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View Full Version : Cueto & Leake = Pretty darn good #1 and #2 for the next several years



Blitz Dorsey
06-28-2011, 08:46 PM
Gotta think this tandem of Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake will be an excellent 1-2 punch atop the Reds' rotation for years to come. Pretty fired up about it.

:beerme:

Redhook
06-28-2011, 10:08 PM
I like the way Leake pitches a lot, but I'll be disappointed if he's our 2nd best pitcher for year's to come. He's good, but for this team to excel, he needs to be in the 4-5 slot of the rotation. The Reds need at least one starter, outside of Cueto, to be better than Leake.

Oxilon
06-28-2011, 10:14 PM
I thought Wood would be the best of the three this year...

Brutus
06-28-2011, 10:16 PM
I like the way Leake pitches a lot, but I'll be disappointed if he's our 2nd best pitcher for year's to come. He's good, but for this team to excel, he needs to be in the 4-5 slot of the rotation. The Reds need at least one starter, outside of Cueto, to be better than Leake.

If you look at Leake & Cueto's peripherals, they're so extremely similar it's probably unfair to differentiate them much.

And I don't mean that as a slight of Cueto, rather I think Leake is still not given enough credit for his stuff and his command.

hebroncougar
06-28-2011, 10:49 PM
If you look at Leake & Cueto's peripherals, they're so extremely similar it's probably unfair to differentiate them much.

And I don't mean that as a slight of Cueto, rather I think Leake is still not given enough credit for his stuff and his command.

+1. Leake is better than people think.

kaldaniels
06-28-2011, 10:55 PM
Leake has blown my mind this year so far. But hasn't earned my trust to do it for one full season yet.

The Voice of IH
06-28-2011, 10:59 PM
Yeah, Cueto is a pretty good number two but I wish we could find someone more like Leake and drop Cueto to the 3 or 4 spot. ;)

Ghosts of 1990
06-28-2011, 11:05 PM
I like Cueto as the #1, and I like Leake a lot if he can be the #4.

Let's set Chapman up as the 2 next year and Homer as the 3.

Superdude
06-28-2011, 11:13 PM
I like Cueto as the #1, and I like Leake a lot if he can be the #4.

Let's set Chapman up as the 2 next year and Homer as the 3.

Chapman's hardly cracked a hundred innings in a season. And probably needs a lot more polish to make it past the fifth inning unless something clicks.

I'm almost content with Chapman as permanent shutdown reliever at this point. Big disappointment relative to expectations, but I'd rather not see us waste time grooming him to blossom somewhere else five years down the road.

RedLegSuperStar
06-28-2011, 11:15 PM
means nothing without run support

Ghosts of 1990
06-28-2011, 11:17 PM
Chapman's hardly cracked a hundred innings in a season. And probably needs a lot more polish to make it past the fifth inning unless something clicks.

I'm almost content with Chapman as permanent shutdown reliever at this point. Big disappointment relative to expectations, but I'd rather not see us waste time grooming him to blossom somewhere else five years down the road.

Jocketty still said before this season that he sees Chapman as a starter down the line. I think you have to see if he can do it.

Superdude
06-28-2011, 11:29 PM
Jocketty still said before this season that he sees Chapman as a starter down the line. I think you have to see if he can do it.

I'd love to see him be our David Price, but the way we've handled him has been pathetically shortsighted IMO. He's spent the past year trying to break radar guns in the bullpen and has pretty much scrapped everything but his fastball. Not exactly helping his chances of ever being an effective starter for us.

hebroncougar
06-28-2011, 11:40 PM
I'd love to see him be our David Price, but the way we've handled him has been pathetically shortsighted IMO. He's spent the past year trying to break radar guns in the bullpen and has pretty much scrapped everything but his fastball. Not exactly helping his chances of ever being an effective starter for us.

Welsh mentioned that tonight. Chapman is nowhere near that. Price lives on his command. Chapman dies by it.

_Sir_Charles_
06-29-2011, 12:35 PM
It's amazing what a few weeks do to Reds fans. Just a month ago people were saying Leake is a middle of the rotation starter AT BEST and a #4 or 5 most likely. They were calling for him to be sent to AAA just a short while before that. Fickle is an understatement. :O)

Personally, I've always been really high on Leake. I love his poise on the mound. I love the movement he generates and I love his ability to locate his pitches. Regardless of his lack of top-end velocity...I fully expect him to be a top of the rotation type of guy within the next few years. This year, no. He's still learning the ropes and he's just in a nice groove right now. Ride it while it lasts and enjoy it. But let's not put undue expectations on the kid this early. Let him grow into the role and enjoy the maturation process.

