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Thread: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

  1. #301
    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Aren't you really arguing that Cueto has made a conscious choice to abdicate to his defense behind him? Why would Cueto get credit for his LOB% because he's made a decision to limit his pitch count? BTW, his LOB% correlates with the quality of the Reds defense too----it becomes higher than expected from 2009 forward.
    .
    Yes, I agree with you on this.
    I think my post was a bit scattered, not necessarily making a point.
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  3. #302
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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Aren't you really arguing that Cueto has made a conscious choice to abdicate to his defense behind him? Why would Cueto get credit for his LOB% because he's made a decision to limit his pitch count? BTW, his LOB% correlates with the quality of the Reds defense too----it becomes higher than expected from 2009 forward.
    I think he gets credit because it's part of a gameplan. One that's less feasible without a good defense behind him. During the time-frame of tight Red's defenses, there have been several high-octane pitchers -- Harang, Volquez, Bailey until recently -- that weren't doing this successfully.

    Pitching is an art and a science with an incredible amount of thought and strategy played out in a single at bat. But that doesn't mean Leake or Arroyo should get credit for their LOB% or BABIP by default.
    Agreed. But I don't think you wipe away their success as a mirage.
    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
    I think he gets credit because it's part of a gameplan. One that's less feasible without a good defense behind him. During the time-frame of tight Red's defenses, there have been several high-octane pitchers -- Harang, Volquez, Bailey until recently -- that weren't doing this successfully.
    For Leake and Arroyo, it's the only game plan. They don't miss bats. They really shouldn't get credit for having to rely on their GM to create a roster for them. In other words, if a guy can pitch exactly the same way in front of another team and have a different average LOB%, the guy shouldn't get credit for his LOB%.
    "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 jojo View Post
    For Leake and Arroyo, it's the only game plan. They don't miss bats. They really shouldn't get credit for having to rely on their GM to create a roster for them. In other words, if a guy can pitch exactly the same way in front of another team and have a different average LOB%, the guy shouldn't get credit for his LOB%.
    How do we know that they will pitch the exact same way? We know that Leake can throw harder, but chooses not to.

    Brandon McCarthy was the wonder on of the saber world, because he choose to pitch more to contact, and turned his career around. Johnny Cueto did the same. And under the radar, Bailey's turn around a few years ago was partly due to him not trying to strike everyone out, and relying on his defense more.

    It may appear that Leake and Arroyo have no other option, but we really are making he assumptions by concluding this. They both are very smart pitchers who could change their approach if playing for a different team.
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  7. #305
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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Mike Leake is a piŮata

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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    For Leake and Arroyo, it's the only game plan. They don't miss bats. They really shouldn't get credit for having to rely on their GM to create a roster for them. In other words, if a guy can pitch exactly the same way in front of another team and have a different average LOB%, the guy shouldn't get credit for his LOB%.
    Not sure what you mean by "credit". If a flyball pitcher gets to pitch in the Astrodome, and uses all that space for outs, I'm giving him "credit".

    Maybe I listen to too much Mike Krukow, but he talks a lot about not having to K everyone when the guys behind you can pick it. He's not the only pitcher to say as much.

    I'm not saying Leake or Arroyo could just turn on the K-juice, should the fielding collapse. But I also don't think you can just drop any pitcher in front of the Red's defense and expect the same results.
    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 757690 View Post
    How do we know that they will pitch the exact same way? We know that Leake can throw harder, but chooses not to.
    How do we know that he doesn't have a classic 12/6 curve and chooses not to use it as an out pitch?

