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  1. I didn’t think any pticher’s low BABIP was sustainable: almost all pitchers average around 0.300 for a career (well, a career of any significant length), moderated somewhat by defense and luck. It doesn’t mean, however, that Sanchez will regress to the mean, necessarily: a good year might increase his confidence in his stuff and he might stop nibbling, significantly reducing his BB/9. It suddenly seems to me that a lot of good pitchers have a lucky BABIP year before blossoming, like Clemens in 1985 before winning the MVP in 86….

    Comment by Brandon T — January 19, 2011 @ 11:10 am

  2. Looking at Sanchez’s peripherals, I think 2009 is a good indicator of his true talent. He’s probably a little better than that, but I’d be very surprised if he has an ERA under 3.50 again.

    Comment by Josh — January 19, 2011 @ 11:35 am

  3. This kinda goes against everything Fangraphs stands for since inception with fip and babip.

    Comment by JoeIQ — January 19, 2011 @ 11:48 am

  4. How so?

    Comment by Albert Lyu — January 19, 2011 @ 11:54 am

  5. One minor critique: calling a K/9 of over 9.0 “relatively good” is ridiculous.

    The other thing worth noting is that Sanchez’s changeup in 2010 is actually a splitter, much like Lincecum. So it is behaving much differently than his previous changeup, thus the greater success, thus the increased usage.

    Comment by www.paapfly.com — January 19, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

  6. so is there any truth to “weak contact”? Is his increase in off speed offerings leading to weaker contact and thus the decrease in babip and a better strand rate? so if his LD is dropping and his GB is staying the same, he must be getting more FB? so could his low babip be a factor of FB having a very low babip compared to GB and especially LD? as in, if he can become more of a FB pitcher as you are suggesting, he can sustain low babip numbers, especially in his home field where fly balls turn into outs a lot more than homers.

    Comment by phoenix — January 19, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

  7. Had this discussion with someone else, but I’ll have to look into it more before saying for certain that the increased FB% turned more outs than the decreased LD% if that makes sense. Generally, Sanchez’s HR rate and HR/FB has been relatively consistent as well, so I hope I was able to communicate that I was uncomfortable with making the assumption that Sanchez was able and willing to pitch to ‘weak contact’ in order to depress his BABIP.

    It’s a theory and good explanation for his improved results, but I’d like to see more research on his batted ball results to see if A) they were intentional and B) they are sustainable.

    Comment by Albert Lyu — January 19, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

  8. This might add to your second point or be mildly irrelevant, but I noticed that, at least according to pfx, Sanchez adjusted his arm slot in 2010 compared to that of 2008 and 2009.

    http://www.joelefkowitz.com/pitcher_rel.php?d1=-1&d2=-1&y=2008&pid=456043
    http://www.joelefkowitz.com/pitcher_rel.php?d1=-1&d2=-1&y=2009&pid=456043
    http://www.joelefkowitz.com/pitcher_rel.php?d1=-1&d2=-1&y=2010&pid=456043

    An article by Mike Fast over at BP found that Jonathan Sanchez had the second least consistent game-to-game release points for pitchers with at least 300 innings in 2008-10. So if Sanchez’s changeup in 2010 has been acting more like a splitter as you say, that may have to do with an adjusted over-the-top delivery.

    Comment by Albert Lyu — January 19, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

  9. Lots more on this subject here: http://www.mccoveychronicles.com/2011/1/14/1934572/2010-jonathon-sanchez-babip-fluke-or-a-real-step-forward-pitch-f-x

    Comment by hairball — January 19, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

  10. If I may drop an on-topic plug, McCovey Chronicles has a highly recommended fanpost on Durty’s evolution as a pitcher. Small sample sizing aside, it clearly shows he has learned how to manage high-leverage situations much better, among other inciteful analyses.

    Comment by Oddibe McBlauser — January 19, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

  11. Late. keen move Hairball, keen move…

    Comment by Oddibe McBlauser — January 19, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  12. The guys over at McCovey Chronicles looked into this recently a well. The conclusion:

    “(Part of) his 2010 improvement was due to an improved changeup and other off-speed pitches. How much of what remains is luck? We’ll find out in 2011!”

