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Thread: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

  1. #181
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    Except when he became a Red coincides exactly with a change in emphasis. The team got better defensively right away with BP at 2B, Mr. Hat at 1B, etc. etc. and they have gotten incrementally better overall, one position at a time it seems. And while his FIP has remained fairly constant (minus his mono year of 2011), his actual ERA started getting much better around 2008.

    Put it this way. Arroyo as a Red in say, 2002-2005 gets pounded like a mallard in a Chinese butcher shop.
    Except that didn't happen. The Reds were a bad defensive team in 2006-8, worst DER in the NL in 2008. In fact, those years were the bottom of the trough when it came to the Reds' defense. 2002-5 were actually better.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

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  3. #182
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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Here is the problem those viewing Arroyo through an ERA prism have with trying to characterize the sabermetric view of Arroyo as cookie cutter-it doesn't hold water. Rather than simply looking at ERA and ascribing everything to Arroyo (a true cookie cutter approach), a sabermetric view looks at the issue from a great many angles (including ERA) in an effort to estimate Arroyo's worth.

    For instance, here is a picture of Arroyo as a Red versus the average major league production at starter (average of ALL starts) between 2006-2013 based upon examining the pitcher trifecta (peripherals intrinsic to a repeatable skills set) and luck/randomness metrics (things that tend to regress):

    Code:
    			            Make 'em miss	 Command	BatBall         Luck		
    	ERA	FIP	K/9	K%    Contact%  SwStr%	BB/9	BB%	GB%	BABIP	LOB%	HR/FB
    Arroyo	4.05	4.6	5.92	15.7	83.8	7.1	2.31	6.1	40.9	0.278	75.1	12.0
    MLBave	4.32	3.95	6.68	17.3	81.2	8.2	3.01	7.8	44.1	0.300	71.4	10.6
    First, who agrees the above is a "cookie cutter" approach?

    Second, based upon using multiple ways to look at Arroyo vs average production from starters, is it really possible to argue that Arroyo was an above average starter during his tenure as a Red (keep in mind that he'd compare even less favorably if the baseline was only starts from NL pitchers because AL pitchers have to face the DH)? Is it really compelling to argue that WAR undervalued Arroyo when he was below average in so many ways? Is it a crazy argument to suggest that his ERA outperformed his FIP largely because of the defense behind him when he had a BABIP and LOB% that where better than average (flags that are consistent with playing in front of great defenses especially given Arroyo's metrics demonstrating he gives up much more contact than an average pitcher does)?

    Some want to argue that Arroyo is one of those guys who has a special ability to induce lower than expected BABIP and that is why his ERA out performs his FIP. In other words, they view Arroyo through the cookie cutter ERA approach and ascribe the totality of run prevention to his credit. However its been demonstrated that Arroyo's ERA has largely been driven by a lower BABIP which largely correlates to the strength of the defense behind him as is shown below.

    Interpreting Arroyo's lower than expected ERA as largely a reflection of his defense creates a consistent picture with his pitch to contact skill set and the dramatic evolution of the Reds defense that was orchestrated behind him during his tenure as a Red. Understanding that it's his defense rather than a special inherent ability to control quality of contact also explains why he sustained a higher than expected HR/FB%. He allowed contact and that means HRs too. On the other hand, it makes no sense that he'd have such a sustained HR/FB% if his low ERA and low BABIP was the product of inducing poor contact. In other words, he gives up lots of contact and when you look at results of contact that can't be influenced by the defense behind him, his results are poorer than expected.

    The notion that Arroyo possesses some special skill because his ERA out performed his FIP is inconsistent with too many other attributes for Arroyo while again, it largely ignores the impact of the Reds' defense. Meanwhile the overall view of Arroyo using a multifaceted sabermetric view is very consistent with a characterization that concludes Arroyo is a high contact guy with command but no out pitch especially against lefties who benefited greatly by the Reds evolution from chonically disastrous defense to league leading defense and who really acrued his value mostly through having a rubber arm and burning alot of innings.

    Here again is an argument for why Arroyo's ERA was driven by a lower than expected BABIP that was the product of his defense rather than an inherent special skill:

    http://www.redszone.com/forums/showp...&postcount=721

    My take on Arroyo?

    His ERA has been driven by his BABIP both of which have dramatically improved with the significant improvement of the defense behind him. In other words, significant interaction between his performance and the Reds defense is a large reason why he's outperformed his peripherals so dramatically (i.e. his ERA has been better than his FIP would predict) over the last several seasons. Or to say it another way, put him in front of the Reds defense of 2006-2008 and his ERA would be much closer to his FIP.

    Why do I argue this?