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    Brandon McCarthy was the wonder on of the saber world, because he choose to pitch more to contact, and turned his career around. Johnny Cueto did the same. And under the radar, Bailey's turn around a few years ago was partly due to him not trying to strike everyone out, and relying on his defense more.
    Not trying to strike everyone out is really a proxy for managing pitch counts, increasing command (lowering velocity makes it easy to throw it where you want it) or both. It really shouldn't be confused with the notion that the pitcher is trying to induce a type of contact that would allow him to control his BABIP/LOB% in a way that is independent of the quality of defense. This is a specific point that absolutely needs parsed because those claiming pitch to contact is suddenly desireble now that Dan Obrien isn't the GM any longer, seem to conflate the two issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    It may appear that Leake and Arroyo have no other option, but we really are making he assumptions by concluding this. They both are very smart pitchers who could change their approach if playing for a different team.
    Then both have certainly fooled the scouts. It just isn't compelling to argue that Leake and Arroyo could reinvent themselves into guys who consistently miss major league bats. I get that you beleive this in your heart and you come by the bias honestly but it just doesn't jive with what we know of Arroyo/Leake from their histories.
    "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 Rojo View Post
    Not sure what you mean by "credit". If a flyball pitcher gets to pitch in the Astrodome, and uses all that space for outs, I'm giving him "credit".

    Maybe I listen to too much Mike Krukow, but he talks a lot about not having to K everyone when the guys behind you can pick it. He's not the only pitcher to say as much.

    I'm not saying Leake or Arroyo could just turn on the K-juice, should the fielding collapse. But I also don't think you can just drop any pitcher in front of the Red's defense and expect the same results.
    If I own a landscape business and get paid to dig a ditch but contract out the job to a ditch digging company, who dug the ditch? If the landowner was so impressed with the ditch that he wanted more dug, should he pay me or the ditch digging company?

    What you're actually arguing is that if there is a good defense behind a pitcher, he can let someone else do the work. That's fine, but you're arguing he should get the credit for someone else's work though and while not saying it, there is an implied argument that there is somehow an underlying skill involved that potentially made the outcome of the contact somehow in the control of the pitcher.
    Last edited by jojo; 04-24-2014 at 03:02 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?

    edit: Nevermind, I don't want to get into this conversation
    Last edited by kpresidente; 04-24-2014 at 03:25 PM.

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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by kpresidente View Post
    edit: Nevermind, I don't want to get into this conversation
    I don't blame you.
    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

  15. #311
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo View Post
    Of the three factors, nobody doubts defense. I don't think anyone doubts luck can play a role (round bat, round ball, all that). So really it's the newly age-old argument about controlling BABIP. The guys who take the mound say they can. That doesn't mean players aren't immune to observational bias and that's the final word. But I'm not going to be cavalier about dismissing their thoughts.

    Jury's still out on Leake for me. For Arroyo, you have a lot of years that's harder to dismiss. He's a FB guy and a lot of those FB's are in the infield. That may explain lower than expected BABIP's.
    The stat nerds agree that the guys on the mound matter too. It's a question of how much. A question that is especially hard to answer for a specific guy over the course of just a few seasons.

    For Leake, if you look at tERA or SIERA, FIP-style stats that account for batted ball type, he doesn't look any better. I actually don't think his story is too hard to figure out.

    Code:
    Season	Team	RA9-WAR	BIPWins LOBWins FDPWins	RAR	WAR
    2010	Reds	1.0	-0.6	 0.9	 0.2	 7.7	0.8	 
    2011	Reds	2.4	 1.0	 0.2	 1.2	11.3	1.2 
    2012	Reds	1.0	-0.6	 0.4	-0.2	11.9	1.2
    2013	Reds	3.2	 0.4	 1.2	 1.6	14.9	1.6	 
    2014	Reds	0.5	 0.4	-0.1	 0.3	 1.4	0.1 
    Total	- - -	8.2	 0.6	 2.6	 3.2	47.1	5.0
    In his career, Leake has been worth 8.2 WAR based on runs allowed. But based on FIP, he's been worth 5.0 WAR. That 3.2 WAR difference is made of 0.6 WAR batted ball "luck" and 2.6 left on base "luck". I use "luck" as the shorthand for "some combination of Leake's skill, his teammates skills and random variation".

    Think of the BIP Wins as the "getting 'em on" part and the LOBWins as the "getting 'em in" part. He's been a touch "lucky" in terms of allowing fewer hits than we'd expect, but he's been very "lucky" in terms of LOBWins. He's tied for the 2nd most LOBWins since 2010 (behind Johnny Cueto, ironically).