    Also of note is the High Leverage situations (Small Sample Size Alert) but as an avid fan, Durrty’s demeanor and maturity has been taken to levels not thought possible only a year ago.

    http://www.mccoveychronicles.com/2011/1/14/1934572/2010-jonathon-sanchez-babip-fluke-or-a-real-step-forward-pitch-f-x

    Comment by Giants 162-0 — January 19, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

  13. Glad to see we are all on the same page here…

    Comment by Giants 162-0 — January 19, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

  14. Didn’t see the article before this, thanks guys.

    Comment by Albert Lyu — January 19, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

  15. They don’t call him “Durty” for nothing. Dude has serious, serious stuff. What’s held him back, for those of you who don’t watch a lot of Giants games, is a lack of stamina and mental toughness.

    There are times when something goes wrong, like an ump call he doesn’t like, and he just gets this look on his face and real restless out on the mound, paces around a lot, and you know he’s going to lose it. Fortunately, the frequency of these little meltdowns have diminished a lot and he’s started showing some toughness out there.

    His stamina was better in 2010, but finally caught up with him in the playoffs when he was completely gassed.

    I know this stuff will be scoffed at on a site like fangraphs.com, but there are things in baseball that you can’t measure statistically.

    Durty will do just fine in 2011. In fact, don’t be shocked if he puts up an even lower ERA. His stuff is that good!

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — January 19, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

  16. I would think we should expect almost every pitcher with a 3.07 (in a league that averages a full run higher than that) to get worse, possibly by as much as a full run.

    Comment by Oakland Dan — January 19, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

  17. Yeah, because all pitchers are average, right?

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — January 19, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

  18. One thing of note is the way Bochy has used Sanchez. As everyone saw in the playoffs, Bochy knows when to pull Durrty when it looks like hes about to lose it. That call to the bullpen will keep Durrty’s ERA lower than it could be if hes allowed to lose it out there. I don’t see him reaching 200 innings this year, but if he gets his head together, its possible in 2012.

    Comment by Giants 162-0 — January 19, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

  19. And any deviation from their averageness is all just luck.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — January 19, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

  20. I think he’s just saying that very few pitchers can repeat performances that much better than average. There aren’t too many pitchers you’d project to have an ERA of 3.07 or better. Even the generally optimistic Fan Projections have only 6 starters with a lower ERA last year.

    I think that’s what he’s saying, anyway.

    Comment by Ari Collins — January 19, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

  21. What’s “holding him back” is walking a batter every other inning.

    Comment by Josh — January 19, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

  22. Also meriting consideration: Giants UZRs over the past 3 years:
    2008: 21.7
    2009: 55.7
    2010: 56.4

    The last two years, the defense has helped him out a ton, which makes the BABIP slightly less ridiculous than it might be for a pitcher on an average defensive team.

    Comment by saberbythebay — January 19, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

  23. that’s the other thing – maybe the bullpen stranded more of his LOB in 2010 than previous years? Giants bullpen was excellent for most of last year.

    Comment by SFG_FTW — January 19, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

  24. good point about the splitter. i remember Krukow bringing this up on the postgame show in prob late August or early September. i thought he said that Sanchez had a “new” pitch and that was the reason for his increased effectiveness since the beginning of August. i’ve heard nobody else even mention this though.

    Comment by SFG_FTW — January 19, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

  25. Sanchez made love to the Luck Dragons of BABIP and LOB% last year, I don’t believe in the Giant’s defense moving forward, Tejeda at SS? Sandoval has never been a plus fielder, Sanchez had a break out year for defense, but I doubt he continues it. There’s no way that Sanchez has an ERA under 3.75 next year, the law of averages will beat him over the head and the BABIP Luck Dragon will swallow him whole.

    Comment by Chris — January 19, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

  26. Yep, that’s it. I didn’t say all pitchers are average. As a matter of fact, I said “…almost every pitcher…”. What I mean is that it is really difficult to be a run better than average, so much so that if you do it for a long time you go to the Hall of Fame. Sanchez is not going to the Hall of Fame.

    I’ll tell you what, let’s take all the pitchers with a 2010 ERA anywhere between, say, .75 to 1.25 runs better than average, even the ones that have been consistently better than average in the past, and I’ll bet you that a sturdy majority them will have a 2011 ERA closer to average than to a run better than average. It’s a good post, but the last sentence, as a conclusion, doesn’t do justice to the rest of the piece.

