux and Glavine roamed baseball diamonds, striking fear with their 80-ish MPH offerings. Eno Sarris wrote this excellent piece on the knuckleball, showing how similar in results it can be to other pitches. He describes how Steven Wright varies his knuckleball.
So Wright has a method by which he attempts to throw the knuckler for strikes. That’s one way to show command. Another is to continue to vary the pitch. "I change the speeds on the knuckleball. Hard, soft, medium," Wright said. "I try to work in a mid-range and then I can go a little bit more on top and then a little below that speed, too. Gives me three different pitches instead of one. I think I’ve changed speeds more than I have in the past."
There is a tableau in the article where he shows how Wright's range of speeds has increased over four years.
I started to put together something about his four-seam, but to be perfectly honest you get the point. We all know what to expect from Bartolo. And besides, his four-seam is not nearly the most interesting thing about him.
Bartolo has no middle name or official Twitter account
I'm not sure I believe the middle name part. Scratch that, I don't believe it. We're gonna discover after his career is over that his middle name is Cosmo. But I won't pry/ internet stalk.
His anagrams include "no local robot", "all bronco too", and "bacon roll too".
Go have lunch. I'll wait.
Bartolo was born in Altamira, Dominican Republic
Altamira's namesake in Spain is where some prehistoric paintings were discovered. No word on whether they are Bartolo's.
When he started in the majors in 1997, his starting salary was the minimum $150,000
This year the minimum will be $535,000, which represents an annualized increase of 6.564%. This rise has outpaced the S&P 500 at 6.086%.
Bartolo has a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic
We have all seen the workout video. It likely took place at his baseball academy. I'm a fat guy. Think he can teach me a slider?
He came within one walk of a perfect game for the AAA Buffalo Bisons
It was the only no-hitter in the history of Buffalo's Coca-Cola Field. He took an MLB no-hitter into the seventh once. That is as close as he has gotten to a MLB no-hitter.
This is what Image Search did
I see what you did there, Google.
He was traded in part for Brandon Phillips
In a 2002 trade between the Indians and Expos, Colon and Tim Drew were moved to Montreal for Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens. The players would combine for 14 All-Star appearances, 6 Gold Gloves, 2 Cy Youngs, 2 Silver Sluggers, an ERA title, and nearly 160 WAR to date.
Omar Minaya pulled the trigger on the deal. The Expos were within reach of the NL East-leading Braves at that point and the wild card as well. They finished 19 games behind the Braves and 13 behind the Giants. The franchise was not heard from again for nine years.
I was able to track down a few two-team trades where the players involved would eventually rack up more than 160 WAR. How many can you name? Remember, Babe Ruth was purchased, not traded.
His hitting resume includes a career 50.7% K rate and minus 41 OPS
It's fun to see Bartolo hit a double or an home run, but keep in mind why that's fun. It has only happened 5 times. He has only three and a half seasons as a NL pitcher, and three of those were after age 40. Just know that if he comes up with two outs, you could probably get a beer.
In 2005, he had a 3.75 FIP and 4.0 WAR and won the AL Cy Young
That year, John Smoltz had a 3.27 FIP, 5.0 WAR, and zero NL Cy Young votes. But he led the AL in pitcher wins to take home the award.
Bartolo once ran down AJ Pierzynski by himself
Warning: video includes Fredi (in case you just ate).
People love Bartolo
It is a love as deep as the love Bartolo shows for life. Some say it's an unnatural love. One such fan created an entire league of Bartolo clones in MLB: The Show. How did it go? Exactly the way you just thought it would.
This is not a pitching-dominant league. I may have terribly underestimated this. This is a league [devoid] of any semblance of offense, and very little defense. Games are going 15, 20 innings without any scoring. I have destroyed the game of Baseball. This is a Baseball nightmare, but it is also simultaneously still a Baseball paradise because Bartolo Colon is literally every single player. It is the world's biggest paradox.
Give us some love, Bartolo.