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  1. Actually, I disagree with yoru conclusion and the same chart you produced is why. Concentrae on the third form bottom line in the last table. That line shows that when the difference is 4 runs, CC walks 25% fewer people (laying it in there) and strikes out the fewest amount of people. He gives up 20% more HR’s per nine, and the batter’s BA goes up 13 points compared to games within 1, 2 or 3 runs.

    Seems to me that harold Reynolds wins this arguement.

    Comment by Carl — April 19, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

  2. Different, not worse. The gap between a .690 OPS in blowouts and the OPS numbers he allows in non-blowouts is not meaningful.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — April 19, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

  3. He has 927 plate appearances against when the margin is greater than four runs versus 9,810 when the margin is less than four. His OPS is 0.014 higher when the margin is greater than four. I don’t know how much that is going to affect his career ERA, but it seems to me that it’s going to be quite minimal.

    Comment by Ben Hall — April 19, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

  4. Everything Harold Reynolds says is factually incorrect.

    Comment by marlinswin12 — April 19, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

  5. Nice article. I wish MLB Network didn’t have so many archaic personalities like Reynolds, Billy Ripken, Larry Bowa and Mitch Williams. It has mostly great programming, but the blanket, baseless and anecdeotal “analyses” by such personalities is depressing to listen to. Kenny (the most analytical, obviously), Verducci and even Eric Byrnes are much more in-tuned on the evolution of the game. Earlier this week Verducci tried explaining defensive efficiency as a better measure of defense than errors (re: Detroit) and it went completely over Ripken’s head.

    Comment by jnapolit31 — April 19, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

  6. Does CC’s pitch selection or velocity change based on leverage?

    Comment by Trev — April 19, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

  7. I really like both Ripkens. They offer a different perspective than you get on this site. Not everybody has to be a translator for advanced stats.

    There is a false dichotomy between “stathead announcers” (like David Cone) and “old school guys” (like 95% of them…say John Kruk). In reality, one is not preferable to the other.

    In an ideal world, the old school guys provide ideas and theories to guys like Dave Cameron to analyze. Without Harold Reynolds (and countless others) making this claim, there is no theory to debunk.

    As Bill James said, stats are supposed to answer questions. We’ve reached a point where we have more stats than we have questions. Jeff Sullivan says the most difficult part of writing is thinking of something to write about. Let’s applaud the guys that go on TV and give us something to think about, whether it is correct or not. At least it gives us something to discuss.

    Comment by Scott — April 19, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

  8. This article is an awesome fight against a feeble strawman.

    “If Sabathia pitched dramatically better in close games than with a big lead, it would show up in the data.”

    Pitching different is not the same thing as pitching better. Every pitcher in baseball pitches to the score.

    Comment by Synovia — April 19, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

  9. Can we find any pitcher that pitches to the score?

    Comment by mike wants wins — April 19, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

  10. OPS is not a measurement of pitching style Dave. The fact that the OPS is not meaningfully different doesn’t mean hes not pitching differently.

    Comment by Synovia — April 19, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

  11. No one is saying he isn’t pitching differently. We even talk about it in the article. The claim isn’t that there’s no difference in approach depending on the context. The evidence simply shows that the difference doesn’t really matter, which is the argument at hand.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — April 19, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

  12. Despite your unverified claim at the end, you make a good point. Pitching differently does not equal pitching better.

    Comment by Scott — April 19, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

  13. I especially enjoyed the poll during the middle of those guys yelling at one another.

    Comment by dan w — April 19, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

  14. what about RPs… anecdotally my closers in non-save situations always seem to pitch worse than they do in save situations.

    Comment by nate — April 19, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

  15. “No one is saying he isn’t pitching differently. ”

    Dave Cameron: “In that segment, Harold Reynolds cites CC Sabathia as an example of a pitcher who pitches to the score, [b]noting that he performs differently[/b] when the game is on the line ”

    Reynolds says he pitches differently. You respond by saying that if he did, we’d be able to see an improvement in OPS. You’re conflating differently, with better.

    you’re arguing against a strawman.