Cueto on the other hand...I really think he's taken that proverbial next step. He's a #1 right NOW. (I also think Homer will be once he gets back and healthy...I freaking LOVE his potential)

bellhead
06-29-2011, 01:14 PM
Wood needs more time to develop at the major league level. This will require us to be patient with him for 2 to 3 years. Then he will be a good 2 or 3 starter. He's still young remember that.

Benihana
06-29-2011, 02:58 PM
Cueto and Leake are clearly our best two pitchers for this year and next, unless Homer Bailey can ever stay healthy and consistent.

Once you get to 2013 and beyond, you may see a guy like Chapman or Wood bump Leake down to the #3 spot. Either way, it's good news, so long as they can stay healthy.

RedsManRick
06-29-2011, 04:05 PM
So now our standard for a "good' #1 & #2 is a pair of guys who have 0 seasons with either an ERA under 3.50 or 200 IP?

I like Cueto. I like Leake. I think they're both solid. But for me, a good #1 & #2 is a Cy Young guy and a multiple All-Star. It's Halladay & Lee. It's Beckett & Lester. Wainwright & Carpenter. Greinke & Marcum.

Could those two reach that level? Maybe. Should we bank on either one of them doing so? Not if we're smart.

hebroncougar
06-29-2011, 05:43 PM
So now our standard for a "good' #1 & #2 is a pair of guys who have 0 seasons with either an ERA under 3.50 or 200 IP?

I like Cueto. I like Leake. I think they're both solid. But for me, a good #1 & #2 is a Cy Young guy and a multiple All-Star. It's Halladay & Lee. It's Beckett & Lester. Wainwright & Carpenter. Greinke & Marcum.

Could those two reach that level? Maybe. Should we bank on either one of them doing so? Not if we're smart.

Well, they're the best shot the Reds have. The Reds can't sign guys with the credentials you stated, so they have to home grow them. I don't think we're banking on it, but not many teams have the resources to shell out contracts for those that already have them.

RedsManRick
06-29-2011, 07:45 PM
Well, they're the best shot the Reds have. The Reds can't sign guys with the credentials you stated, so they have to home grow them. I don't think we're banking on it, but not many teams have the resources to shell out contracts for those that already have them.

Best chance? Perhaps. But that's not what the original post was claiming. Blitz was suggesting that they will "be an excellent 1-2 punch." They may be our 1-2 punch and they might be strong, solid starters. But as 1-2 punches go, I don't think it's likely that they'll be excellent.

Brutus
06-29-2011, 08:26 PM
Best chance? Perhaps. But that's not what the original post was claiming. Blitz was suggesting that they will "be an excellent 1-2 punch." They may be our 1-2 punch and they might be strong, solid starters. But as 1-2 punches go, I don't think it's likely that they'll be excellent.

They're an excellent 1-2 punch to get a team to the playoffs, but as we've seen, they're probably not a very good 1-2 punch if we're talking postseason success. Guys like Tim Lincecum, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay -- those are obviously the 1-2 types a team needs in the postseason.

Griffey012
06-30-2011, 08:06 AM
So now our standard for a "good' #1 & #2 is a pair of guys who have 0 seasons with either an ERA under 3.50 or 200 IP?

I like Cueto. I like Leake. I think they're both solid. But for me, a good #1 & #2 is a Cy Young guy and a multiple All-Star. It's Halladay & Lee. It's Beckett & Lester. Wainwright & Carpenter. Greinke & Marcum.

Could those two reach that level? Maybe. Should we bank on either one of them doing so? Not if we're smart.

You could really make the argument Cueto is on the same level as Marcum. Marcum probably gets the edge because most of his work was done in the AL East. Greinke on the other hand; Cueto is on his level as is Marcum, you very well may be better off reversing it to Marcum #1 and Greinke #2. 2009 is such an enormous outlier in the rest of Greinke's body of work it has to be taken with a grain of salt, and because of that I cannot include him with Halladay, Wainwright, Carpenter, and Lee.

nate
06-30-2011, 10:43 AM
Here's a timely and interesting article on Greinke.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/zack-greinke-cant-catch-a-break/

Blitz Dorsey
06-30-2011, 10:55 AM
So now our standard for a "good' #1 & #2 is a pair of guys who have 0 seasons with either an ERA under 3.50 or 200 IP?

