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11BarryLarkin11
02-11-2006, 04:28 PM
I've been reading the 2006 Hardball Times Annual and came across a couple of interesting tidbits. I thought I'd take a look at Dave Williams' stats and see if it is possible to determine what we can reasonably expect from Williams. My previous post on the subject wasn't optimistic and this more detailed look isn't much better.

The first tool we can use is DER(Defense Efficiency Ratio), which is simply the percent of times a batted ball is turned into an out by the team's fielders, not including homeruns. It is similar to BABIP, but from the defensive team's perspective.

As a team, the Reds were tied for second to last in the NL in DER in 2005. The Reds and Marlins posted a .678 DER, while the Rockies posted the worst at .671. Given the altitude problem, I think it is fair to say that the Reds had one of the worst two defenses in the NL. Houston was the best at .706.

Now, if we look at Pittsburgh, Dave Williams' 2005 team, they posted a DER of .695. So, Pittsburgh at .695 was much better at converting balls in play into outs than was Cincy at .678. Pittsburgh had the better defense in 2005.

If we take it one step further, we can see what the DER was for Dave Williams during his 2005 starts. In 2005, the Pirates DER when Williams was pitching was .725. So, in 2005, the Pirates posted a .695 DER overall, but a .725 DER while Williams was pitching. The Pirates had a significantly higher percentage of outs on balls in play while Williams was pitching than when he wasn't.

For comparison, here are Pittsburgh's other main starters and their respective DERs in 2005:

D.Williams: .725
Z.Duke: .702
I.Snell: .696
M.Redman: .704
O.Perez: .713
J.Fogg: .704
K.Wells: .710

None of the other starters for Cincy or Pittsburgh approaches Williams' lofty .725 DER. Chalk it up to random variation, the heavens above, or just dumb luck. Whatever the reason, a greater percentage of the balls that Williams allowed to be put into play in 2005 were turned into outs than should have been, statistically speaking.

The second tool we can use is FIP(Fielding Independent Pitching), which is a measure of all those things for which a pitcher is specifically responsible (HR, BB, HBP, Ks). FIP helps you understand how well a pitcher pitched, regardless of how well his fielders fielded. The FIP stat is on an equivalent scale to ERA (2.00 is HOF quality, 3.00 is very good, 4.00 is league average, etc).

In 2005, Dave Williams posted an ERA of 4.41, but a FIP of 5.02. The four events that are totally within the control of the pitcher (HR, HBP, BB, K), weren't controlled very well by Dave Williams. This is another example of Williams being bailed out by random variation/luck and good defense.

For comparison sake, here is how he stacks up in FIP with some of his 2005 and 2006 teammates:

D.Williams: 5.02
Z.Duke: 2.96
O.Perez: 6.22 (No wonder he killed my 2005 fantasy team!)
M.Redman: 4.14
A.Harang: 3.63
B.Claussen: 4.55
R.Ortiz: 5.46
E.Milton: 5.40

In essence, Williams wasn't very effective in the events that he could control and was lucky to receive better than average defensive play from a defense, that was itself, already above average.

In 2006, Williams will say hello to the Cincy defense, which was significantly worse in 2005 than Pittsburgh (.678 to .695). And, a case could be made that the Reds defense in 2006 will be WORSE than it's 2005 incarnation. As such, it is HIGHLY unlikely that Williams will receive as much help as he did in 2005 from the Reds defense. For comparison, here are the following DER for the Reds starters in 2005:

A.Harang: .697
B.Claussen: .705
L.Hudson: .726
R.Ortiz: .697
E.Milton: .689
Elizardo: .667
P.Wilson: .644
R.Keisler: .700

It's very likely that Williams will be unable to have the defense bail him out. And, with his poor FIP, it's not likely that he'll be able to offset the poor defense by controlling those four events which occur independent of defense.

