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  1. I watched quite a few of Pineda’s starts last year. I’m sure there’s data to back this up, but there were starts that he didn’t come out firing at 97 until a few innings had passed. I’d be willing to bet that those games are represented by the lower velocities on the last graph. I also think his ERA and such suffered because he was left in some games too long. He had starts where he was in trouble in the 6th or 7th inning. On a team with a better bullpen he would have been pulled. Because Seattle didn’t have the best pen, he was left in and gave up runs that he might not with the Yankees.

    Comment by Scott Candage — January 14, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

  2. To be fair, that velocity chart does make it look like Pineda’s velocity declined in the second half to some extent. Looks like he hit just about 95 or above 7 times in the first half, and only once or twice in the second. However, it certainly wasn’t a drastic drop-off, and I would probably expect a similar drop-off from any starting pitcher towards the end of a full season.

    Comment by Matt H — January 14, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

  3. My understanding is that the Yankee outfield D is pretty solid, better than their infield D. So shouldn’t that help Pineda is beating his FIP and avoiding a leaving-safeco slump.

    Comment by Big Baby — January 14, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

  4. Wouldn’t his home/road splits indicate that his success at home was probably due to luck more than anything, though? A .220 BABIP isn’t exactly sustainable.

    Comment by Ty — January 14, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

  5. Yes, but he’s not just going AWAY from Safeco. He’s going TO Yankee Stadium, which has a ridiculously short right-field porch.

    Comment by James — January 14, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

  6. So he’ll give up home runs. Is that the end of the world? Plenty of top flight pitchers have given up a high amount of home runs.

    Comment by Frank — January 14, 2012 @ 8:05 pm

  7. I think Pineda’s a phenomenal pitcher and the Mariners gave up a LOT in this trade. That said, I don’t agree at all with the treatment of home/road splits here. I can buy the 1st half/second half argument. But park effects can be felt in ways other than home runs/fly ball. In particular it looks like he had a much higher Babip on the road than at home, which ought to tell us that perhaps Safeco is depressing his Babip, unless other pitchers don’t see lower babips at Safeco. You just relied on strikeout rates and walk rates to argue Pineda was really the same pitcher at home as on the road, but I think its unlikely that parks tend to significantly alter a pitcher’s strikeout rate and walk rate. I guess I can think of some cases where they might, for example when Safeco was first built they had silver bleachers in center field that got in the batter’s eyes, so I won’t go so far as to say park effects that impact strikeout rates and walk rates don’t exist, but they seem like the least likely thing to be impacted by park, notice that Seattle changed that and installed the batters eye after realizing this was happening so that it’s not an effect anymore. The Babip and possibly LOB% I think probably actually do tell us something if you would seriously engage with them instead of dismissing them as irrelevant.

    Comment by Corey — January 14, 2012 @ 8:07 pm

  8. Those Ground Ball rates tell an interesting tail. Did Pineda make an effort to get more ground balls, or are more ground balls a sign that batters were adjusting to his four seamer, and hitting the ball better? The amount of line drives he gave up doesn’t show this, but the distance some of the fly balls traveled makes me worry.

    Comment by Chris — January 14, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

  9. Dismissing BABIP data as irrelevant…….welcome to Fangraphs, sir.

    Comment by bstar — January 14, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

  10. In the top left of this page there is a tab called, “glossary.” mouse over that until something pops up. The second category is “Pitching Stats.” The first one is FIP. Click on that and look at what it says.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — January 14, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

  11. Let me ask, Dave do you think the Mariners could have gotten close to the haul Gio brought from the Nats for Pineda? What if Billy was the M’s GM?

    Comment by Buck Turgidson — January 14, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

  12. This kid has a few things to iron out no doubt, but he’s 22 years old…. most kids are in AA at his age and he has a solid full year in the Majors already. have mo teach him a cutter.