I like Cueto. I like Leake. I think they're both solid. But for me, a good #1 & #2 is a Cy Young guy and a multiple All-Star. It's Halladay & Lee. It's Beckett & Lester. Wainwright & Carpenter. Greinke & Marcum.

Could those two reach that level? Maybe. Should we bank on either one of them doing so? Not if we're smart.

I'm glad you're "smart" enough to be able to make that statement. But it's called "projecting ahead" and yes, Cueto and Leake are going to be "good" #1 and #2 starters for the Reds the next few years. Care to make a friendly wager otherwise?

And Halladay and Lee are not a "good" 1-2 tandem. They are top-shelf ridiculously excellent.

paulrichjr
06-30-2011, 11:51 AM
....
And Halladay and Lee are not a "good" 1-2 tandem. They are top-shelf ridiculously excellent.

That is right. Everyone wants to pull out the "Cueto is not a number 1 because he isn't as good as Halladay." Last I checked there isn't anyone on the planet as good as Halladay. There isn't a very long list of pitchers better than Cueto.

Also, everyone likes to say that a number one should be a Cy Young award winner. Give Cueto time. He very well could finish Top 5 soon with a chance for higher at some point in the next 3 years.

RedLegsToday
06-30-2011, 12:08 PM
And Halladay and Lee are not a "good" 1-2 tandem. They are top-shelf ridiculously excellent.

Exactly. They may be the two best pitchers in all of baseball. That's an impossible standard to expect any 2 young pitchers to live up to.

Big Klu
06-30-2011, 12:45 PM
And Halladay and Lee are not a "good" 1-2 tandem. They are top-shelf ridiculously excellent.

Aren't they more like a 1-1 tandem?

signalhome
06-30-2011, 01:49 PM
You could really make the argument Cueto is on the same level as Marcum. Marcum probably gets the edge because most of his work was done in the AL East. Greinke on the other hand; Cueto is on his level as is Marcum, you very well may be better off reversing it to Marcum #1 and Greinke #2. 2009 is such an enormous outlier in the rest of Greinke's body of work it has to be taken with a grain of salt, and because of that I cannot include him with Halladay, Wainwright, Carpenter, and Lee.

Greinke has been the unluckiest pitcher in the majors this year. He's striking out 11.55 batters per 9, only walking 1.73, and yet his ERA is 5.63. Something about that doesn't add up. His FIP is 2.72 (xFIP 2.12, which is probably better to use, since his 13.8% HR/FB this year is abnormally above his career average), which is probably a much better indication of the level at which he has pitched this year.

Edit: I'm simply assuming that the almost 3.00 difference in ERA and FIP makes him the unluckiest pitcher. I didn't actually look that up, so I could be wrong.

Griffey012
06-30-2011, 05:53 PM
Greinke has been the unluckiest pitcher in the majors this year. He's striking out 11.55 batters per 9, only walking 1.73, and yet his ERA is 5.63. Something about that doesn't add up. His FIP is 2.72 (xFIP 2.12, which is probably better to use, since his 13.8% HR/FB this year is abnormally above his career average), which is probably a much better indication of the level at which he has pitched this year.

Edit: I'm simply assuming that the almost 3.00 difference in ERA and FIP makes him the unluckiest pitcher. I didn't actually look that up, so I could be wrong.

This is likely true, I haven't had the time to research yet, but he has only put up Ace like numbers 1 season of his career until now.

RedsManRick
06-30-2011, 06:37 PM
I'm glad you're "smart" enough to be able to make that statement. But it's called "projecting ahead" and yes, Cueto and Leake are going to be "good" #1 and #2 starters for the Reds the next few years. Care to make a friendly wager otherwise?

And Halladay and Lee are not a "good" 1-2 tandem. They are top-shelf ridiculously excellent.

Yes, I'm familiar with projection. But the phrase was "pretty darn good", which to me means better than just plain old better. I'd define good as better than average, but not great. So one of them needs to better than an average #1 and one needs to better than an average #2. And I just don't think it's likely that those guys are going to both take their performances up notch.