With a lesser defense behind him to make up for his shortcomings, an inability to dominate a game on his own, and the likelihood that he won't a DER that is so much higher than the team's DER Williams looks likely to struggle. If his "luck" deserts him and he posts a DER that isn't higher than the team's overall DER in 2006, while playing for a team that will already have a significantly lower DER, then Williams is likely to struggle. In 2006, a combination of bad "hit luck" (or, random variation, if you prefer) and a less rangy defense will result in a huge increase in the number of hits allowed. More hits means more baserunners, more baserunners means more runs allowed.

In short, it still looks like it'll be a LONG year in Cincy for Williams. Let's hope this isn't Eric Milton Part II.

Of course, I could easily be wrong. And, I hope I am. :)

Ravenlord
02-11-2006, 04:32 PM
great post.


In short, it still looks like it'll be a LONG year in Cincy for Williams. Let's hope this isn't Eric Milton Part II.

naw, Milton has better stuff, degenerative knee and all.

RFS62
02-11-2006, 04:40 PM
Excellent analysis

PickOff
02-11-2006, 05:46 PM
Nice Post.

The FIP is telling, and not very encouraging, but the DER can be misleading. The DER accounts only for balls in play. If one pitcher is more apt to get hit hard, I would imagine his DER would be lower. If he coaxed more lazy fly balls and easy grounders than the DER would be higher. I don't think you can look at DER and say the pitcher had nothing to do with it, necessarily. It could be more indicative of whether he was getting hit hard consistently - so Duke could have a low FIP because he didn't walk many, stroke out a good amount, maintained his control, but still have a lower DER because he got hit hard.

Secondly - I think it is interested to note how much better Williams has done on the road over his career, vs at PNC. Over the last 2 years Williams has a 3.29 era away, and a 5.59 era at home. I couldn't find stats for GAB but against the Reds in three starts he has an ERA of 4.50. I'm hoping that Williams has just had a PNC mental block.

His stats are interesting away vs home the last three years.

By Breakdown ERA W L SV SVO G GS CG IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
Away 3.29 7 6 0 0 17 15 1 90.1 72 36 33 8 41 55 .222

Home 5.59 5 8 0 0 18 16 0 87.0 96 59 54 16 30 66 .279

More strikeouts and less walks at home, but twice as many homers and a much higher average against. Seems pretty counterintuitive, but it would seem that Williams may have challenged pitchers more at PNC then when he was on the road. Either that or he got too comfortable and hung too many.

To compound the issue PNC is rated 24/30 most homer friendly park, and 16/30 run friendly. (GAC is 8/30 hr, and 18/30 run.) It would stand to reason that he would not have given up twice as many homers at PNC, or have that much higher AVG against.

Here's hoping it is just bad PNC mojo!

DoogMinAmo
02-11-2006, 06:47 PM
Secondly - I think it is interested to note how much better Williams has done on the road over his career, vs at PNC. Over the last 2 years Williams has a 3.29 era away, and a 5.59 era at home. I couldn't find stats for GAB but against the Reds in three starts he has an ERA of 4.50. I'm hoping that Williams has just had a PNC mental block.

His stats are interesting away vs home the last three years.

By Breakdown ERA W L SV SVO G GS CG IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
Away 3.29 7 6 0 0 17 15 1 90.1 72 36 33 8 41 55 .222

Home 5.59 5 8 0 0 18 16 0 87.0 96 59 54 16 30 66 .279

More strikeouts and less walks at home, but twice as many homers and a much higher average against. Seems pretty counterintuitive, but it would seem that Williams may have challenged pitchers more at PNC then when he was on the road. Either that or he got too comfortable and hung too many.

To compound the issue PNC is rated 24/30 most homer friendly park, and 16/30 run friendly. (GAC is 8/30 hr, and 18/30 run.) It would stand to reason that he would not have given up twice as many homers at PNC, or have that much higher AVG against.

Here's hoping it is just bad PNC mojo!