    Comment by Synovia — April 19, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

  16. EDGE%!!!!!

    This is tailor-made for an edge% analysis. As other commenters have noted, a different approach doesn’t necessarily lead to more or less success. Looking at rate stats unnecessarily distances us from the true data.

    This is crying out for an analysis of:

    1-What types of pitches he throws
    2-How hard he throws them
    3-Where the pitches go

    These are simple questions with simple theories (1-more fastballs; 2-softer, 3-to the heart of the plate). Let’s see it!

    Comment by Scott — April 19, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

  17. I’d be interested to see if there are any pitchers who pitch markedly differently based on the score, both based on what they throw and results.

    There’s the perception that they all do and announcers and ex-players always talk about it, but except for situations where the score is something like 10-0 in the 8th inning or something, at least by the eyeball test, there doesn’t generally appear to be a difference in results at the least.

    Another one I’d like to see Fangraphs tackle is whether or not hit and run’s actually result in higher chances of getting a hit or the like, and also whether the “contact play” with the runner taking off from 3rd with less than 2 outs as soon as contact is made is better than simply having him stay put and waiting to see what happens, in terms of maximizing scoring.

    Comment by Daven — April 19, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

  18. The problem is that Harold Reynolds and others dismiss these stats as responses to their statements. There is evidence that Sabathia does not “pitch to the score,” so why doesn’t Harold Reynolds pursue that? Reynolds is not asking a question, but stating a non-fact that Sabathia does, in fact, pitch to the score.

    Comment by Brendan — April 19, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

  19. I don’t believe Harold Reynold’s argument on this topic, but even if I did, I’d still realize that a pitcher has absolutely no effect on his own run support. How many wins would Sabathia and King Felix each have if they switched teams? Wins are a stupid statistic.

    Comment by TangoAlphaLima — April 19, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

  20. “The evidence simply shows that the difference doesn’t really matter, ”

    The evidence shows that he walks less guys and strikes out more with a big lead. The evidence shows that he gives up a higher BA without any meaningful change in OBP.

    The evidence shows a very different pitcher profile, while getting similar results. IE, he pitches differently.

    I’d bet his pitches/out numbers go down with a big lead too.

    Comment by Synovia — April 19, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

  21. Congratulations on cherry picking one sentence and twisting it to support your own preconceived idea of what I’m saying.

    Read the article again, then actually try and make the claim that the post doesn’t specifically denote that Sabathia pitches differently, but not better or worse, depending on the score. If you can’t see that in the article, I can’t help you.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — April 19, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

  22. this video is just amazing–Kenny looks like he is about to shake the stupid out of Reynolds

    Comment by Pr — April 19, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

  23. You definitely proved that point.

    The one additional thing I’d be interested in is something like pitches thrown per IP in each situation.

    I would think it’d be lower in low leverage situations. So that would be a meaningful difference – conserving energy when there’s little on the line by using a different approach to get the same baseline results.

    Comment by Matt — April 19, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

  24. Verlander’s known to be able to noticeably ramp up the speed of his fastball late in games, when it’s a high-leverage situation. Not sure about anyone else, though.

    Comment by NeilS — April 19, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

  25. It is worth noting that the stats for pitching in a tie-game are probably influenced a bit by the fact that a significant percentage of at bats in a tie game will come early in the game (when it is still 0-0). Since pitchers tend to perform better the first time through the order, we might be able to explain much of the (slight) difference between tied game performance and large lead/deficit performance that way.

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — April 19, 2013 @ 2:35 pm

  26. Agreed. The frustrations arise when the “old school guys” dismiss the analysis of their claims. I think the animosity between the two camps is due to an incorrect perception that they are at odds, when they should be working together.

    If Harold Reynolds would engage thoughtfully with statistical research into his ideas, announcing would be better off (…and then the world would end). I think the reciprocal is already true – statheads seem to enjoy analyzing claims of ex-players (perhaps to debunk, but not always).

    Comment by Scott — April 19, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

  27. do hitters hit differently in a blowout… maybe harold is right and the stats don’t show it for a different reason. granted, as someone pointed out, harold’s statement about pitching “differently” (not necessarily better).

