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Thread: ESPN article about A's SP Brandon McCarthy and Sabermetrics

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    Blowing away bad memories Redsfan320's Avatar
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    ESPN article about A's SP Brandon McCarthy and Sabermetrics

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/76...-espn-magazine

    Thought this was a pretty cool article. Check it out!

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN article about A's SP Brandon McCarthy and Sabermetrics

    Read that earlier. Loved it.

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    Re: ESPN article about A's SP Brandon McCarthy and Sabermetrics

    Love his wife.
    "I am your child from the future. I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier." - Dylan Easton

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    Flash the leather! _Sir_Charles_'s Avatar
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    Re: ESPN article about A's SP Brandon McCarthy and Sabermetrics

    That's the first time I've ever seen any practical use of Sabermetrics. EVER. I see people crunch numbers all the time and use them to explain why someone does what they do, but I've never seen anybody take that data and alter their approach to improve those numbers in the future.

    I'll be honest, I've never really "climbed on board" the sabermetric train as it were. I'm still not a huge fan of them as it still just boils down to number crunching. But if it can change a player's approach for the better...sign me up.
    Chapman to the rotation!!!! Do it already!!!!

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN article about A's SP Brandon McCarthy and Sabermetrics

    Quote Originally Posted by _Sir_Charles_ View Post
    That's the first time I've ever seen any practical use of Sabermetrics. EVER. I see people crunch numbers all the time and use them to explain why someone does what they do, but I've never seen anybody take that data and alter their approach to improve those numbers in the future.

    I'll be honest, I've never really "climbed on board" the sabermetric train as it were. I'm still not a huge fan of them as it still just boils down to number crunching. But if it can change a player's approach for the better...sign me up.
    It can change a players approach. While it may not change their ability, it can change their results and production. But, as the article notes, while front offices know this, managers and players generally don't care about it.

    Brian Bannister got really into Pitch F/X data for himself and opponents and used it to his advantage a few years ago. I can't remember exactly which pitcher it was, maybe Jojo can, but a Mariners pitcher took the advice from USSMariner.com after they looked at his pitch selection from one year to the next and noticed he was going about things quite a bit different and it was harming his results.

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN article about A's SP Brandon McCarthy and Sabermetrics

    That was a good read. To be honest, I don't really get the advanced metrics, though I think I would like to. It is hard breaking away from the traditional numbers you were raised on.

    One question though. Isn't McCarthy's strategy similar to the "pitch to contact" strategy that Dan O'Brien tried to institute here that went unsuccessful? If so, why didn't it work for Reds' pitchers?
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN article about A's SP Brandon McCarthy and Sabermetrics

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan View Post
    That was a good read. To be honest, I don't really get the advanced metrics, though I think I would like to. It is hard breaking away from the traditional numbers you were raised on.

    One question though. Isn't McCarthy's strategy similar to the "pitch to contact" strategy that Dan O'Brien tried to institute here that went unsuccessful? If so, why didn't it work for Reds' pitchers?
    Because they were crummy pitchers.
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    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN article about A's SP Brandon McCarthy and Sabermetrics

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    It can change a players approach. While it may not change their ability, it can change their results and production. But, as the article notes, while front offices know this, managers and players generally don't care about it.

    Brian Bannister got really into Pitch F/X data for himself and opponents and used it to his advantage a few years ago. I can't remember exactly which pitcher it was, maybe Jojo can, but a Mariners pitcher took the advice from USSMariner.com after they looked at his pitch selection from one year to the next and noticed he was going about things quite a bit different and it was harming his results.
    It doesn't seem like Bannister is a great case study for sabermetrics.

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    Re: ESPN article about A's SP Brandon McCarthy and Sabermetrics

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan View Post
    That was a good read. To be honest, I don't really get the advanced metrics, though I think I would like to. It is hard breaking away from the traditional numbers you were raised on.

    One question though. Isn't McCarthy's strategy similar to the "pitch to contact" strategy that Dan O'Brien tried to institute here that went unsuccessful? If so, why didn't it work for Reds' pitchers?
    McCarthy isn't pitch to contact, he's pitching to groundballs.

    An extreme groundball pitcher can be successful without K's if his control is good.