Or it could just be starting the game off vs. sitting for the first half inning, maybe nerves?

One way to find this out would be to compare 1st inning to all other innings.

Unfortunately, if nerves are a problem, it would rule out a bullpen switch.

Redmachine2003
02-11-2006, 06:49 PM
So what is the difference between Claussen and Williams? Seems like some have high hopes for Claussen but not for Williams and to me they seem like two very similar pitchers.

Ravenlord
02-11-2006, 06:51 PM
Or it could just be starting the game off vs. sitting for the first half inning, maybe nerves?

One way to find this out would be to compare 1st inning to all other innings.

Unfortunately, if nerves are a problem, it would rule out a bullpen switch.
if nerves are a problem, i'd rule out the major leagues.

Aronchis
02-11-2006, 08:00 PM
Milton doesn't have better stuff than Williams. Williams is a 5 starter wannabe. Milton's career is over.

Please.

11BarryLarkin11
02-12-2006, 02:07 AM
Nice Post.

The FIP is telling, and not very encouraging, but the DER can be misleading. The DER accounts only for balls in play. If one pitcher is more apt to get hit hard, I would imagine his DER would be lower. If he coaxed more lazy fly balls and easy grounders than the DER would be higher. I don't think you can look at DER and say the pitcher had nothing to do with it, necessarily. It could be more indicative of whether he was getting hit hard consistently - so Duke could have a low FIP because he didn't walk many, stroke out a good amount, maintained his control, but still have a lower DER because he got hit hard.

I don't think that DER is as misleading as you might think, but, then again, I'm firmly entrenched in the camp that believes that pitchers have very little, if any, control over whether or not a ball in play is a hit. In other words, no pitcher is more likely to have the balls put in play against him fall in for hits than another.

On the season, a certain percentage of a team's pitches will be put into play. Some of them will fall in and some of them will be turned into outs. I think chance/luck plays a big part in determining which pitcher throws the pitches that fall in for hits.

But, the premise that underlies all the defense independent statistics is the idea that the pitcher has little to no control over whether or not a ball in play falls in for a hit. To me, it makes logical sense, but I'm sure many disagree with the theory. The way I see it, once the ball leaves the pitcher's hand, he can no longer impart anything to it. The pitcher acts, the batter reacts. How can the pitcher control the type of contact that is made if he acts first? The ball is out of his hand. How can he have control over events that occur after his action is complete? Only Bugs Bunny can do that, and that is due in no small part to the string tied to the ball.

To me, at least, it's similar to a quarterback's lack of control over whether or not a receiver catches his accurate pass. If he throws the ball relatively on the money (in baseball terms, if he throws it in the strikezone), he has no control over whether or not the receiver catches it. He can hit the receiver between the numbers, but it's up to the receiver to catch it. The quarterback just gets to watch the receiver react to his actions.

Now, of course, no theory is perfect. There are exceptions. And, there does seem to be one for the balls in play theory. And, that exception is the knuckleball pitcher. The knuckleball pitcher seems to have a greater ability to limit hits on balls in play than other pitchers.

For example, Boston's team DER in 2005 was a pedestrian .683. However, Tim Wakefield's DER was an impressive .742, which is by far the largest improvement that I've come across. It's harder to make good, solid contact on the fluttering knuckleball. Of course, anyone who has ever tried to hit one of those damn things can tell you that. ;)

As for variables other than random chance and knuckleballs, I think a good defense is about the only factor that can reduce the percentage of balls in play that fall in for hits. And, DER measures the defense.

So, I think you CAN say that the defense, not the pitcher, is responsible for the low DER, because the pitcher can't control what happens to the ball after it leaves his hand. He certainly can't control what kind of contact is made or where the ball ends up off of the bat. He can limit contact, walks, and HRs, but those are FIP components. DER is all about the defense and their ability(or lack thereof) to turn balls in play into outs.

