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Thread: How important is it to acquire a GB pitcher for the rotation?

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    Member Spitball's Avatar
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    How important is it to acquire a GB pitcher for the rotation?

    When looking for additions to the Reds' rotation, should they look for the best possible pitcher, or should they be concentrating on ground ball pitchers?

    Are fly ball pitchers really doomed to failure at GAB? Both Harang and Arroyo had almost identical 38% ground ball percentages for balls in play, yet they were very successful starting pitchers for the Reds.

    Home runs are usually not fly balls that happened to go too far. Home runs are mistakes by the pitcher. Fly balls are usually not bad if the pitcher doesn't make a mistake with the location. Fly balls, induced by design, tend to hang in the air longer which benefits fielders like Dunn and Griffey.

    Ground ball pitchers are nice because they tend to keep the ball in the park. However, since roughly 85% of all errors occur in the infield, they tend to give up more unearned runs, which don't count against ERA's but do on the scoreboard. Also, their mistakes tend to be line drives which does not bode well with Dunn and Griffey in the outfield.

    I'd like the Reds to direct their efforts toward acquiring the best possible pitcher available to improve the quality of the rotation, but I don't think it is necessary to let Eric Milton's frequent mistakes scare them from a good fly ball pitcher in the same mold as either Harang or Arroyo.
    "I am your child from the future. I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier." - Dylan Easton

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    Member Tom Servo's Avatar
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    Re: How important is it to acquire a GB pitcher for the rotation?

    A groundball pitcher like Jake Westbrook or the like could potentially be very nice, but I believe you still have to go after the best pitchers available, fly ball tendencies or not. What you can not afford to do though is sign a pitcher who gave up the most homeruns in the league to a big deal and expect him to do well in the ballpark that allows the most home runs in the league. But who could possibly be stupid enough to do that?

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: How important is it to acquire a GB pitcher for the rotation?

    Calling all stat-heads besides myself -- what other variables most strongly correlates with HR rate?

    H/9? GB/FB? LD%?

    I'm not sure how HR are classified in terms of GB/FB, but I'm guessing that in terms of "reality", more homers are "line drives" hit with a bit of extra loft than they are "fly balls" with a bit of extra carry. Adam Dunn can hit both line drive and fly ball homers, but I don't think most hitters are hitting homers on fly balls.

    All of the coding at this point is fairly subjective, but it would be interesting to see if it's as simply as converting flyballs in play in to a HR rate or if there's really more to the story.
    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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    Member Spitball's Avatar
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    Re: How important is it to acquire a GB pitcher for the rotation?

    Here is an interesting article on the subject:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...ers/index.html

    Contrary to expectations, ground-ball pitchers regularly populate the list of most home runs allowed each year. When batters get one up, they really get one up. In 2005, Greg Maddux of the Chicago Cubs and Jason Marquis of the St. Louis Cardinals tied for ninth in baseball in home runs allowed, with 29, and Lowe was right behind them at 28. All three pitchers induced grounders on more than half of the batters they faced, yet each allowed home runs at a rate worse than that of baseball's biggest fly-ball pitcher of 2005, the Washington Nationals' John Patterson.
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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: How important is it to acquire a GB pitcher for the rotation?

    Maybe because Patterson plays half his games in the Grand Canyon?

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    Member Z-Fly's Avatar
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    Re: How important is it to acquire a GB pitcher for the rotation?

    I think there are a lot of factors that go into why we think that flyball pitchers can't pitch well in GAB.

    One of the factors may be that E. Milton gave them a bad name.

    Just putting that one out there.
    WHEN DOES IT STOP!?!?

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: How important is it to acquire a GB pitcher for the rotation?

    Ok -- here are some numbers to digest. All NL pitchers with 100 IP or more:

    Code:
    Rank			HR/9	BB/9	K/9	GB/FB 
    1	R Clemens	0.56	2.31	8.12	1.42
    2	B Webb		0.57	1.91	6.82	4.06
    3	D Lowe		0.58	2.27	5.08	3.99
    4	A Sanchez	0.71	3.63	5.68	1.11
    5	Z Duke		0.71	2.85	4.90	1.81
    6	A Cook		0.72	2.33	3.90	2.77
    7	J Jennings	0.72	3.61	6.03	1.27
    8	C Hensley	0.72	3.66	5.87	2.10
    9	R Oswalt	0.74	1.55	6.78	1.52
    10	B Sheets	0.76	0.93	9.85	0.95
    
