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nate
02-13-2012, 04:10 PM
It's getting a little noisy in the Oswalt thread. Might as well discuss it here.


We clearly have different parameters for what a "good" pitcher is.
In 6 years with the Reds, including his bad year last year, Arroyo has given us this:

1286 IP, 4.14 ERA

A starting pitcher's primary job is to give us quality innings.
The league average ERA is 4.50 (last I checked, but that should be close).
Above average ERA, averaging over 200 IP/year.
That's an above average starter.
I know you disagree, but that's ok.. Just explaining why I say he has been above average as a Red, even when last year is included.

I don't think ERA is a good historic measure of pitching performance. It's a good measure of runs that were scored against the run prevention unit (pitching and defense) regardless of the official scorer's whims or biases, defensive positioning and relief pitching.

To me, defensive independent pitching stats that show what the pitcher did in isolation from his defense, manager, the official scorer and luck are much more indicative of what a pitcher's true performance was and what it should likely be going forward.

Arroyo's ERA over the past 3 years has been about 4% worse than the rest of the league. His FIP* has been about 24% worse than the rest of the league. I think it's likely he pitches better next year but more to the tune of a 5-ish FIP rather than a 5.71 FIP. Improved but still poor.

Sidebar: Bronson Arroyo is looking an awful lot like Eric Milton in more ways than one.

Amongst starting pitchers over the past three seasons, no peripheral, hit rate or "stat" correlates higher (0.738) to BABIP than the difference between ERA and FIP.

While BABIP may not explain the difference 100%, it explains it around 70-80% (I think this is highly generous but it's almost Valentine's Day so, what the hell.) So, great: 25% of the difference was keeping hitters off-balance or whatever it is one might think makes him "good."

I think many of these macro stats are show in his pitch selection. Check out (http://www.fangraphs.com/pitchfx.aspx?playerid=978&position=P) his PitchFx stats. Fastball velocity is down which makes the offspeed pitches less effective. He threw the cut in his "good" years and now he's throwing it almost a third as much as he used to. In fact, the 25% of "good" from 2010 might be his changeup which he threw 22.5% vs. 16.4% of the time since 2007; it had a lot of horizontal movement.

But 75% of it was simply the ball finding a glove at a higher rate than usual. I don't call this luck, I call it nature.

Problem solved, high five!

*A note about FIP. When I look at FIP, it's shorthand for a great number of other things to check out: component peripherals, other defense independent metrics, BABIP, hit types, etc. Even though I post "FIP indicates," it doesn't mean it's the _only_ thing looked at. It means that it's shorthand and a time saver from having to type basically the same thing over and over again.

reds1869
02-13-2012, 04:14 PM
Bronson served up batting practice home runs last year. If he cuts down on those juicy pitches right down the pike he will be an acceptable innings eater. If not there will be a lot of souvenirs in the bleachers again.

nate
02-13-2012, 04:22 PM
Bronson served up batting practice home runs last year. If he cuts down on those juicy pitches right down the pike he will be an acceptable innings eater. If not there will be a lot of souvenirs in the bleachers again.

Verily:

http://www.fangraphs.com/graphs/978_P_season_full_4_20110928.png

TRF
02-13-2012, 04:24 PM
velocity down.

mono.

If he's recovered, and there is no reason to think he isn't then his recovery probably had to include some additional conditioning to get his strength back. We should see an increase in the speed of his pitches this year.

That may mean nothing, it may mean a lot, but IMO if he throws harder he returns to being at least 90% of what he was in 2010.

REDREAD
02-13-2012, 04:46 PM
I don't think ERA is a good historic measure of pitching performance. It's a good measure of runs that were scored against the run prevention unit (pitching and defense) regardless of the official scorer's whims or biases, defensive positioning and relief pitching.



I disagree. The pitcher's primary job is to prevent runs.
We are looking at a roughly 1200 IP sample of Bronson in Cincy.
I posted the ERA comparision vs MLB in the other thread.

I am not talking about predicting what Bronson will do next year.
I am grading him on what he's actually done.
4 very good years.
1 year .4 ERA below average, but 200ish IP (nothing to brag about but not horrible)
1 disaster (last year).

There's relatively few "unearned runs" that are disputed/controversial, so IMO your arguement about scoring basis is insignificant.