But, back to Dave Williams, whose problem is that his production last year seems to have been built upon a foundation of good luck and stellar defense.

In 2006, he's unlikely to have either.

A poor FIP and a poor DER spells trouble.

icehole3
02-12-2006, 07:06 AM
This post wins my award for fancy pants stat of the week.

http://www.lightgod.com/store/images/small/vinylpantsSM.gif

fourrunhomer
02-12-2006, 09:51 AM
I don't think that DER is as misleading as you might think, but, then again, I'm firmly entrenched in the camp that believes that pitchers have very little, if any, control over whether or not a ball in play is a hit. In other words, no pitcher is more likely to have the balls put in play against him fall in for hits than another.

On the season, a certain percentage of a team's pitches will be put into play. Some of them will fall in and some of them will be turned into outs. I think chance/luck plays a big part in determining which pitcher throws the pitches that fall in for hits.

But, the premise that underlies all the defense independent statistics is the idea that the pitcher has little to no control over whether or not a ball in play falls in for a hit. To me, it makes logical sense, but I'm sure many disagree with the theory. The way I see it, once the ball leaves the pitcher's hand, he can no longer impart anything to it. The pitcher acts, the batter reacts. How can the pitcher control the type of contact that is made if he acts first? The ball is out of his hand. How can he have control over events that occur after his action is complete? Only Bugs Bunny can do that, and that is due in no small part to the string tied to the ball.


So, I think you CAN say that the defense, not the pitcher, is responsible for the low DER, because the pitcher can't control what happens to the ball after it leaves his hand. He certainly can't control what kind of contact is made or where the ball ends up off of the bat. He can limit contact, walks, and HRs, but those are FIP components. DER is all about the defense and their ability(or lack thereof) to turn balls in play into outs.




The pitcher has lots of control if his pitches fall in for hits. Velocity, movement, location, change of speed, scouting the hitters. A pitcher who knows how to pitch and is blessed with God given talent is much more likely to have balls hit against him be recorded as outs. Chances are even greater if you have your fielders positioned correctly. Granted there will be some flairs and squibblers that are luck but generally if you pitch well enough to keep batters from getting good wood (that sounds bad for some reason) you are going to be much more successful.

Caveman Techie
02-12-2006, 10:57 AM
I think your misunderstanding him fourrun, he's not saying that a pitcher doesn't have control over whether or not the batter makes contact. Because IMO he does for the reasons you stated above.

What he is saying that once the contact is made, and lets face it even the best get hit, the pitcher has very little to do with whether or not it will be an out or a hit. Obviously he has some input on that because once he lets go of the ball he then becomes a fielder. Honestly though how many outs in a game are recorded on the fielding skills of the pitcher? Very few but sometimes you get the gorgeous comebacker.

EDIT: OH yeah and 11BarryLarkin11, Great analysis!!!

westofyou
02-12-2006, 11:16 AM
Honestly though how many outs in a game are recorded on the fielding skills of the pitcher? Very few but sometimes you get the gorgeous comebacker.

This is a good question, one I pondered before. If you were to look at the all time assists in a season leaders for pitchers you'd see that the top ten is full of Deadball era guys who threw either a spitball or junk. The huge number is skewed by the bunting practices of the day, but the list is awash with junk.

If you were to look at the same list since the 50's it will be full of guys with strong sliders and curves and assorted junk. If you look at the last 15 years the list is mainly Maddux and Kenny Rogers, guys who upset the timing of the batter, causing him to just get a piece of it as it trickles back to the mound.

Junk and timing and being quick off the mound will help a pitcher without the stuff to blow em all away.