    Comment by Ryan — January 14, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

  13. It’s not quite as short at the pole, and it gets a lot less press, but Safeco has a short RF porch also.
    Stadium RCF RF foul pole
    Yankees 385 314
    Safeco 385 326

    Comment by joser — January 14, 2012 @ 9:51 pm

  14. He’ll have a worse defense behind him, will he not? Especially factoring in the age of that defense. A few more balls will get by them than did last year.

    Comment by Richie — January 14, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

  15. Now this is a Dave Cameron who’s back on his game. Bravo.

    (Montero is a stud. Enjoy him!)

    Comment by Roll Call — January 14, 2012 @ 10:17 pm

  16. Yanks OF defense actually ranked very high last year. Gardy & Grandy cover a ton of ground. As does Cano and Teix. If he misses bats at the same rate, he should be fine.

    Comment by dezre — January 14, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

  17. I have never bothered to research further but could the SafeCo park factors (supressing RH HR) be impacted heavily by an absolutely awful Mariners lineup?

    I seem to remember Rogers Centre (Skydome) being relatively neutral for many years prior to the Jays resurgent offense.

    DMB park factors show Yankee Stadium increased LH HRs 36%, SafeCo supressed 14%. If he doesn’t keep the ball on the ground he will clearly see an increased HR/FB – as with any pitcher in that ballpark.

    Comment by tdotsports1 — January 14, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

  18. Is there anyway to see if his IF and OF were better at home than on the road? Not sure if those splits exist.

    Comment by Cory — January 14, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

  19. “One of the common misperceptions about park factors is that they will be overly influenced by the home team. However, because the home team plays equal amounts of games per season in their home park and on the road, and the visiting team’s also play 81 games per year in that park, we get a decent sized sample with which to understand how parks affect run scoring. “

    Comment by Jason — January 14, 2012 @ 11:19 pm

  20. I can’t help but think that the only unsustainable outlier I see anywhere in this article is Pineda’s .220 home babip.

    Comment by everdiso — January 15, 2012 @ 12:09 am

  21. mainers fielding was -15.8 last year good for 16th place

    yankees was 23.0 good for 7th

    Comment by Jon — January 15, 2012 @ 12:19 am

  22. My prediction is that Jack Zurinzineckjivodch will loose his job over this debacle of a trade.

    Comment by Herbalist — January 15, 2012 @ 12:45 am

  23. You should look at tERA and SIERA, two stats that take batted-ball profiles into account, and his splits.

    Comment by Tyler — January 15, 2012 @ 12:46 am

  24. LHB park factors according to StatCorner:

    NYS: HR — 143; wOBA — 103
    SCF: HR — 95; wOBA — 96

    As a strict matter of surface-level performance, Pineda’s ERA/FIP should rise when going from a pitcher-friendly environment to a hitter-friendly environment.

    But what happens to Pineda’s ERA+/FIP- (and consequently his rWAR/fWAR) is what determines his true value. And that is probably something much too complicated to figure out from such small split samples. I still think concern is merited whenever a player is going into a tougher environment.

    Comment by Phils_Goodman — January 15, 2012 @ 1:08 am

  25. “I think its unlikely that parks tend to significantly alter a pitcher’s strikeout rate and walk rate”

    i’ll begin with andrew bailey and jake peavy, and let it run from tehre

    Comment by jim — January 15, 2012 @ 1:33 am

  26. I can’t help but think you’re wrong.

    Comment by I Agree Guy — January 15, 2012 @ 1:55 am

  27. I think he has a pretty “tight” grip on it.

    Comment by alphadogsball — January 15, 2012 @ 2:05 am

  28. “Plenty” is a stretch, but it’s not unheard of. Schilling gave up a good number of them, but he countered that with lots of Ks and very few BBs.

    Comment by f — January 15, 2012 @ 2:46 am

  29. You see another unsustainable number there? Please share.

    Comment by everdiso — January 15, 2012 @ 3:05 am

  30. In a chat from the summer, when asked if he were the Yankees, would he trade Montero, Betances and Nova for Ubaldo, Dave Cameron responded “in a heartbeat”. One can only imagine how he truly feels about his team only receiving Montero for a pitcher with considerably more value than Ubaldo had at the time. Put differently, he probably truly thinks the Yanks just stole Pineda.

