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 Post subject: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:15 pm 
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The icing on the cake tonight with Karstens gem came when I was watching Baseball Tonight. Although I only caught a bit of it, Kruk, Phillips and the crew were discussing the Yankees lack of pitching options down the stretch especially with Chamberlain going on the DL. The stated the Ian Kennedy and Hughes were unproven and not ready. Talked about how the bullpen was struggling as of late. Were discussing possible pickups such as Paul Bryd, Washburn, and a few unimpressive others. I really thought they would mention the pitchers that were traded to the Pirates especially with Karstens game tonight, but once again the Pirates got little love from ESPN (or I just missed it).

I hate the Yankees so I was smiling from ear to ear.


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:21 am 
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I noticed that also. It seems like they have very short term memories when it comes to the Pirates. They trashed the trade when it was made but give no props to Neal now that Karstens has pitched 15 shutout innings. Don't get me wrong, we kind of deserve it. Our ownership is all kinds of incompetent, but it seems like they are starting to right the ship. Keep in mind also that I seriously doubt that this guy is the real Jeff Karstens. I think if he becomes a 200 inning 4.5 ERA guy then that is perfect for him.


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:34 am 
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JimY wrote:
I think if he becomes a 200 inning 4.5 ERA guy then that is perfect for him.


If Snell and Gorzy could have given us 200IPs and 4.50ERAs Bay and Nady are still on the team and we're in the wildcard hunt!

I could settle for that.


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:55 pm 
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Argentum wrote:
JimY wrote:
I think if he becomes a 200 inning 4.5 ERA guy then that is perfect for him.


If Snell and Gorzy could have given us 200IPs and 4.50ERAs Bay and Nady are still on the team and we're in the wildcard hunt!

I could settle for that.


I'm assuming what you meant was that had Snell and Gorzy given the Pirates the production you mentioned (200 IP w/ 4.50 ERA) and kept Nady/Bay, that the Pirates would be in the wild card hunt. I apologize in advance if I mistook your meaning. Anyway...

Snell's ERA is 6.14, Gorzy's is 6.54. If both of them had an ERA of 4.5, the Pirates would be giving up 1.64 fewer runs per 9 innings that Snell pitched, 2.04 fewer per 9 that Gorzy pitched. And in this hypothetical, let's say each of them was healthy and pitching the same amount of innings that Zach Duke has pitched, which is 133.1 to date.

So in this hypothetical, Snell would have pitched 14.8 sets of nine innings, and given up 1.64 runs fewer per set, leading to a total reduction of about 24 runs. Using the same math, Gorzo would have given up 30 fewer...total, the Pirates would have given up 54 fewer runs. So the Pirates would have given up 577 runs as opposed to 631.

The Pirates have scored 552 runs so far this year, and in our hypothetical they would have given up 577. A team with these runs scored and allowed can normally expect to win 48% of their games, equating to a 55-59 record at this point in the season. This would put them 8.5 games back in the current wild card race, just ahead of Houston, and hardly in the race.

It's a little daunting to me that the above hypothetical reductions in ERA, along with additional IP, from two starters wouldn't even come close to making the Pirates even a wild card contender. I haven't done the math, but I suspect a similar reduction in ERA by Duke wouldn't be enough either. Even with mediocre as opposed to horrible pitching, the Pirates still aren't a playoff contender, even with Nady and Bay.


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:36 pm 
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It's not unrealistic to think that the Pirates could be in the wilcard race if Snell and Gorzy give average (using the standards set forth in this thread) performances this year. Therefore, I'm assuming that the Pirates are not sellers at the trade deadline.

jaybee24 wrote:
The Pirates have scored 552 runs so far this year, and in our hypothetical they would have given up 577. A team with these runs scored and allowed can normally expect to win 48% of their games, equating to a 55-59 record at this point in the season. This would put them 8.5 games back in the current wild card race, just ahead of Houston, and hardly in the race.


Florida Marlins (60-54) - 543 runs scored, 565 runs surrendered. 3.5 games behind the Brewers for the wildcard.


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:47 pm 
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Argentum wrote:
It's not unrealistic to think that the Pirates could be in the wilcard race if Snell and Gorzy give average (using the standards set forth in this thread) performances this year. Therefore, I'm assuming that the Pirates are not sellers at the trade deadline.

jaybee24 wrote:
The Pirates have scored 552 runs so far this year, and in our hypothetical they would have given up 577. A team with these runs scored and allowed can normally expect to win 48% of their games, equating to a 55-59 record at this point in the season. This would put them 8.5 games back in the current wild card race, just ahead of Houston, and hardly in the race.


