Daily Notes for March 20th

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Daily Notes.

1. Select Televised Games
2. Experiment: SCOUT- Pitching Leaderboards
3. SCOUT- Leaderboard: Spring Training Pitchers

Select Televised Games
Washington at New York NL | 18:10 ET
Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to make his fourth start of the spring. Here’s his line so far: 9.2 IP, ca. 42 TBF, 6 K (14.4%), 3 BB (7.2%), 3 HR.

MLB.TV Audio Feed: New York NL Television.

Pittsburgh at New York NL | 19:05 ET
David Phelps likely isn’t the reason most people will be watching this game; however, it’s possible that he deserves more attention than he’s received. Phelps, 25, sat at around 92 mph as a starter last year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he posted strikeout and walk rates of 20.0% and 5.8%, respectively, in 107.1 innings. Here’s his line so far in four spring appearances (all in relief): 7.2 IP, 8 K, 3 BB, 0 HR. He’ll be pitching in relief of Ivan Nova, looks like.

MLB.TV Audio Feed: New York AL Television.

Toronto at Boston | 19:05 ET
Daniel Bard continues his transition from reliever to starter with his third start (and fourth overall appearance) tonight. His line so far isn’t precisely what you’d call “best case scenario”: 7.2 IP, 4 K, 7 BB, 1 HR.

MLB.TV Audio Feed: Boston Television.

Experiment: SCOUT- Pitching Leaderboards
For the past year-plus, I’ve published in these pages what I’ve called the “SCOUT leaderboards” for winter leagues and (more recently) spring training. The idea behind SCOUT is to provide a metric that, building off of work done by Pizza Cutter on sample sizes and reliability, represents more accurately than slash stats or ERAs how players have performed in small samples. (Click here for more on SCOUT.)

This past Friday, building off of work by Bradley Woodrum, I submitted a slight alteration to SCOUT for hitters — called SCOUT+ — that weights home runs, walks, and strikeouts relative to their actual value in terms of runs (a distinction that was not made in the original iteration of SCOUT).

In this edition of Daily Notes, I’m submitting the equivalent for pitchers — what I’ll call SCOUT-. For SCOUT-, I still use regressed strikeout and walk rates for pitchers. However, instead of weighting the pair equally — as was the case with the original SCOUT — I’ve used those rates to calculate kwERA (that is, a surprisingly accurate ERA estimator based solely on strikeout and walk rates) and then found each qualified pitcher’s kwERA relative to league average (represented by 100), such that below 100 is good and above 100 isn’t. (Click here for more on kwERA, and here for more on kwERA’s effectiveness as an ERA estimator.)

SCOUT- Leaderboard: Spring Training Pitchers
The idea for SCOUT- is introduced in belabored fashion above. K% and BB% are the raw rate stats so far from spring training. xK% and xBB% (i.e. expected strikeout and walk rate) are the regressed versions. SCOUT- is kwERA (using the regressed rates) relative to league average, where below 100 is good.

This is the leaderboard for SCOUT-:

Name Org G GS IP BF* K% BB% xK% xBB% SCOUT-
Francisco Liriano MIN 4 4 13.0 47 38.3% 4.3% 24.3% 6.4% 79
Dan Haren LAA 3 3 10.0 34 44.1% 2.9% 23.8% 6.4% 80
Carlos Zambrano MIA 3 3 9.1 41 38.7% 12.1% 23.6% 7.0% 83
Justin Verlander DET 3 3 9.2 36 36.5% 2.8% 22.3% 6.3% 85
Wade LeBlanc MIA 4 1 14.2 49 30.9% 4.1% 22.1% 6.4% 86
Brian Matusz BAL 3 3 10.0 41 31.7% 0.0% 21.7% 6.1% 86
Madison Bumgarner SF 4 4 14.2 58 26.0% 1.7% 21.0% 6.1% 88
Felix Hernandez SEA 3 3 13.0 45 28.9% 2.2% 21.2% 6.2% 88
Luis Mendoza KC 3 3 10.2 37 30.1% 2.7% 20.9% 6.3% 90
Kyle Kendrick PHI 3 1 8.1 28 31.8% 0.0% 20.5% 6.3% 90

*Estimated

And here, for the morbid among us, is the laggardboard:

Name Org G GS IP BF* K% BB% xK% xBB% SCOUT-
Jason Marquis MIN 4 4 12.2 65 7.7% 13.9% 13.5% 7.5% 116
Homer Bailey CIN 4 4 11.1 53 5.6% 11.3% 13.5% 7.0% 115
John Danks CWS 3 3 9.0 48 8.3% 18.8% 14.8% 7.7% 113
Mike Pelfrey NYM 3 3 9.2 54 7.5% 11.2% 14.2% 7.0% 113
Derek Lowe CLE 3 2 9.0 38 2.6% 10.5% 14.0% 6.9% 113
Armando Galarraga BAL 3 1 8.0 39 5.1% 12.8% 14.6% 7.0% 111
Livan Hernandez HOU 4 4 12.1 57 8.7% 8.7% 14.4% 6.8% 111
Ubaldo Jimenez CLE 4 4 9.2 52 11.6% 17.4% 15.7% 7.6% 110
Josh Tomlin CLE 4 2 12.0 62 6.5% 0.0% 13.2% 5.8% 112
Mike Leake CIN 4 4 11.0 53 7.5% 5.7% 14.2% 6.5% 111

*Estimated

Notes
• The sample for this leaderboard includes the 154 pitchers who’d thrown at least eight innings this spring as of Monday afternoon.
• Because you might be wondering, here’s who Luis Mendoza is: a 28-year-old right-hander on the Royals who’s posted a 119 xFIP- in 99.0 career innings. He posted a 2.18 ERA in 144.1 innings last season at Triple-A, but didn’t have the peripherals to suggest that such a number would be sustainable. He’s out of options, so even if Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino take the two remaining rotation spots, he could still find himself in the bullpen.
• In addition to the above, Mets right-hander Mike Pelfrey has also allowed four home runs in his 9.2 innings — something SCOUT- doesn’t even take into account.




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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.


2 Responses to “Daily Notes for March 20th”

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  1. Barkey Walker says:

    Twins top both lists!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Liam in NY says:

    The second game should be Pitt/NY AL

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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