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Thread: Reds Pitching Analysis

  1. #1
    One and a half men Patrick Bateman's Avatar
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    Reds Pitching Analysis

    We are about a third of the way though the season, so I though it was about time to look deeper at each pitcher's performance. We are far enough that the stats are becoming quite meaningful, so here's a rundown of every pitcher who's pitched enough innings to really matter and what their peripherals suggest for future performance.

    Rotation

    Code:
                             IP     ERA     DIPS     K/9     BB/9    HR/9    K/BB    BAPIP    GB/FB    HR/FB
    
    Aaron Harang-2006        234    3.76    3.73     8.30    2.15    1.08    3.86    .325     0.97      10.5% 
    Aaron Harang-2007        72     4.50    3.60     7.63    2.25    0.88    3.39    .321     1.06      7.9%

    Harang has pitched much better than it appears. Although his K rate is down from last season, he has lowered his HR rate to cancel out the K drop.
    One concern is that his groundball rates have been about the same as last year, meaning that the only apparent reason for his HR rate drop is a factor
    of luck more than skill. The Reds opponents this season have featured mostly poor hitting teams, so the HR drop may be due to that. If that's the case, then you may see an increase in his DIPS closer to the 4.00 level due to the decline in K's. Overall, there are no significant changes from last season, and he's still basically the same pitcher. Don't let the ERA fool you.

    Code:
                             IP     ERA     DIPS     K/9     BB/9    HR/9    K/BB    BAPIP    GB/FB    HR/FB 
    Bronson Arroyo-2006      240    3.29    4.21     6.88    2.39    2.88    1.16    .279     0.94      10.5%
    Bronson Arroyo-2007      67     4.01    3.73     6.01    3.74    1.61    0.40    .306     0.85      3.4%
    The last few outings by Arroyo have been very alarming. Before them, he was improving over last years numbers, but now things are a little different. His K rate has fallen closer to his 2005 number, while his control has stunk with more than a full BB/9 increase. His HR rates have never been this low in his entire starting career, so an increase is very likely even if pitches with the same effectiveness (especially since his groundball rates haven't changed for the better). If his last 2 outings are indicative of the future, then Arroyo's numbers could get ugly. If it's not, then he should continue being an effective pitcher in the mid to high 3's range.

    Code:
                             IP     ERA     DIPS     K/9     BB/9    HR/9    K/BB    BAPIP    GB/FB    HR/FB 
    Matt Belisle             69     4.26    3.31     6.20    1.55    0.65    4.00    .327     1.39      6.8%
    Belisle has been the early surprise of the season. Knowing that he is 4 years away from free agency and should continue making small amounts of money,
    he could become a very valuable player in the Reds organization. Belisle has pitched much better than his ERA indicates. The Reds defense is extremely bad and Belisle has been affected by this (.327 BAPIP). With an average defense behind him, his ERA would be closer to his DIPS number of 3.31. Of course, he's not quite that good, as he has benefited from a very easy schedule (in his 11 starts, he has faced 6 terrible offenses, and only 3 top offenses). Still, he also pitches in a very tough environment half the time which is also a huge factor. Belisle has thrived since grabbing a rotation spot, and with his ability to throw strikes with decent stuff, his success should continue, and with a better defense, his ERA would be very, very good. He's a keeper, but the small sample size still makes me question just how effective will he remain. Will he continue pitching this well and be a mid 3.00's calibre pitcher? Or is he a guy more likely to be mediocre 4.00's guy? Based on his current stats, I'd guess somewhere in the middle, as he has pitched very well.

