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Thread: Can Eric Milton get better?

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  1. #1
    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Can Eric Milton get better?

    I am eye-gougingly bored today, and it occurred to me that it is but a matter of weeks before Eric Milton arrives to haunt my nightmares again. I had high hopes when that photo of Danny Graves turned up that he might have eaten Eric Milton, but I must prepare myself for the possibility that he is still alive and on the Reds' pitching staff so I decided to use my time to determine whether there's any hope of significant improvement for Milton this year. And maybe I'm blinded by my newfound Castellini-borne optimism, but I think perhaps there is.

    So my friend looked at DIPS and got these numbers for me since I'm not so good with statistics, also he pays for this kind of information. And this is what happened with pitchers' ERAs this past season compared to their DIPS from 2004. The ones in bold are the ones for whom the DIPS correctly predicted an improvement or decline for 2005 ERA:

    (I copied and pasted these numbers and cannot get them to line up no matter how many spaces I put in, can someone help me with this? But I tried to fix it with slashes, anyway you get the point.)

    Pitcher / 2004 ERA / 2004 DIPS ERA / 2005 ERA
    Al Leiter / 3.21 / 4.84 / 6.13
    Jake Peavy / 2.27 / 3.21 / 2.88
    Carlos Zambrano / 2.75 / 3.68 / 3.26
    Odalis Perez / 3.25 / 4.24 / 4.56
    Jason Marquis / 3.71 / 4.61 / 4.13
    Jake Westbrook / 3.38 / 4.19 / 4.49
    Jose Lima / 4.07 / 5.03 / 6.99

    Brandon Webb / 3.59 / 4.40 / 3.54
    Steve Trachsel / 4.00 / 4.79 / 4.14
    Carl Pavano / 3.00 / 3.56 / 4.77

    Tom Glavine / 3.60 / 4.28 / 3.53
    Oliver Perez / 2.98 / 3.50 / 5.85
    Russ Ortiz / 4.13 / 4.84 / 6.89

    Jeff Suppan / 4.16 / 4.86 / 3.57
    Kaz Ishii / 4.71 / 5.44 / 5.14
    Underperformers
    Mark Hendrickson / 4.81 / 4.49 / 5.90
    Corey Lidle / 4.90 / 4.55 / 4.53
    Adam Eaton / 4.61 / 4.27 / 4.27
    Nate Robertson / 4.90 / 4.53 / 4.48
    Brett Myers / 5.52 / 5.10 / 3.72

    Darrell May / 5.61 / 5.17 / 6.78
    Cliff Lee / 5.43 / 4.91 / 3.79
    Esteban Loaiza / 5.70 / 5.16 / 3.77
    Jason Jennings / 5.51 / 4.91 / 5.02
    Kris Benson / 4.31 / 3.80 / 4.13
    John Lackey / 4.67 / 4.11 / 3.44
    Jon Lieber / 4.33 / 3.79 / 4.20
    Jeremy Bonderman / 4.89 / 4.24 / 4.57

    Sidney Ponson / 5.30 / 4.52 / 6.21
    Jason Johnson / 5.13 / 4.28 / 4.54
    Derek Lowe / 5.42 / 4.36 / 3.61


    My first thought in looking at this is that Oliver Perez is not nearly as good as I expected him to be by now, though he's still a young sprite. My second thought is that I'm totally blanking on who Cliff Lee is. BUT my third thought is that DIPS did pretty well in predicting improvement or decline in these pitchers. 24 out of 30. And, as my friend pointed out, a couple of the inaccuracies can be attributed to random things -- Ponson being crazy, for example.

    So here are the DIPS based on 2005 ERAs for the top 15 overperformers and underperformers (of which, shockingly, Eric Milton is one) last season:

    Overperformers
    Pitcher / 2005 ERA / 2005 DIPS ERA
    Roger Clemens / 1.87 / 3.02
    Jarrod Washburn / 3.20 / 4.55
    Andy Pettitte / 2.39 / 3.27
    Kevin Millwood / 2.86 / 3.88
    Bruce Chen / 3.83 / 5.03
    Jeff Suppan / 3.57 / 4.66
    Joe Blanton / 3.53 / 4.58
    Tim Hudson / 3.52 / 4.44
    Carlos Silva / 3.44 / 4.33
    Jon Garland / 3.50 / 4.39
    Kenny Rogers / 3.46 / 4.30
    Jason Marquis / 4.13 / 5.12
    Mark Mulder / 3.64 / 4.50
    Dontrelle Willis / 2.63 / 3.20
    Jose Contreras / 3.61 / 4.34
    Underperformers
    Zach Greinke / 5.80 / 4.52
    Mark Hendrickson / 5.90 / 4.69
    Joel Pineiro / 5.62 / 4.52
    Jose Lima / 6.99 / 5.65
    Eric Milton / 6.47 / 5.26
    Jeff Francis / 5.68 / 4.70
    Corey Lidle / 4.53 / 3.80
    Brian Lawrence / 4.83 / 4.22
    Jeremy Bonderman / 4.57 / 4.03
    Mark Redman / 4.90 / 4.32
    David Wells / 4.45 / 3.96
    Jason Schmidt / 4.40 / 3.95
    Chris Young / 4.26 / 3.88
    Javier Vasquez / 4.42 / 4.03
    Matt Clement / 4.57 / 4.17