    Comment by Jack — January 15, 2012 @ 5:24 am

  31. Dont forget Dave Cameron has an irrational hatred for Montero

    Comment by Jon — January 15, 2012 @ 9:38 am

  32. according to statcorner, HR park effects:
    LHB @ yankee stadium: 143
    LHB @ safeco: 95

    Comment by ole custer — January 15, 2012 @ 10:17 am

  33. “I would have expected the Yankees to have to surrender a bit more than they gave up.” on Fangraphs.com, yesterday

    Comment by James — January 15, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  34. What strikes me as most important regarding any sort of split involving Pineda is the batted ball profile from the 1st half and 2nd half. Could he be evolving based on his tenure in the majors? Is it a result of something else?

    For the 1st half: 19.6% LD, 31.0% GB, 49.4% FB
    For the 2nd half: 18.1% LD, 43.8% GB, 38.0% FB

    A 10%+ change in GB/FB rate is dramatic….small sample size or not. And could that have also been related to the change in HR/FB? I’d like to think there is some causality (or chicken/egg…did HR/FB emergence cause change in approach). I also wonder how velocity is affected by how a pitcher works the zone (i.e. high heat vs low heat…is location and velocity related in any way?)

    It also looks like he began to throw his change and slider more in the 2nd half as well (FB less).

    Comment by MikeB22 — January 15, 2012 @ 10:59 am

  35. Unless the Ms contend this year, he’s gone. So he’ll lose his job long before this trade turns into much of anything, be it ‘debacle’, ‘steal’ or whatever in between.

    Comment by Richie — January 15, 2012 @ 11:05 am

  36. Using TexasLeaguers, I got the following info:
    *1st half ending 6/30/11

    1st half FB velocity: 94.7 mph
    2nd half FB velocity: 94.3 mph

    1st half FB/SL/CHG use: 51.2%/32.2%/2.9%
    2nd half FB/SL/CHG use: 48.5%/34.6%/4.2%

    1st half fly-out/ground-out: 16.4%/15.5%
    2nd half fly-out/ground-out: 12.3%/18.2%
    *not FB/FB

    1st half FB/SL whiff%: 9.5%/18.6%
    2nd half FB/SL whiff%: 9.1%/17.0%

    Comment by MikeB22 — January 15, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  37. I never realized that most 22-year-olds were alcoholics.

    Comment by Baltar — January 15, 2012 @ 11:22 am

  38. As far as groundball rates go, I find it important that he got a good amount of groundballs in the minors. I believe he had a 1.3 gb/fb ratio career, which is solid. The only time when he’s been an extreme fb guy is the first three months of his career.

    Comment by j — January 15, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

  39. Jesus is a beast and a boss. Please use him wisely and use him well.

    Comment by Peter — January 15, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

  40. Decent gb rates at the lower levels, but for whatever reason, they’ve been going down at the higher levels.

    2008 (A): 1.33
    2009 (A+): 1.65
    2010 (AA): 0.99
    2010 (AAA): 1.07
    2011 (MLB): 0.72

    Comment by everdiso — January 15, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

  41. Not nearly quick enough to justify the word’s place in the title

    Comment by Chair — January 15, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

  42. Looking at the splits by month, there is a large increase in GB%, from a very low rate to one slightly above average. At the same time his BABIP and HR% both go up.

    From the article I wrote for the 2012 THT Annual, this would indicate that as the GB% went up, the distribution of vertical angle of all his balls in play, including those in the air, became lower. High angle flies include pop ups and long hang times in the outfield. Lower angle flies, which come with a higher GB%, are more likely to become base hits and homeruns.

    Even so, his FIP and xFIP remained above average, but neither considers BABIP and xFIP assigns a fixed HR/FB.

    Comment by Brian Cartwright — January 15, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  43. The marked distances are misleading. Yankee Stadium’s RCF marking is in more of a Center-Right-Center location than it was in the old Stadium, and more toward center than it’s marked pretty much anywhere else. This is because NewYS’ outfield wall from the line to RCF is pretty much a straight line rather than following a curve.