For reference, I looked at the top 30 and next 30 starters this year, by FIP (80 IP minimum). I know it's not perfect, but FIP is a better predictor of ERA than ERA itself is, so it should give us a good ballpark.



Averages of: ERA FIP xFIP
Good #1s (Top 15) 2.92 2.62 3.04
Avg #1s (Top 30) 2.74 3.15 3.33

Good #2s (31-45) 3.53 3.41 3.53
Avg #2s (31-60) 3.61 3.57 3.65

And how are Cueto and Leake piching so far in 2011?

ERA FIP xFIP
Cueto 1.84 3.41 3.42
Leake 3.89 3.77 3.68


I look at that and say, I don't think it's likely that either of them drops his FIP by half a run or more and to have the other guy also take a small step forward. And really, it's the first part I worry about. They could be very well be average to good #2 starters. That's no knock on them, legit #2 starters are very, very valuable. I just don't it's likely that either of them becomes a good #1.

RedsManRick
06-30-2011, 06:48 PM
This is likely true, I haven't had the time to research yet, but he has only put up Ace like numbers 1 season of his career until now.

Per the data on FanGraphs' leaderboards, Greinke's ERA-FIP is -2.91. The next "unluckiest" guy is Brandon Morrow, with a -1.99. There are a total of 15 guys under -1.00, including Travis Wood at -1.01.

The luckiest pitcher? Jeff Karstens at +1.89. He's followed by Johnny Cueto at 1.57. The 3rd guy is Jair Jurrjens at +1.15.

Brutus
06-30-2011, 07:00 PM
Per the data on FanGraphs' leaderboards, Greinke's ERA-FIP is -2.91. The next "unluckiest" guy is Brandon Morrow, with a -1.99. There are a total of 15 guys under -1.00, including Travis Wood at -1.01.

The luckiest pitcher? Jeff Karstens at +1.89. He's followed by Johnny Cueto at 1.57. The 3rd guy is Jair Jurrjens at +1.15.

You just touched on why I'm so very skeptical of the Pirates. Their bullpen seems to be legit. But their staff has been pretty much on the side of 'luck' based on their ERA-FIP difference.

Karstens: +1.89
Maholm: +0.62
Correia: +0.36
McDonald: +0.17
Morton: -0.36

Four of the five starters have been pitching ahead of their FIP, and two of them are in the 'extreme' differentials where usually regression will catch up (assuming the ideal that a differential of greater than .50 is where it's pretty hard to maintain).

I think the Pirates will start falling off a cliff here soon.

I(heart)Freel
06-30-2011, 08:01 PM
I could see Cueto as an ace the way Rijo was an ace. And I can see Leake as a mostly good but occasionally disastrous #2-3 the way Arroyo is/was. He'll have enough dandies to be a #2 but with few clunkers to make his stats look like a #3.

Wood is the wild card to me. Can he make a living in the friendly confines of GASP? I'm skeptical, which is why I think he's extra meat in any packaged trade. In the right home ballpark, I think he could be a monster.

Griffey012
06-30-2011, 08:09 PM
You just touched on why I'm so very skeptical of the Pirates. Their bullpen seems to be legit. But their staff has been pretty much on the side of 'luck' based on their ERA-FIP difference.

Karstens: +1.89
Maholm: +0.62
Correia: +0.36
McDonald: +0.17
Morton: -0.36

Four of the five starters have been pitching ahead of their FIP, and two of them are in the 'extreme' differentials where usually regression will catch up (assuming the ideal that a differential of greater than .50 is where it's pretty hard to maintain).

I think the Pirates will start falling off a cliff here soon.

Isn't FIP, fielding independent performance or something like that? So could it be the case the Pirates have a really good defense that helps their pitching staff out? Thus it may not be so crazy (outside of Karstens) that their pitchers perform to those levels above their FIP.

Brutus
06-30-2011, 08:36 PM
Isn't FIP, fielding independent performance or something like that? So could it be the case the Pirates have a really good defense that helps their pitching staff out? Thus it may not be so crazy (outside of Karstens) that their pitchers perform to those levels above their FIP.

While there's some truth to that, the Pirates' defensive efficiency ratio (essentially the rate in which they turn batted balls into outs) is just a few points above league average, suggesting that the ERA is not a product of an overly great defense. It certainly contributes, no question, but they're closer to the average (3 points) than, for instance, they are to the Reds (10 points) -- who are third in the majors in DER.

