Looking for Comps for Masahiro Tanaka

Yeah, I know, this is like the 40th post this week about Masahiro Tanaka. I’m sorry about that, but in our defense, there’s nothing else going on. Tanaka’s posting has effectively shut down the market for starting pitching until he signs, or at least, until teams that think they have a shot at him learn that they don’t. Most of the position players worth writing about have already signed, and now we’re just into staredown mode between the Mets and Stephen Drew, the Mariners and Nelson Cruz, and the Orioles and Kendrys Morales. Maybe I’ll try to find something interesting to say about one of those three players next week.

Today, though, more Tanaka, because I still find this entire situation pretty fascinating. You guys expect him to sign for $120 million over six years, not including the $20 million posting fee, so the final price would put Tanaka squarely in the range of what Zack Greinke got last winter, despite the fact that he’s technically still a prospect. And historically, the crowdsourced contract forecasts have been low on the top guys, so there’s a pretty decent chance that he’s actually going to cost more than 6/$140M, and his final price might push him into the range of contracts recently signed by legitimate aces like Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander.

And yet, the general consensus is that Tanaka probably isn’t an ace in the way that most people think of the word. Most of the scouting reports suggest that his strengths are going to be throwing strikes and getting ground balls, with enough strikeouts on his splitter to make the overall package successful. There are certainly very good pitchers who fit that description, so I thought I’d create a list of pitchers who have pitched to something like that skillset over the last three years, as a representation of what that kind of performance actually looks like.

For those interested in the specifics, I set the filters thusly: From 2011-2013, a minimum of 450 innings pitched, a BB% between 5%-9%, a K% between 18-24%, and a GB% between 46%-54%. Because I’m not making adjustments for AL/NL, there’s a little bit of an unfair bias towards NL pitchers on the list, but this is more of an overview of pitcher types than a precise projection of Tanaka’s future performance, so I’m okay with the methodology being imperfect.

Anyway, 14 pitchers met this criteria, and here is their average season line over the last three years.

Name BB% K% GB% HR/9 BABIP LOB% ERA- FIP- xFIP- WAR/180 RA9/180
James Shields 7% 23% 47% 0.91 0.283 77% 80 88 84 3.3 4.2
David Price 6% 23% 47% 0.78 0.288 75% 81 81 80 3.9 4.1
Cole Hamels 6% 23% 46% 0.88 0.280 76% 82 83 84 3.6 4.0
Hiroki Kuroda 6% 19% 48% 1.00 0.283 78% 81 94 91 2.8 4.0
Zack Greinke 6% 24% 48% 0.80 0.300 75% 87 81 80 3.6 3.6
Roy Halladay 6% 22% 47% 0.80 0.293 72% 95 84 87 3.9 3.3
Madison Bumgarner 6% 23% 47% 0.73 0.285 74% 86 85 86 3.3 3.1
CC Sabathia 6% 22% 46% 0.93 0.306 72% 89 82 82 3.9 3.1
Jon Lester 8% 20% 48% 0.94 0.300 73% 95 91 93 3.2 2.9
Ivan Nova 8% 18% 50% 0.95 0.308 75% 96 97 97 2.4 2.8
Wandy Rodriguez 7% 18% 46% 1.10 0.280 75% 95 108 101 1.5 2.4
Yovani Gallardo 8% 22% 48% 1.08 0.293 75% 97 98 91 2.2 2.3
Jon Niese 7% 19% 50% 0.84 0.308 72% 103 97 93 2.3 1.6
Edwin Jackson 7% 19% 47% 0.88 0.311 70% 108 95 98 2.5 1.4
Average 7% 21% 48% 0.89 0.293 74% 89 90 89 3.1 3.2

The top half of that list is pretty exciting. Price, Greinke, Shields, Sabathia, Hamels, Kuroda, and Bumgarner are among the best pitchers in baseball, with each producing roughly +3.5 to +4.0 WAR per season over the last three years. This skillet can absolutely result in a frontline starting pitcher, so long as the pitcher is pushing the best aspects of each variable. These top notch hurlers are racking up four strikeouts for every walk — with the exception of Kuroda, who has prevented runs by stranding a lot of runners — and aren’t giving up too many home runs as a trade-off. If Tanaka performed at this kind of level for several years, I think his signing would probably be viewed as a success, even if he ended up costing as much as Greinke. This is the kind of upside that teams are going to be betting on, and if the median result is something like Lester or Sabathia, well, that’s not a bad bet to be making.

