Interesting post over at FanGraphs today about the dependence of stats like BABIP and HR/FB on the quality of hitters a pitcher faces. I think it is an example of how "new" stats are constantly regenerating and questioning the conventional wisdom of their previous findings. This time, it has to do with the role of "luck" in assessing a pitcher's performance. Here's a snippet of the conclusion:
Thought this might be good fodder for conversation--especially considering the tenor of some of the other threads on the board right now. Thoughts?[This] means we shouldn’t just think of things like HR/FB and BABIP as a pitcher getting “lucky” or “unlucky” based on the quality of the balls in play, but also by the quality of the opponents. Tim Lincecum‘s opponents have an OPS of .675 this year. For reference, that’s about 2009 Randy Winn, who had a wOBA of .302. Josh Beckett‘s opponents have an OPS of .767 this year. That’s roughly 2010 Chipper Jones, who has a .349 wOBA.
Luckily, that’s as big of a difference as you’ll generally find. However, sorting out even the most minor differences has some significant value. I don’t have a panacea, but it’s something we should keep in the back of our minds when analyzing players. It often goes overlooked.