    Comment by nate — April 19, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

  28. With regards to the score-split graph, would it be possible to separate the the scoring splits as opposed to having the overlap in the within 1-4runs department? Such has having tied/1-runs/2-runs/3-runs/4-runs/>4runs instead of the constantly overlapping within 1/2/3/4.

    Also am I correct in assuming the >4 runs margin includes not only when Sabathia has the lead but also behind by 4+ runs? Assuming the rest of the data shows that effectively he doesn’t change much in performance, would it stand to reason that since it covers potential games he gets shelled, of course he has worse numbers? This would seem to explain why the >4 run disparity exists from the other sets.

    Comment by Dr.Rockzo — April 19, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

  29. For those that did not watch the clip and instead only read the article and are quibbling about “different” vs. “better,” be advised that during the exchange Reynolds states that when Sabathia’s team is ahead “he gets hit around a little bit more.” This is the implicit argument of Reynolds’ (and others’) “pitching to the score” assertion. The facts do not appear to support this claim.

    Comment by AC of DC — April 19, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

  30. Am I wrong in saying that Reynold’s argument boiled down to that pitchers can make their offenses score more runs? He makes it sound like the pitcher has some control over winning the game.

    Comment by Seth — April 19, 2013 @ 2:45 pm

  31. I don’t think it’s just in high leverage situations. Verlander always starts a game holding back a little bit on his fastball, then builds up speed through the innings. Maybe someone has stats that prove otherwise, but I think he does this regardless of the score.

    Comment by TangoAlphaLima — April 19, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

  32. Harold Reynolds is the human manifestation of “Opposite Day.” Can we make that his nick name?

    Comment by Eminor3rd — April 19, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

  33. Duh, Jack Morris.

    Comment by ALEastbound — April 19, 2013 @ 3:08 pm

  34. If I was Harold Reynolds, not sure “Strawman” is the nickname I’d want, but cool.

    Comment by Chad Moriyama — April 19, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

  35. In reality, pitchers pitch better when they have the lead

    This statement seems like saying that it rains because the ground is wet (i.e. assigning causation to the wrong variable).

    My assumption is the reverse of this. Opponent quality will bias the data, but quality of pitching will as well. I don’t assume pitchers have the same stuff every time out (this can be viewed in pitch f/x data). On the aggregate, having the lead is a result of pitching better.

    Comment by Anon — April 19, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

  36. The problem with this show and many other non baseball shows on television is that it assumes both sides of an argument are valid. Kenny’s analytics can not be compared to Reynolds anecdotal evidence, and accepted knowledge. Reynolds, like a lot of analysts on the mlb network is very good at explaining the game on that backfield, but virtually overmatched when analysizing player value. Reynolds and the others are essentially lying to the viewers by stating their accepted baseball axioms as fact while completely dismissing any sort of data that would support the contrary.

    Comment by blindbuddysirraf — April 19, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

  37. This was the longest STFU ever.

    Comment by Mat — April 19, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

  38. In regard to the league stats by leverage, how much is that biased by relief pitcher usage? (The closer or fireman gets used in high leverage situations, and the mop up guy gets used in blowouts. Also, pinch hitter usage might have an effect in the NL.)

    Comment by Anon — April 19, 2013 @ 3:43 pm

  39. I think maybe it’d be more fair to HR’s argument to look at WPA versus leverage, not the usual run-prevention stats.

    In any case, I don’t think one should look at the WOBA or FIP or OPS and say “hey, they’re the same in high and low leverage situations, so pitchers aren’t performing any better!” These stats are essentially a proxy for the expected number of runs. In the long run, minimizing runs is roughly aligned with winning games (which is why these stats are great).

    But, for example, if you’ve got two on and two out in the 9th, the last thing you want to do is give up a 3-run homer. So it’s natural to increase the chance of a hit (by lowering your K%) in order to decrease the chance of a home run. That is to say, in a particular (high-leverage) situation, the strategy that maximizes your probability of winning the game is not necessarily the strategy that minimizes the expected number of runs you’re going to give up. Or, as I would hypothesize based on the data in this article, pitchers can choose among strategies having roughly the same overall run-prevention statistics (but differing performance w.r.t WPA).