But there are other names on this list too. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, and not every pitcher who fits this mold has dominated Major League hitters over the last few years. On the other end of the spectrum, we see guys like Wandy Rodriguez, Edwin Jackson, Ivan Nova, Yovani Gallardo, and Jon Niese. In each case, these guys have some real talent, and one could even argue that this is a list of pitchers who might be underrated at the moment, but I’m pretty sure none of them would get $100+ million as free agents if they were to hit the open market. These guys are examples of some downside potential, even if the projections on how the overall skillset will translate are correct.

Jackson and Niese have given up too many hits on balls in play. Rodriguez and Gallardo have had home run problems. Nova gets just enough strikeouts to qualify for the list, and shows what one might expect if Tanaka’s splitter is more of a groundball pitch than a strikeout pitch. In each case, their flaws have made them more average pitchers than impact starters, and while they have value in their own right, this kind of performance from a $100+ million pitcher would almost surely lead to Tanaka being labeled a significant bust. If you think you might be buying David Price and end up with Jon Niese, you’re probably not going to be too thrilled.

Overall, the average — or median, either way the results are the same — outcome for this group is that of an above average hurler, but definitely not what one would consider an ace. The overall line looks very similar to the mark that we saw from pitchers like Homer Bailey and Andy Pettitte in 2013, for instance. +3.1 WAR would put Tanaka on the same level as Matt Garza or Ervin Santana, according to Steamer’s 2014 forecasts, while the current price expectations suggest that Tanaka might very well cost twice as much as either one. Even if we push the markers a little bit more to the optimistic side, we’re going to find pitchers who are worth roughly +3.5 WAR per season.

Maybe that’s worth a monster contract in a market that pays Shin-Soo Choo $130 million to be the position player equivalent of this kind of pitcher. But this same market paid Scott Kazmir $22 million, and I’m not sure Tanaka is actually a significantly lower risk or higher upside pitcher, given what we know about both. I like this kind of pitcher, and have generally been a booster of low BB/average K/high GB starters, as I think it’s been an underrated skillset in the past. But if Tanaka actually gets $150 million, maybe this skillset isn’t so underrated anymore.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Jason
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Jason
2 years 8 months ago

I need to start cooking with one of those magic skillets if it can make me or one of my kids a frontline SP in MLB.

FeslenR
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FeslenR
2 years 8 months ago

or a lefty so you can pitch like crap and still get paid!

stan
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stan
2 years 8 months ago

Its crazy to think that Tanaka is definitely going to get more money than Darvish, yet everyone agrees that he’s not nearly as good. I think the market for Darvish got depressed a bit by the underwhelming (though still decent) performance of the more recent Asian imports, yet here we are in a situation where teams seemingly are going to cast all of those examples aside due to the more recent play of Darvish.

The markets for Santana and Garza are surely down a bit given their historic inconsistency. Yet, what is more of a wildcard than a major-league ready foreign player?

kevinthecomic
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kevinthecomic
2 years 8 months ago

Darvish got less, despite being a better pitcher than Tanaka, because when he (Darvish) came over to MLB, the posting fee was not capped at $20-million. Teams look at the overall spend (posting fee + salary) when signing a player from Japan.