    The first thing I notice here is that my true love Javier Vazquez may finally have the season I have been waiting for him to have. The second is that Eric Milton is pretty high on that list of pitchers whose 2006 ERAs may significantly improve if we use their 2005 DIPS as a barometer for potential improvement.

    So my question is: how accurate do you think all of this is? I always put forth the argument that a DIPS is all well and good in taking into account factors of a ballpark, but the fact remains that Eric Milton will be pitching half his games at GABP for as long as he is haunting my nightmares. My friend argues that it's not just park factors that affect DIPS but other things as well, such as accidents of defense. To which I respond, I don't know that the Reds' defense will help Eric Milton improve (although I see his point -- I expect FeLo, for example, to improve this year. But then we have Womack and Aurilia to worry about, and the fact that misplayed groundballs don't tend to be Milton's biggest problem.)

    So I basically just did all that work to not feel any better or worse off than I did when I started. I'm looking for something, anything, to make me feel better about Milton...I swear the man has caused me more wasted time in my life than anyone I know personally. I can't completely give up hope, because he CAN throw a ball well occasionally...I've seen him do it...so I thought maybe DIPS would be a good thing to look at for him. But I don't know. What do you guys think? If this has been covered in depth before, I'm sorry, see above re: very very bored.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

  2. #2
    First Time Caller SunDeck's Avatar
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    Re: Can Eric Milton get better?

    Nice post. I will be wild if Milty's ERA is south of 5.00.
    Wild, I say.
    It looks like only a few of those players who moved south did so by more than a half a point...except for Cliff Lee (whoever he is!) and some others.

    So great, let's assume Milty's DIPS ERA indicates improvement. The problem is that is looks like he'll only improve to about 5.9.

    Fantastic.
    Next Reds manager, second shooter. --Confirmed on Redszone.

  3. #3
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Can Eric Milton get better?

    I don't think he'll do anything more then horrible as long as he plays for us, like Hampton in Colorado I think the park is in his head, and he's gonna stink both there and on the road till he gets a change of scenery.

    He wasn't good before we got him, he's got from bad to freaking horrible
    Go Gators!

  4. #4
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Can Eric Milton get better?

    The past doesn't make it look too hopeful.

    FWIW it wa sthe 5th worst ERA in MLB history for a guy with 30 starts, 10th for a guy with 20, 14th with 15 starts.

    Code:
    ERA                           YEAR     ERA      ERA      GS      RSAA      AGE    
    1    Jose Lima                2005     6.99     6.99       32      -50       32   
    2    LaTroy Hawkins           1999     6.66     6.66       33      -28       26   
    3    Jose Lima                2000     6.65     6.65       33      -36       27   
    4    Darryl Kile              1999     6.61     6.61       32      -13       30   
    5    Eric Milton              2005     6.47     6.47       34      -41       29   
    6    Pedro Astacio            1998     6.23     6.23       34      -17       28   
    7    Pat Caraway              1931     6.22     6.22       32      -51       25   
    8    Brian Bohanon            1999     6.20     6.20       33       -4       30   
    9    Mike Hampton             2002     6.15     6.15       30      -22       29   
    10   Javier Vazquez           1998     6.06     6.06       32      -43       21

  5. #5
    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Can Eric Milton get better?

    Why is Jose Lima still working?
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

  6. #6
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Can Eric Milton get better?

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum
    Why is Jose Lima still working?
    Lima time still sounds cool
    Go Gators!

  7. #7
    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Re: Can Eric Milton get better?

    Eric Milton will never have an ERA below 5.5 for the Reds so long as he remains a fly ball pitcher in a hitter's park. He lacks the overpowering heat to blow guys away, and he doesn't keep the ball down enough to keep it in the park.

    The thing that's so frustrating about this is that everyone with an inkling of a clue KNEW this before Milton was ever signed. Perhaps it couldn't have been predicted that he would suck at the level he did last year, but a 5.50 ERA was entirely predictable based on his past performances. Yet we still hand him $8 million per to pitch batting practice to the other team.

    IMO, this move alone was enough to justify DanO's firing. Complete and utter idiocy is the only way to describe it.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

  8. #8
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Can Eric Milton get better?