    His K rate was 6.49, with an exceptional 1.32 W-rate. So he K's a moderate amount, walks no one, and has an extreme GB rate. Recipe for success. That's not "pitching simply to contact".

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    Maple SERP savafan's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN article about A's SP Brandon McCarthy and Sabermetrics

    Quote Originally Posted by PuffyPig View Post
    McCarthy isn't pitch to contact, he's pitching to groundballs.

    An extreme groundball pitcher can be successful without K's if his control is good.

    His K rate was 6.49, with an exceptional 1.32 W-rate. So he K's a moderate amount, walks no one, and has an extreme GB rate. Recipe for success. That's not "pitching simply to contact".
    I see. Was it the change to his pitching delivery that induced more ground balls than fly balls?
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    Re: ESPN article about A's SP Brandon McCarthy and Sabermetrics

    Quote Originally Posted by Spitball View Post
    Love his wife.
    Same here!

    Outstanding article, too. Thanks for sharing.

    -Matt

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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN article about A's SP Brandon McCarthy and Sabermetrics

    I don't quite see how this is a Saber adjustment. When he adjusted from a four seemer to a two seemer it seemed like that was the big change. I can see where that could be saber aided, but it has to deal with developing and perfecting a new pitch.

    I did find this quote funny from a Saber perspective.
    "I wanted ground balls and worse contact. I wanted to attack the zone and get deep into games." By the time McCarthy came off the DL in September 2009, he'd made a decision: He was going to become Roy Halladay.
    All along I thought balls in play were bad and K's were good. It seemed like McCarthy brought a mix of traditional and saber information to develop this conclusion, get ground balls and get weak contact.

    I think Saber has a place in the front office when evaluating players. While the information is available to players I just don't see how it is any more useful than information that has been out there for decades. Ground balls are better than fly balls, walks are bad, using pitch F/X data really isn't anything that hasn't been done before. Pitch F/X is just a better system of charting pitches. Fly balls leave the park, ground balls don't isn't anything new.

    I could be wrong but I just don't know how a pitcher knowing his BABIP or WAR helps him on the field. When its about making outs, I don't understand how a pitcher can say to himself one day "I was just unlucky".

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    .377 in 1905 CySeymour's Avatar
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    Re: ESPN article about A's SP Brandon McCarthy and Sabermetrics

    Quote Originally Posted by PuffyPig View Post
    McCarthy isn't pitch to contact, he's pitching to groundballs.

    An extreme groundball pitcher can be successful without K's if his control is good.

    His K rate was 6.49, with an exceptional 1.32 W-rate. So he K's a moderate amount, walks no one, and has an extreme GB rate. Recipe for success. That's not "pitching simply to contact".
    Plus he only gave up 11 home runs. Eleven! I know he pitches in Oakland, but that is still amazing. Very limited amount of walks and home runs equals a valuable major league pitcher.
    ...the 2-2 to Woodsen and here it comes...and it is swung on and missed! And Tom Browning has pitched a perfect game! Twenty-seven outs in a row, and he is being mobbed by his teammates, just to the thirdbase side of the mound.

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    Re: ESPN article about A's SP Brandon McCarthy and Sabermetrics

    Just doing a quick stat comparison, it appears to me that Mike Leake is similar to McCarthy. Leake did allow 23 homers last season compared to 11 for McCarthy, but the difference in ballparks should be noted. McCarthy's walk rate was significantly lower the Leake's, 1.3 compared to 2.0. Leake k'd 6.3 per 9 and McCarthy k'd 6.5 per 9.
    ...the 2-2 to Woodsen and here it comes...and it is swung on and missed! And Tom Browning has pitched a perfect game! Twenty-seven outs in a row, and he is being mobbed by his teammates, just to the thirdbase side of the mound.

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    Flash the leather! _Sir_Charles_'s Avatar
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    Re: ESPN article about A's SP Brandon McCarthy and Sabermetrics

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan View Post
    I see. Was it the change to his pitching delivery that induced more ground balls than fly balls?
    I think it was more his pitch selection. He added 2 new pitches that are more prone to induce grounders if I read it correctly.
    Chapman to the rotation!!!! Do it already!!!!


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