Pirates Hurdles
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Pirates Hurdles
2 years 8 months ago

That and Yu couldn’t negotiate a contract with the highest bidder, he was stuck with one team’s offer and take it or don’t play in MLB. Tanaka gets to negotiate as a free agent. That is the biggest factor.

stan
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stan
2 years 8 months ago

You have a point about Darvish only being able to negotiate with one team, but the fact that the posting fee is now capped has the opposite effect. Prior to the Tanaka case the real bidding was all about the posting fee and that factor is now essentially eliminated.

Park Chan Ho's Beard
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Park Chan Ho's Beard
2 years 8 months ago

stan, you’re wrong.

RC
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RC
2 years 8 months ago

No, hes not.

The posting fee never counted against the luxury cap/tax, so for about a third of the teams in MLB, it was irrelevant.

The big difference here is that the player is in an open market.

NS
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NS
2 years 8 months ago

That isn’t even the main reason. The main reason is open bidding.

pft
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pft
2 years 8 months ago

Darvish was not a FA and the team that won the posting bid essentially owned him and could offer him whatever they wanted. The only option Darvish had was to refuse and stay in Japan and pitch for 1/2 the money.

Tanaka is essentially a free agent who costs 20 million to play with instead of a draft pick.

Matty Brown
Member
Member
Matty Brown
2 years 8 months ago

I am not as confident in his abilities translating here. I lowered the K% to 16%-22%, BB% to 5%-10%, and GB% to 44%-54%. Less appealing list with Latos, Kuroda, Wilson on top and Hochevar, Niese, Gee, Santana, Jackson, Nolasco, and Nova in the bottom half. But what do I know?

Antonio Bananas
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Antonio Bananas
2 years 8 months ago

I always hear that Japanese players K less. This is all anecdotal and speculation on my part, but is there a chance he gives up less go but strikes out more batters than we think?

Choo
Member
2 years 8 months ago

Definitely. Iwakuma, who features a splitter that is similar to Tanaka in both style and usage, had a K/9 that held steady in Japan around 6.8. It immediately jumped and stabilized around 7.5 in the US. There is no guarantee Tanaka will experience the same boost (Kuroda didn’t) but it can happen.

The IP minimum prevented Iwakuma from appearing on Dave’s comp list, but because of the plus splitter and the transition from Japan where all three shared similar indicators, he and Kuroda are considered Tanaka’s primary comps. That’s a 3-4 WAR pitcher, and Tanaka brings a superior K%.

pft
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pft
2 years 8 months ago

The thing is Tanakas K rate has been in decline since peaking at age 22. His 7.8/9 is much lower than his 9.6 k/9 2 years ago. He may get a boost in his K rate in MLB with hitters who are more HR happy, but his BB rate may double.

Peter
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Peter
2 years 8 months ago

My thoughts exactly. Tanaka looks to be very similar to Iwakuma in many of the ways that matter, except Tanaka throws with a higher velocity. I’m convinced that Tanaka is going to kind of be a “Super-Kuma”… and that most certainly isn’t a bad thing!

ZTB
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ZTB
2 years 8 months ago

Most projections have him striking out more guys but I have an unsubstantiated hunch he will max out as a Mark Buerhle type

Greg
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Greg
2 years 8 months ago

Isn’t the whole point of his price tag due to his age? There really is no comparable market where 25 year old players are priced in MLB.

stan
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stan
2 years 8 months ago

Darvish was only 26 when he came over. Aroldis was only 22.

Grant
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2 years 8 months ago

Darvish was 25

pft
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pft
2 years 8 months ago

The price for projected WAR is pretty constant across the age spectrum, and while he is not old, his arm may be old due to the workload. Tanaka may get more years due to his young age. I think the team that gets him may go as high as 10 years and gives him an opt out at 6 yrs in case he wants to try the free agent market again.

Ben
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Ben
2 years 8 months ago

If Tanaka’s worth 120 million, the Doug Fister trade was beyond highway robbery.

HawkeyeCub
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HawkeyeCub
2 years 8 months ago

It was. Reliable starting pitching is the most valuable commodity in the game, and the Tigers just gave it away because they felt like they had too much of it (like the Dodgers did last year, until they didn’t and had to trade for it).

