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 Post subject: Pitching data
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:45 am 
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One statistic that I have come to value in terms of predictive value is fielder independent pitching (FIP), which was developed by sabremetrician Voros McCracken. FIP is a very good measure of what a pitcher's ERA should have been, and thus is valuable for detecting a "lucky" or "unlucky" season by the pitcher.

I don't believe that xFIP (which adjusts the percentage of HR's allowed per fly ball) is as valuable since the HR ratio can depend a great deal on handedness and home park.

The reason I bring up this topic is to evaluate the ERA compared to the FIP for Pirates' pitchers in 2013, to determine if some of the pitchers were unusually lucky and can expect an uptick in ERA, or if instead the pitcher's ERA's were on par with their FIP. I provide the ERA followed by the FIP, below.

Starters

Code:
          ERA   FIP
Liriano  3.02  2.92
Cole     3.22  2.91
Morton   3.26  3.60
Rodriguez3.59  4.42
Volquez  5.71  4.24
Locke    3.52  4.03


Relievers

Code:
         ERA   FIP
Grilli   2.70  1.97
Melancon 1.39  1.64
Watson   2.39  3.20
Wilson   2.08  3.41
Mazzarro 2.81  3.31
Gomez    3.35  3.85


Generally, good news. The FIP stats suggest that Cole, Morton, Liriano can replicate last year's stats, Locke regress a bit, and Volquez improve quite a bit.

Further, it is clear why the Pirates' pen was so good last year - the FIP for 6 different relievers was below 3.50, and two were under 2.00.

Overall, the Pirates as a team has a 3.42 team FIP, which ranked 3rd in the major leagues last year. That means that the pitching success of last year is definitely subject to replication, and improvement with Cole for an entire season, Wandy Rodriguez for an entire season, and no Jonathan Sanchez.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitching data
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:19 pm 
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Liriano and Morton for full seasons as well. As long as Liriano doesn't regress with his control they should be pretty comparable to last season, Burnett or not. I think Taillon and Volquez will wind up combining for maybe .5-1.0 wins less than Burnett.

Bullpen worries me a bit. Spectacular numbers plus really high usage is very difficult to replicate...and bullpens are very unpredictable to begin with.

Generally I use xFIP when I'm comparing 2 pitchers on different teams, like in free agency or at the deadline. I feel like PNC Park pitchers get a boost in FIP that others don't due to PNC suppressing HR for both lefty and righty hitters. I do prefer FIP when I'm just looking at things during the season and comparing pitchers on a single team. Like you said, it can be influenced by handedness and park factors and those things aren't likely to change over the course of a season.

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 Post subject: Re: Pitching data
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:48 pm 
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FIP is a good stat. Generally it is more indicative of a pitcher's true effectiveness than ERA. Not always though. Some pitchers are notorious for underperforming their FIP. http://hiddenvigorish.com/2013/12/the-a ... erformers/


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 Post subject: Re: Pitching data
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:07 am 
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mjdouble wrote:
FIP is a good stat. Generally it is more indicative of a pitcher's true effectiveness than ERA. Not always though. Some pitchers are notorious for underperforming their FIP. http://hiddenvigorish.com/2013/12/the-a ... erformers/

Yeah, and one concern is that Volquez is one of those pitchers. His ERA has been higher than his FIP the past 4 seasons, including last year's 5.71/4.24 discrepancy.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitching data
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 1:47 pm 
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One clear reason for the Pirates' very good ERA and FIP is the fact that the team is very ground-ball heavy - by a vast margin better than all other teams in baseball. Specifically, the Pirates GB/FB ratio last year was 2.02, while the 2nd highest GB/FB ratio in the majors came from the Rockies' staff at 1.64.

The 0.38 difference between the Pirates at No. 1 and the Rockies at No. 2 was more than the difference between the Rockies at No. 2 and the Blue Jays at No. 23.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/sortableSt ... =1&high=50

Additionally, the team gave up the fewest HR's (101) in baseball, well ahead of the 2nd place Cardinals (112). [I like typing "the 2nd place Cardinals."] That is of course due in large part to the huge ground-ball tendency of Pirates' pitchers.

If the team improves on its BB totals (ranked 21st last year by giving up 515 BB's) by 10%, then the team FIP would be a very solid 3.32. (Yes, yes, losing AJ will be a drop-off in FIP given his very large K totals and VERY low HR-allowed total ... but it's my post, and I can say what I want to say.)


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 Post subject: Re: Pitching data
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:26 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
One clear reason for the Pirates' very good ERA and FIP is the fact that the team is very ground-ball heavy - by a vast margin better than all other teams in baseball. Specifically, the Pirates GB/FB ratio last year was 2.02, while the 2nd highest GB/FB ratio in the majors came from the Rockies' staff at 1.64.

The 0.38 difference between the Pirates at No. 1 and the Rockies at No. 2 was more than the difference between the Rockies at No. 2 and the Blue Jays at No. 23.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/sortableSt ... =1&high=50

Additionally, the team gave up the fewest HR's (101) in baseball, well ahead of the 2nd place Cardinals (112). [I like typing "the 2nd place Cardinals."] That is of course due in large part to the huge ground-ball tendency of Pirates' pitchers.

If the team improves on its BB totals (ranked 21st last year by giving up 515 BB's) by 10%, then the team FIP would be a very solid 3.32. (Yes, yes, losing AJ will be a drop-off in FIP given his very large K totals and VERY low HR-allowed total ... but it's my post, and I can say what I want to say.)

Hard to see any improvement in BB rates when your big offseason addition was Edinson Volquez.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitching data
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:25 am 
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mjdouble wrote:
Hard to see any improvement in BB rates when your big offseason addition was Edinson Volquez.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitching data
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:56 pm 
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mjdouble wrote:
Hard to see any improvement in BB rates when your big offseason addition was AJ Burnett err, Francisco Liriano errr, Edinson Volquez.

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 Post subject: Re: Pitching data
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:54 am 
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ZelieMike wrote:
mjdouble wrote:
Hard to see any improvement in BB rates when your big offseason addition was AJ Burnett err, Francisco Liriano errr, Edinson Volquez.


Nice try ZM. Burnett's control issues were greatly overblown and Liriano was not as consistently bad as Volquez.


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 Post subject: Re: Pitching data
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 1:07 pm 
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Liriano isn't that unrealistic of a comparison, strictly control-wise. I didn't have much more faith in the 5.0 BB/9 (or the 4.3 two years before) he posted the last two seasons before the Pirates signing than I currently do in Volquez's consistent control problems. Other, non-control peripherals about simply becoming a good pitcher again, that's another story entirely (though at the very least Volquez does at least have the one common Melancon/Burnett/Liriano reclamation trait in his xFIP suggesting he was better than his ERA, obviously). I know it's fun to be disappointed about the off-season and label Volquez as the biggest signing just because there wasn't much, but he is what he is. A back of the rotation guy with maybe a little bit of upside that I'm not particularly optimistic about in the least, but will welcome Searage to take a shot. And that's basically my outlook on him.


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