    Code:
                             IP     ERA     DIPS     K/9     BB/9    HR/9    K/BB    BAPIP    GB/FB    HR/FB 
    Kyle Lohse-2006          126    5.83    4.39     6.89    3.13    1.07    2.20    .342     1.15      9.9%
    Kyle Lohse-2007          66     4.59    3.94     5.67    1.62    0.95    3.50    .339     0.83      7.4%
    Kyle Lohse deserves more credit then he gets. Since coming over from the Twins, he has posted a DIPS ERA of 3.94. He's similar to Belisle, in that he has fairly good stuff, but he lives by his ability to throw strikes. He gives up a little more homers than Belisle, so I have him pegged as his number 4 guy, but Lohse too is a quality pitcher. With a better defense behind him, his ERA would look pretty darned good. Middle of the rotation starters making 4M are nice to have. Unfortunately, as a pending FA who will command 6-7M+, he's not a long term answer in Cincy. It would be nice to see his ERA drop closer to his DIPS number so he can be traded for some quality prospects. Either way, he was well worth the investment that Krivsky put in him as he took very few assets to acquire.


    Code:
                             IP     ERA     DIPS     K/9     BB/9    HR/9    K/BB    BAPIP    GB/FB    HR/FB 
    Eric Milton-2006         152    5.19    5.41     5.31    2.48    1.71    2.14    .282     0.61      11.1%
    Eric Milton-2007         31     5.17    4.57     5.17    2.59    1.15    2.00    .334     0.52      7.1%
    Milton has basically been a replica of last season, 2005, and 2004. If anything he has been very consistent. Unfortunately, he's just an awful pitcher and has shown no signs of changing that notion. His low HR rate has been the factor of easier opponents rather than better pitching. The flyball rates are the same as usual, so the only noticeable difference is his opponents. I'm guessing he hasn't maically learned to control his HR rates while still putting tons of balls in the air. To this point he has over achieved, so if he ever does come back and faces some real competition, the results will be the same as usual. Mercifully, his time taking up 9M of the payroll is coming to a close.


    Bullpen

    Code:
                             IP     ERA     DIPS     K/9     BB/9    HR/9    K/BB    BAPIP    GB/FB    HR/FB  
    Kirk Saarloos-2006       121    4.75    5.76     3.86    3.93    1.41    0.98    .309     2.13      17.1%
    Kirk Saarloos-2007       23     7.04    5.03     5.09    5.09    0.78    1.00    .316     1.68      8.0%
    Like his other seasons, the bullpen is the only place where Saarloos has showed any kinds of success. It seems as a reliever he can get some extra juice on the ball and record some swings and misses. With his poor control numbers, he absolutely needs this to be a major league pitcher. As a starter, he is no better than Milton, and probably even worse. As a reliever, his groundball tendencies allow him to be a 6-7th guy in the pen right now, but that's about it.

    Code:
                             IP     ERA     DIPS     K/9     BB/9    HR/9    K/BB    BAPIP    GB/FB    HR/FB
    Todd Coffey-2006         78     3.58    3.94     6.92    3.12    0.81    2.22    .328     1.91      10.4%
    Todd Coffey-2007         23     4.94    6.37     7.99    3.42    2.28    2.33    .335     2.05      28.6%
    Coffey has been the single most disapointing pitcher so far this season. Last season he was our best reliever, and most people had him pegged as a guy likely to take a step forward this season. Obviously, the problem with him has been his ability to keep the ball in the park. His ability to K batters has taken a strong step forward, and his walk rate hasn't changed that negatively in comparison with his strikeouts. I believe that his HR rates are a little bit misleading. His ground ball rate has been the same as last season, and of all Reds pitchers, he has faced the toughest opposition. These two things lead me to believe that his HR/FB rate is a bit of an aberration. His location has obviously been poor this season, but I still have trouble comprehending that he has continued to throw 'gopher balls' at a rate that Milton would chuckle at. Small sample sizes do allow aberrations like this to exist. When he comes back from AAA, I fully expect him to rebound, even if he does not pitch noticeably better. If I'm right about the HR rate, then his pitching will dramatically improve and could quickly get back to where he was last season and go from there.