    Comment by Oakland Dan — January 19, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

  27. He’s Jorge de la Rosa two years ago, basically, but with better stuff and pitching in a better park. If he can improve the walk rate only marginally as Jorge did, he won’t need the lucky BABIP (I’m a believer in low BABIP as a skill, but .260 is outside the range of mere mortals). Regardless, I think a 3.07 ERA is fluky for him, and as alluded to part of the low ERA was how he was used. For a guy with that low ERA and excellent peripherals, he should have easily broken the 200 innings threshold. For me this really reduces his value, because you just can’t count on more than 5 innings from him. If he takes a step forward on the command, this is a different story, and a 3.50 ERA (xFIP) will be the baseline.

    Comment by Paul — January 19, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

  28. Read Tom Tippett’s study of DIPS, shows that there are various classes of pitchers who have been able to sustain a low BABIP over their long careers of significant length.

    I would actually compare Sanchez to another wild lefty who tutored him in 2009 and probably still helps him out from time to time, Randy Johnson. Don’t know what The Unit’s BABIP looks like, but if Sanchez can get his walk rate down to good (<3 BB/9) levels, he should be able to sustain such a low ERA.

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — January 19, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

  29. I have to disagree. Watching his games, he seems to rather walk a batter than risk giving up a hit. He’s very meticulous. He looks like he’s pitching badly when he misses his targets by a few inches or feet, but it’s all purely intentional. Jonathan is an artist.

    Comment by Kool — January 19, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  30. they’re supposed to be used as predictive tools for future performance is what he’s getting at, but here is a fangraphs writer disagreeing with that… refreshing, since far too often here it is merely repeated that FIP, xFIP, and ERA all have to align or else a pitcher is somehow cheating the system, be it through luck or some less easily definable skill, such as matt cain, tom glavine, johan santana etc outperforming their fielding-independent stats year after year.

    though he falls right in with the dogma believing any babip change, particularly a decrease, is false and not a measure of a pitcher’s changing a) skillset b) mentality c) some combination of the two

    Comment by fredsbank — January 19, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  31. he meaning you, albert, in my post, not joeIQ

    Comment by fredsbank — January 19, 2011 @ 3:12 pm

  32. Well, he doesn’t really put many balls in play to begin with. The defense surely helps, but many of our guys have fly ball tendencies. Pop ups are generally easier to field than ground balls so he in turn helps the defense out.

    Comment by Kool — January 19, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

  33. if your name isnt roy halladay or cliff lee, that is

    Comment by fredsbank — January 19, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

  34. Nice article and analysis.

    I would also note, on top of what others have said, that the three seasons are a progression of progress for Sanchez.

    In 2008, he figured out how to do well as MLB starter, but was not in good enough conditioning to last the season, and faltered after a good first half, below 4 but roughly 4 ERA.

    In 2009, poised to do well over a full season, he stupidly incorporated some mechanics he learned from his idol, Johan Santana, in the WBC, which made him wildly inconsistent and mostly bad the first half of 2009, until they put him in the bullpen, got him straightened out, had his no-hitter, but even after that, he had a below 4 but roughly 4 ERA the rest of the season, roughly half season.

    In 2010, he put them both together and had a full season with a low ERA, and as noted by the author, his peripherals looked pretty much the same as the other years. As others noted, he showed improved maturity and confidence this season. I still consider his no-hitter to be equivalent of the scene in the Wizard of Oz where the Wizard gives the Scarecrow a diploma and suddenly he’s smart: he’s always had these skills within him, but it took some sign, whether a diploma or a no-hitter, for him to have the confidence in himself. His ERA from no-hitter on:

    This marks the progression of his maturity, as noted by others above.

    Now about FIP, perhaps someone can explain something to me. From what I understand, this is strictly a linear function based on his peripherals. But according to research that THT did, when you compare high walk pitchers with low walk pitchers, and both sets are pitchers with K/BB of over 2.0, they found that the ERA of the high walk pitchers were lower than the low walk. That, to me, would imply a non-linear FIPS formula with relation to walks and strikeouts. What am I missing here?

    In any case, I agree with the conclusion of this article, that Sanchez will be hard pressed to duplicate his 2010 season, barring any improvements beyond what he has done previously. Almost any pitcher would be. And that is important to know from a fantasy perspective.

    But the good news for Giants fans is that we don’t need him to pitch that well over a full season. Lincecum “disappointed” by a full run himself in 2010. His regression to his mean should balance the regression that Sanchez does in 2011.