    Disclaimer: I still don’t believe in pitcher wins as a very meaningful stat.

    Comment by David — April 19, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

  40. It would be even better if the data was split for ahead by 4+ and behind by 4+, but the data in the article supports the claim that he gets hit around more. Opponent average is higher in situations with a 4+ run difference.

    Comment by Anon — April 19, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

  41. Yeah, but the man has verve! Not to mention that he never confused the issue, a la Joe Morgan, by being a high-percentage ballplayer in his earlier life.

    Comment by Jon — April 19, 2013 @ 4:03 pm

  42. Except that the article makes quite clear that C.C. Sabathia *does* pitch to the score; he just doesn’t succeed in being more successful when he needs to be.

    In fact, the article doesn’t even prove the latter, because it doesn’t take into account things like quality of batters faced in high-leverage situations, or if high-leverage situations might be more likely to occur when C.C. is tiring.

    Comment by Jon — April 19, 2013 @ 4:05 pm

  43. Yes, I totally agree with this. Except anecdotally it doesn’t seem to me like they pitch better when they need to, only that they pitch normally (i.e., quite well) when they have a small lead, and poorly when the game is tied.

    Comment by Jon — April 19, 2013 @ 4:07 pm

  44. Synovia, it’s helpful to watch the video, if you haven’t. While Reynolds never quite comes out and says Sabathia is willing to allow more runs when he has a lead, the general course of the conversation revolves around that point. While Dave doesn’t spell out in his post that that’s what he’s trying to determine, I’m pretty sure that’s the direction he was taking.

    Comment by Nathaniel Dawson — April 19, 2013 @ 4:27 pm

  45. “an artifact of opponent quality”

    That is such a cool phrase right there. I’m going to work this into everyday conversation.

    Comment by Blofkin — April 19, 2013 @ 4:59 pm

  46. I was a little surprised to see that Sabathia leads in pitcher WAR since the beginning of the 2007 season. Not sure he quite gets his due, even being on the yankees, maybe because they have had so many other stars. King Felix is adored in Seattle because he’s who they have (well, they had Ichiro).

    The WAR ranking 2007-2013:

    1. Sabathia
    2. Verlander
    3. Halladay
    4. Lee
    5. Hernandez
    6. Greinke
    7. Haren
    8. Lincecum
    9. Weaver
    10. Lester

    Comment by Wobatus — April 19, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

  47. Jack Morris pitched to the score so well that he frequently foresaw his team scoring for him in later innings, and would give it up early in order to give the other team a false sense of security…

    Comment by David — April 19, 2013 @ 5:10 pm

  48. It’s times like this that make me glad I don’t subscribe to cable. Had no idea Harold Reynolds was on a TV show. Yikes. Feel like I wandered into the middle of a Creation vs Evolution “debate” in Georgia. We must present both sides as if they’re equal!!! Let the people decide the truth!!!

    Comment by Brian — April 19, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

  49. F@%(*in’ love me some Egde%. Mmm mmmmmmm.

    Comment by David — April 19, 2013 @ 5:12 pm

  50. I have often wandered if pitching to the score was underrated in sabremetric circles, so I really appreciate this real-world example. Every Dave Cameron article is a must read; he makes it really easy and clear to understand a complex subject matter.

    Comment by eddiegaedel — April 19, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

  51. it is painful to hear harold argue… omg

    Comment by monty — April 19, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

  52. Sabathia has probably been as good (if not better) than King Felix the last 5 or 6 years. I don’t think Felix’s excellence has gone unappreciated despite the lack of wins, and CC’s excellence may be obscured to a degree for some because he’s on the Yankees and has a lot of wins. If that makes sense.

    Comment by Wobatus — April 19, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

  53. Maybe pitcher will not try to be as fine on a 3-1 pitch when the lead is 8-1 and there are 2 outs in the 8th. But that has to do with the batter more likely to hit it at a defender, than over the fence, and walking the batter just looks like a poor decision over letting him make contact with a 3-1 pitch.