EASON
MODERN (1900-)
P
GAMES displayed only--not a sorting criteria

ASSISTS YEAR A G
1 Ed Walsh 1907 227 56
2 Ed Walsh 1908 190 66
3 Harry Howell 1905 178 38
4 Jack Chesbro 1904 166 55
5 George Mullin 1904 163 45
6 Ed Walsh 1911 159 56
T7 Ed Walsh 1910 154 45
T7 Frank Smith 1909 154 51
T9 Addie Joss 1907 143 42
T9 Harry Howell 1904 143 34

SEASON
1950-2005
P
GAMES displayed only--not a sorting criteria

ASSISTS YEAR A G
1 Mel Stottlemyre 1969 88 39
2 Larry Jackson 1964 85 40
3 Fred Newman 1965 83 36
T4 Wilbur Wood 1972 82 49
T4 Claude Osteen 1965 82 40
6 Randy Jones 1976 81 40
7 Bob Lemon 1952 79 42
T8 Mel Stottlemyre 1965 74 37
T8 Bob Lemon 1953 74 41
10 John Denny 1978 73 33

SEASON
1990-2005
P
GAMES displayed only--not a sorting criteria

ASSISTS YEAR A G
1 Greg Maddux 1996 71 35
2 Greg Maddux 2000 68 35
3 Kenny Rogers 1998 67 34
T4 Greg Maddux 1992 64 35
T4 Greg Maddux 1998 64 34
6 Kenny Rogers 1999 62 31
7 Livan Hernandez 2004 60 35
T8 Greg Maddux 1993 59 36
T8 Tom Glavine 1999 59 35
T10 Greg Maddux 1999 58 33
T10 Greg Maddux 2003 58 36

SEASON
2005
P
GAMES displayed only--not a sorting criteria

ASSISTS A G
1 Mark Mulder 52 32
T2 Jake Westbrook 49 34
T2 Greg Maddux 49 35
4 Derek Lowe 48 35
5 Kenny Rogers 46 30
T6 Mark Buehrle 45 33
T6 Livan Hernandez 45 35
8 Brandon Webb 44 33
T9 Tom Glavine 43 33
T9 Horacio Ramirez 43 33

BTW Wiliams had 23 in 21 games last year.

RFS62
02-12-2006, 11:37 AM
I know it's impossible to quantify, but some pitchers are more prone to give up hard hit balls than others. Late movement causes the hitter to have a harder time squaring up.

Seems like knowing the percentage of balls "squared up" would be an important subset of this metric.

M2
02-12-2006, 11:53 AM
Not only has Williams been hit lucky and headed to a team with a lesser defense, he's also heading from one of the toughest parks on RH power to one where RH power thrives. It's a perfect storm. Williams will need to become a better pitcher in 2006 just to drag his ERA under 5.00.

Redmachine2003
02-12-2006, 12:12 PM
I think we will have to wait and see what Williams has, this is what his 3rd year removed from surgery. He will be at the age where lefties start turning the corner. Him and Claussen maybe decent 3-5 starters neither one has top of the rotation stuff, but hey they are lefties.

Just think if Wilson has any set backs we could have 4 lefties in the rotations, Claussen, Milton, Gosling, and Williams and a couple in the Pen with Merker and Hammonds. When was the last time the Reds had that many lefties on a staff?

GridironGrace
02-12-2006, 12:17 PM
only thing i liked about the williams deal was we got a kinda young SP that can grow more with a new team. and learn alot more.. not to mention the money we gained in the trade.

I feel he'll be fine.. nothing special but fine

M2
02-12-2006, 12:40 PM
I think we will have to wait and see what Williams has, this is what his 3rd year removed from surgery. He will be at the age where lefties start turning the corner. Him and Claussen maybe decent 3-5 starters neither one has top of the rotation stuff, but hey they are lefties.

Just think if Wilson has any set backs we could have 4 lefties in the rotations, Claussen, Milton, Gosling, and Williams and a couple in the Pen with Merker and Hammonds. When was the last time the Reds had that many lefties on a staff?

Didn't learn from last year, huh? There's a big difference between Dave Williams and a guy due to get a lot better.