    Plus, there is the possible upside that the maturity and new pitch that we Giants fans saw might translate to an improved level of performance from him in 2011. Most lefties with good fastballs tend to take a while to harness their wildness. Confidence from winning it all might help too.

    While expecting a low 3 ERA from Dirty is not realistic, I certainly think something in the mid-to-high 3 ERA is realistic, and given that he most probably will be the Giants 4th starter again in 2011, that should be good enough to win a lot of games in that slot of the rotation, because an ERA in that range is still pretty good and is excellent in the 4th slot.

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — January 19, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

  35. @Kool:

    No, it’s really not. When he’s on, Sanchez is filthy, but when he’s having a bad day, he can’t find the strike zone at all. I agree that he sometimes is willing to give up a walk instead of challenge a hitter, which I don’t necessarily think is a bad strategy, but there are a lot of situations when he just can’t throw a strike. Unless you think his occasional two four-pitch walks an inning, followed by frustrated looks are intentional.

    Comment by quincy0191 — January 19, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

  36. I think Bochy has also gotten better at recognizing when Sanchez is losing it mentally and being more proactive with a quick hook rather than letting him work through his issues.

    Its anecdotal but my observation about ’10 as oppossed to ’08-09 is that Bochy rarely let him work through the 5th or 6th if he hit a wall in those innings.

    Comment by Jason — January 19, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

  37. He rarely walks “a” batter in an inning. What typically happens is he throughs 4 perfect innings, Juan Uribe makes an error, and then Sanchez walks the next 3 guys and hits the fourth.

    Comment by Jason — January 19, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

  38. hmm, slightly disturbing imagery there.

    Comment by SFG_FTW — January 19, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

  39. Dave Cameron had this to say about pitching to weak contact (actually speaking of Clay Buchholz) in his chat today.
    “It’s the same theory that fans of a team put forward every time any pitcher has any single year variance between their ERA and FIP. Everyone is the exception, until the next year, when they’re not.”
    I DO however think pitchers can bare down in certain situations to reduce runs. And it would seem to make sense that more flyballs in SF are caught for outs than line drives. I’m sure ANY regression by Sanchez would help prove Dave’s point. But wouldn’t anyone making a prediction expect some sort of regression?
    Lastly, will his control ever get better with his poor mechanics? If he can’t repeat his arm slot it won’t.

    Comment by Chicago Mark — January 19, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

  40. jeebus, even OGC says a low 3 ERA for Sanchez is “unrealistic”? and the 4th starter – sounds like you expect Mad Bum to be better than him. i doubt it. more like a 4.00 ERA for MB and 3.25 for Sanchez.

    Comment by SFG_FTW — January 19, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

  41. where can we see game by game pitch selection because i’ll bet the increase in the changeup % happened late in the season.

    Comment by SFG_FTW — January 19, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

  42. eh, from TexasLeaguers for 2010:

    pre August 1st he threw the changeup 15.5%

    post August 1st he threw it 19.0%

    vertical and horizontal changed slightly but the rest remained pretty close.

    prob doesn’t mean much i guess.

    Comment by SFG_FTW — January 19, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

  43. Bumgarner puts out better peripherals than Matt Cain and he’s 21. If he get’s any of Cain’s fairy magic in addition to playing 2/3 of his games in pitcher parks against bad offenses it won’t even be close.

    Comment by opisgod — January 19, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

  44. I’m the author of the article at the McCoven.

    If you held a gun at my head and forced me to make a decision, I’d forecast Sanchez about halfway between his 2009 and 2010 stats, closer to 2009. There is most definitely information in LD-rate, BABIP, and LOB% that FIP and its sister xFIP isn’t capturing correctly.

    In Sanchez’s case (like Piniero), his LD-rate changed from 2008 to 2009. It won’t stay at the absurd low of the 2010 rate, but it won’t balloon back to his 2008 rate either. Something about his mechanics stabilized in 2009 which allowed him to induce more FB’s and fewer LD’s. What’s his true LD-rate? I’d hazard something in the 16-18% rate, but I haven’t looked at league LD-data, so it really is a shot in the dark. A 16-18% LD-rate would put him near the low end of the BABIP talent distribution for ML pitchers. That’s not .262 low, but it also should be well under .300. Let’s call it .290, conservatively. That means in 2009 he didn’t get lucky. He hit the proverbial BABIP nail on the head. However, FIP uses a .300 BABIP for projection, so if he gets average luck, he’ll outperform his FIP by a few points.