    61	S Marshall	1.44	4.24	5.54	1.41
    62	J Lieber	1.45	1.29	5.36	1.23
    63	C Vargas	1.45	2.80	6.62	1.01
    64	R Ortiz		1.47	3.03	4.92	1.04
    65	C James		1.51	3.55	6.88	0.50
    66	O Perez		1.60	5.45	8.18	1.36
    67	J Marquis	1.62	3.48	4.45	1.16
    68	T Buchholz	1.67	2.71	6.13	1.10
    69	E Milton	1.71	2.48	5.32	0.63
    70	J Sosa		2.29	3.05	5.72	0.78
    So, what does it mean at first glance? Well, the number of homers you allow does seem to be based on a few things:

    - GB/FB seems to be the best indicator; the top of the list had a ratio nearly twice that of the bottom of the list. Ground balls simply don't turn in to home runs.
    - You better do 2 of 3 things well or 1 of the 3 VERY well: miss lots of bats, play in a huge park, and keep the ball on the ground.

    It's pretty much common sense, but I think there's something to be said for the effect of missing bats (not allowing a high BIP/AB ratio) and playing in a HR unfriendly environment.
    - The aforementioned Greg Maddux was actually #19 in the NL for fewest HR/AB this year. I think you can attribute that largely to a much much more pitcher friendly environment.
    - Aaron Cook didn't strike anybody out but an enormous park (especially with humidified balls) and a big GB/FB kept the homers way down.
    - Sheets and Clemens play in smallish parks and have pedestrian GB/FB rates but miss a ton of bats.
    - Milton has always been homer prone, but never as bad in MN. Well, MN is a tougher park than Philly or GABP and he missed more bats. The GB/FB ratio has been constant.

    Given that GABP is a homer friendly park, we arguably need guys who either miss bats and have a solid ratio or do one of those two VERY well. I'd don't see many FA pitchers who fit that criteria. Matt Belisle is interesting because he's got a decent K/9 and strong GB/FB rate. Jake Westbrook was at 0.64 HR/9 last year. It's a shame WK felt Gary Majewski, Royce Clayton, and Brenden Harris were better fits...
    Last edited by RedsManRick; 12-26-2006 at 07:55 PM.
    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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    Re: How important is it to acquire a GB pitcher for the rotation?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    Given that GABP is a homer friendly park, we arguably need guys who either miss bats and have a solid ratio or do one of those two VERY well. I'd don't see many FA pitchers who fit that criteria. Matt Belisle is interesting because he's got a decent K/9 and strong GB/FB rate. Jake Westbrook was at 0.64 HR/9 last year. It's a shame WK felt Gary Majewski, Royce Clayton, and Brenden Harris were better fits...
    A mistake pitch at GABP is a homer. A mistake pitch in say Washington is a fly ball out. It's amazing that two of the named players a)Clayton was a conventional seasoned vet Toronto liked and b)Harris got dfa'd. Isn't that more reason to love that trade? It boils down to Kearns+Lopez for Bray+Majewski "The Magic Man".

    We need a player who keeps the ball constitently low, and misses bats. Thats why Harrang's 12-6 slider was great last year, it'd start in the zone to move out, even on a mistake it was a ground ball half the time.
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    Member Spitball's Avatar
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    Re: How important is it to acquire a GB pitcher for the rotation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dracodave View Post
    Thats why Harrang's 12-6 slider was great last year, it'd start in the zone to move out, even on a mistake it was a ground ball half the time.
    Of the balls put in play against Harang, only 38 percent were hit on the ground. The same is true of Arroyo, and that puts both pretty near the top of the fly ball starting pitchers in this catagory.

    I believe fly ball pitchers can be successful, as were Harang and Arroyo, if they keep their mistakes to a minimum and runners off base. Actually, fly ball pitchers give up more high fly balls than line drives which helps the Reds outfield.
    "I am your child from the future. I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier." - Dylan Easton

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    Member Spitball's Avatar
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    Re: How important is it to acquire a GB pitcher for the rotation?

    Here is a link to the GB% stats. Notice Harang and Arroyo.

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/thtstat...&Submit=Submit
    "I am your child from the future. I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier." - Dylan Easton

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    Member Eric_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: How important is it to acquire a GB pitcher for the rotation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spitball View Post
    When looking for additions to the Reds' rotation, should they look for the best possible pitcher, or should they be concentrating on ground ball pitchers?

