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Thread: Cliff Lee Anyone?

  1. #46
    Start the Reactor! *BaseClogger*'s Avatar
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    Re: Cliff Lee Anyone?

    Volquez is an excellent comp for this argument. The difference between Volquez's actual ERA and the ERA he would have without "luck" (xFIP) is 3.39 - 1.06 = 2.33. Volquez has struck out a tremendous number of hitters, but has had poor control, walking a batter every other inning. The high amount of walks, and his avoidance of the home run, has contributed to a higher xFIP. Meanwhile, Lee has also struck out many hitters, while maintaining much better control. The difference between his ERA and xFIP is 2.84 - 0.67 = 2.17. Volquez has benefitted from more "luck" this season than Lee. Lee's peripherals may be unmaintainable, but there is nothing so far this year to suggest he will not be a great pitcher this season...
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

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  3. #47
    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Cliff Lee Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom Heffner View Post
    Actually, my argument is spot on. Lee's BAPIP suggests he is getting his good numbers due to luck. Volquez's peripherals suggest he is benefitting more so form skill than Lee is.
    Or perhaps Lee's BABIP is low because he's pitching well?

    The reason we have BAPIP is to show who is lucky and who isn't. Cliff Lee is ninth in the majors - maybe even higher after yesterday- while Volquez is not in the top 20.
    BABIP is a theory Any modeling theory can not cover every pitcher.
    BABIP is a potentially useful tool, but not the final word on anything.

    Doesn't it seem to defy logic a little bit to say that if a pitcher doesn't strike out a batter that it's pure luck whether contact results in a hit or not?
    If that's the case, why bother to nibble at the corners? Why not just throw it straight down the middle, if the result is purely determined by luck?
    The reality is that if you can hit the corners and have velocity/movement on the ball, it's harder to make solid contact. Pitchers try to jam batters because it's harder to make solid contact..

    I can respect statistical thinking but to throw out something like BABIP alone as proof of anything does not make sense.

    Again, I will point out Rivera. In his prime, he consistently had a low BABIP.
    Are you saying he had a lucky streak that spanned over several years? I hope not, because if you watched him pitch then, you'd see that he got the majority of his outs with that inside pitch that most batters would just pop up. That's one example that proves that BABIP is not absolute. At least some pitchers can control their BABIP. Do you concede that?








    The .067 ERA is sustainable if the pitcher's skill dictates that it is. Cliff Lee's skill set does not in any way shape or form say that it is. We agree on this, I guess, but the difference between Volquez and Lee is that Volquez appears to be getting where he is on his won merit, not by the luck of balls not dropping in for hits. At least to the extent that Cliff Lee is benefitting.
    Volquez has struck out 52 batters in 42 IP
    Lee has struck out 44 batters in 53IP

    Let's extrapolate Volquez to 53IP at his rate.. that's 67 K in 53 IP.
    So, Volquez has the advantage of 23 more K's in 53 IP.. Over the hypothetical 9 inning game, Volquez strikes out 4 more batters than Lee at their current rates (over 9 IP).. But let's look at walks:

    Lee has 4 (.63 per 9 IP) Volquez has 24 (5.14 per game).. So Volquez allows 4.5 walks per game to go along with his extra 4 Ks..

    If you assume that balls put in play are randomly going to be hits or not, I'm not so sure that Volquez projects to be the better pitcher.. Because, according to BABIP, the pitcher only controls Walks and Strikeouts.. Lee depends on "luck" because he has to get 4 more outs that he can't get by strikeouts.. So, in theory, BABIP says he will allow maybe 1.5 base hits per game.. But since Volquez is walking 4.5 guys more, it seems he is a bigger risk to come down to earth than Lee.

    The point of all this is that we could make the point that Volquez is benefiting from luck that more of his walks don't score.. if we go by the pure BABIP argument.

    I don't agree with the above BABIP argument, I am just presenting it to say that if BABIP was true, Lee's lack of walks benefits him more than Volquez's extra K's do.








    I don't think that Volquez will allow 5 runs for every 45 he pitches, but it is more believable than Cliff Lee allowing 4 every 44 IP.