    Furthermore, in 2009, he did horribly in high leverage situations. Now, certain pitchers just can’t deal with the pressure and they implode. That was pre-2010 Sanchez. In 2010, he excelled under pressure, and got extremely lucky to boot. Again, he won’t repeat his 2010, but he will be much better than his 2009 in high leverage situations. That knocks another few points off his projected FIP. For those predicting a huge drop in LOB%, I remind you that his K-rate puts him in very rarified territory. Pulling up all pitchers with 1000 IP and 8.5+ K/9 gives an average LOB% of about 75%.

    He’s going to regress, but he’d have to be quite unlucky to regress all the way back to league average.

    Comment by Nivra — January 19, 2011 @ 6:22 pm

  45. I think Bochy is going to go with the rotation he had in 2010: Lincecum, Zito, Cain, Sanchez, Bumgarner. I probably can almost craft the entire sound-bite: “Um, well, you know, Lincecum has earned the #1 spot, but I like to break the righties and lefties up, so I’ll go with Zito #2 next, then Cain, as I like what Sanchey did last season in the #4 spot.”

    Thanks for pointing that out, I said unrealistic, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he repeats again or get in 3.25 ERA range, due to the maturity and confidence factors giving him a boost in 2011 to take next step up, which I noted above as necessary to take next step up. As a fan, I think he can do it, but the sabermetric evidence is piled up against him. He will have to prove the numbers wrong.

    I think we Giants fans will be pleasantly surprised, but I can’t offer anything more than my following the team, listening to roughly 130 games per season, and following Sanchez’s career ups and downs.

    I think he has more stuff than he realizes, and been afraid to utilize it to great effect: I think he’s been pitching “scared”, which I read that Cain had to overcome too.

    They just don’t realize how great their stuff is, and so they tend to nibble at the corners instead of just challenging batters like they should. Cain appeared to get over that last season. Maturity and confidence will help Sanchez with that, and Sanchez appears to be breaking out of his shell, bit by bit (boast about G>SD, shutting down SD in last game).

    I think having Posey behind the plate for a whole season will help. For some reason, Sanchez could not pitch well when Molina was the catcher. That was why Whiteside became his personal catcher for a long while, he was just horrible when Molina caught, for whatever the reason it may have been. Lifetime 5.34 ERA with Molina behind the plate. For whatever reason, Bengie did not known how to handle Dirty, while Whiteside (2.69 ERA) and Posey (3.09) have, even in 2009 and 2010, Sanchez did poorly, though only one game in 2010.

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — January 19, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  46. Ha ha. Didn’t notice until now that I beat you by a whopping 2 minutes. I don’t normally get to be keen. Groovy.

    Comment by hairball — January 19, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

  47. The key words there are “single year variance.” Of course, a single year variance of almost any statistic is vulnerable to regression, but if you have a trend of improvement over several seasons, or a pitcher’s ERA beating their xFIP over several seasons, it becomes less and less likely that it is all just due to chance.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — January 19, 2011 @ 9:21 pm

  48. Josh,

    Uh, walking a batter every other inning didn’t hold him back much in 2010, did it? Also, I agree with the above comment about a lot of his walks coming in bunches when he is either tired or frustrated

    Also, I believe that the Giants have an organizational philosophy of preferring to give up a walk than give in to the hitter and risk a HR.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — January 19, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

  49. “There‚Äôs no way that Sanchez has an ERA under 3.75 next year”

    I’ll take that bet.

    Comment by merizobeach — January 19, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

  50. Jonathan Sanchez has a CAREER K/9 of 9.41! That is hardly average! His K/9 alone marks him as a pitcher with to potential for sustained dominance. It shouldn’t be too surprising that hitters might also find it difficult to barrel up the bat on that kind of swing and miss stuff, especially as the pitcher gains experience. It also shouldn’t be too surprising that a pitcher with that kind of stuff just might get out of more bases loaded jams with a couple of K’s than the average pitcher.

    Come on guys! As with any statistic, these things have to be looked at in context. Here we have a pitcher with obviously premium stuff who has gotten progressively better each year he has been in the league. Yeah, one of these days he’s going to plateau, but has given no indication that we’ve reached that point yet. As OGC pointed out, he improves his walk rate even slightly and he’s one of the elite pitchers in baseball!