Florida Marlins (60-54) - 543 runs scored, 565 runs surrendered. 3.5 games behind the Brewers for the wildcard.

Which means the Marlins are doing it with smoke, mirrors, and a very good bullpen. I have my doubts that the Pirates could achieve such a feat.

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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:51 pm 
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Willton wrote:
Which means the Marlins are doing it with smoke, mirrors, and a very good bullpen. I have my doubts that the Pirates could achieve such a feat.


Your "doubts" do not render the possible impossible.


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 3:15 pm 
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If Snell and Gorzo had pitched better and had better ERAs, the bullpen would be less taxed and more effective. The offense would not be placed behind the eight-ball early in the game. Many things would be different and a RS/RA analysis is far too simplistic.

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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 3:22 pm 
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No. 9 wrote:
Many things would be different and a RS/RA analysis is far too simplistic.


I agree with this statement 100%.


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:27 pm 
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Argentum wrote:
No. 9 wrote:
Many things would be different and a RS/RA analysis is far too simplistic.


I agree with this statement 100%.


It might be simplistic, but it still gives a ballpark idea. The point of the analysis is that monumental improvements to the pitching staff this year would still have resulted in mediocrity.

The wins I projected were done with a Pythagorean projection. Yes, there are teams that do better or worse than their projections, but pointing to one of them as disproving the rule is the same as flipping a coin three times in a row, having it come up heads all three times, and then saying, "See, it's not 50/50!"

Pythagorean projections are not 100% on, but they give an extremely good idea of what you can expect from a team given RS/RA. There are very few teams who significantly deviate from theirs, and the Marlins are one of those few. It doesn't happen often.

The chances that the Pirates are a playoff contending team with a mediocre Snell and Gorzy are very slim. This team has a lot of work to do on its pitching staff before those chances improve.

Argentum, yeah, of course something with a very slim chance of happening could happen. It's still possible that the Pirates could have competed this year with a mediocre pitching staff. It's also possible that I could win the lottery today.

No. 9, ok, so let's say the bullpen isn't as taxed, and goes from the team average ERA of 5.25 all the way down to 4.75 (a half a run reduction in ERA is enormous). This would save the Pirates another 20 runs and put them around .500, still 6.5 games out of the wild card looking up at another 5 teams. Still not really in it. Also, your comment about the offense being "behing the eight ball" early on...I don't know what that means. The Pirates offense has been unbelievable this year, until they traded Bay and Nady, they were sixth in the entire majors in runs scored. I don't think you can reasonably say that the offense magically would have scored more runs if Snell and Gorzy had been mediocre as opposed to horrible.


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:51 pm 
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Jaybe24, I'm familiar with Bill James and actually think the pythagorean is a pretty slick tool. However, it's not perfect. I believe the margin of error is upwards, and to be fair, downwards of 5 games. For arguments sake, assuming your calculation is on the low side to the tune of three or four games, the Pirates are now within 5 games of the Brewers. In my opinion that qualifies as being "in the race". Personally, I don't think they'd win the wildcard, but that wasn't my original assertion.


Last edited by Argentum on Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:56 pm 
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jaybee24 wrote:
[This would save the Pirates another 20 runs and put them around .500, still 6.5 games out of the wild card looking up at another 5 teams. Still not really in it.


So that we're all on the same page, please define "really in it". Is Texas out in your system?


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 6:05 pm 
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Eeehmm guys.. it did not happen.. the stats are just there and thats it

so what ifs.... better look ahead i guess

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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 6:19 pm 
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jaybee24 wrote:
I don't think you can reasonably say that the offense magically would have scored more runs if Snell and Gorzy had been mediocre as opposed to horrible.


I did not come anywhere close to making this assertion. Nor would I ever make such an assertion.

An individual baseball game is a dynamic situation. The Bucs - if they are losing by 5 runs early in the game - have very little option for trying to win a particular game. Better pitching performances by the starters create far more options for trying to win games. Indeed, it is my belief that better pitching from Snell and Gorzo and better performances from the bullpen almost certainly would have resulted in fewer runs scored by the offense.

Snell and Gorzo giving up fewer runs and pitching deeper into games means that the Pirates would have been more competitive in their starts. That gives them a better chance of winning more games.

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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:44 pm 
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jaybee24 wrote:
Argentum wrote:
JimY wrote:
I think if he becomes a 200 inning 4.5 ERA guy then that is perfect for him.


If Snell and Gorzy could have given us 200IPs and 4.50ERAs Bay and Nady are still on the team and we're in the wildcard hunt!