    Time will tell.
    Again, no one is saying Lee will be able to maintain a sub 1.00 ERA all season.
    A 3.0-4.0 ERA with 200 IP is certainly possible though. That's extremely valuable. That's what we hoped Arroyo would be.
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

    Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!

  4. #48
    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: Cliff Lee Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by REDREAD View Post
    Because, according to BABIP, the pitcher only controls Walks and Strikeouts.
    and HRs.

    Which is the reason guys like Cueto and Arroyo have struggled ... way too many HRs. They both have excellent bb/k and k/ip rates.
    What are you, people? On dope? - Mr Hand

  5. #49
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    Re: Cliff Lee Anyone?

    The fact that Lee has a 47.5% GB percentage in 2008 versus 35.3, 32.7, 35.5 and 33.8 the last 4 years might have something to do with his success as well.
    When all is said and done more is said than done.

  6. #50
    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Cliff Lee Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by *BaseClogger* View Post
    Volquez is an excellent comp for this argument. .
    Looks like you said what I meant to say in about 1/10 of the words..

    What is the formula for xFip or where can I figure out how it is calculated?
    I'd like to see more about this..
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

    Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!

  7. #51
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    Re: Cliff Lee Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by flyer85 View Post
    and HRs.

    Which is the reason guys like Cueto and Arroyo have struggled ... way too many HRs. They both have excellent bb/k and k/ip rates.
    This is another thing I don't understand.

    Do they say the pitcher can control HRs simply because the ball is not catchable?

    I mean, there's some hits that are probably just as uncatchable as a HR.
    Sure, in theory you could position the fielders to catch any ball, but in the realm of reality, the fielders are stationed to play the percentages, and there's some hits that a defender just has no chance to make a play on.

    I have a hard time separating a HR from a hard double off the top of the wall, for example..Both are hard hit, and there's no reasonable chance for an OF to field either one.
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

    Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!

  8. #52
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    Re: Cliff Lee Anyone?

    FIP

    Fielding Independent Pitching, a measure of all those things for which a pitcher is specifically responsible. The formula is (HR*13+(BB+HBP-IBB)*3-K*2)/IP, plus a league-specific factor (usually around 3.2) to round out the number to an equivalent ERA number. FIP helps you understand how well a pitcher pitched, regardless of how well his fielders fielded. FIP was invented by Tangotiger.
    xFIP

    Expected Fielding Independent Pitching. This is an experimental stat that adjusts FIP and "normalizes" the home run component. Research has shown that home runs allowed are pretty much a function of flyballs allowed and home park, so xFIP is based on the average number of home runs allowed per outfield fly. Theoretically, this should be a better predicter of a pitcher's future ERA.
    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/statpages/glossary/
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

  9. #53
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    Re: Cliff Lee Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by REDREAD View Post
    I have a hard time separating a HR from a hard double off the top of the wall, for example..Both are hard hit, and there's no reasonable chance for an OF to field either one.
    This is why xFIP is an improvement on FIP...
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

  10. #54
    One and a half men Patrick Bateman's Avatar
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    Re: Cliff Lee Anyone?

    Dom, there's a difference between succeeding solely due to luck, and succeeding partially due to luck.... I think you are over emphasizing how much luck is at hand here. He can thank himself for his gaudy K:BB, not his surroundings or teammates. That's where the "real" improvement in Cliff Lee appears to lie.

    Obviously, Lee is pretty fortunate to have accumulated an ERA under 1.00.... no starter can continue to do that over a full season, so from that respect, ya, he's been lucky, and his BAPIP will cycle back to the mean.

    However, even when we account for the luck theoretically at hand, we still have a guy pitching extremely well. I have only glossed over his career track record, but I'd bet that he's never had a stretch this powerful in his entire career, so it does appear that there is some real improvement on Lee's part, not just complete luck. That kind of ERA, albeit over just 7 starts, does not fit within normal variance.

    Has Lee suddenly become one of the league's best pitchers? Even though his current peripherals suggest that he has, there is still the small sample size at hand, and because of that, it seems like a pretty large stretch to assume that he's going to post a sub 3.00 ERA (and fabulous a K:BB) over the full course of a season (especially once he starts to face some upper ecehlon opponents). But at the same time, expecting a full regression to his career norms seems pretty drastic.

