I expected around a 4.5ish Fip from Peavy this season. I really didn’t understand the optimism from a lot of the projection systems. Do all or just some projection systems ignore the decline in fastball velocity and injury history like you mentioned in your post? And why?
Comment by Matty Brown — April 23, 2010 @ 11:42 am
yes, yes, 100 times yes.
the wheels are finally once and for all coming off the kenny williams train.
Comment by TheUnrepentantGunner — April 23, 2010 @ 11:47 am
The guys who had the ten worst ERAs in April 2009:
8.41 Joe Blanton
7.89 Matt Harrison
7.43 Vicente Padilla
7.22 Josh Beckett
7.11 Aaron Cook
7.06 Kenshin Kawakami
7.01 David Purcey
6.92 Ricky Nolasco
6.75 Livan Hernandez
6.75 Justin Verlander
I scouted Peavy in his first start this year against the Indians. He was consistently hitting his spots, I was very impressed with his command. His stuff looked good as well (and 5 K’s in 5 IP seems to support that). I don’t remember seeing him make a lot of mistakes. On the flip side, Carmona looked terrible, missing his spots consistantly, and making a lot of mistakes, but the white sox were just not punishing him for them.
I can’t really comment on his other starts, but he looked good to me, in his first start.
unless it’s a PitchFx oddity, it looks like Peavy is relying heavily on a two seam fastball, which moves a hell of a lot more than his normal fastball. He might be having a hard time locating the two seamer, which perhaps explains the walks? Could be going to the two seamer because his straight stuff is…well…too straight – and with the loss of velocity – too hittable.
Agree with Fast above though, it’s awfully early to cut bait. If I recall correctly, Dave has never been a big fan of Peavy.
His velocity was actually the highest it’s been in a while. He was sitting at 94-95. I personally like him better at 91-92. He gets better run on his fastball, and by the looks of things, he locates much better.
Here’s an interesting tidbit from the post-game article on the Sox website:
“One small bright spot, according to Peavy, was a change made in his mechanics before this start had his velocity up and his stuff feeling as good as it has all season.”
So that leaves a glimmer of hope for White Sox fans. It’s entirely plausible that this tweak in his mechanics affected his ability to command his pitches.
If you check the pfx game logs you will see his velocity keeps going up to the point that he had such good stuff last night that he could not control it whatsoever. He hit 94/95 on numerous occassions with good movement and so if he can keep it around the strike zone he will be fine.
From a scouting perspective last night was easily jake peavy’s best start. The Jake peavy from last night is going to get plenty of guys out and pitch like a number 1/2 starter. The jake peavy from the cle start last week 7 innings 2 runs would/will get destroyed on a regular basis.
I don’t see where anyone said anything about Kenny Williams in the actual article. I don’t see anything where anyone said that Peavy was done or a terrible pitcher or absolutely couldn’t turn it around. The author says Peavy has looked bad so far (supported statistically). He has signifiers that this badness might be lingering (loss in velocity, injury history). He says you should be concerned if you are a Sox fan.
What is the issue?
P.S. I’d still really like to read that article about Adrian Gonzalez’ value if you ever write it, Dave Cameron.
Good point. I misuse “quotes” on the internet. To the rest of the world that means quoting someone as defined by grammer rules. To me it denotes sarcasm. I’m the idiot.
Comment by CircleChange11 — April 23, 2010 @ 2:30 pm
Peavy looked great at the end of 2009. Does this subpar performance at the start of 2010 stem from a lingering injury that occurred in the offseason? I’m about as concerned about Peavy as I am about Jon Lester. It’s April.
I guess we’d need to define what “concerned” means. Concerned as in “well, gee wally I sure hope Jake starts pitching better” or concerned like “we need to dump this bum right now”. The “Time to Worry” absent a question mark, caused me to think that the author thinks it’s “panic time”, and I’m wondering why. It’s been-four-games.
As for the Ken Williams stuff … that just stems from the observation/experience that White Sox discussions around here generally turn to it being a bad signing/trade (and it actually might be).
FWIW, I’m not a Sox fan or KW fan.
Comment by CircleChange11 — April 23, 2010 @ 2:36 pm
Not really. It implies you are making a BS strawman argument.
I would have accepted hyperbole, but “sarcasm” isn’t applicable.