I could settle for that.


I'm assuming what you meant was that had Snell and Gorzy given the Pirates the production you mentioned (200 IP w/ 4.50 ERA) and kept Nady/Bay, that the Pirates would be in the wild card hunt. I apologize in advance if I mistook your meaning. Anyway...

Snell's ERA is 6.14, Gorzy's is 6.54. If both of them had an ERA of 4.5, the Pirates would be giving up 1.64 fewer runs per 9 innings that Snell pitched, 2.04 fewer per 9 that Gorzy pitched. And in this hypothetical, let's say each of them was healthy and pitching the same amount of innings that Zach Duke has pitched, which is 133.1 to date.

So in this hypothetical, Snell would have pitched 14.8 sets of nine innings, and given up 1.64 runs fewer per set, leading to a total reduction of about 24 runs. Using the same math, Gorzo would have given up 30 fewer...total, the Pirates would have given up 54 fewer runs. So the Pirates would have given up 577 runs as opposed to 631.

The Pirates have scored 552 runs so far this year, and in our hypothetical they would have given up 577. A team with these runs scored and allowed can normally expect to win 48% of their games, equating to a 55-59 record at this point in the season. This would put them 8.5 games back in the current wild card race, just ahead of Houston, and hardly in the race.

It's a little daunting to me that the above hypothetical reductions in ERA, along with additional IP, from two starters wouldn't even come close to making the Pirates even a wild card contender. I haven't done the math, but I suspect a similar reduction in ERA by Duke wouldn't be enough either. Even with mediocre as opposed to horrible pitching, the Pirates still aren't a playoff contender, even with Nady and Bay.

I don't know how you'd do this without making so many estimates that it renders the whole exercise useless, but those innings that you're adding on to Snell and Gorzo's totals shouldn't be compared to their ERAs. They should be compared to the ERAs of the guys who actually pitched those missing innings, like Van Benschoten, Herrera, Osoria, and the rest of the rogues gallery. As bad as Snell and Gorzo have been, their replacements and the mopup guys have been worse.

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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 1:38 am 
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sisyphus wrote:
As bad as Snell and Gorzo have been, their replacements and the mopup guys have been worse.


Sisyphus, not true at all. The bullpen has an ERA around 5.5 this year, almost a full run lower than Snell and Gorzo. Those two have been some of the worst starters in baseball. So comparing the extra assumed innings of Snell and Gorzo to the bullpen's ERA, the Pirates would have saved fewer runs than I had originally assumed, which strengthens my case that they wouldn't be a wild card team with mediocre starting pitching.

Argentum, when I consider whether a team would be "in" a playoff race, I'm considering not only the number of games out they are, I'm considering how many other teams are competing for that one playoff spot. Texas is 6.5 games out and is looking up at three other teams...I don't think they have much of a chance, and ESPN puts their playoff chances at around 6%. If the Pirates were five games out now, they'd be looking up at four other teams. And five games out is about a best case scenario in the hypothetical.

No.9, I agree individual baseball games are dynamic situations, but it is possible to predict fairly closely what will happen over a large number of games given a team's RS/RA numbers. Yes, the Pirates could have completely defied the Pythagorean projection I came up with had Snell and Gorzo put up a 4.50 ERA. It's just extremely unlikely they would have done so.


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 11:06 am 
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Jay, as Sisyphus pointed out, your flaw is that you're not comparing apples to apples. You need to compare the lost innings and runs allowed by Snell and Gorzo to the people who actually had to make up those innings. Guys like Capps, Marte, Yates, and Grabow are off the list. They'll get their innings regardless of how long the starters last. We need to focus on the long relievers and starters (remember, Gorzo isn't even on the team anymore). Herrera, JVB, and Osoria top my list. Combined they've topped 100 innings of mopup/spot starting.

So lets move onto the math.

Snell averaged 6.5 IP per start last year (208/32). This year he is averaging 5.18 (114/22). So he's giving up 1.32 innings per start to one of my triumverate.

Without going through all the math again, Gorzo was giving up 1.12 innings. But here is where it gets tricky, the 1.12 innings assumes Gorzo has made all of his starts, he hasn't. By my estimate, he's missed five starts in AAA. So we'll need to factor in these innings.

Assuming 22 starts for Snell alone, we are left with 29 (1.32*22) innings left to a JVB, Osoria, or Herrera. Gorzo is a bit trickier, if he started 22 games, which we all know he didn't, he would be surrendering 24.64 innings (1.12*22). However we also need to add to this the innings lost by not starting at all. I get roughly 25 (5 games * 5 innings).