    Are fly ball pitchers really doomed to failure at GAB? Both Harang and Arroyo had almost identical 38% ground ball percentages for balls in play, yet they were very successful starting pitchers for the Reds.

    Home runs are usually not fly balls that happened to go too far. Home runs are mistakes by the pitcher. Fly balls are usually not bad if the pitcher doesn't make a mistake with the location. Fly balls, induced by design, tend to hang in the air longer which benefits fielders like Dunn and Griffey.

    Ground ball pitchers are nice because they tend to keep the ball in the park. However, since roughly 85% of all errors occur in the infield, they tend to give up more unearned runs, which don't count against ERA's but do on the scoreboard. Also, their mistakes tend to be line drives which does not bode well with Dunn and Griffey in the outfield.

    I'd like the Reds to direct their efforts toward acquiring the best possible pitcher available to improve the quality of the rotation, but I don't think it is necessary to let Eric Milton's frequent mistakes scare them from a good fly ball pitcher in the same mold as either Harang or Arroyo.
    A Grade-C ground-ball pitcher would be worth as much as a Grade-B flyball pitcher in the GAB, and cost a lot less. Our best defenders are also in the infield, not the outfield.
    Rob Neyer: "Any writer who says he'd be a better manager than the worst manager is either 1) lying (i.e. 'using poetic license') or 2) patently delusional. Which isn't to say managers don't do stupid things that you or I wouldn't."

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    Member Eric_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: How important is it to acquire a GB pitcher for the rotation?

    I saw that Willis was in the top-10 in best GB%...time to buy low....would trade Dunn for him in a heartbeat.
    Rob Neyer: "Any writer who says he'd be a better manager than the worst manager is either 1) lying (i.e. 'using poetic license') or 2) patently delusional. Which isn't to say managers don't do stupid things that you or I wouldn't."

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    Member Spitball's Avatar
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    Re: How important is it to acquire a GB pitcher for the rotation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric_Davis View Post
    A Grade-C ground-ball pitcher would be worth as much as a Grade-B flyball pitcher in the GAB, and cost a lot less. Our best defenders are also in the infield, not the outfield.
    I get the feeling you didn't read everything I've posted here. If you have a slow outfield, you don't really benefit from a ground ball pitcher because they give up more line drives. Fly ball pitchers, when locating their pitches, tend to give up high fly balls which are easier to field.

    Irregardless of which unit, the outfield or infield, is stronger defensively, there will be many more errors made in the infield than in the outfield next year. Fly balls are easier outs than groundballs.
    "I am your child from the future. I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier." - Dylan Easton

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    Member Eric_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: How important is it to acquire a GB pitcher for the rotation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spitball View Post
    I get the feeling you didn't read everything I've posted here. If you have a slow outfield, you don't really benefit from a ground ball pitcher because they give up more line drives. Fly ball pitchers, when locating their pitches, tend to give up high fly balls which are easier to field.

    Irregardless of which unit, the outfield or infield, is stronger defensively, there will be many more errors made in the infield than in the outfield next year. Fly balls are easier outs than groundballs.
    So, Arroyo and Harang are good for this team because of the poor defenders we have in Griffey and Dunn. That does make sense after you explained it. So, to take advantage of groundball pitchers, we need to upgrade our defense in several positions you're saying?

    Would you think that a Willis for Dunn trade would give us an automatic upgrade defensively no matter who we put in there (such as Freel with Denorfia in Center) in the outfield and moving Junior over to right would help.
    Rob Neyer: "Any writer who says he'd be a better manager than the worst manager is either 1) lying (i.e. 'using poetic license') or 2) patently delusional. Which isn't to say managers don't do stupid things that you or I wouldn't."

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    Member Eric_Davis's Avatar
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    Re: How important is it to acquire a GB pitcher for the rotation?

    It is amazing that Arroyo and Harang, two of the highest percentage of flyball pitchers in the NL, had success pitching in the GAB, when it had been perceived, apparently erroneously, that flyball pitchers would be doomed to pitch there.
    Rob Neyer: "Any writer who says he'd be a better manager than the worst manager is either 1) lying (i.e. 'using poetic license') or 2) patently delusional. Which isn't to say managers don't do stupid things that you or I wouldn't."


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