    Other than that, to believe that a pitcher stops working and relaxes is the same as saying that a hitter gives up at bats when the game is out of hand. I am sure Harold didn’t give up at bats just because it didn’t matter for the game’s end result. I would think a player’s competitive nature and routine makes it hard to perform differently on purpose. It would seem unnatural.

    However, in saying that, I suppose there is a chance a pitcher can lose focus. Such as in basketball when players relax on defense in a blow out with 2 minutes left. But that doesn’t mean the pitcher is pitching to the score. It just means the player is not executing in the same manner to how he once was executing. It is not by design.

    In short. It is very unlikely a player is consciously changing anything than they normally do because a game is out of hand. However, lack of focus can cause a player to make mistakes. Just as pressure can cause a player to make a mistake. But those seem to be different ideas from what Howard is saying.

    Comment by Disagreements! — April 19, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

  54. Isn’t he getting hit around more? With >4 runs, the area people argue about, he is trading less walks for more hits and HRs. So he is getting hit around more, he just also gets better in other ways.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — April 19, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

  55. Feeble Strawman, on the other hand, would be a good name for a band. Or a Twitter.

    Comment by Phrozen — April 19, 2013 @ 5:51 pm

  56. I think Felix’s excellence has absolutely been unappreciated by the old school baseball guys. Heck, just the other day on PTI, Kornheiser and Wilbon both remarked that Felix won the Cy Young in a season in which he only had 13 wins. And that’s my point, over the last 4 years, Sabathia and Felix have been essentially the same pitcher (22.4 WAR for Felix, 22.1 WAR for Sabathia), but Sabathia has gotten much more notice by old school baseball guys because he gets more wins, whereas Felix gets knocked for not winning enough games.

    Comment by TangoAlphaLima — April 19, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

  57. oh gosh that “debate” turned into a train wreck fast

    Comment by adohaj — April 19, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

  58. I’m a different Anon but was going to say the same thing – yes, there might be some of pitching against better teams but also could be d/t better vs/ worse pitching

    Comment by Anon — April 19, 2013 @ 7:27 pm

  59. But Felix won a Cy Young, so not like he doesn’t get recognition. And CC has had 3 seasons in the last 6 years with a higher WAR than Felix had in his best year, 2009. They are both fantastic pitchers, but I really think the old guard praise for CC, for the wrong reasons (winz), blinds some of the more stat savvy fans to just how good CC is. I think even Yankee fans don’t realize it.

    Comment by wobatus — April 19, 2013 @ 7:53 pm

  60. Scott, that’s a fresh perspective on things. Well done. I like the Ripkens also.

    Comment by bstar — April 19, 2013 @ 7:55 pm

  61. Well that was an easy argument to win.

    Comment by Harold Reynolds IQ — April 19, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

  62. -I think one of the problems is that people look at W-L totals and try to explain if anyone has a better or worse record than ERA or other stats might suggest. Eg. if someone has an ERA of 4 yet has a 18-4 record we(or they) try to come up with a reason how the pitcher did it, ignoring the obvious answers of run support or luck.
    -If you had someone you always pitched for the win(pitching to the score) as opposed to someone who always pitched for ERA how big a difference in W-L record would that create- my guess it would be less than 1 win a year.
    -Does pitcher consistency play a role in W-L record? If a guy goes 6IP, 3R, every time will he get the same results as a guy who goes 9IP,0R in half his starts and 3IP,3R in his other starts- same ERA. Also is that affected by the team offense- if you have a great offense is consistency good- you team will always score enough- might get 20 wins. But if you pitched for Miami and went 6IP, 3R every game you might end up with 20 losses.

    Comment by Maverick Squad — April 19, 2013 @ 9:55 pm

  63. I’ve heard that Verlander coasts when there’s no one on base, and then ramps up his fastball once he allows a baserunner.

