Over each of the last two Mondays, the present author — who has written the majority of what follows beside a weird fountain in Arizona — has published a largely irresponsible leaderboard of regressed pitching leaders from spring training so far. This particular Monday, the author has produced another of those same kind of leaderboards — in this case, such as are current through Sunday, March 16th.
As noted last week, the existence of these leaderboards is predicated on three conditions, as follow:
(a) Spring-training stats don’t appear to be very predictive of regular-season stats; but
(b) The return of baseball is exciting, and invites consideration of some sort; and
Below is the current SCOUT leaderboard for all spring-training pitchers. SCOUT- combines regressed strikeout and walk rates in a kwERA-like equation to produce a number not unlike ERA-, where 100 is league average and below 100 is better than average. Note that xK% and xBB% stand for expected strikeout and walk rate, respectively.
Here’s a second leaderboard — in this case of the top-10 spring-training pitchers to have also recorded starts in at least half their appearances:
Finally, here are some notes of various utility:
- After appearing fifth overall on last week’s edition of this same leaderboard, Toronto’s Drew Hutchison produced another excellent start this past Friday, recording a 7:0 strikeout-to-walk ratio against just 17 batters in 4.2 innings (box). Hutchison was sitting at 95 mph in the fifth inning of this most recent start, according to MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm — a higher velocity, that, than the ca. 91 mph he averaged in 2012.
Here’s footage of reasonable quality from Hutchison’s March 1st start of him striking out J.J. Hardy with probably a slider:
- Among the pitchers above whose stuff might seem to least support their inclusion on such a leaderboard is Miami left-hander Brad Hand. Of note, however, is this: despite sitting at just about 90 mph in 2011 and -12, Hand averaged about 92.5 mph during his two starts last season — and a very similar figure during his five relief appearances, as well.
- After appearing atop the leaderboard last week, Washington’s Taylor Jordan has fallen to just eighth among starters after recording only two strikeouts against 17 batters on Friday (box). The strikeout totals he’d produced over his first three appearances were unusual for a pitcher whose greatest strength has typically been his capacity for inducing ground balls.
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