RedsManRick
06-30-2011, 08:53 PM
Isn't FIP, fielding independent performance or something like that? So could it be the case the Pirates have a really good defense that helps their pitching staff out? Thus it may not be so crazy (outside of Karstens) that their pitchers perform to those levels above their FIP.

If defense is the main factor, it will usually show up in a low BABIP. At .282, the Pirates starters are on the low side (NL average is .291), but that's not too outrageous.

What often affects ERA vs. FIP but which we don't have a great metric for is the sequencing of events. Generally speaking, given a certain set of events, pitchers can't control when those events are happening.

So an inning like this:
- FB Out
- Passed ball mid-AB
- FB Out
- BB
- Single
- BB
- Strikeout
... will produce 0 ER.

But rearrange those like this:
- BB
- BB
- Single (1 run scores)
- Passed ball mid-AB (runners advance to 2B & 3B)
- FB Out (1 run scores, runner advances to 3B)
- FB Out (1 run scores)
- Strikeout
... will produce 3 ER.

Over time, the kinds of pitchers who produce innings composed of those events are going to give up the same amount of runs. But over the course of a dozen starts, a pitcher can work his way out of a few jams and have an unsustainable low ERA. Just ask Johnny Cueto. The narrative is always one of how the pitcher "bore down"; it sounds and feels good to make it sound like a character trait. But generally speaking, the reality is not that there are pitchers who are mediocre overall but particularly skilled at getting out of jams or sequencing their mediocrity just so (a variation of "pitching to the score"). Rather it's that pitchers who are good at getting outs in general get in fewer jams to begin with and are more likely to escape the jams they create.

Pirates starters have the 13th "best" FIP and play in front of a league average defense. They should not and probably will not continue to have the 6th best ERA.

Griffey012
06-30-2011, 09:22 PM
Thanks Brutus, Thanks Rick.

Any idea of how Leake's FIP has been since he has been recalled? I know his WHIP has been pretty low, which would make me think his FIP would be quite a bit lower since he is getting a lot more outs instead of being good at working out of trouble.

On a related note with FIP, what does it take for a guy like Cueto to get his FIP closer to his current ERA? Would it be a higher k/9? Right now he has a great WHIP of below 1, which would make me think his FIP would be a little better than what it is currently, especially since he is not giving up a lot of HR's, his BB's could be better but its not terrible.

Brutus
06-30-2011, 09:29 PM
Thanks Brutus, Thanks Rick.

Any idea of how Leake's FIP has been since he has been recalled? I know his WHIP has been pretty low, which would make me think his FIP would be quite a bit lower since he is getting a lot more outs instead of being good at working out of trouble.

On a related note with FIP, what does it take for a guy like Cueto to get his FIP closer to his current ERA? Would it be a higher k/9? Right now he has a great WHIP of below 1, which would make me think his FIP would be a little better than what it is currently, especially since he is not giving up a lot of HR's, his BB's could be better but its not terrible.

In just a quick, rudimentary calculation, Leake's FIP since recall is roughly 3.43 without adjusting for this year's league average.

The FIP calculation is 13*home runs allowed plus 3*walks issued minus 2*strikeouts all divided by innings pitched then 3.2 (or a modified league average for that season & league) added to the total. So in essence, yes it's Cueto's modest strikeout totals that's differing between his ERA and FIP. Whereas ERA is not showing some of those baserunners as scoring that have reached base by not striking out, FIP is assuming a normal distribution of baserunners reaching the plate, and that hasn't happened as much as it would be anticipated.

RedsManRick
06-30-2011, 09:42 PM
Thanks Brutus, Thanks Rick.

Any idea of how Leake's FIP has been since he has been recalled? I know his WHIP has been pretty low, which would make me think his FIP would be quite a bit lower since he is getting a lot more outs instead of being good at working out of trouble.

On a related note with FIP, what does it take for a guy like Cueto to get his FIP closer to his current ERA? Would it be a higher k/9? Right now he has a great WHIP of below 1, which would make me think his FIP would be a little better than what it is currently, especially since he is not giving up a lot of HR's, his BB's could be better but its not terrible.

http://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=10130&position=P&season=2011



K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP ERA FIP xFIP
Apr 7.6 2.9 1.2 .264 4.40 4.02 3.45
May 6.2 4.6 1.3 .410 6.94 4.23 4.30
Jun 5.3 1.1 0.7 .256 2.63 3.45 3.68

FIP is pretty straight forward. You can lower it through fewer homers, fewer walks or more strikeouts, in proportion to their relative value.