    Here is a breakdown of Arroyo by year showing his ERA, FIP and BABIP. When the FIP-ERA is positive, it means his ERA was lower than his peripherals would predict (i.e. his ERA outperformed his FIP):

    Code:
    Arroyo				
    Season	ERA	FIP	FIP-ERA	BABIP
    2006	3.29	4.15	0.86	0.271
    2007	4.23	4.57	0.34	0.309
    2008	4.77	4.5	-0.27	0.314
    2009	3.84	4.78	0.94	0.265
    2010	3.88	4.61	0.73	0.239
    2011	5.07	5.71	0.64	0.278
    It's important to note that Arroyo's ERA has outperformed his FIP in 5 of the 6 seasons he's been a Red. But many would agree his 2006 ERA was an anomaly that was unsustainble. Certainly the magnitude of difference between his FIP and ERA spanning the 2009-2011 seasons would not have been expected based upon his prior performance or legitimately ascribed to a skillset. Realizing some may argue this point, below follow a few tables that hopefully demonstrate why one might make the above statement.

    Here's the same breakdown for the Reds' pitching staff over the same years:

    Code:
    Reds				
    Season	ERA	FIP	FIP-ERA	BABIP
    2006	4.51	4.63	0.12	0.31
    2007	4.94	4.55	-0.39	0.31
    2008	4.55	4.53	-0.02	0.312
    2009	4.18	4.66	0.48	0.283
    2010	4.01	4.18	0.17	0.288
    2011	4.16	4.45	0.29	0.282
    Here are the BABIP for the Reds staff and Arroyo for the two periods of his tenure as a Red (2006-2008 where the Reds had one of the worst defenses in the league and 2009-2011 where the Reds had one of the best defenses in the league):

    Code:
    BABIP by defensive performance
    	         Reds	  Arroyo
    2006-08	         0.311	  0.298
    2009-11	         0.284	  0.261
    Decrease	-0.026	 -0.037
    The data above indicates that for the period of 2009-2011 when Arroyo's ERA has significantly outperformed his FIP despite declining peripherals, the Red's staff as a whole has consistently outtperformed it's FIP as well. The third table suggests the reason why-the dramatically improved defense has driven a large part of this outcome. So he did not outperform his FIP independent of significant influence by his defense.

    So in other words, if the Reds were to pay market value for Arroyo's production over the last several seasons, they'd essentially be "paying double" for the cost associated with building their defense. This also can explain why Arroyo does not have a great deal of trade value despite his ERA's.

    All of that said, a look at Arroyo as a Reds does seem to suggest he has outperformed his peripherals to a greater degree than can solely be explained by the impact of the defense behind him. So there may be room to poke at something interesting here, albeit a minor effect. However, when looking at his time as a Pirate and BoSock, he displayed no discernible ability to consistently outperform his peripherals.

    The ultimate take home? If they can get a legit arm for their rotation, they should. At least Arroyo should not be a rationale for preventing such a trade.
    If you've managed to read all the way to this point, let me ask you again, does it pass the sniff test to describe the approach embodied in the mass of text above as "cookie cutter"?

    Also, when did properly placing a pitcher's performance into context suddenly become diminishing the player (i.e. who is really the biased one in that scenario-the accused or the accuser?)?

    The guy threw strikes and burnt innings. The quality of those innings were significantly impacted by the quality of the defense behind him. Is that even a controversial statement? A mutli-faceted look at his numbers seems to support the notion that it's not a controversial statement at all.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  4. #183
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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    When people compare Leake to Arroyo, it is often as they saw them both at the same time, while ignoring that Arroyo is about 10 years older than Leake. Does anyone really think Mike Leake will somehow develop into a 6.5-7K/9 guy while lowering his H/9? Or is it more realistic to believe his K/9 will continue to drop, while his H/9 will hover in the 9-10 range where it has for 3 of his 4 seasons?
    I compare him to Arroyo because I see people exasperatedly trying to explain away their terrible analysis and projection when it comes to both guys. I don't know how high Leake's K/9 will climb. If you're looking at the three big peripherals, I'd say Ks rank 3rd when considering what matters for him. #1 would be BB/9. If he can can drop it below 2.00, that would have a positive effect. It also might have some spillover effect on his K/9 (see Arroyo, Bronson 2012-3). #2 is HR/9, which he had down to 1.00 last season. If he keeps that there, or lowers it (not easy when working in the GAB), that would shield him against a higher BABIP tripping him up. More K/9 would be nice, but his is workable (evidenced by the fact that it already works) and I'm not worried about it dropping in his late 20s.
    Last edited by M2; 04-17-2014 at 11:29 PM.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

    I'm witchcrafting everybody.

  5. #184
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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    One thing to consider that is being overlooked by the responses. I'm not talking about now, I'm trying to project out in the future. I never said he was the best - hence the question mark. No one knows for sure, but in no way am I talking about right now. Keep that in mind when you respond.

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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    I find your analysis lacking.
    I think most people would accuse me over being "over analytical" but I guess everyone can define adjectives however they want in a democratic community.

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    I don't think Leake is a world beater but do find a lot of value in him. I find value in a guy who can take the ball every 5th day. I find value in a guy who is going to log innings over the course of a season preventing those innings from going to a worse starter or a long reliever.
    I find value in Leake too and have described him as an inarguable success story for the Reds. We apparently estimate a player's true worth/production using very different methodologies however.