11BarryLarkin11
02-12-2006, 12:42 PM
I think your misunderstanding him fourrun, he's not saying that a pitcher doesn't have control over whether or not the batter makes contact. Because IMO he does for the reasons you stated above.

What he is saying that once the contact is made, and lets face it even the best get hit, the pitcher has very little to do with whether or not it will be an out or a hit. Obviously he has some input on that because once he lets go of the ball he then becomes a fielder. Honestly though how many outs in a game are recorded on the fielding skills of the pitcher? Very few but sometimes you get the gorgeous comebacker.

EDIT: OH yeah and 11BarryLarkin11, Great analysis!!!

Yes, that's exactly what I was trying to say. Thanks!

I'm just not sold on the pitcher's ability to dictate the type of contact made by the hitter.

Intuitively it makes sense, how can a pitcher know what type of swing a hitter will put on the pitch? The hitter is acting on the pitch. The pitcher's role is over once he lets go of the pitch. Once the ball is out of his hand, the pitcher is a fielder at best and a bystander at worst. You can limit contact, but you can't control what happens to the ball after it is put into play.

To me, it rings true. I know for some it doesn't.

Redmachine2003
02-12-2006, 01:18 PM
Didn't learn from last year, huh? There's a big difference between Dave Williams and a guy due to get a lot better.
Just taking the wait and see approach. ;) I also don't see the differnce between Claussen and Williams:confused:

M2
02-12-2006, 05:50 PM
Just taking the wait and see approach. ;) I also don't see the differnce between Claussen and Williams:confused:

One can make hitters swing and miss.

Redmachine2003
02-12-2006, 07:57 PM
One can make hitters swing and miss.
Which one is that? Claussen may get .5 SO more per 9 innings but Williams gets more ground outs to flyouts but neither are impressive. The amounts seem to be so minor that they can swing from year to year. I am not saying that one is better than the other but IMO they seem to be the same.

M2
02-12-2006, 08:28 PM
Neither is impressive, but the difference was 0.82 last year and it's 0.77 for their major league careers (1.13 in the minors) and that is a significant difference. Claussen's needs to improve if he want to be a good pitcher. He'd be a bad pitcher if he fell back to Williams' level.

fourrunhomer
02-12-2006, 10:04 PM
[QUOTE=redlegz]I think your misunderstanding him fourrun, he's not saying that a pitcher doesn't have control over whether or not the batter makes contact. Because IMO he does for the reasons you stated above.

What he is saying that once the contact is made, and lets face it even the best get hit, the pitcher has very little to do with whether or not it will be an out or a hit. Obviously he has some input on that because once he lets go of the ball he then becomes a fielder. Honestly though how many outs in a game are recorded on the fielding skills of the pitcher? Very few but sometimes you get the gorgeous comebacker.

EDIT: OH yeah and 11BarryLarkin11, Great analysis!!![/QUO

I was just making the point that if the pitcher is on, The contact is not going to be as solid and the ball is more likely to go to where the fielders are positioned.

fourrunhomer
02-12-2006, 10:11 PM
[QUOTE=westofyou]This is a good question, one I pondered before. If you were to look at the all time assists in a season leaders for pitchers you'd see that the top ten is full of Deadball era guys who threw either a spitball or junk. The huge number is skewed by the bunting practices of the day, but the list is awash with junk.

If you were to look at the same list since the 50's it will be full of guys with strong sliders and curves and assorted junk. If you look at the last 15 years the list is mainly Maddux and Kenny Rogers, guys who upset the timing of the batter, causing him to just get a piece of it as it trickles back to the mound.

Junk and timing and being quick off the mound will help a pitcher without the stuff to blow em all away.


To go along with the type of contact made off this type of pitcher, I wonder if there folow through would play a role in it. Flame throwers tend to fall off more as opposed to setting square to the plate. What do you think?

SteelSD
02-13-2006, 12:10 AM
I was just making the point that if the pitcher is on, The contact is not going to be as solid and the ball is more likely to go to where the fielders are positioned.