    In short, don’t put 100% trust in wall markings.

    Comment by llamanunts — January 15, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

  44. I gotta agree with him. His overall BABIP (.258) was better than Halladay, Sabathia, Kershaw, and Lee. I wouldn’t say Pineda is better than any of those pitchers.

    Comment by Cory — January 15, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

  45. I believe Ubaldo will bounce back, but what really sets him apart is that he is signed for about $18M over the next three years. That is a great price for an ace. Pineda’s price is low for now, but will rise if he continues to pitch well.

    Comment by Cory — January 15, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

  46. Or we can call it completely acceptable skepticism for a player with mediocre numbers in AAA last season who does not have a major league position?

    Comment by Colin — January 15, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

  47. Gardner is the best defensive LF in the game the last few seasons. Depending on the metrics Granderson is either slightly below or above average in CF, (personally I think he’s above, but that just might be because I’m comparing him to other Yankee center fielders like Melky, Damon and Bernie). Swisher isn’t your typical RF, he’s not terribly athletic, and his throwing arm isn’t great. But he really has great instincts, glovework and great throwing mechanics that allow him to be about league average in the field.

    Comment by Preston — January 15, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

  48. The Mariners got the best prospect in return. The A’s got more for Gio, but Montero is decidedly better and more big league ready than any of them. I would make the assertion that Montero and Noesi are comprable total value to what the Nationals gave up, except for the fact that they gave up Jose Campos too.

    Comment by Preston — January 15, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

  49. Yeah the Yankees have a bad rap for defense. A-rod slimmed down last year and looked a lot more mobile at 3rd and Russel Martin was a huge defensive upgrade at C. So pretty much the only defensive spot where they aren’t close to league average or better is Jeter. And Jeter isn’t as as bad as he is perceived to be.

    Comment by Preston — January 15, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  50. BABIP is not really a measurement of skill. The guys you list are all GB pitchers. Flyball pitchers have lower BABIP’s, but give up way more XB hits. Obviously the .220 is really low, and maybe the .258 is also to low, but he could probably sustain a low BABIP if he continues to be a flyball pitcher.

    Comment by Preston — January 15, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

  51. He’s a major league baseball player, not just a 22 year old

    Comment by Big Baby — January 15, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

  52. It depends on your definition of “significant”. Park factors that take into account different components indicate that parks do influence K and BB rates. Depending on whose park factors you’re looking at, something like 5 to 10% at the extremes either way.

    Batter’s eye is one of the things that likely influence them, as well as some other things like angle of the sun, shadows on the field, crosswinds and wind gusts, glare from different areas of the stadium. Most likely it’s air density that generally plays the largest role. Parks that are in cooler, low altitude locations (such as the West Coast) usually see increased strikeouts. The contrast would be teams that are at higher elevation and warmer in the summer (Arizona, Colorado, Texas), where you see a reduction in K rate.

    The Mariners have done a number of things over the years to improve the batter’s eye, and since I can’t recall any complaints from players about it the last few years, maybe they’ve solved the problem. Or maybe the batters got tired of complaining about it and have accepted it as an inherent characteristic of the ballpark. Either way, Safeco Field still consistently shows an increased K rate in park factors.

    Comment by Nathaniel Dawson — January 15, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

  53. 22= Senior in college

    You did go to college, right?

    Comment by Jeff in So. Indiana — January 15, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

  54. What about a sophomore slump? I thought most new players, and especially most new starting pitchers, struggled in their second full year in the majors.

    Comment by ChrisFromBothell — January 15, 2012 @ 6:38 pm

  55. That’s pretty typical of players as they move through the minors. Overall rates drop at each level up.

    Comment by Nathaniel Dawson — January 15, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

  56. Knowing nothing at all except the #s and my eye, the thing that sticks in my mind is “Why are the Mariners dealing him?” Yes they’ve got good arms on the farm, but they could’ve traded one of those. I get it that Montero is a good prospects, but if the Mariners were confident Pineda was going to get better, why not wait a year, when his value would be higher?