    Code:
                             IP     ERA     DIPS     K/9     BB/9    HR/9    K/BB    BAPIP    GB/FB    HR/FB 
    David Weathers-2006      73     3.54    5.43     6.11    4.15    1.47    1.47    .237     1.17      14.3%
    David Weathers-2007      24     4.13    2.41     8.63    3.00    0.00    2.88    .288     0.79      0.00%
    Weather's success has been very surprising this season. As of the all star break last season, he looked like toast. Ever since then, he has been one of the league's better relievers, pitching at a rate he never has in his entire career. His DIPS ERA suggests that he should have an ERA in the mid 2.00's rather than the 4.00's. Of course, the season is still young, and Weathers is not, so a decrease in production is as close to a lock as you will get, but still, Weathers appears to continue pitching well this season. Because he is 37, he wont be a great gamble for next season, so it would be wise to move him if he can get a decent return as his value wont get any higher than it is now. If he stays, he should continue being a reliable pitcher and would be more valuable as a set-up/middle reliever type. His HR rate will obviously
    jump from zero, and because his groundball rate hasn't been great, the HR's will increase dramatically. That's where most of the regression will take place. I'd expect the usual high 3.00's to low 4.00's ERA for the remainder of the season.

    Code:
                             IP     ERA     DIPS     K/9     BB/9    HR/9    K/BB    BAPIP    GB/FB    HR/FB  
    Mike Stanton-2006        67     3.99    3.45     6.38    3.59    0.27    1.78    .323     1.07      2.4%
    Mike Stanton-2007        18     5.40    4.07     7.36    3.44    0.49    2.14    .375     0.96      4.2%
    Stanton has pitched as well as anyone could have reasonably expected this season. Because he went from pitching in great pitchers parks to GABP, his increase in DIPS ERA from 3.45 to 4.07 is not surprising. His strikeout and walk rates have been actually better this season, so basically, the HR rate based mostly off the park effects is normal. Stanton is not as bad as he looks, but still, at best, he's a middle reliever that should not be counted on to pitch at the end of games. He's a dime a dozen, and knowing his age, things will obviously only get worse. I doubt anyone would disagree that it would be best if the Reds could dump him on anyone willing to pay the rest of his contract.

    Code:
                             IP     ERA     DIPS     K/9     BB/9    HR/9    K/BB    BAPIP    GB/FB    HR/FB
    Jon Coutlangus           18     4.91    5.05     7.85    3.44    1.47    2.29    .267     0.95      13.6%
    Coutlangus has been sporadic. When he locates, he's very good, but when he doesn't, he gets hit hard. His K rate is a nice change from the usual guys, and knowing his strong HR rates in the minors he should continue to pitch better. As a whole, he has pitched poorly, but as of late he has been mostly good IMO. He should continue pitching better for the remainder of the season, but likely wont be a dependable option at the back end of games.

    Code:
                             IP     ERA     DIPS     K/9     BB/9    HR/9    K/BB    BAPIP    GB/FB    HR/FB
    Brad Salmon              9      5.00    4.53     8.00    4.00    1.00    2.00    .187     1.10      10.0%
    Salmon is intriguing knowing his ability to strike out batters. However, he has always struggled with his command, so he shouldn't really get a whole lot better than this. His walk rate will probably be a little better, but overall, he's not a great option knowing his lack of upside.

    Code:
                             IP     ERA     DIPS     K/9     BB/9    HR/9    K/BB    BAPIP    GB/FB    HR/FB
    Jared Burton             8      2.25    5.45     9.00    5.63    1.13    1.60    .216     1.57      14.3%
    So far Burton has been the most intriguing of the young guys who have pitched so far this season. Of course the sample size is extremely limited, but discounting his 1st career game where he nervously couldn't throw strikes he has been very good. If the early indications are true, then he may end the season as the Reds best reliever. On the other hand, it's only
    been 7 effective innings, so it's very difficult to judge his current talents, especially when he was a AA pitcher last season.