So by my calculations, Snell and Gorzo have given up 79 innings to the likes of Herrera, JVB, and Osoria. These three goofballs have a combined era of 7.73. That is 1.4 runs per game higher than Snell's and Gorzo's combined ERA.

Soooooo, 79 * 1.4 = 110 "extra" runs surrendered. Plugging this into the pythagorean the Pirates are projected to be 60-54.

Now you may call that not really in the hunt, but I can guarantee you that if the Pirates were 6 games over .500 and 3.5 out in the wildcard race, people would be excited. I'd also go as far to say that Bay and Nady are probably still on the team.

Have fun checking my math. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 12:36 pm 
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Argentum wrote:
So by my calculations, Snell and Gorzo have given up 79 innings to the likes of Herrera, JVB, and Osoria. These three goofballs have a combined era of 7.73. That is 1.4 runs per game higher than Snell's and Gorzo's combined ERA.

Soooooo, 79 * 1.4 = 110 "extra" runs surrendered. Plugging this into the pythagorean the Pirates are projected to be 60-54.


Ok, I get what you guys are saying now, Snell and Gorzo (S&G) aren't giving up their innings to the average Pirates pitcher, they're giving the innings up to the absolute dregs of the Pirates staff (which is the dregs of the majors). Sorry for being dense...anyway, I'll buy that.

But your math above is wrong...the clowns are giving up 1.4 runs per game more than Snell and Gorzo, not 1.4 runs per inning, which is what you calculated. It should be 79/9 * 1.4, which is about 13 runs more than I originally calculated. So returning to my original hypothetical, if S&G were pitching more innings at 4.50 ERA, the Pirates would have given up 564 runs this year. Assuming they're scoring the same amount (552 runs), this puts them at 56-58, 7 games out and behind five other teams for the wild card.

So in a best case scenario, let's say the Pirates outperform their Pythagorean projection by 5 games. Then they're 2 games out and sitting pretty. (Equally as likely they'd underperform by 5 games and be 12 games out, but I'll ignore that for now.) Yeah, ok, maybe that could happen, but it's extremely unlikely. How unlikely? Given past deviations from the projection given RS/RA, I'd say there's a 10% chance of a team outperforming their projection by enough to have made the Pirates a contender this year with mediocre pitching from S&G. It's so unlikely that it's almost not even worth considering.

It's pretty clear what the Pirates need. They need four reasonably consistent starting pitchers giving them around a 4.0 ERA, which is a far cry from what they have now. However, let's say Zach Duke lives up to half of his potential...McCutchen and Ohlendorf come up to the PBC and continue their solid performances in AAA...Maholm is consistent...and Karstens continues to be solid....and the offense continues to put up big numbers (bit of a stretch with Bay and Nady gone, but let's say a couple of the new guys work out really well). Then we'd have something, and it'd be sooner (within two years) as opposed to later (four years or more). But statistically speaking, S&G are just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to the Pirates' pitching problems.


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 1:12 pm 
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jaybee24 wrote:
But your math above is wrong...the clowns are giving up 1.4 runs per game more than Snell and Gorzo, not 1.4 runs per inning, which is what you calculated. It should be 79/9 * 1.4, which is about 13 runs more than I originally calculated.


:oops: Told you to check my math.

jaybee24 wrote:
So in a best case scenario, let's say the Pirates outperform their Pythagorean projection by 5 games. Then they're 2 games out and sitting pretty. (Equally as likely they'd underperform by 5 games and be 12 games out, but I'll ignore that for now.) Yeah, ok, maybe that could happen, but it's extremely unlikely. How unlikely? Given past deviations from the projection given RS/RA, I'd say there's a 10% chance of a team outperforming their projection by enough to have made the Pirates a contender this year with mediocre pitching from S&G. It's so unlikely that it's almost not even worth considering.


10% means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Ask the Marlins. Some people would put a loaded gun to their head and pull the trigger for a $1000 if they knew there was *only* a 10% chance of it going off. I myself wouldn't put a loaded gun to my head for all the money in the world. 10% is material to some, immaterial to others. We'll have to disagree on that one.

Getting back to the pythagorean though, it's really out of place for what we are trying to do here. It's a great tool for telling us where a team should be, but it fails miserably in telling us where a team could be. There are so many coulda, shoulda, wouldas involved when discussing two pitchers, that this exercise is really one draped in futility.


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 Post subject: Re: Baseball Tonight (Wed)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:38 pm 
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I'd like to throw in too, that if Doumtrait was healthy and was getting his consistancy from that spot in the rotation too, there'd probably be a few more W's than L's...

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