    Comment by TexPantego — January 15, 2012 @ 9:11 pm

  57. Dave, you guys care to explain why the Yankees/Pineda trade need 6 separate posts? Favoritism much?

    Comment by Josh — January 15, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

  58. Out of curiosity… When’s the last time a pitching prospect of Pineda’s caliber was traded after a first full season at such a young age?

    Comment by baty — January 15, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

  59. That chart does indicate a measurable decrease in fastball velocity. It’s small, but it’s clearly there. His average appears to drop from right at 95 down to 93-94.

    Now, that’s probably irrelevantly small, but it is a “clear downward trend.”

    Comment by Phrozen — January 15, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

  60. Probably has nothing to do with the fact that there is NOTHING going on in baseball right now, and that they’re two of the youngest and best players in baseball?

    Comment by pat — January 15, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

  61. Shove it Pat! Are you a boy or a girl? I can’t tell since you have a transvestite name. Either way they don’t need 6 posts. You didn’t see this many for Alonso/Latos.

    Comment by Josh — January 15, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

  62. Dude. This isn’t quick. I dont have time for this on a Sunday night. I will tag to read tomorrow during work.

    Comment by Socrates — January 15, 2012 @ 11:03 pm

  63. How long until the Mariners turn around and acquire Votto for Montero+? In all seriousness I agree with most of the analysis here. I just wish a FG writer would break things down and make a similar defense of non-Mariners who play in parks that are excellent pitchers’/hitters’ parks. It gets tiresome to hear players like Justin Upton, Carlos Gonzalez, most SD pitchers, etc. constantly take beatings from commenters because LOL LOOK AT DEH HOME/ROAD TRIPLE SLASH HE IZ NOT GOOD AT BASEBALLZ. While the triple slashes are certainly disparate in cases like that, it would be nice to see a deeper analysis for guys like that sometimes.

    Comment by Kyle K. — January 15, 2012 @ 11:29 pm

  64. Only five pitchers who threw as many innings as Pineda had a higher fly ball rate than his. Given that New Yankee Stadium has ranked near the top in HR per game ever since it opened, it seems reasonable to expect more of Michael’s fly balls to leave the yard in that launchpad.

    Comment by MrG — January 15, 2012 @ 11:51 pm

  65. I think the word you’re looking for is androgynous, you simpleton.

    Comment by pat — January 16, 2012 @ 12:05 am

  66. The sample sizes are still massively skewed towards the home team. If the home team is significantly better or worse than league average, the park affects will be effected. Teams with great pitching and horrible offense or horrible pitching and phenomenal offense will obviously only further skew the data as they will either score nothing and allow very very little or score a ton and give up many runs in return.

    I’m pretty sure that Safeco would be effected by the fact that Seattle tends to have fairly good pitching and very poor offense.

    Comment by Chris — January 16, 2012 @ 1:29 am

  67. lol I was just laughing about that. The “quick note” headline reminds me of Felix Unger telling his poker buddies he dashed together a perfect club sandwich with the crust trimmed off “1-2-3!”

    Comment by MrG — January 16, 2012 @ 1:57 am

  68. I think this was a sensible trade for the yanks.

    That said, as a Mets fan Yankees hater, I hope it’s a huge bust, and that Pineda stinks while Montero averages 5 WAR a year.

    Comment by Brian — January 16, 2012 @ 3:35 am

  69. He won’t average 5 WAR if he DHs full-time.

    Comment by bstar — January 16, 2012 @ 5:41 am

  70. I’ve bashed you guys before, so I feel compelled to give credit when it’s due. It’s due with this article. Really really good.

    Comment by puffy — January 16, 2012 @ 10:07 am

  71. Pineda has a funky delivery and threw only 47 innings in 2009 due to an “elbow ailment” . This might have something to do with Jack Z trading a young pitcher who looks very good now and might get better.

    Comment by James T in MA — January 16, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

  72. About every metrv I’ve seen actually had Swish as a pretty well above average outfield.

    Comment by G — January 30, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

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