    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    I think it "cookie" cutter to use WAR and k/9 solely to diminish Leake is uninformed.
    First there really isn't anything cookie cutter about examining a pitcher based upon his peripherals and luck/randomness metrics while considering the quality of defense behind him and the environment in which he played. I'll be less democratic here and say that's a pretty inarguable position. I'd also suggest describing the use of such an approach in a thread that invites discussion on Leake's value/skillset as "solely to diminish" is a tell concerning bias and it's not my bias that's being illuminated.

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    I think saying that somehow his abilities are diminished because the Reds have a good defense is lacking. Leake is a cerebral enough guy to find out if he avoids the sweet part of the bat the guys behind him are going to turn balls into outs at a high rate.
    The 2013 Ms had one of the worst defenses I've had the displeasure of watching. Honest question-how do you think Leake's counting stats would change if he had the exact peripherals as he had in 2013 but pitched in front of the Ms rather than in front of the Reds defense?


    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan2 View Post
    I think Leake is a quality pitcher, a good middle of the rotation pitcher who profiles as the Reds 4th or 5th best pitcher. A very good thing to have, especially when one of your top guns hasn't pitched an inning yet and your other is suffering from whiplash from giving up long ball after long ball.
    Leake burning somewhere near 180-200 innings from the back of your rotation is a good thing until you have to buy Leake on the open market.
    Last edited by jojo; 04-17-2014 at 06:48 PM.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    It's too bad these magical gloves didn't rally for Elizardo Ramirez and Eric Milton like they did for Arroyo.
    The widow is gathering nettles for her children's dinner; a perfumed seigneur, delicately lounging in the Oeil de Boeuf, hath an alchemy whereby he will extract the third nettle and call it rent. ~ Carlyle

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  9. #187
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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    It's too bad these magical gloves didn't rally for Elizardo Ramirez and Eric Milton like they did for Arroyo.
    Unfortunately (or fortunately depending upon your perspective) neither guy lasted long enough to experience the benefits as they were long gone before the Reds' leather had luster.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  10. #188
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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    The notion that Bronson Arroyo was anything remotely close to below average as a Red is literally absolutely hysterical.
    They don't think it be like it is, but it do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Schuler View Post
    He has also taught me that even when the Reds win it is important to focus on the fact that they could have lost.

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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Unfortunately (or fortunately depending upon your perspective) neither guy lasted long enough to experience the benefits as they were long gone before the Reds' leather had luster.
    That's because they didn't pass the narrow ERA-prism test.
    The widow is gathering nettles for her children's dinner; a perfumed seigneur, delicately lounging in the Oeil de Boeuf, hath an alchemy whereby he will extract the third nettle and call it rent. ~ Carlyle

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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    It's too bad these magical gloves didn't rally for Elizardo Ramirez and Eric Milton like they did for Arroyo.
    That's the problem with the assertion that Arroyo merely was the lucky benefactor of the Reds improved defense. Over the same time frame, Cueto, Bailey and Harang all did not show any benefit from that said defense. While the Reds defense improved, their numbers did not. Only Arroyo's improved.

    That tells me that Arroyo was the one pitcher who knew how to best capitalize on a strong defense, a skill that clearly not every pitcher has.
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

  14. #191
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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    That's because they didn't pass the narrow ERA-prism test.
    Silly Reds. If only they'd held onto those two and gotten the stud seasons that followed their time in Cincinnati.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

    I'm witchcrafting everybody.

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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    That's because they didn't pass the narrow ERA-prism test.
    Are you implying they passed a sabermetric test or are you simply farting in the thread?
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  16. #193
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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    That's the problem with the assertion that Arroyo merely was the lucky benefactor of the Reds improved defense. Over the same time frame, Cueto, Bailey and Harang all did not show any benefit from that said defense. While the Reds defense improved, their numbers did not. Only Arroyo's improved.

    That tells me that Arroyo was the one pitcher who knew how to best capitalize on a strong defense, a skill that clearly not every pitcher has.
    In the argument about Arroyo's BABIP that you've now ignored for like the tenth time, it was shown that the Reds staff as a whole benefitted to a similar degree as Arroyo did....
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wonderful Monds View Post
    The notion that Bronson Arroyo was anything remotely close to below average as a Red is literally absolutely hysterical.
    Then make a reasoned argument demonstrating why....
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  18. #195
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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    In the argument about Arroyo's BABIP that you've now ignored for like the tenth time, it was shown that the Reds staff as a whole benefitted to a similar degree as Arroyo did....
    And for the umpteenth time, that ignores the fact that the Reds staff changed in personal during those years, and those new pitcher were the reason why the production was better. They added Masset and Rhodes, who made up most of the improvement.

    None of the pitchers who pitched for the Reds in both 2008 and 2009 improved, except for Arroyo. Here are the numbers of the players who pitched for the Reds in both 2008 and 2009... for the umpteenth time.

    2008 ERA - BABIP

    Harang - .301
    Cueto - .298
    Cordero - .302
    Burton - .301
    Arroyo - .314

    2009 BABIP


    Harang - .331
    Cueto - .291
    Cordero - .301
    Burton - .298
    Arroyo - .265
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

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