That's not really the way it works, excepting extreme outliers (knuckleball pitchers, rare LHP, and possibly an ultra-rare RHP like Greg Maddux).

But let's take a look at Greg Maddux from 1987-2005 to see if he actually IS a rare outlier...

Greg Maddux BABIP

1987- .330 BABIP
1988- .275 BABIP
1989- .282 BABIP
1990- .305 BABIP
1991- .280 BABIP
1992- .258 BABIP
1993- .277 BABIP
1994- .258 BABIP
1995- .249 BABIP
1996- .285 BABIP
1997- .288 BABIP
1998- .269 BABIP
1999- .333 BABIP
2000- .279 BABIP
2001- .295 BABIP
2002- .289 BABIP
2003- .290 BABIP
2004- .294 BABIP
2005- .299 BABIP

Ok. Now let's look at how that matches up with the inverse DER for the teams playing behind him during those seasons. Now, keep in mind that the DER numbers include ROE (Reached on Error) as positive events for the offense. Therefore I feel it would be unwise to simply look at an inverse DER to attempt to get a team's true BABIP. We have to factor out ROE events in order to do so. Over his career, Maddux' teams produced ROE events at 5.14% of their BABIP event rate so we're going to need to factor those out (I used a straight 5%) to get the best take on things. Here's how Maddux matched up versus his team adjusted BABIP:

Greg Maddux BABIP- % of Team BABIP

1987- 107%
1988- 94%
1989- 102%
1990- 109%
1991- 96%
1992- 97%
1993- 101%
1994- 90%
1995- 87%
1996- 102%
1997- 102%
1998- 94%
1999- 115%
2000- 96%
2001- 105%
2002- 107%
2003- 102%
2004- 102%
2005- 105%

Please note that if I went season-by-season using actual ROE % numbers rather than the 5% I did use, we'd see those numbers fluctuate by @1%.

Now, if pinpoint control, late movement, huge groundball rates, and hammering the outside corner should produce consistent significant BABIP differences of the kind we'd expect to see from the master of all control/movement artists. But we don't. What we do see is that Maddux may (and I repeat- MAY) have been able to exert some control over his own BABIP when at his absolute best (1994-1995), but over time it appears he was prone to the same BABIP randomness experienced by other pitchers. Over those 19 seasons, his average BABIP was 100.68% of his Teams' BABIP (give or take @1.00%). And yes, I might suggest that Maddux' presence on the field actually improved the defense beyond their normal DER numbers- i.e. that he was so good fielding his position, the defense was better with him on the field than it was with your average Braves or Cubs pitcher.

From 1991 to 1995 could someone make an argument that Maddux' own ability produced consistently lower BABIP numbers than we could expect? Maybe. But the difference in all but 1994-1995 was slight and non sustainable long-term. Furthermore, before one could pin their hopes that they'd be bringing in someone who could control their BABIP, you'd probably need a five year suggestive sample to determine said pitcher might have some tangible ability to control his BABIP. However, I'd suggest by that time said pitcher has probably seen his BABIP-control prime window slam shut if he ever actually had any control over it at all.

So Maddux, for all his ability, may have been an outlier for a short time once. Maybe. Other pitchers with lesser ability (meaning virtually every pitcher on the planet)? Good luck.

Steve4192
02-13-2006, 12:53 PM
In addition to the obvious examples of Greg Maddux and knuckleballers, I wonder how Tom Browning stacked up in the DER/BABIP category?

Players seemed to love fielding behind him because (1) he didn't waste any time between pitches and (2) he rarely worked deep into the count. The Reds often commented on how he kept his fielders 'on their toes' and they seemed to respond with some pretty stellar defensive efforts when he was on the mound.

I'd do the research myself, but I have no clue where to find historical BABIP/DER numbers. Is Browning also an outlier in terms of BABIP or is this a case of distorted perception versus reality?