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BucksandReds
02-22-2008, 12:29 AM
After the Fogg signing I started wondering just how our top 4 starters compared purely in ERA to the rest of the NL in 2007. Even though all 4 pitched at least 1/2 of all of their starts in very hitters friendly parks (GABP or Denver) here is where they ranked.

13th - Aaron Harang 231.2 ip 3.73 ERA
23rd - Bronson Arroyo 210.2 ip 4.23 ERA
35th - Josh Fogg 165.2ip 4.94 ERA
41st - Matt Belisle 177.2 ip 5.32 ERA

Ok so there are 16 teams in the NL. That would mean being a league average #1 you should rank between 8-9th. #2 between 24th-25th. #3 between 40-41th and #4 between 56-57th. This is using zero peripherals and I realize that there is alot that goes into stats but ERA is a good indication of a pitchers ability to impact games. The less runs you give up the easier it is for your team to win. So look at this

Aaron Harang - below average #1 but still a #1
Arroyo - very slightly better than league average #2
Josh Fogg - low #2 but better than #3
Matt Belisle - exactly a #3

If those 4 starters pitch the exact same # of innings and give up the exact same number of earned runs then they'll have an era of 4.47 in 785.2 ip out of about 1450 innings in a season or slightly more than 1/2 of all innings. NL average team starting ERA was 4.65 in 2007. NL average innings for starters was 928 per team in 2007. The Reds would need 142.2 innings with an ERA of 5.63 in those innings to be league average for starting pitchers. If those 4 above equal last years numbers combined (Very possible and potentially better) and if 1 of our young guys turns in a 4.5-4.9 ERA type of season then we could have one of the better staffs in the NL. Our problems last year with starting pitching was #5 starter and the guy replacing Lohse after he was traded.

Our other problem was relief last year. We finished dead last in the NL at 5.10 ERA and next to last was Pittsburgh with a 4.77 ERA. NL average is 4.06. Francisco Cordero brings a 2.98 ERA in 63.1 ip. Weathers pitched at 3.59 in 77.2 innings. Affeldt threw a 3.51 in 59 innings. Burton threw at 2.51 in 43 innings The average NL team uses it's relievers for 524 innings per year. Those Reds threw for 243 innings of 3.22 ERA. We still need to find 281 innings with an average of 4.79 ERA from relievers if those 4 pitch identical seasons. Burton will get more innings this year as he will be playing a full season and Affeldt will probably pitch in long relief. Even with that were looking at about 225 innings with other relievers. Maybe Coffey will be better or Bray or someone else. Statistics, however, speak for themselves. Starting pitching is not a reason to worry in 08. How good our 5th - 10th best relievers are, is.

All stats from ESPN.com

SMcGavin
02-22-2008, 12:52 AM
The problem is you are only using the ERAs of those who qualified with enough innings. Belisle may have ranked 41st in ERA last season among qualifiers but was not close to being a "#3" as you put it. Your methodology completes disregards anyone who didn't qualify in innings.

Here is a good article which studied what the rotation spot averages are:
http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/how-good-is-your-4-starter/

The data there is from 06 and the NL numbers (averages) are as follows:

#1: 3.51
#2: 4.04
#3: 4.57
#4: 5.11
#5: 6.26


That point aside I agree with your general assertion that our bullpen is a bigger worry than our rotation at this point. And I like your second to last paragraph. Fogg is probably going to be worse, but Belisle's probably going to be better. I like Volquez's chances to put up something in the 4.75-5.00 range. If our starting pitching stays healthy it definitely should be league average.

BucksandReds
02-22-2008, 01:00 AM
To be a number 1, 2 or 3 wouldn't you need to pitch those innings to have that value? I would agree that I don't value Belisle as a 3 or Fogg as a low 2 but I do value Harang and Arroyo as a good top of the rotation. If you're hung up on the valuing of the starters then just read the last 2 paragraphs and forget the first ones. It statistically proves that if last years #s are extrapolated we need to get lucky in the bullpen and just avoid injuries from starters to be a decent team.

Another way to look at value of starters is to realize that league average starter is 4.65. That should mean that a league average #3 pitches that. That would indicate that we have a #1, 2, 4 and 5. That is not true because to be league average we only need a 5.63 ERA from our 5th starter. If we had a #1,2,4 and 5 in Harang, Arroyo, Fogg and Belisle then we would need a 4.65 from the other starter (a 3 value in this instance) because the other 4 should also equal a 4.65 average. We are fine with starters barring injury. The stats back it up.