    Code:
                             IP     ERA     DIPS     K/9     BB/9    HR/9    K/BB    BAPIP    GB/FB    HR/FB
    Victor Santos            30     4.45    5.21     6.82    4.15    1.48    1.64    .286     1.54      19.2%
    Santos is bad, and the only purpose he serves is as the mop up guy and as insurance. Thankfully, Narron has used him correctly, and as long as that continues, he inability to pitch well shouldn't hurt that much.


    As a whole, it has become very clear that the Reds have much better pitching than it appears. The 2 main reasons are the defense and the park. The defense is about as bad as anyone in baseball, and GABP is good at inflating hitting.

    The Reds rotation is actually quite good. The current 5 man boasts 4 above average starters. With average defense and an average ballpark, this would be much more clear.

    The good thing is that 3 of these pitchers are long term solutions for the Reds. Harang, Arroyo, and Belisle are all guys who are affordable for the next 3+ years. The only guy likely leaving is Lohse, but next year, the Reds should be ready to introduce Bailey in the rotation, and even if he's not dynamite right off the bat, the Reds should still have 4 solid starters.

    The bullpen is obviously crap, but still, has been undone by the defense. Guys like Weathers, Stanton, Majewski, etc. should all continue being mediocre pitchers that all fit the mold of middle inning pitchers. The team has that covered, it's the late inning guys that need to step up. Hopefully Coffey and Bray can take that step forward, and of the likes of Coutlangus, Burton, McBeth, Salmon, etc. the Reds should be able to replace the middle inning types at cheaper rates so the Reds don't have to rely on pitchers on the downhill and wasting millions of dollars.

    As a whole, the pitching is far better than it appears, and with even an average defense, the results would show. With an average defense, the Reds could theoretically match their 3.95 DIPS ERA which would place them around 6-7th in the NL, rather than 15th.

    The best part is that the strength is the rotation and the waekness is the bullpen. Krivsky seems to have a better plan in place regarding the bullpen, and I have hopes that it should turn around pretty quickly. If the Reds can put a solid defense on the field, then the arms should be able to allow the Reds to compete. The actual pitchers are good enough.
    Last edited by Patrick Bateman; 05-30-2007 at 08:33 PM.

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  3. #2
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Pitching Analysis

    Nice post. There's alot to digest so just a quick comment about Lohse before I hit the sack. Is he morphing into a pitch-to contact arm (i.e. is he simply throwing strikes for the sake of strikes) or has he taken a major step forward with his command (i.e. locating much better)? Also, sooner or later, that low HR/FB has got to even out...
    "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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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Pitching Analysis

    Great stuff, AK.

    I'm not sure how many people realize this, but Matt Belisle has been an absolute gift to this rotation. He's not a spectacular pitcher, but he's a guy that could very well give you 200 innings of league average performance. He has good control and won't walk many batters, plus he does a pretty good job at keeping the ball in the park.

    Here's some career numbers over his 204 lifetime innings ...

    DIPS ERA: 4.07
    Actual ERA: 4.24
    ERA+: 106

    HR/9: 0.97 (very impressive considering he's pitching half his games in GABP)
    Home HR/9: 1.04
    Road HR/9: 0.91

    K/9: 6.13
    BB/9: 2.60
    K/BB: 2.36

    For comparison, here is what the league average NL starting pitcher is doing so far in 2007 ...

    DIPS ERA: 4.23
    Actual ERA: 4.23

    HR/9: 0.97
    K/9: 6.22
    BB/9: 3.16
    K/BB: 1.97

    Belisle strikes out batters nearly the same rate as the average NL starter, gives up about the same amount of home runs as the average NL starter, but walks far fewer batters than the average NL starter. As a result, his lifetime DIPS ERA of 4.07 is slightly better than the average NL starter's 4.23 DIPS ERA.

