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View Full Version : Harang analysis: Beyond the extra inning game



mbgrayson
07-11-2008, 03:08 AM
I have been as vocal as anyone in criticizing Dusty for using Harang in extra innings on two days rest in May, and then running him out there again three days later.

Beyond that, I am doing a detailed look at a few Aaron Harang games on Gameday.

The July 8th fiasco against the Cubs can be seen HERE (http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2008_07_08_cinmlb_chnmlb_1&mode=gameday).

I transferred the pitch speed data batter by batter into a spreadsheet, and this is the result:


Pitches by Harang 7/8/08
Inning 1 (15 pitches) 0 runs
1 Theriot (4 to 3) 88 90 90 91
2 Fokudume (BB/CS) 90 90 91 88 89
3 Lee (K) 91 91 90 90 84 83

Inning 2 (23 pitches) 1 run
1 Ramirez (Triple) 83 89 90
2 Soto (Sac Fly) 90 91
3 Edmonds (BB) 89 92 90 91 84 81
4 DeRosa (K) 91 91 92 81
5 Fontenot (BB) 76 91 92 92 90
6 Dempster (K) 83 84 82

Inning 3 (36 pitches) 1 run
1 Theriot (Single) 89 89 81
2 Fukudome (BB) 91 90 91 85 92 91 83
3 Lee (BB) 91 91 92 91 90 91 92 92 91
4 Ramirez (Sac Fly) 85 84 91
5 Soto (K) 83 82 82 93 93 83 82
6 Edmonds (Fly Out) 92 92 84 92 92 92 92

Inning 4 (15 pitches) 2 runs
1 DeRosa (BB) 80 88 87 87
2 Fontenot (HR) 89 89 (middle of plate, six inches above knees)
3 Dempster (Single) 91 90 83
4 Theriot (DP) 80 90
5 Fukudome (K) 91 90 82 82 91

Inning 5 (16 pitches) 2 runs
1 Lee (BB) 89 88 82 82 88 83 83
2 Ramirez (K) 91 90 91 92 91 84 83
3 Soto (HR) 83 90 82 82(middle of plate, waist high slider)


Here is the breakdown by fastball speed in mph


Fastballs (72)
93= 2
92= 15
91= 24
90= 16
89= 8
88= 5
87= 2


Not a single Cubs hitter put the 1st pitch in play, and three put the 2nd pitch in play. Five put the third pitch in play. So, all the remaining 15 batters made Harang throw at least four pitches. A good example of using plate discipline to drive out the startrer.

The other thing that was interesting is that I noticed on almost each of the seven walks, there was at least one pitch called a 'ball' that looked like it was a strike on Gameday.

That got me thinking: How much influence do different umps play in determining how well a pitcher does. Well, interestingly enough, Las Vegas cares about this stat. In a quick google search, I turned up THIS ump by ump breakdown (http://www.vegasinsider.com/mlb/stats/umpire-report/).

The umpire for Harang's game this week against the Cubs was Adrian Johnson(per gameday). Johnson has called balls and strikes in 22 games this year, and he is 3rd out of 74 umps who have called at least five games in having the highest number of walks per game. On average, Adrian Johnson has called 8.5 walks per game. The umps in the lower tier have called 5 to 6 walks per game.

Harang threw 108 pitches, only 58 were strikes(54%). That number counts as a strike any ball batted in play..... The Cubs starter, Ryan Dempster, threw 103 pitches, 59 for strikes(57%). Overall on this date, there were a total of 14 walks handed out by the ump, 8 by the Reds, 6 by the Cubs.

When you have an ump who is not calling the corner pitches for strikes, it forces the pitcher to come into the middle of the plate, where Harang gave up both homers.

In contrast, there was Harang's last really strong game agsint Boston on June 13th (http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2008_06_13_bosmlb_cinmlb_1). The home plate ump was Bill Hohn. Hohn on average awards 6.8 walks per game over the 12 games he has called. Hohn averages among the lowest in average runs per game: 6.50 total runs per game when he is behind the plate, compared to 8.14 for Adrian Johnson. Harang struck out 7 Red Sox that day, and walked none. Boston's starter, Masterson struck out 9 Reds that day, and walked three. Overall, there were a total of only three walks by both teams all day.