BearcatShane
02-22-2008, 01:00 AM
You can throw all those little stats at me that you want, but in my opinion our rotation is not where it needs to be. I hope Josh Fogg is just a long relief man and we put Cueto in the rotation. I have no doubt Cueto would out pitch Fogg right now.

Bip Roberts
02-22-2008, 01:04 AM
as reds as the rotation was last year if we had any resemblance of a bullpen we would have finished only a couple games out of 1st.

SMcGavin
02-22-2008, 01:15 AM
To be a number 1, 2 or 3 wouldn't you need to pitch those innings to have that value? I would agree that I don't value Belisle as a 3 or Fogg as a low 2 but I do value Harang and Arroyo as a good top of the rotation. If you're hung up on the valuing of the starters then just read the last 2 paragraphs and forget the first ones. It statistically proves that if last years #s are extrapolated we need to get lucky in the bullpen and just avoid injuries from starters to be a decent team.

Another way to look at value of starters is to realize that league average starter is 4.65. That should mean that a league average #3 pitches that. That would indicate that we have a #1, 2, 4 and 5. That is not true because to be league average we only need a 5.63 ERA from our 5th starter. If we had a #1,2,4 and 5 in Harang, Arroyo, Fogg and Belisle then we would need a 4.65 from the other starter (a 3 value in this instance) because the other 4 should also equal a 4.65 average. We are fine with starters barring injury. The stats back it up.

I'm not going to retype the methodology of the study, you can check it out on that link if you're interested. If you don't believe the numbers, I think common sense can tell us a guy with a 5.32 ERA isn't a league average #3.

And I do mostly agree with the last two paragraphs you wrote. But it's not the top of the rotation where we are strong. Harang is below average for a #1, and Arroyo is below average for a #2. I think our advantage is at the #4/5 slot where we now have the depth to avoid running the Dumatraits of the world out there.

mlbfan30
02-22-2008, 01:41 AM
Here are a few things wrong with the methodology.

1. As someone else pointed out, you can't use only qualified ERAs. Pitchers who pitch enough IP to qualify are mostly pitchers who didn't suffer any big injury or started late. Your taking out the Gallardos and Lincecums or the Sheets type pitchers. ERA isn't even a good measure anyway.

2. The next is that league average and league avg SP avg is very different. RP will lower the league avg ERA.

3. You cannot say if this person replicates their ERA then x will happen. First, ERA is only earned runs. Second, the slightest difference it will make a huge difference, especially in relievers. Pitchers need to be projected based on what they are likely to do next year, not what they did in the past. Age regression and player regression will generally be in effect.

Your whole argument is based on a stat that just doesn't matter when determining value. You need to look at peripheral data and only that because that is what projects in the future. Just because Fogg had a better ERA last year doesnt mean he's going to be better next year. Just because Whethers had a 3.5 ERA last year doesn't mean he'll have it again. Cordero and Harang probably will because of their much stronger peripheral stats.

Newman4
02-22-2008, 10:14 AM
Stats aside, I'd like to pick up another more solid reliever than guys like Coffey, McBeth, Salmon, etc.

Snowmanlikeme
02-22-2008, 11:13 AM
Stats aside, I'd like to pick up another more solid reliever than guys like Coffey, McBeth, Salmon, etc.

I think that Coffey will be much improved since he will be working the 6th and 7th rather than the high pressure 8th and 9th. Also, the bullpen should be significantly better than last year...so ill be happy if they just get rid of stanton.

wlf WV
02-22-2008, 12:35 PM
Harang ties for wins,amoung league leaders in innings ,leads league in strikouts (06),similar last year. In one of the most hitter friendly parks in the majors,on a mediocre team,NOT LEGITIMATE NUMBER 1.I guess the grass is always greener on the other side.GEEEEEZ

Va Red Fan
02-22-2008, 03:46 PM
I know most baseball fans love stats. I am a huge baseball fan, but the only place that stats mean anything to me is on my fantasy team.
In the big picture, the only stat that really matters is wins and losses. If your team wins, that is good - if it loses, its bad. I would take a starter whose ERA pushed 5, if he won 15 games. I would not mind a reliever who held or saved 90% of his games and posted a 4.00 ERA. WHIP is even more useless - guys who let people get on base can and do win, some regularly.
Its all about winning and to win you have to have pitching, defense and offense. So the bottom line stats are team oriented - Wins/Loses.