Concerned means what the definition of concerned is. You don’t get concerned for someone in a horrific car accident or someone whose favorite pencil broke. You’re concerned for someone who’s a little depressed or angry. White Sox fans should be concerned hat Peavy is not an elite pitcher anymore. Though I think if pressed for a prediction, Mr. Cameron would probably still give Peavy something above league average. It’s a situation worth following and watching.
When the commenters are upset about sample size, I wonder what the solution is here? For fangraphs simply not to write any articles until June? For them to preface every article with, it’s only been 4 games, or it’s only been ten games, or small sample size applies here?
I think the fangraphs writers think Kenny Williams for exactly what he is. He’s made some questionable although ballsy moves, and like many high risk moves, some have worked out and some haven’t.
What’s annoying to me is when somebody makes a seemingly valid point, but instead of offering some form of rebuttal, those who disagree try to sidestep the issue by pointing out some form of grammatical error. This know-it-all attitude ruins the comment sections of these postings. It’s so childish.
Why are we looking at ERA? Especially here at FanGraphs, where better numbers are available? And in April you don’t even have to do any fancy splits. xFIP gives you a much better sense of the pitcher than a team stat like ERA, which is why Cameron used it in the post.
Pitchers with xFIP higher than Peavey so far:
6.42 Ryan Rowland-Smith
5.94 Jake Peavy
5.59 Fausto Carmona
5.53 Tim Wakefield
5.51 Kyle Lohse
5.47 David Huff
5.42 Jake Westbrook
5.30 John Lannan
5.23 Ben Sheets
5.21 Kyle Davies
I think “hypocritical” here falls into the heap of those who have an axe to grind against this author in particular, and will go to any lengths, no matter how irrational or off-topic, in order to swing it. He should really change his username to “Non-Sequitur Commenter” but someone probably has that already.
Actually, using quotation marks to denote sarcasm is a convention that dates back at least to Johann von Herder, who used quotes for those and other reasons like for emphasis. And because so many of his linguistic tricks date back to antiquity, I’d be willing to bet that using quotes in that manner goes back a whole lot further than the 18th century.
We always call them scare-quotes when used like this.
So you’d prefer an article filled with footnotes and caveats? A good article about anything from baseball to politics gets people interested enough in the subject at hand, to research and learn more. Based on the numbers you just mentioned, I’m going to call this article successful.
Jake Peavy has  inconsistent mechanics, and  great movement on his pitches.
Those two things combined are going to lead to spurts of erraticness and outright dominance (given the quality of his stuff).
In that rgard, he reminds me of Kevin Brown. when he’s wild or other things aren’t going his way, he’ll be subpar. But, when he’s on, he’s darn near unhittable.
I could just as easily see Peavy go on a 6-game run where he’s ace quality.
Now, if this trend continues through May, it’s time to worry.
Tim Lincecum had a significant dropoff last year during September. I wasn’t worried about him having a dead arm, control issues, or an upcoming injury either.
It happens. It’s 4 games. Whether it’s sarcasm, hyperbole, or whatever … I’m simply stating that there’s no reason to panic. There may be concerns or something to watch, or possibly even worry … depending on what your definition of worry is. My point was there’s no need to go all “Chicken Little”.
It is an interesting situation to follow (and an interesting article), just no need to abandon ship or anything like that.
Comment by CircleChange11 — April 24, 2010 @ 5:38 pm
Sorry, can’t really say it’s successful based on that guys post. The numbers he provided have very little to do with the topic at hand. He wasnt interested in looking into the subject, just finding a way for him to dismiss it. He merely looked quickly for a way for himself to be comfortable by focusing on just one of the many components of the article.
That is, the Article is about all of High Walks, Low Strikeouts, Low Swinging Strikes, Low Ground Ball Rate, High Line Drive Rate and Loss of Speed on Pitches. The above poster is trying to dismiss all that based on a few selected times in which Peavy solely walked more guys.
He just choose not to take it seriously, chooses to try and attack it with sarcastic remarks and chooses to dismiss it by trying to focus on only one-sixth of the actual concerns. He might as well of said “he cant do bad because I like him”. Sure it would have been less research, but the strength of the argument would have been nearly the same.
Why even make this post when the stat he used, which you argue isn’t relevant in this context, came to the same conclusion as the stat you chose to look at? I don’t understand how bashing a stat that yields the same result as the one you champion advances any causes.
Comment by BadEnoughDude — April 24, 2010 @ 10:06 pm
ERA is no less predictive than FIP over a 22 inning sample.