The formula is:
((13*HR)+(3*(BB+HBP-IBB))-(2*K))/IP + constant

In terms of moving his FIP, you can ignore the constant - that's just an adjustment to make FIP fit on the ERA scale given that year's pitching environmental.

Given what we've seen Johnny do in the past, his best opportunity for improving his FIP is upping his K-rate. He's trending in the right direction there. His current rate is a career low for him. His BBs and HRs are also at career lows, so expecting further improvement there is pushing it. My concern would be the low HR/9 of 0.66.

That said, it's actually not unsustainable if he keeps getting grounders like he has (55% compared to a career 42%). He's turned in to a real ground-ball maven. But that's probably a function of the same thing that's keeping his K rate down. He's throwing a lot more 2-seamers and fewer 4-seamers than he has historically. That means less swing-and-miss high heat and more easy grounders. But he's also doing a much better job at keeping his slider down in the zone and few pitchers are easier to crush than a hanging slider.

And I could be wrong, but I think groundballers will tend to have ERAs slightly below their FIP because double plays lead to higher strand rates. Fangraphs also has tERA, which is like FIP but adjusts for batted ball type. BaseballProspectus also has a stat that does this called SIERRA. Interestingly, of FIP, xFIP and tERA, xFIP is actually the best predictor of future ERA -- and that's because there's so much variation in HR rates that while Ks and BBs start to match your true skill pretty quickly, it takes much longer for a guy's HR rate to be reflective of his true HR allowing skill -- so you're usually slightly better off just using league average. But if you just want to focus on defense and sequencing, not HR "luck", stick with FIP or tERA.

nate
06-30-2011, 10:11 PM
Thanks Brutus, Thanks Rick.

Any idea of how Leake's FIP has been since he has been recalled? I know his WHIP has been pretty low, which would make me think his FIP would be quite a bit lower since he is getting a lot more outs instead of being good at working out of trouble.

On a related note with FIP, what does it take for a guy like Cueto to get his FIP closer to his current ERA? Would it be a higher k/9? Right now he has a great WHIP of below 1, which would make me think his FIP would be a little better than what it is currently, especially since he is not giving up a lot of HR's, his BB's could be better but its not terrible.

That's a good question. The formula is (HR*13+(BB+HBP-IBB)*3-K*2)/IP, plus a league-specific factor (usually around 3.2) to round out the number to an equivalent ERA number (THT Glossary. (http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/statpages/glossary/))

Basically, the formula is saying each event is weighted (I believe it's based on run expectancy, I could be incorrect though.) Thus:

HR: 13
BB, HBP: 3
K: 2

So HR effect FIP the most and thus, giving up fewer HR would have the most immediate change on his FIP. To see what's likely, it might be good to compare his 2011 to his career numbers to see where he's exceeding his prior body of work.

2011
K/9: 6.32
BB/9: 2.50
HR/9: 0.66

Career
K/9: 7.15
BB/9: 3.06
HR/9: 1.16

Depending on his batted ball tendencies (career vs. season) it might be reasonable to expect his peripherals to trend toward his career numbers which would result in more Ks, BBs and HR. Those types of trends would probably make for a higher FIP and conversely, a higher ERA.

kaldaniels
06-30-2011, 10:18 PM
I'm scared to ask cause I took the remark seriously, but Rick, was your quote about Bronson pitching to the score the other night sarcasm???

RedsManRick
06-30-2011, 10:54 PM
I'm scared to ask cause I took the remark seriously, but Rick, was your quote about Bronson pitching to the score the other night sarcasm???

That wasn't meant to be a reference to Bronson, but rather to one of the classic arguments for Jack Morris' HOF worthiness (even though it's been shown that he did not pitch to the score).

To put it briefly, while I don't doubt that pitchers feel differently given the score and may even pitch slightly differently, it doesn't show in the data. It's been studied fairly extensively and pitchers do not demonstrate a detectable ability to pitch to the score.

It's one of those things that feels like it's true and you can easily scrounge up anecdotes. But even if it is true, the result is so tiny that you can't find it in the data. And if you think about it, if a pitcher is in a close game, all he can do is do his best -- which he usually does. And if he's got a big lead, it's not like he's going to try and throw the ball down the middle, take a 5f MPH off his fastball or make his curve break less. He may try to do a very minor version of those things, but the result isn't much different, if at all.