    Comment by Bryz — April 19, 2013 @ 9:55 pm

  64. Sorry on that last paragraph I meant 9IP, 0R and 3IP, 6R(not 3R)- which would make an era of 4.5.

    Comment by Maverick Squad — April 19, 2013 @ 9:56 pm

  65. Felix just got paid a bajillion million dollars; he’s being appreciated just fine.

    Comment by MrKnowNothing — April 19, 2013 @ 11:28 pm

  66. Jack Morris doesnt throw a splitter. That’s just the ball looking for a place to hide.

    Comment by jsolid — April 19, 2013 @ 11:55 pm

  67. So since the results are similar (well except for the more than 4 runs line), that is evidence that the approach is the same? Does that not seem like incredibly flawed logic and a classic example of confusing the results with the process?

    If I find two pitchers with similar stats that are quoted here, is it evidence that their approach to pitching is the same?

    Don’t you have to look at the “process” side of pitching:
    – First pitch strikes
    – % of pitches in the zone
    – pitch mix
    – pitch mix when behind in the count
    – pitch location
    – pitch sequencing

    “From what we can tell, CC Sabathia pitches like CC Sabathia, whether the game is 10-0 or 1-0.”

    The only thing you did was suggest that the results are similar (and even that is a bit debatable), not that he pitches the same. You did absolutely ZERO analysis of his pitching and inexplicably focused solely on the results.

    Comment by Hank — April 20, 2013 @ 12:36 am

  68. While the “splits by score differential” chart is nice, it doesn’t really speak to the topic of whether CC pitches differently when he has a large lead than when he does not. Unless you think he would pitch the same with a 4 run deficit as a 4 run lead, which isn’t really logical if he pitches based on the score.

    Comment by Bob — April 20, 2013 @ 12:45 am

  69. “You’re more likely to be losing to a good hitting team than one that has trouble scoring, so this is probably just an artifact of opponent quality.”

    In addition to the selection bias for opponent quality, there’s a selection bias for pitcher quality. If Sabathia’s team is behind, that means that Sabathia himself gave up at least one run. That could well be because he’s not pitching well, for whatever reason: perhaps he doesn’t have a good feel for one of his pitches, or his location is sloppy, or what have you.

    CC Sabathia: Pitching Better On Good Days And Worse On Bad Days Since 2001.

    Comment by Ian R. — April 20, 2013 @ 7:46 am

  70. More evidence that Sabathia does not, in fact, pitch to the score:

    Team scores 0-2 runs, career: 3.56 ERA.
    Team scores 3-5 runs, career: 3.51 ERA.
    Team scores 6+ runs, career: 3.44 ERA.

    The differences are slight, of course, but it doesn’t look like CC is giving up a bunch of meaningless runs in blowout situations. If anything, he’s more effective when his team gives him a big lead.

    So if he’s changing his approach in different game situations (which it looks like he is, based on the evidence discussed in the article), it’s not working.

    Comment by Ian R. — April 20, 2013 @ 8:04 am

  71. Read again. “So, Reynolds is correct that Sabathia pitches differently depending on the game situation

    Much of the article seems like a distraction from the original debate, on which Dave conceded that Reynolds is correct.

    Comment by Anon — April 20, 2013 @ 9:22 am

  72. How does this look if you adjust for opponent quality?

    And why split the data at those intervals? Seems arbitrary. Where can I find the data grouped for each run difference?

    Comment by Anon — April 20, 2013 @ 9:27 am

  73. How well does that correlate to wins?

    Comment by Iudtiutfiygfhgcyggc — April 20, 2013 @ 10:14 am

  74. It’s just that Harold isn’t getting all the hugs he needs at MLB Network.

    Comment by Iudtiutfiygfhgcyggc — April 20, 2013 @ 10:16 am

  75. Rather than try and quantify the outcome based upon score let us go to the source. After reading the comments I think many people are hinting around this. We can look at pitch to pitch variability, normalize it and chart it. I hate this argument more than most because I think pitching to the score is ridiculous. While this post could get intensely long to try and decipher this (mostly because Harold Reynolds just nerves me), here are a few things I think would need to be analyzed.

    1. SP from stretch and wind-up all available data
    2. SP over the start all available data
    3. SP in game pitch selection
    3. on and on and on

    Basically there is so much data that needs to be looked at that we need vector and integral calculus to develop constants, integrals, scalars, yada yada. We have the ultimate “Old School” pitcher to look at in Jack Morris and there is more than enough data from that salty SOB to prove it.

