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Thread: Eric Milton investigations

  1. #1
    Basement-Dwelling Blogger JinAZ's Avatar
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    Eric Milton investigations

    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):

    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
    *FIP - Fielding Independent Pitching, based on hardball times' FIP formula; think ERA after you control for variation in hit rate.
    **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:

    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
    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...

    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:

    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
    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.

    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

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  3. #2
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Eric Milton investigations

    Nice post, some of this has been brought up on here before, but not all of it has been put together like you did with this post. The problem is that Cincinnati has a horrible defense, so Milton, along with most of the rest of the pitchers, will usually have a much better FIP than what will really show up in the stats.

  4. #3
    "Let's Roll" TeamBoone's Avatar
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    Re: Eric Milton investigations

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt
    Nice post, some of this has been brought up on here before, but not all of it has been put together like you did with this post. The problem is that Cincinnati has a horrible defense, so Milton, along with most of the rest of the pitchers, will usually have a much better FIP than what will really show up in the stats.
    Maybe the defense is horrible, but the problem is Cincinnati has horrible pitching.
    "Enjoy this Reds fans, you are watching a legend grow up before your very eyes" ... DoogMinAmo on Adam Dunn

  5. #4
    Member harangatang's Avatar
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    Re: Eric Milton investigations

    Nice post, Milton will never be a Cy Young candidate but I think you'll see a drop in ERA to around 4.50 this year.

  6. #5
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Eric Milton investigations

    Quote Originally Posted by TeamBoone
    Maybe the defense is horrible, but the problem is Cincinnati has horrible pitching.
    The statement was made about why the FIP would always be a lot lower than what is actually shown.

  7. #6
    Member harangatang's Avatar
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    Re: Eric Milton investigations

    Quote Originally Posted by TeamBoone
    Maybe the defense is horrible, but the problem is Cincinnati has horrible pitching.
    Good defense doesn't discriminate between good and bad pitching. A good defense will help a bad pitching staff become better as long as the balls aren't going out of the park.

  8. #7
    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: Eric Milton investigations

    There is a lot of random variation with pitching stats from season to season in which luck plays a factor. It is not unreasonable to expect Milton could post a sub 5 ERA while being a very similar pitcher to 2005. He was both bad and very unlucky last year. Of course he will never be worth anywhere near $8M+ a season.
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

  9. #8
    Basement-Dwelling Blogger JinAZ's Avatar
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    Re: Eric Milton investigations

    If Milton is lucky enough to get BABIP of 0.250 again, he can pitch just as dreadfully as he did last year and still get a below 5.00 ERA. But I'd be much happier if he can continue his performance from the second half of last year, as chances are he'd be moderately effective.

    Defensive stats are things I'm just starting to really learn about, and the good ones are frustratingly difficult to calculate by yourself. But it's clear from the lgERA's at baseball-reference.org that the Reds defense is a substantial problem for our pitchers, probably more so than the park itself.

    Anyway, thanks for the encouragement folks.
    -JinAZ

  10. #9
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Eric Milton investigations

    I read the title of this and thought Milton opened up a detective agency.
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rally-...24872650873160

  11. #10
    Basement-Dwelling Blogger JinAZ's Avatar
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    Re: Eric Milton investigations

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R
    I read the title of this and thought Milton opened up a detective agency.
    The original title I had was "On Eric Milton", but I decided it was too pompous. -JinAZ

  12. #11
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Eric Milton investigations

    If Milton had a TV detective show it wouldn't be much different than him pitching. About 10 minutes in he'd get the crap kicked out of him.
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rally-...24872650873160

  13. #12
    smells of rich mahogany deltachi8's Avatar
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    Re: Eric Milton investigations

    Quote Originally Posted by harangatang
    Nice post, Milton will never be a Cy Young candidate but I think you'll see a drop in ERA to around 4.50 this year.
    if that happens, Vern Ruhl should be named exalted leaderof the baseball world.
    Nothing to see here. Please disperse.

  14. #13
    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Eric Milton investigations

    Good defense doesn't discriminate between good and bad pitching. A good defense will help a bad pitching staff become better as long as the balls aren't going out of the park.
    Good pitching generates outs on its own -- strikeouts. The Reds' staff doesn't strike batters out, so any defensive shortcomings are magnified.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

  15. #14
    Harry Chiti Fan registerthis's Avatar
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    Re: Eric Milton investigations

    If Milton gets his ERA under 5.00 this year, I'll buy the whole board a round of hut fudge sundaes.
    We'll burn that bridge when we get to it.

  16. #15
    smells of rich mahogany deltachi8's Avatar
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    Re: Eric Milton investigations

    I wish I could collect on that, i like mine with extra hut.
    Nothing to see here. Please disperse.


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