    If we first drill in to the BABIP, we see that Leake has been slightly better than NL average. But if we compare him to the Reds average, he's a bit worse than average (especially when we consider he's part of that Reds average -- a non-Leake Reds figure would be lower). So it's safe to say we probably shouldn't give Leake credit for the part of his ERA difference from FIP that can be explained by limiting hits.
    Code:
    BABIP	Leake	Reds	NL
    2010	.314	.288	.296
    2011	.269	.282	.291
    2012	.306	.288	.295
    2013	.285	.273	.292
    2014	.226	.249	.289
    Total	.290	.283	.293
    But what about the bigger chunk, the stranding guys on base? Well, we could ask about batted ball types; he is a ground ball guy after all. So maybe he's getting help on double play balls. If we look at his SIERA, a FIP that also looks at batted ball types, his career ERA is a lot closer. Factor in the value of doing that in front of the Reds defense and there you are.
    Code:
    	ERA	FIP	xFIP	SIERA	
    2010	4.23	4.68	4.16	4.31
    2011	3.86	4.22	3.68	3.75
    2012	4.58	4.42	3.82	4.08
    2013	3.37	4.04	3.91	4.10
    2014	3.49	4.12	3.64	3.46
    Total	3.97	4.31	3.87	4.04
    Of course, that doesn't explain last year specifically. Why did he strand so many runners last year? No clue. Should we conclude that it was do "luck"? Conclude? No. But when we know that LOB% is fairly volatile, "luck" is the most reasonable starting point. Everything we can say with some reasonable certainty that we "know" is that Leake looks like a 4.00 ERA type pitcher who, thanks to the Reds strong defense and groundball tendencies, has played up a bit from there.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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  17. #312
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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    What stat guys know but rarely mention is that there are outliers in every scenario, what I've found is accept the outliers but don't hope your team builds on them as a rule. They exist, if you can't explain them then why battle to diminish their oddness in a game that never demands perfection across the board?

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    Re: Mike Leake, Best of the Bunch?

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    What stat guys know but rarely mention is that there are outliers in every scenario, what I've found is accept the outliers but don't hope your team builds on them as a rule. They exist, if you can't explain them then why battle to diminish their oddness in a game that never demands perfection across the board?
    Problem is that we're not talking about outliers. We're talking about a really, really good defense. I guess one could call the defense an outlier.
    "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 RedsManRick View Post
    Everything we can say with some reasonable certainty that we "know" is that Leake looks like a 4.00 ERA type pitcher who, thanks to the Reds strong defense and groundball tendencies, has played up a bit from there.
    I think your concluding sentence here undid itself, specifically due to the words "groundball tendencies." Most of us know where Leake lands if you view him through a McCrackenized lens. However, he enjoys a level of success that exceeds what we'd expect from his HR/BB/K mix. While it is fair to look at the Reds' defense as the potential reason, that defense does not have a similar effect on McCracken underachiever Homer Bailey. In Leake's case I think it argues for a deeper consideration of what he's potentially doing right. For instance, I would argue groundball tendencies are a materially good thing for a pitcher to have regardless of the defense behind him. The quality of the defense affects how much it helps, but it's still a desirable outcome regardless. If that's the case, then Leake looks like 4.00 FIP pitcher whose other assets enable him to carry an ERA that's 10% lower than that.
    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 M2 View Post
    I think your concluding sentence here undid itself, specifically due to the words "groundball tendencies." Most of us know where Leake lands if you view him through a McCrackenized lens. However, he enjoys a level of success that exceeds what we'd expect from his HR/BB/K mix. While it is fair to look at the Reds' defense as the potential reason, that defense does not have a similar effect on McCracken underachiever Homer Bailey. In Leake's case I think it argues for a deeper consideration of what he's potentially doing right. For instance, I would argue groundball tendencies are a materially good thing for a pitcher to have regardless of the defense behind him. The quality of the defense affects how much it helps, but it's still a desirable outcome regardless. If that's the case, then Leake looks like 4.00 FIP pitcher whose other assets enable him to carry an ERA that's 10% lower than that.
    What he is doing right is allowing contact in front of a great defense.
    "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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