    I think the sabermetric analysis falls short because it looks at outcomes and totality rather than the in game variability, pitch variability, yada yada. Although it does does some just not enough and needs supplement.

    I am a life long baseball fan who happens to work as a Physicist and after watching MLB Now for a however long it has been on makes me wonder if Harold Reynolds was able to feed himself let alone how did he lead the league in SBs one year.

    Dave Cameron
    How can I get pitch by pitch raw data? To be fair coordinates are not needed. I am also aware that kind of data does not exist for Morris, but using sabermetrics we can make a reasonable comparison to someone whom we have data on.

    Comment by Matt Fears — April 20, 2013 @ 10:34 am

  76. just to follow up if we use the leverage index already provided by FanGraphs and turn that into a function we would have f(L) = the function of the leverage index over the innings pitched

    set our integral up with limits of integration from s to f, s = starting out, and f = finishing out

    so integrate from s to f: f(L) dL <—we can find modifiers or constants or whatever but this is going to capture the overall leverage of the start for that pitcher. Perhaps this number could be used to determine yearly stress on a pitcher especially young ones, but for our purposes I won't to see just how much stress CC goes through and if we need to redefine leverage based upon score.

    Comment by Matt Fears — April 20, 2013 @ 10:59 am

  77. Baseball Prospectus had a great article on hit and runs last year.

    Comment by GG — April 20, 2013 @ 11:03 am

  78. Even before looking at stats it doesn’t make sense, a pitcher would be trying to get everyone out, throwing a perfect game you might say, every time out!

    Comment by DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy — April 20, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

  79. Does anybody just not watch these shows with stupid people? I just hope that informed fans will “boycott” their shows and that will lead to lower ratings and their replacement with competent analysts.

    Comment by incompetent peeps — April 20, 2013 @ 4:02 pm

  80. The problem with the all #’s approach is that you can’t use your eyes. CC often let’s runners get on base when he doesn’t feel like covering first base in games where he’s dominating. Nobody talks about it but he does it….

    Comment by Brian — April 20, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

  81. To answer your second question first, it’s split at those intervals because that’s where B-R splits it. Admittedly arbitrary, but it’s enough for a quick and dirty analysis.

    As for the first question, I wouldn’t expect an adjustment for quality of opposition to make much difference. These stats are based purely on how many runs Sabathia’s team scored, which is to say they depend on the quality of the opposition’s pitching and defense, and I don’t think that has much to do with the quality of the opposing offense.

    It’s also worth noting that these numbers run counter to what you’d expect when taking park factors into account. A disproportionate number of those 6+ run games probably happened in hitters’ parks, yet Sabathia’s ERA is still lower there.

    Comment by Ian R. — April 20, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

  82. We all get pissed off if a pitcher leading by 3 runs or so gives up a leadoff walk to a weak-ass hitter. Well, we get pissed off no matter the score. :)

    who was the last pitcher to win 20 with a 4+ era? I keep thinking Jim Merritt, 1970 Reds.

    Comment by wobatus — April 20, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

  83. Andy Pettitte – 21 wins in 2003, 4.02 ERA

    There have been others since Merritt in 1970. Both Tim Hudson and David Wells won 20 in 2000 with an ERA over 4, Rick Helling did it in 1998, and that guy Morris won 21 for the Jays in 1992.

    The highest ERA ever while winning 20 (since 1901) is Bobo Newsom’s 5.08 mark in 1938.

    Comment by bstar — April 20, 2013 @ 7:49 pm

  84. The informed fans could boycott their shows, but it wouldn’t make that much of a difference I think. The large majority of baseball fans couldn’t give a damn about how to appropriately evaluate players. which is why I think MLB network is cautiously trying to introduce statistical analysis with these Brian Kenny-hosted shows. It’s cool to see that guys like Eric Byrnes are open to it, but ultimately if all the former players are dismissive, so are the casual fans

    Comment by Carson — April 20, 2013 @ 9:13 pm

  85. To be fair to Pettitte his FIP that year was a solid 3.35. Those 2003 Yanks gave him plenty of run support to help him get wins, but they took away a lot of runs by being absolute butchers in the field.

