After seeing the latest article on Milton's work with Tom Browning, I decided to take a another look at Milton's stats. I did something like this earlier in the offseason (posted over at Red Reporter), but I've learned a bit more about DIPS and such since that time. I'm still something of a novice with this stuff, but I thought this might be of interest to folks here. I apologize if some of this is rehashing stuff you folks have already talked about -- I'm new here.
Loss of effectiveness
With his move to Philadelphia and also in Cinci, Milton had a huge increase in his HR rate, and this has had a dramatic negative effect on his effectiveness (see FIP below):
*FIP - Fielding Independent Pitching, based on hardball times' FIP formula; think ERA after you control for variation in hit rate.Code:Team Year(s) ERA FIP* BABIP** K/9 BB/9 HR/9 lgERA*** MIN '98-'03 4.76 4.59 0.275 6.5 2.5 1.4 ~4.80 PHI 2004 4.75 5.51 0.257 7.2 3.4 1.9 4.36 CIN 2005 6.47 5.62 0.311 5.9 2.5 1.9 4.44
**BABIP - Batting Average on Balls in Play
***lgERA - Park adjusted ERA from baseball-reference.org
His Philadelphia and Cincinnati performances were essentially identical (see FIP), except that he was quite lucky in Phily (low BABIP) and quite unlucky in Cinci (high BABIP). In Phily, he struck out more and walked more than in Cinci. I'm be inclined to conclude, as many others have, that the drop in effectiveness is stadium-related (see lgERA above), although his home/away splits for '05 don't completely support that notion:
FIP was lower in away games, but it was still unreasonably high, as was his HR rate. I suppose it's possible, of course, that he was taking his troubles with him on the road...Code:Split ERA FIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 Home 6.22 5.66 5.8 2.4 2.0 Away 6.74 5.36 6.1 2.6 1.8
And this year?
Looking forward to next year, there's at least some reason to be hopeful. Look at his 1st half/2nd half splits:
It didn't show up in his ERA (unlucky), but he was just about achieving at the level we'd all hoped he might in the second half (FIP=4.38...yeah, I'll gladly take that from him). The most dramatic difference was a drop in his HR rate, although his strikeout rate also got back up to near his career average in the second half.Code:Split ERA FIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 IP 1st half 6.92 6.35 5.7 2.6 2.4 106 2/3 2nd half 5.87 4.38 6.3 2.4 1.2 79 2/3
This was all after the much lauded (at the time) Gullett/Ruhle adjustment to his pushoff. So best case scenario, with his motion improved, his reported work on his leg strength in the offseason, and maybe even this "improvement" by Tom Browning... Can we dare hope for a full year of FIP=4.38 from Mr. Milton? I have my doubts he can continue a 1.2 hr/9 allowed this year, but I'd sure be excited if he did. -JinAZ