The point of a small sample size is that the stats accrued in such don’t actually mean anything (or very little). Whether Peavy had a 3.0 xFIP or a 6.0 xFIP should not sway our opinion of him much at all.
If he was throwing just as well as he was in San Diego in 08 his xFIP might very well be around where it is now solely as a function of luck or a bad couple of starts.
Let’s put his solid end to 2009 in perspective:
KC Royals – 5IP, 3runs (3hits, 2BB, 1HR, 5K 1:1 GB/FB ratio)
Detroit 2starts 15 shutout innings when Detroit was in a tailspin 8 total hits, 3 BB, 13K’s roughly 1:1 GB/FB ratio)
…Was his 2009 end that good or a product of who he faced?
This year he has gotten banged up by Tor and Tampa, and has pitched OK in his 2 starts against CLE. The concerning thing outside of the walks is he’s giving up a lot more FB’s vs GB’s – couple that with a lack of the pitcher hitting and his #’s are not going to be anywhere near what he pitched with 1/2 his games in Petco.
Bottom line – he’s probably going to struggle, throw a ton of pitches and pitch ~5 innings against patient or good hitting teams and he’ll be OK/slightly above average against lesser hitting or more aggressive teams. With the unbalanced schedule, the AL central should help him out a bit (except maybe the Twins). I would also be very careful to say the 2009 data in the AL is as relevant as the 2010 data given the teams he faced.
Given all the extra things we know, I’d take the over on that 3.87 rest of season FIP. Chicago fans should be concerned.
What are the extra things we know? In the article you mentioned:
-he’s striking out as many as he’s walking
-he’s allowing more line drives at the expense of ground balls
-he’s allowing more contact
-his fastball velocity has dropped the past few years
-he’s had injury problems the past few years
The first three are all results (stats) and thus are meaningless in and of themselves. ZIPS already knows that he’s pitching terribly and it takes that into account in it’s projection. And since 22 innings of stats are neither very predictive or even very descriptive, they barely change the projection.
The last two reasons you mentioned are not anything that has suddenly changed this season from the last two. Since the start of the 2008 season, his velocity has remained pretty much constant:
And his xFIP’s over those years were 3.70 and 3.31. His injury issues were present during the 2008 season and he pitched brilliantly in 2009 around those injuries.
Unless there is something that you can point to that has changed physically about Peavy this year compared to the last two, you are simply making a judgement about a pitcher based off of a small sample size of stats – which is a big no-no.
The reason I posted what I did was because I love this site and I come here to avoid stories like this one. After 4 starts there isn’t any meaningful statistical data to discuss yet; everything is conjecture at this point. We could just as easily point out that Carlos Silva has a 0.95 ERA and a 3.08 FIP and argue that he may have turned a corner in his career.
So the point of my post was that with small sample sizes you can make any conclusion you want. The walk rates are just one example but all of the stats quoted bear this out. The batted ball rates listed are for 75 balls in play so going from 41.6% to 33% GB rate is 6 fewer groundballs over four games (1.5 fewer per game). The contact rate is for 422 pitches of which 189 have been swung at. So going from 84.4% to his 75.5% career contact average is a difference of 17 pitches that drew contact over 4 games (4.25 more per game). Do you really think there’s reason for concern over 1 or 2 groundballs per game that became line drives? Or 4 pitches in a game that drew contact (of which only one or two were actually put in play)? These kind of differences seem like they’re just statistical noise at this point.
I’m not a Peavy fan and couldn’t care less about how he performs. But there’s no way I’m reading this story and worrying that Peavy’s might continue to perform how he has thus far. His being so far off his performance from the last three years screams to me that a correction is due, not a cause for concern. So the story here should have been: “Peavy’s been getting shelled the last four games but don’t let the results fool you, he’s likely to bounce back to numbers more in line with his career numbers.” If I wanted poor, reactionary, sensational stories I’d go to the newspapers for my baseball analysis.
Has anyone mentioned that Peavy appears to be working with a different arsenal of pitches than in year’s past? He’s leaned heavily away from his slider and fastball (in past years at least 77% of pitches thrown, this year roughly 40%). I won’t go into detail about the pitches he’s added (most notably a two seam fastball) but 5 he’s throwing 5 pitches now with some regularity. Check out the PitchFX data.
What’s my point? I have no idea! Please, someone clue me in as I don’t understand what this could mean besides the fact that he might have acknowledged some deterioration and realized he needed to become somewhat of a different pitcher. But that’s purely speculation on my part.