    Quote Originally Posted by registerthis
    Eric Milton will never have an ERA below 5.5 for the Reds so long as he remains a fly ball pitcher in a hitter's park. He lacks the overpowering heat to blow guys away, and he doesn't keep the ball down enough to keep it in the park.

    The thing that's so frustrating about this is that everyone with an inkling of a clue KNEW this before Milton was ever signed. Perhaps it couldn't have been predicted that he would suck at the level he did last year, but a 5.50 ERA was entirely predictable based on his past performances. Yet we still hand him $8 million per to pitch batting practice to the other team.

    IMO, this move alone was enough to justify DanO's firing. Complete and utter idiocy is the only way to describe it.
    Do you know what Milton's DIPS was in 2004? Because I think the wrong conclusion was arrived at by Dan O & co because of his "success" in 2004. I suspect he was an overperformer as indicated by DIPS which the fact that he was really a worse pitcher with Philly than he was in MN. But O'Bie saw that he was equally as good in Philly (judging by wins and era) and conluded that rather he could handle the pitcher friendly environment.

  9. #9
    I'm tasty AND low in fat!
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    Re: Can Eric Milton get better?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick
    Do you know what Milton's DIPS was in 2004? Because I think the wrong conclusion was arrived at by Dan O & co because of his "success" in 2004. I suspect he was an overperformer as indicated by DIPS which the fact that he was really a worse pitcher with Philly than he was in MN. But O'Bie saw that he was equally as good in Philly (judging by wins and era) and conluded that rather he could handle the pitcher friendly environment.
    These aren't "official" numbers, but doing some quick and dirty calculations, I get a DIPS of 5.14 and a FIP of 5.26 for Milton for 2004. But those are statistics on paper, they're obviously not indicators of future performance.
    "It is not who is right, but what is right, that is of importance."
    "Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority."
    -Thomas Huxley

  10. #10
    Naugy Red
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    Re: Can Eric Milton get better?

    Yes I think He can be a lot better. He will be 31 in August and Had a record of 71 wins and 57 losses thru 2004 Pitching in Homer friendly Parks. I agree He was a bad signing at 25 Million But should be a decent Starter.He has had 4 seasons of at least 13 wins

  11. #11
    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Re: Can Eric Milton get better?

    Quote Originally Posted by Naugy Red
    Yes I think He can be a lot better. He will be 31 in August and Had a record of 71 wins and 57 losses thru 2004 Pitching in Homer friendly Parks. I agree He was a bad signing at 25 Million But should be a decent Starter.He has had 4 seasons of at least 13 wins
    "Number of wins" is one of the worst barometers you can use to grade a pitcher's abilities. "Wins" are the "batting average" of pitcher's stats, and its the kind of thing that leads to Jimmy Haynes getting a ridiculous 2 year deal simply because he ended up on the right side of the score 15 times in 2003.

    With Milton, there's no reason to expect him to improve, other than wishful thinking. He's always been a fly ball/HR pitcher--no more so than last year. Unfortunately, he pitches in a park with a strong propensity for coughing up the long ball. His GB/FB ration is the reverse of what it should be for him to be effective in GAB.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

  12. #12
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Can Eric Milton get better?

    Quote Originally Posted by registerthis
    "Number of wins" is one of the worst barometers you can use to grade a pitcher's abilities. "Wins" are the "batting average" of pitcher's stats, and its the kind of thing that leads to Jimmy Haynes getting a ridiculous 2 year deal simply because he ended up on the right side of the score 15 times in 2003.
    Tony Womack hit .307 in 2004 hitting almost purely in the lead-off spot with Renteria/Walker, Pujols, Rolen, and Edmonds behind him. He scored just 91 runs. Adam Dunn hit .266 in 2004, usually in the 4th or 5th spot with D'Angelo Jiminez , Jason/Valentin, and Juan Castro behind him. He scored 105 runs.

    Wins are pretty much screwed up the same way. What makes you good isn't what's measured the most commonly used stat.

  13. #13
    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Re: Can Eric Milton get better?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick
    Tony Womack hit .307 in 2004 hitting almost purely in the lead-off spot with Renteria/Walker, Pujols, Rolen, and Edmonds behind him. He scored just 91 runs. Adam Dunn hit .266 in 2004, usually in the 4th or 5th spot with D'Angelo Jiminez , Jason/Valentin, and Juan Castro behind him. He scored 105 runs.

    Wins are pretty much screwed up the same way. What makes you good isn't what's measured the most commonly used stat.
    Yep, Casey hit .312 last year. Hal Morris routinely hit .300-.320. Call it the "empty batting average" syndrome.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

  14. #14
    Smells Like Teen Spirit jmcclain19's Avatar
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    Re: Can Eric Milton get better?

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum
    Why is Jose Lima still working?
    Have you ever seen his wife?

  15. #15
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Can Eric Milton get better?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmcclain19
    Have you ever seen his wife?
    Yeah, and it still begs the question.
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