In the Boston game, Harang pitched 7 innings, thew 118 pitches, 78 of which were strikes(66%). Masterson pitched 98 pitches, 60 for strikes(61%).

So besides all the variables like workload, K/9 rate, run support, add in umpiring. I am convinced that it can make a real difference after looking at the ump chart linked above, QuesTec notwithstanding.

cincinnati chili
07-11-2008, 03:19 AM
It seems unfair that someone in Montana somewhere slaves away in front of his computer performing such great analysis for free, while somewhere a "baseball operations" guy pulls in a salary from an MLB club and offers nothing but cliches and stale ideas.

Umpires have way too much impact on the game.

mbgrayson
07-11-2008, 03:28 AM
A couple more things to look at:

1. Pitch speed in the final inning of work.

In the Cubs game this week, Harang's fastball averaged 89.88 mph over 9 fastballs in the fifth inning.

In the Red Sox game on June 13th, Harang threw 12 fastballs in the 7th inning at the average speed of 91.83 mph.

2. Weather.
There is the weather and what impact it may have on stamina. In the Red Sox game, the 'Weather: 72 degrees, overcast. Wind: 0 mph, None' according to Gameday.

In the Cubs game, '"Weather: 82 degrees, cloudy. Wind: 13 mph, R to L."

Tony Cloninger
07-11-2008, 10:31 AM
Forget QT....i have been saying for a few years now.....Get rid of the umps ability to determine one of the most important aspects of the game...and have a machine call balls and strikes. You can have the ump give the call when it is relayed to his earpiece....or else get rid of guys who want to shrink the strike zone.

redsrule2500
07-11-2008, 10:41 AM
Wow, cool analysis. I know that I now want Jeff Nelson behind the plate with Volquez pitching :thumbup:

lollipopcurve
07-11-2008, 10:45 AM
very very interesting

nice post, mb

princeton
07-11-2008, 10:49 AM
Umpires have way too much impact on the game.

yours is a strange assessment. After the game, the pitcher didn't mention the umpiring, and instead blamed his arm-- as did the opposing team.

me, I really like umpire variation. I find it fascinating. when I manage, the pitchers have to work in the first inning just beyond all corners, to see where the ump's zone is, then they exploit the most pitcher-friendly spots if possible.

I don't mind wide zones or narrow zones. Inconsistent zones are what bite.

there are umps that won't call a strike for a particular pitcher-- some umps would not call a strike if Danny Jackson threw a really great slider, for example. They can sway a game as well, and that's unfortunate. But the managers know who those guys are, and should adjust if they need to.

But just having a narrow or wide zone doesn't bug me, so long as its the same for both teams.

WVRedsFan
07-11-2008, 11:03 AM
I think umpiring keeps a human element in the game. I'm in favor of limited instant replay on certain calls, but if we take the human element out of the game, we might as well put robots out there to play too.

I've often said that players never adjust to the umpires enough, just like some people have trouble adjusting to a new boss at work. The new guy or the umpire is going to be there and you have to roll with the punches.

flyer85
07-11-2008, 11:06 AM
Harang's arm is/has been bothering and his command has suffered(not his velocity). We really have no idea what the cause may have been, hopefully he can shut it down for a few weeks and come back healthy. What we do know is that Dusty pitching him 4 innings that Sunday was not a good idea.

Kc61
07-11-2008, 11:08 AM
A couple more things to look at:

1. Pitch speed in the final inning of work.

In the Cubs game this week, Harang's fastball averaged 89.88 mph over 9 fastballs in the fifth inning.

In the Red Sox game on June 13th, Harang threw 12 fastballs in the 7th inning at the average speed of 91.83 mph.

2. Weather.
There is the weather and what impact it may have on stamina. In the Red Sox game, the 'Weather: 72 degrees, overcast. Wind: 0 mph, None' according to Gameday.

In the Cubs game, '"Weather: 82 degrees, cloudy. Wind: 13 mph, R to L."


This is great stuff. I was thinking today of the following as well --

One analysis I'd like to see is the May 25 infamous relief outing in San Diego. Harang was unhittable. He struck out 9 in four innings.