Does relief pitching play a role? Yes, but over 1200+ innings, shouldn't the good luck and bad luck average out? Bronson has had years with good bullpens and bad bullpens.. I guess we could average out the Reds' bullpen performance over the last 6 years and take that into account .. Try to figure out if the bullpen helped or hurt him relative to the "league average starting pitcher" we are trying to compare him against.. But that's a lot of work to do..

Let me ask you this.. If a pitcher has a gold glove SS and 3b, wouldn't it be smart to exploit that advantage if he had the ability to do so? Why would you penalize the pitcher for having a good defense? Let's say hypothetically the pitcher could change his pitching style to leverage his better defenders. I don't want to debate if this is possible or not.. If he could leverage those defenders, he should be praised for doing so, not punished.

RedsManRick
02-13-2012, 05:27 PM
Historically, Arroyo is a guy who stays health and who maintains a healthy K:BB ratio but who doesn't miss a ton of bats. When the ball bounces his way, he can look like a #2/3. When it doesn't, he looks like a back of the rotation guy. The Twins have lived on guys like this for years.

I think people just make way too much of year-to-year variations. Absent an injury or noted change in approach (e.g. new pitch), guys just don't change their stripes that often. They age and experience shifts along the aging curve, largely masked by random fluctuations. People are just so hungry for a narrative that they cling to plausible explanations that may or may not actually reflect reality.

Arroyo in has been a reliable source of league averagish innings who is in decline (losing velocity, missing fewer bats) and who got hit with the double whammy of an unsustainbly unlucky HR rate and a regression to the mean of his BABIP last year. He's not as bad as that, nor is he as good as he seemed in 2009 & 2010 when he clearly got extra help from his defense that cannot be expected to repeat to that degree. Regarding the "mono = loss of velocity and/or HR" line of argument, his K rate has been functionally the same for 3 years now and his walk rate was down, so it's not like his control was horrible. Yeah, his HR rate is likely to regress back towards normal next year, but I find it odd to suggest that his mono only really manifested itself in HR/FB.

That doesn't preclude Arroyo from being good at getting weak contact. A career .282 BABIP after nearly 1900 IP says he's probably got a BABIP skill that's better than average. But that explains 10 points of variance from average, not 50. FWIW, for pitcher's since 2000 with 1,500+ IP, the minimum BABIP is Barry Zito's .268, the maximum is Pettitte's .310, the average is CC Sabathia & Mark Buehrle's .291 and the standard deviation is 0.11. To put it simply, Arroyo doesn't possess a special ability to induce weak contact. It's something he's "good" at, but in a given season, the impact of being "good" at BABIP is usually trumped by the influence of defense and randomness. (it's also completely possible that Arroyo doesn't have BABIP skill and that his 10 points better than average are completely a function of good defense and randomness)

The best guess anybody can make for in 2012 is something like 200 IP of periperhals that support an ERA in the 4.50 range. Adjust from there accordingly to luck and randomness. If everything goes his way, you'll get an ERA around 4.00. If not, it'll be north of 5.00 again. Likely, it'll be closer to the mid 4's. No need to over-complicate this.

To reiterate a point other's have made, ERA is not a very good measure of pitcher skill. Yes, it contains pitcher skill. It correlates with pitcher skill over time. But because it is so heavily influenced by outside factors, if you're trying to measure a guy's ability, you're better off starting with stats that are closer to the things he directly controls.

nate
02-13-2012, 05:31 PM
I disagree. The pitcher's primary job is to prevent runs.

I'd say accumulating outs is a pretty big part of it as well.

Either way, it's the defense UNIT (not the pitcher by himself) that's engaged in this endeavor.


We are looking at a roughly 1200 IP sample of Bronson in Cincy.
I posted the ERA comparision vs MLB in the other thread.

I know but ERA IS NOT the baseline.


I am not talking about predicting what Bronson will do next year.
I am grading him on what he's actually done.
4 very good years.
1 year .4 ERA below average, but 200ish IP (nothing to brag about but not horrible)
1 disaster (last year).

I think he's had one good year. Two average years and four below average years. I don't think his new contract was money well-spent. I thought the trade that brought him here initially was an excellent move for the pitching-atrocious Reds.


There's relatively few "unearned runs" that are disputed/controversial, so IMO your arguement about scoring basis is insignificant.