    I would put the over/under for next year’s ERA right at where it was last year, 3.07! J Sanchez is as likely to improve on last year’s ERA as he is to regress.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — January 19, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

  51. Sssh, you.
    We’re still all warm an’ fuzzy from 2010.

    Comment by Victor Frankenstein — January 20, 2011 @ 12:38 am

  52. butbutbut, this is fangraphs and everybody fangraphs likes must regress, or they will pay the price

    Comment by fredsbank — January 20, 2011 @ 12:47 am

  53. Sanchez allowed only 200 GB’s last year. If about 30% of them go to the SS, then Tejada gets 60 chances. If Tejada is 5% worse than average, then he costs Sanchez about 2 hits all season. If Tejada is awful and is 15% worse than the average SS, he costs Sanchez 6 hits. I just can’t get too excited about a worst case scenario of 6 hits, and a likely scenario of 1-2 hits.

    IF defense is nice, but doesn’t make as much a difference for Giants pitchers as it does for other pitchers: http://triplesalley.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/on-the-giants-and-infield-defense

    Will he sustain a .262 BABIP? Probably not, but it will definitely be lower than average. He has a high IFFB%, a low LD%, and a low GB%. that means he induces more balls into the two batted ball types that convert into outs at the highest rate: FB, IFFB, where the strongest Giants’ defenders are: Torres and Ross.

    Comment by Nivra — January 20, 2011 @ 4:14 am

  54. you said “less than three” BB/9 there and it looks like a “heart BB/9″. i fully approve of that.

    Comment by dutchbrowncoat — January 20, 2011 @ 11:46 am

  55. Uhh yeah, I’ll take the over, DrB. Thanks for playing!

    Comment by Oakland Dan — January 20, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

  56. Sanchez is one pitcher that it’s extremely easy to see on TV when he slips out of arm slot and it’s pretty quick to tell which games he has the ability to get back in correct slot after one pitch and which ones he doesn’t.

    Comment by Nate — January 20, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  57. Glad someone wrote in words less than three because I read it as, “heart,” BB/9 as well, hahaha.

    Comment by Josh Shepardson — January 20, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

  58. me too. seriously, do people want to bet on this because at 3.75 i think i might bite.

    Comment by SFG_FTW — January 20, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

  59. who is Nivra – are you related to Nibaru?

    Comment by SFG_FTW — January 20, 2011 @ 11:20 pm

  60. Anyone still following this thread should know that Sanchez’s breaking ball that’s sometimes classified as a slider but other times as a curve ball is actually a knuckle curve:

    http://www.daylife.com/photo/07rH4eJ7Nk0F8?q=Jonathan+Sanchez
    http://www.daylife.com/photo/0dKyeDnc9y7B4?q=Jonathan+Sanchez

    h/t to Mike Fast

    Comment by Albert Lyu — January 21, 2011 @ 12:57 am

  61. I shared this with Albert on Twitter, but Sanchez has been throwing a splitter since at least 2008:
    http://mlbphotos.photoshelter.com/image/I0000ODexJsTWTyY
    http://mlbphotos.photoshelter.com/image/I0000d13plIEE4mo
    http://mlbphotos.photoshelter.com/image/I0000dHorT07qiro

    It’s basically the same grip as he used for his splitter in 2010:
    http://www.daylife.com/photo/05yhcg40y6051?q=Jonathan+Sanchez
    http://www.daylife.com/photo/02Qe2PH98Cg1u?q=Jonathan+Sanchez
    http://www.daylife.com/photo/03ck0oo3ij3EA?q=Jonathan+Sanchez

    He did throw the splitter somewhat slower in 2010 than in 2009, though, which is what caused the additional drop. (Gravity has longer to act on slower pitches.)

    Comment by Mike Fast — January 21, 2011 @ 1:19 am

  62. Dunno who Nibaru is, but I’ve been around sabermetrics and online baseball since the mid/late 90′s, when everything was usenet centered. I dropped off the earth in 2003 to work on my doctorate, though.

    Comment by Nivra — January 21, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

  63. FWIW, multi-year ERA is actually much more predictive than once thought.
    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/how-well-can-we-predict-era/

    Comment by Jeffrey Gross — January 22, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

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