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 8 months ago

The pitching the Dodgers gave up last began and ended with Aaron Harang, hardly “reliable starting pitching”. The Dodgers mainly just experienced an avalanche of injuries, losing Beckett and Billingsley for the whole year, and Greinke, Capuano, and Lilly early on.

Kirk Davenport
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Kirk Davenport
2 years 8 months ago

Ditto…No one at the time thought the Dodgers were not overstocked with pitchers with at least 8 qualified starters in March. After a few weeks and having to use at least 9 different starters it only confirmed the old adage of “you can never have enough pitching”. The real test/crisis was when they were in the playoffs and were short pitching requiring overuse of Kershaw versus starting a Nolasco or Volquez in a vital game. The Dodger front office will not want to face that situation again. You can pitch a Fife or rookie in the middle of the season, but bet big the Dodgers go into the playoffs with 4 quality starters even if they give $$$ now on Tanaka or give up valuable prospects in a late season trade for a Price, Lee or Hamels.

Dave
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Dave
2 years 8 months ago

Some have mentioned age – isn’t that the question? Has he already thrown his arm off? Or has the Verducci Principle be completely debunked? If that is the case, why do we have all these innings limitations and pitch counts?

jim
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jim
2 years 8 months ago

the verducci effect has long since been debunked, but the MSM talks about it as if it isn’t for some reason

Belloc
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Belloc
2 years 8 months ago

Verducci is very good at self promotion, which apparently offsets his vapid and erroneous opinions.

cass
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cass
2 years 8 months ago

1. Maybe.
2. Maybe.
3. Yes.
4. Because number of pitches thrown still correlates to injury, even if the Verducci Principle per se has been debunked. Once you account for total pitches thrown, then innings pitched has little to no predictive value, but pitches thrown still matter.

Larry Coningsby
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Larry Coningsby
2 years 8 months ago

I think there is confusion about the price and terms of the contract. That will solely be decided on what some one is willing to pay to have something that, if they get the item, no one else can have. No different than a piece of art. The numbers will determine the risk as compared to other players. However it is just money and a possible opportunity of another player in that slot. Most of these teams can take the hit if it goes south. Tanaka may end up has a bad investment but what other age 25 year old prospect is available at this time. Historically everyone always leans towards the hype rather than a Garza/Santana type. If Seattle’s Walker or Arizona’s Bradley were available would they not get dollars based on hype?

bjsworld
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bjsworld
2 years 8 months ago

Then make a trade offer to Seattle for Walker. Throw in some scrub + $80M (or whatever it is) and see if Seattle bites. I’m not aware of anything that would prevent this.

stan
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stan
2 years 8 months ago

The amount of money you can send in a trade for a player is capped. I know it was $1 million about a decade ago though it might have changed since then.

Roger
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Roger
2 years 8 months ago

It hasn’t changed, but the commissioner has always had the ability to waive it. It just seems like it gets waived more often.

attgig
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attgig
2 years 8 months ago

throwing a random comp out into the wind….I wonder if he could become a brandon webb in his heyday….

jim
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jim
2 years 8 months ago

could tanaka become brandon webb, he of the 15th-best ERA- (min 1000 IP) ever? he could, sure. wouldn’t bet on it, though.

Canard
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Canard
2 years 8 months ago

Is there any commonalities between the Novas and the Rodriguezes that indicate why they’re not as successful as the Shields or the Prices?

James
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James
2 years 8 months ago

K%, B%, H/9, team defense (rays/royals are great defensive teams)

James
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James
2 years 8 months ago

that should read “HR/9”

makeitrayn
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makeitrayn
2 years 8 months ago

Sequencing? Infield flies? Home Park?