It's quite significant because the game of inches that is defense isn't accounted for in ERA. Defense effects more than the run that is plated, it allows baserunners to exist through misplays, mispositioning or lack of talent the falls between the out and the bias of the official scorer.

Is also allows, through good defense, ground balls with eyes to develop astigmatism.


Does relief pitching play a role? Yes, but over 1200+ innings, shouldn't the good luck and bad luck average out?

Relief pitching isn't a zero-sum game.

BABIP will average out to the career numbers as it's an "average."


Bronson has had years with good bullpens and bad bullpens.. I guess we could average out the Reds' bullpen performance over the last 6 years and take that into account .. Try to figure out if the bullpen helped or hurt him relative to the "league average starting pitcher" we are trying to compare him against.. But that's a lot of work to do..

Let me ask you this.. If a pitcher has a gold glove SS and 3b, wouldn't it be smart to exploit that advantage if he had the ability to do so?

I'm not sure what "gold glove" has to do with it as that's typically more a measure of hitting and perhaps "SportCenter" appearances rather than good defense; exciting plays aren't good defense.

How much more could hitters hit to the SS and 3B than they do now? Those positions already see the lion's share of balls hit into play. Why wouldn't the pitcher pad his "gold glove" credentials by inducing weak contact back to the mound?


Why would you penalize the pitcher for having a good defense?

It's not a penalty. It's just not something he controls by himself. We don't give the catcher credit for strikeouts.


Let's say hypothetically the pitcher could change his pitching style to leverage his better defenders. I don't want to debate if this is possible or not.. If he could leverage those defenders, he should be praised for doing so, not punished.

"Praise" and "punish" are odd terms for this. We're trying to measure performance, not train a dog.

Since he's relying on someone else, part of his success is tied to their performance. What happens when that defender is no longer on the same team as the pitcher?

I'm measuring what the pitcher does isolated from the noise of the rest of the run prevention unit, et al. did and what he's likely to do going forward. You're measuring exactly what I said in the first post: what the run prevention unit, et al. did as part of the historical record.

nate
02-13-2012, 05:37 PM
velocity down.

mono.

If he's recovered, and there is no reason to think he isn't then his recovery probably had to include some additional conditioning to get his strength back. We should see an increase in the speed of his pitches this year.

That may mean nothing, it may mean a lot, but IMO if he throws harder he returns to being at least 90% of what he was in 2010.

The velocity has been trending down for the past five years.

But yes, if he's over the mono, it's likely he'll be better.

REDREAD
02-13-2012, 06:40 PM
I think he's had one good year. Two average years and four below average years. I don't think his new contract was money well-spent. I thought the trade that brought him here initially was an excellent move for the pitching-atrocious Reds.
.

Interesting. What's your criteria for a good year by a starting pitcher?
Not arguing. Just curious.

nate
02-13-2012, 07:15 PM
Interesting. What's your criteria for a good year by a starting pitcher?
Not arguing. Just curious.

Quick, easy answer: Qualified # of innings and a FIP- <90-ish.

savafan
02-13-2012, 09:38 PM
I don't think ERA is a good historic measure of pitching performance. It's a good measure of runs that were scored against the run prevention unit (pitching and defense) regardless of the official scorer's whims or biases, defensive positioning and relief pitching.

To me, defensive independent pitching stats that show what the pitcher did in isolation from his defense, manager, the official scorer and luck are much more indicative of what a pitcher's true performance was and what it should likely be going forward.






But at what point during the game, or his career, does the pitcher pitch without having a defense behind him?

757690
02-13-2012, 10:04 PM
I'm just disappointed there's no actual ballad in this thread, considering how easy it would be to write one about Bronson ;)

nate
02-13-2012, 10:16 PM
But at what point during the game, or his career, does the pitcher pitch without having a defense behind him?

Never.

But defense varies widely from game to game, team to team and season to season. Therefore, the need to isolate the pitcher from the defense.

Eric_the_Red
02-13-2012, 11:11 PM
I'm just disappointed there's no actual ballad in this thread, considering how easy it would be to write one about Bronson ;)

The Ballad of Bronson Arroyo

Come and listen to a story about Bronson the Red
An innings eater, blond locks on his head,
Then one day he caught himself the mono,
Maybe from a girl while singin' like Bono.

Virus that is, EBV, kissin' disease.