Was he throwing harder because it was relief and he wasn't pacing himself? Was he getting more called strikes and getting ahead of the hitters?

There's no doubt he's been far less effective, but every once in awhile Harang will strike out someone or have an inning that looks like the Harang of old. So he still has the ability to be dominant, just can't seem to do it over a full outing.

Again, fascinating analysis folks.

Johnny Footstool
07-11-2008, 11:11 AM
I think umpiring keeps a human element in the game. I'm in favor of limited instant replay on certain calls, but if we take the human element out of the game, we might as well put robots out there to play too.

I've often said that players never adjust to the umpires enough, just like some people have trouble adjusting to a new boss at work. The new guy or the umpire is going to be there and you have to roll with the punches.

Absolutely.

I'd prefer to let baseball remain analog.

RedsManRick
07-11-2008, 11:12 AM
I want to know about location. I know that's among the hardest things to stick a metric on, but that's why he's getting killed, in addition to the walks. So much stuff up in the zone.

As for the "human element" for calling strikes. I think that's hogwash. The point of having the umpire call balls and strikes is for the very explicit purpose of enforcing a rule. I cannot for life of me understand why we'd want to stick to an inferior way of enforcing an extremely cut and dry rule. Sure, we still need umps to manage the flow of the game, lineups, substitutions, and rules which are subjective in nature, such as balks and runner outside of the baseline, but when it comes to assessing a ball's position relative to a boundary, the camera and computer are simply better.

Equating the method of rule enforcement with the players themselves is just silly. Or I guess televising the game took the human out of it too...

lollipopcurve
07-11-2008, 11:18 AM
One analysis I'd like to see is the May 25 infamous relief outing in San Diego. Harang was unhittable. He struck out 9 in four innings.

Was he throwing harder because it was relief and he wasn't pacing himself? Was he getting more called strikes and getting ahead of the hitters?

He was pitching at a time when the light/shadows were really tough on the hitters. He was throwing almost exclusively fastballs and the hitters were waving at them. Reds hitters were just as helpless during those innings.

mbgrayson
07-11-2008, 11:50 AM
He was pitching at a time when the light/shadows were really tough on the hitters. He was throwing almost exclusively fastballs and the hitters were waving at them. Reds hitters were just as helpless during those innings.

And, nonscientifically, the hitters were likely tired by the 13th inning.

REDREAD
07-11-2008, 11:55 AM
not a whole lot to add, but thanks for doing all that work, mbgrayson.. very interesting.

mbgrayson
07-11-2008, 12:17 PM
One analysis I'd like to see is the May 25 infamous relief outing in San Diego. Harang was unhittable. He struck out 9 in four innings.

Was he throwing harder because it was relief and he wasn't pacing himself? Was he getting more called strikes and getting ahead of the hitters?

I don't have time this morning to do the whole chart, but the link to the GameDay for the May 25th game is HERE (http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2008_05_25_cinmlb_sdnmlb_1).

A quick look at the 13th through the 16th innings show that Harang's velocity was higher that night. There are several pitches in the 95 and 96 range. Even in the 16th, Harang struck out Scott Hairston on three fastballs: 93 94 93.

By the way the ump that night was Derryl Cousins. He averages 7.8 walks and 13.5 Ks per game, but this was an 18 inning game. This night, overall, Reds pitchers gave up 6 BBs, and got 19 Ks. The Padres pitchers gave up 5 BBs, and got 16 Ks.

Perhaps another interesting fact from the umpiring stat page is the "K/BB" stat. The lower that number is, it would seem the more likely the game would be high scoring.

RedsManRick
07-11-2008, 01:13 PM
By the way the ump that night was Derryl Cousins. He averages 7.8 walks and 13.5 Ks per game

I find this fascinating. I've seen the Pitch FX work showing how inconsistent managers are looking at the strike zone, but I've not seen it in this format before.

I'd love to see this stuff aggregated over a few years so we can get better sample sizes. Not surprisingly there appears to be an extremely strong positive correlation between K/9 and BB/9. Combined, these appear to share a weak positive correlation with Runs/9. I'd love to see it boiled down in to a succinct ump effect metric, as we have with park effects.