    Comment by Preston — April 20, 2013 @ 10:27 pm

  86. Bartolo Colon used to do the same when he was with the Indians. The guy would throw his fastballs harder and harder as the game wore on, often times leading to him becoming erratic for a few extra MPH.

    I would never call that pitching to the score though, back then, Colon was a thrower rather than a pitcher. Verlander is a pitcher, but throwing harder is not always the answer unless you can control it and endure the additional stress that it places on your arm and shoulder.

    Comment by Stuck in a slump — April 21, 2013 @ 1:44 am

  87. Unsurprisingly, a lot of those high-ERA 20-win seasons also came in offense-heavy seasons. Wells’ ERA+ in 2000 was a sharp 123, while Helling, Hudson and Pettitte were all in the 109-113 range.

    Heck, even Bobo Newsom in 1938 wasn’t too far below average – the league ERA that year was a whopping 4.79.

    Comment by Ian R. — April 21, 2013 @ 9:47 am

  88. Looks like I slept threw a few decades there.

    Comment by wobatus — April 21, 2013 @ 10:24 am

  89. Love your comments and just wanted you to know —–the game and it’s fans are proud you are you thanks Dave

    Comment by Dave Silverwood — April 21, 2013 @ 11:26 am

  90. I did notice that BABIP went up a bit when margin was > 4 runs. This might indicate the defense relaxes a little when they’ve got a big lead, and are less willing to go all out to make a defensive play.

    Comment by Robert — April 21, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

  91. Isnt the slight difference at least partly a result of selection bias as well since, if he’s down by 4 or more runs, he probably doesn’t have very good stuff and he’s getting hit pretty hard. In other words, his numbers are slightly worse b/c he’s pitching badly that day, not b/c of some choice he’s made.

    Comment by chuckb — April 21, 2013 @ 6:19 pm

  92. Brian Kenny’s just not that strong.

    I’m not sure that the Bash Brothers combined, in their primes, were that strong.

    Comment by chuckb — April 21, 2013 @ 6:25 pm

  93. It’s a shame that run support never even came up in that ridiculous segment.

    Comment by chuckb — April 21, 2013 @ 6:29 pm

  94. Super point. Really well done.

    Comment by chuckb — April 21, 2013 @ 6:37 pm

  95. Obviously the other players see that the pitcher has the eye of the tiger and that then inspires them to go up there and grit out at bats and hustle around the bases.

    Comment by Me — April 21, 2013 @ 8:57 pm

  96. When it comes to baseball analysis, Harold Reynolds was a good second baseman.

    Comment by Peanut — April 22, 2013 @ 11:23 am

  97. Just because Sabathia’s “different” pitching doesn’t result in different overall numbers does not necessarily mean that the change in pitching style based on game situation is irrelevant or ineffective.

    You can reach the same overall numbers for OPS in very different mannerisms.

    When Sabathia has a large lead and is mainly focused on not giving up a big innings he should, if successful, give up single-run innings more frequently than when the game is close. But when the game is tight, and Sabathia is more concerned about putting zeros on the board, we should expect more zero-run innings but also more multiple-run innings.

    If Sabathia is giving up a one-run inning every four innings when he has a large lead, he is doing his job by making sure the lead is maintained. If Sabathia is getting scoreless innings 15 out of 16 times when the game is close, but that one out of every 16th inning he gets knocked around for a four-run inning, he is still doing his job by having a high-rate of scoreless innings to not give up the lead.

    The change in walks and strikeouts suggests that, when the game is close, Sabathia certainly is more willing to give up a big inning in exchange for more scoreless innings. If a few infrequent big innings are the cause of the overall stats when the game is close, while more frequent one-run innings are the cause of the overall stats when the game is not close, then Harold Reynolds’ point stands. Of course, I’ll leave it to someone else to dig through the game-by-game, inning-by-inning stats to see if that is the case.

    Comment by Nate F — April 22, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

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