Well the first thing you know Arroyo's pitch is in the air,
Cowboy said "That's way outta there"
Said "Low and away is the place he ought to be"
Hitters loaded up their swings and hit 'em over Heisey.

Homers, that is. Gopher balls, goin' yard.

Well now its time to say goodbye to last season's Bronson.
Reds fans would like to think his runs will start lowerin'.
Sabre folks are all talkin' bout a better F-I-P
If not they'll be a-heavin' down at ol' G-A-B-P

Hurlin' that is. Blowin' chunks, Tossin' cookies.

It'll all come back now, y'hear?

nate
02-13-2012, 11:13 PM
The Ballad of Bronson Arroyo

Come and listen to a story about Bronson the Red
An innings eater, blond locks on his head,
Then one day he caught himself the mono,
Maybe from a girl while singin' like Bono.

Virus that is, EBV, kissin' disease.

Well the first thing you know Arroyo's pitch is in the air,
Cowboy said "That's way outta there"
Said "Low and away is the place he ought to be"
Hitters loaded up their swings and hit 'em over Heisey.

Homers, that is. Gopher balls, goin' yard.

Well now its time to say goodbye to last season's Bronson.
Reds fans would like to think his runs will start lowerin'.
Sabre folks are all talkin' bout a better F-I-P
If not they'll be a-heavin' down at ol' G-A-B-P

Hurlin' that is. Blowin' chunks, Tossin' cookies.

It'll all come back now, y'hear?

High five!

757690
02-13-2012, 11:59 PM
The Ballad of Bronson Arroyo

Come and listen to a story about Bronson the Red
An innings eater, blond locks on his head,
Then one day he caught himself the mono,
Maybe from a girl while singin' like Bono.

Virus that is, EBV, kissin' disease.

Well the first thing you know Arroyo's pitch is in the air,
Cowboy said "That's way outta there"
Said "Low and away is the place he ought to be"
Hitters loaded up their swings and hit 'em over Heisey.

Homers, that is. Gopher balls, goin' yard.

Well now its time to say goodbye to last season's Bronson.
Reds fans would like to think his runs will start lowerin'.
Sabre folks are all talkin' bout a better F-I-P
If not they'll be a-heavin' down at ol' G-A-B-P

Hurlin' that is. Blowin' chunks, Tossin' cookies.

It'll all come back now, y'hear?

Beyond Awesome!

Thanks! :beerme:

savafan
02-14-2012, 12:17 AM
Never.

But defense varies widely from game to game, team to team and season to season. Therefore, the need to isolate the pitcher from the defense.

Agreed, yet Arroyo's numbers still seem fairly consistent season to season, 2011 aside.

dougdirt
02-14-2012, 12:24 AM
Agreed, yet Arroyo's numbers still seem fairly consistent season to season, 2011 aside.
That would probably be because his defense has continued to get better by the year as his skills have declined.

REDREAD
02-14-2012, 10:43 AM
Quick, easy answer: Qualified # of innings and a FIP- <90-ish.

Ok, I am confused. FIP =90 is obviously very high. I don't think you meant FIP = 9 either.
Unless FIP- is a seperate stat? How do you get that stat?

nate
02-14-2012, 11:09 AM
Ok, I am confused. FIP =90 is obviously very high. I don't think you meant FIP = 9 either.
Unless FIP- is a seperate stat? How do you get that stat?

FIP (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/era-fip-xfip/)- is like ERA+ but the other direction. 100 is average, less than 100 is better than average, above 100 is worse than average

REDREAD
02-14-2012, 02:38 PM
FIP (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/era-fip-xfip/)- is like ERA+ but the other direction. 100 is average, less than 100 is better than average, above 100 is worse than average

Ok, thanks for the link.

RedsManRick
02-14-2012, 05:36 PM
But at what point during the game, or his career, does the pitcher pitch without having a defense behind him?

But if you're looking to trade away or acquire a pitcher, his defense doesn't come/go with him. If we want to give Bronson credit for pitching in front of a great Reds defense, fine. But if we're then comparing him against anybody else, we need to compare against how they would perform with the Reds defense behind them.

The pertinent question, for example, is "How would Arroyo perform compared to Roy OSwalt, if he were a Red?", not "How would Arroyo perform as a Red compared to Oswalt would perform with a league average defense behind him?"

For virtually any question I can think of, you want to give a guy credit for what he himself is responsible for.