    Obviously you won't want a Matt Belisle as your staff ace in your rotation. However, anytime you possess a league average or slightly above league average starting pitcher such as a Matt Belisle for near league minimum in the bottom half of your rotation, you're not doing too bad for yourself. After Bailey comes up and presumably starts succeeding, and also assuming that Harang and Arroyo are both in the rotation and healthy, Matt Belisle would be the team's 4th starter. If the Reds have a 4th starter putting up Matt Belisle numbers, that's quality.

    BTW, CE if you're reading this, keep wearing that Belisle jersey proudly.
    Barry Larkin - HOF, 2012

    Put an end to the Lost Decade.

  5. #4
    One and a half men Patrick Bateman's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Pitching Analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    Nice post. There's alot to digest so just a quick comment about Lohse before I hit the sack. Is he morphing into a pitch-to contact arm (i.e. is he simply throwing strikes for the sake of strikes) or has he taken a major step forward with his command (i.e. locating much better)? Also, sooner or later, that low HR/FB has got to even out...
    It depends on the day you watch. But there in lies the problem.

    For example in his good outings (like his last one and his 11K outing against the Cubbies) he does a very nice job of painting corners and mixing in his different pitches.

    On his bad outings, he still throws strikes, but when the pitches catch more of the plate, and are predictably more hittable.

    It's tough to see what kind of transforamtion he has made because with him being in the AL much of his career, I really had no reason to watch his games, so I have to base everything on the numbers here. Overall, I do think the command he has shown combined with his limited ability to fool hitters is that of a slighty above average major league picther.

    IMO, it is not all that surprising that he has pitched his best while with the Reds. Before he was traded, the Twins sent him down to the minors and to the bullpen at different times. Lohse has always had the reputation as a bit of a headcase, so all of the jostling around may have been the first wake up call he ever really had as a major leaguer. The Reds seem to be the beneficiary of this.

    In regards to the flyball/homerun rate, I don't think that it's so completely out of whack with his career norms that an increased ability to paint the corners and the switch from AL to NL will result in too much of a regression. It is likely to go up, but I also think there's a decent chance that the regression coming wont affect his ability to stay on the better side of average.

    If a guy like Lohse becomes more of a pitch to contact type of guy, generally a decrease in K rate will be combined with the decrease in walks. To me, that may be the biggest point in the discussion. If he was simply tossing out pitches over the plate just for the sake of it, I would have expected his K rate to drop into the 4 range rather than staying in line with career norms.

    I do think that Lohse has improved since becoming a Red, albeit his upside is no greater than his current abilities, but for the assets it took to pick him up, he has been one of the better bargain back of the rotation guys. He's not to be mistaken as an ace, but he is a quality pitcher.

  6. #5
    One and a half men Patrick Bateman's Avatar
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    Re: Reds Pitching Analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone792 View Post
    Obviously you won't want a Matt Belisle as your staff ace in your rotation. However, anytime you possess a league average or slightly above league average starting pitcher such as a Matt Belisle for near league minimum in the bottom half of your rotation, you're not doing too bad for yourself. After Bailey comes up and presumably starts succeeding, and also assuming that Harang and Arroyo are both in the rotation and healthy, Matt Belisle would be the team's 4th starter. If the Reds have a 4th starter putting up Matt Belisle numbers, that's quality.
    That's exactly right.

    No team is going to be able to throw out 3-4 aces in the rotation, but if you can get greater or league average pitching out of more than 3 guys, then you will have a strong rotation. It's even better when they can come as cheap as Belisle does. Belisle gives the Reds nice flexibility by giving quality innings and eating hardly any payroll space.

    Knowing the team's current struggles, it is surprising that currently, the Reds are getting that type of production out of their top 4 starters. It's exciting that this type of pitching may soon becoming a trend, as on paper, the Reds seem to have the ability to do the same thing for the next 4 years or so assuming Bailey can make some kind of transition into the majors.


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