    My bet, is that he begins to regress towards to an ERA around 3.75-4.00, which is very good (especially considering he's in the AL), and also seems pretty reasonable when accumulating his career numbers, and fantastic start.

    Is it safe to say that stat oriented people such as myself were wrong on Cliff Lee? I'd say, definitely. The days of Cliff Lee being nothing more than a poor back end of the rotation option appear to be over. He looks like, at worst, a competent rotation member, but not a top of the rotation type of guy (he's going to need to duplicate that success over a much longer period of time for that).

  11. #55
    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Cliff Lee Anyone?

    He will regress to normal Cliff Lee numbers, which is a decent pitcher, not great.

  12. #56
    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Cliff Lee Anyone?

    Thanks for explaining FIP for me BaseClogger.

    It looks like it is basically just a measure of walks, Ks, and HRs..
    Not completely sure I agree that it's a better measure than ERA, as it seems to overvalue K's, but I can see why it makes guys like Burton seem a lot better than they actually are (IMO)..

    I say K's are overvalued in the formula, because it seems that that's the only thing pitchers get credit for in that formula.

    Basically FIP says that a HR is "undone" by 7.5 Ks, and a BB is "undone" by 1.5 Ks .. yet the pitcher gets no credit for inducing groundballs or popups.. likewise, the pitcher is not penalized for giving up 5 singles in a row, so a very hittable guy like Belisle is not penalized.
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

    Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!

  13. #57
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    Re: Cliff Lee Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by REDREAD View Post
    Thanks for explaining FIP for me BaseClogger.

    It looks like it is basically just a measure of walks, Ks, and HRs..
    Not completely sure I agree that it's a better measure than ERA, as it seems to overvalue K's, but I can see why it makes guys like Burton seem a lot better than they actually are (IMO)..

    I say K's are overvalued in the formula, because it seems that that's the only thing pitchers get credit for in that formula.

    Basically FIP says that a HR is "undone" by 7.5 Ks, and a BB is "undone" by 1.5 Ks .. yet the pitcher gets no credit for inducing groundballs or popups.. likewise, the pitcher is not penalized for giving up 5 singles in a row, so a very hittable guy like Belisle is not penalized.
    No problem. I enjoyed looking it up myself.

    Well, I agree that no one stat is ever enough and giving a pitcher's ground ball rates a looksy is always a good idea. However, the idea that a guy can be "hittable", such as Matt Belisle, while striking a lot of hitters out is a main point of debate. It appears that is exactly what 2007 Matt Belisle did, but FIP reasons that it was because of random variation and defense. Whether or not you are a believer is up to you, but FIP is a good way to compare pitchers on different teams, in different environments, with different defenses IMO...
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

  14. #58
    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Cliff Lee Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by *BaseClogger* View Post
    No problem. I enjoyed looking it up myself.

    Well, I agree that no one stat is ever enough and giving a pitcher's ground ball rates a looksy is always a good idea. However, the idea that a guy can be "hittable", such as Matt Belisle, while striking a lot of hitters out is a main point of debate. It appears that is exactly what 2007 Matt Belisle did, but FIP reasons that it was because of random variation and defense. Whether or not you are a believer is up to you, but FIP is a good way to compare pitchers on different teams, in different environments, with different defenses IMO...
    I agree that FIP and BABIP are tools to be factored in.

    I never bought into the hype this offseason that Belisle was on the verge of a breakout. I forget the arguments that pointed to him improving.

    Yes, I know this is not quantitative, but I've seen enough of Belisle to predict he was going to stink this year. I didn't mind taking a 1.3 million flyer on him to try him out in the pen, but last season convinced me he'll never be an acceptable starting pitcher. He gives up too many hits, and IMO, it's not due to luck..
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

    Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!

  15. #59
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    Re: Cliff Lee Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by REDREAD View Post
    He gives up too many hits, and IMO, it's not due to luck..
    defense?
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

  16. #60
    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Cliff Lee Anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by *BaseClogger* View Post
    defense?
    No, I think Belisle is a bad pitcher even on a team with good defense.
    I think I said this in the offseason, but he reminds me a lot of Steve Parris.
    The 1999 defense did help Parris, but he still wasn't exactly a great pitcher.

    Belisle seems to give up a lot of hard hit balls...
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

    Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!


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