Bip Roberts
02-22-2008, 03:52 PM
I know most baseball fans love stats. I am a huge baseball fan, but the only place that stats mean anything to me is on my fantasy team.
In the big picture, the only stat that really matters is wins and losses. If your team wins, that is good - if it loses, its bad. I would take a starter whose ERA pushed 5, if he won 15 games. I would not mind a reliever who held or saved 90% of his games and posted a 4.00 ERA. WHIP is even more useless - guys who let people get on base can and do win, some regularly.
Its all about winning and to win you have to have pitching, defense and offense. So the bottom line stats are team oriented - Wins/Loses.

I think we found Paul Daugherty's user name

BucksandReds
02-22-2008, 04:40 PM
I know most baseball fans love stats. I am a huge baseball fan, but the only place that stats mean anything to me is on my fantasy team.
In the big picture, the only stat that really matters is wins and losses. If your team wins, that is good - if it loses, its bad. I would take a starter whose ERA pushed 5, if he won 15 games. I would not mind a reliever who held or saved 90% of his games and posted a 4.00 ERA. WHIP is even more useless - guys who let people get on base can and do win, some regularly.
Its all about winning and to win you have to have pitching, defense and offense. So the bottom line stats are team oriented - Wins/Loses.

good post.

I was just trying to use stats to show that I believed we had more concerns with bullpen than starters going into 08. Some just picked apart my obviously flawed attempt to say our starters were at worst mediocre instead of taking the overall message.

mlbfan30
02-22-2008, 05:09 PM
I know most baseball fans love stats. I am a huge baseball fan, but the only place that stats mean anything to me is on my fantasy team.
In the big picture, the only stat that really matters is wins and losses. If your team wins, that is good - if it loses, its bad. I would take a starter whose ERA pushed 5, if he won 15 games. I would not mind a reliever who held or saved 90% of his games and posted a 4.00 ERA. WHIP is even more useless - guys who let people get on base can and do win, some regularly.
Its all about winning and to win you have to have pitching, defense and offense. So the bottom line stats are team oriented - Wins/Loses.

I really don't get people like you. Stats show who the better player is, it's simple as that. W-L is a team stat. Runs support is a huge factor into a pitcher gets the win. Bullpen is a huge factor. Defense is a huge factor. Are you saying you'd rather have a pitcher throw 5 innings giving up 5 runs getting the win over 8 innings of 3 runs getting the loss?

Clemens in 2005 had 13-8 W-L record.
Cliff Lee had a 18-5 record.
Clemens have up 51 Runs in 211 IP
Cliff Lee have up 91 Runs in 202 IP
Clemens had 3.58 Runs/9 Run support
Lee had 6.46 Runs/9 Run support
Clemens had 26 Quality Starts
Lee had 16 Quality Starts

There is no doubt Clemens is better. Lee gave up about 2x as many ER in less innings. However Lee had a better W-L record because his team gave him better Run Support.

This is an extreme example, but it happens ALL THE TIME. W-L record is the absolutly worst way to rank pitchers. You rank TEAMS by W-L because a team CONSISTS OF OFFENSE, DEFENSE, AND PITCHING. Even then Teams can get lucky and do better than their expected W-L by pythagorian record.

757690
02-22-2008, 07:36 PM
I know most baseball fans love stats. I am a huge baseball fan, but the only place that stats mean anything to me is on my fantasy team.
In the big picture, the only stat that really matters is wins and losses. If your team wins, that is good - if it loses, its bad. I would take a starter whose ERA pushed 5, if he won 15 games. I would not mind a reliever who held or saved 90% of his games and posted a 4.00 ERA. WHIP is even more useless - guys who let people get on base can and do win, some regularly.
Its all about winning and to win you have to have pitching, defense and offense. So the bottom line stats are team oriented - Wins/Loses.

Everyone is missing VA Reds fan's point. He is not talking about who is a more talented pitcher, or who will do better, he is talking about who he would rather have on his team for that year.

He is saying that he would rather have a pitcher win 15 games for his team with 5 ERA than have one who wins 9 with a 3 ERA. I agree with him. Wins are what matter most in determining how valuable a pitcher was for a team.

MLBfan30 is correct that in trying to predict who will do better, wins and loses don't mean much. But in determining who was more valuable for a team, wins and loses is the first stat I go by.

Bip Roberts
02-22-2008, 07:40 PM
Start counting wins and losses for position players