Griffey012
06-30-2011, 11:47 PM
http://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=10130&position=P&season=2011



K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP ERA FIP xFIP
Apr 7.6 2.9 1.2 .264 4.40 4.02 3.45
May 6.2 4.6 1.3 .410 6.94 4.23 4.30
Jun 5.3 1.1 0.7 .256 2.63 3.45 3.68

FIP is pretty straight forward. You can lower it through fewer homers, fewer walks or more strikeouts, in proportion to their relative value.

The formula is:
((13*HR)+(3*(BB+HBP-IBB))-(2*K))/IP + constant

In terms of moving his FIP, you can ignore the constant - that's just an adjustment to make FIP fit on the ERA scale given that year's pitching environmental.

Given what we've seen Johnny do in the past, his best opportunity for improving his FIP is upping his K-rate. He's trending in the right direction there. His current rate is a career low for him. His BBs and HRs are also at career lows, so expecting further improvement there is pushing it. My concern would be the low HR/9 of 0.66.

That said, it's actually not unsustainable if he keeps getting grounders like he has (55% compared to a career 42%). He's turned in to a real ground-ball maven. But that's probably a function of the same thing that's keeping his K rate down. He's throwing a lot more 2-seamers and fewer 4-seamers than he has historically. That means less swing-and-miss high heat and more easy grounders. But he's also doing a much better job at keeping his slider down in the zone and few pitchers are easier to crush than a hanging slider.

And I could be wrong, but I think groundballers will tend to have ERAs slightly below their FIP because double plays lead to higher strand rates. Fangraphs also has tERA, which is like FIP but adjusts for batted ball type. BaseballProspectus also has a stat that does this called SIERRA. Interestingly, of FIP, xFIP and tERA, xFIP is actually the best predictor of future ERA -- and that's because there's so much variation in HR rates that while Ks and BBs start to match your true skill pretty quickly, it takes much longer for a guy's HR rate to be reflective of his true HR allowing skill -- so you're usually slightly better off just using league average. But if you just want to focus on defense and sequencing, not HR "luck", stick with FIP or tERA.

To clarify we are on the same page, did you mean their ERAs would be higher than their FIP? It is my understanding now that FIP tries to ignore stranding runners, thus the excess double play balls would not be considered?

RedsManRick
07-01-2011, 02:35 AM
To clarify we are on the same page, did you mean their ERAs would be higher than their FIP? It is my understanding now that FIP tries to ignore stranding runners, thus the excess double play balls would not be considered?

I meant it the way I said it. My hypothesis was that a groundballer is more likely to strand runners because he's more likely to get 2 outs with 1 pitch, giving his opponents fewer chances to convert baserunners to runs.

FIP ignores that fact. It treats two outs as two outs and doesn't care about the way innings work. But because the bases are cleared after 3 outs, the ability to get 2 outs with one swing is a relative boon.

That said, grounders are more likely to be hits than flyballs, so maybe it all comes out in the wash.

WebScorpion
07-04-2011, 09:42 AM
To me, a #1 pitcher would be one of the top 30 pitchers in baseball, a #2 would be in the 31-60 range and so on. The problem with that is that many of our pitchers don't even have enough IP to qualify for ranking. Just a quick glance at the rankings tells us Leake is ranked #34 in WHIP and #70 in ERA which would suggest he's in the #2-#3 area. Arroyo is #109 in ERA (only 112 pitchers qualify) and 91st in WHIP, which would suggest he's a #4 pitcher. Interestingly, Wood is the only other pitcher we have with enough IP to qualify and he's ranked at #105 (WHIP) and #107 (ERA) which would make him a #4 also. Cueto's current stats would rank him #1 (ERA) and #4 (WHIP) which would seem to make him a #1 pitcher if he can sustain those numbers. Bailey would be #55 (ERA) and #31 (WHIP) which would make him our #2, but again he'll need to sustain those numbers. Volquez would be last and next to last if he qualified which qualifies him for AAA. :laugh:

Now if you divided the qualifying pitchers up into 5 even groups you'd get about 24 in each group, which would give us Cueto as a #1, Bailey and Leake as #3s, Wood and Arroyo as solid #5s, and Volquie maybe in AA. Food for thought.
:D