Bucco
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Bucco
2 years 8 months ago

The ability to executw on a pitch by pitch basis

Jon
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Jon
2 years 8 months ago

I don’t have any objection to the comps, but I think comparing the expected free agent contracts of the comps to what Tanaka should get is a bit misleading. The performance of Tanaka is projected future performance and you’re looking at the money that would be given to these players based on their past performance. Looking purely at peripherals, since there is no reason to assume Tanaka will under or over perform his xFIP, don’t you think a team would pay 100M retroactively for the past 6 years of most of these pitchers? Presumably part of why Tanaka is expected to get so much money is because he’s 25 and not 30+ like almost all FA starters. That doesn’t make it a good decision, but does perhaps explain why his market is so high even if he doesn’t project as an ace.

Dave
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Dave
2 years 8 months ago

If Tanaka gets $140mil, how much does Kershaw get if he goes FA after the season? Sounds like he already turned down $300mil.

jim
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jim
2 years 8 months ago

given that kershaw is anywhere from the 2-5th best pitcher ever through his age, he’ll get all of the money.

Dave
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Dave
2 years 8 months ago

You going back to the Big Train for better?

Dwight Gooden
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Dwight Gooden
2 years 8 months ago

You don’t have to go that far back.

Bip
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Member
Bip
2 years 8 months ago

It depends on how you slice it. If you give him credit for his BABIP and HR/FB rate – both well below Dodgers team averages over a sample of more than 1000 innings – then his ERA- of 68 puts him 4th all-time through age 25, ahead of everyone since, you said it, the Big Train.

Based on FIP-, his 75 is 9th all-time through age 25, behind Pedro, Clemens and Gooden, as well as others you may not have expected like Rick Reuschel and Bert Blyleven.

Belloc
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Belloc
2 years 8 months ago

Reuschel? Like Gooden, Blyleven made his Major League debut at 19 and was very good very young. But Rick Reuschel? He was one of the all time great fat guys, but I never would have guessed he would be in that list.

Bret Saberhagen was also very good very young, although with lower K rates. Gooden and Saberhagen appeared to be locks for the Hall of Fame when they were 25. Which tells you how damned hard baseball is to play.

mij
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mij
2 years 8 months ago

If he isn’t dead set on LA, myabe he’ll do a 1 yr, $50 million deal with 8 years of player options worth an extra $240 million.

Dave
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Dave
2 years 8 months ago

Who do you have above Kershaw through age 25? Clemens, Pedro and Seaver are close.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 8 months ago

Look it up for yourself. The most WAR for any pitcher through age 25 since 1900 may surprise you quite a bit.

Cumulative careers of players up to age 25 seasons, since 1900

Ivan Grushenko
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Ivan Grushenko
2 years 8 months ago

And Kershaw is 14th, behind the crusty old timer, Felix Hernandez

Dave
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Dave
2 years 8 months ago

Interesting list. Hadn’t seen that before. If you look at the top 20 by WAR through age 25 from 1901 to present, excluding Felix and Kershaw as active, only five guys had more than 60% of their career WAR after they turned 25. Clemens, Seaver, Robin Roberts, Johnson and Mathewson.

I think you can put an asterisk by Clemens for having his career artificially prolonged. Johnson and Matty pitched in the dead-ball era. That leaves Seaver and Roberts.

You can put an asterisk next to Feller for missing years to WWII and Korea, but that may have prolonged his career too.

Six of the top 20 had more than 70% of their career WAR by the time they turned 25. Many of the guys in between – Tanana, Drysdale, Saberhagen, McDowell, Newhouser, Harder – clearly had their best seasons by the time they turned 25, 27 at the latest.

Maybe the Rays are onto something here. Churn ’em out and trade ’em for more prospects.

george
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2 years 8 months ago

Maybe

fjtorres
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fjtorres
2 years 8 months ago

Nice list.
And to think some folks claimed Blyleven’s HOF case was just a matter of longevity.
His career WAR at 25 exceeded more than a few Hall of Famers’ (cough*Jim Rice*cough) entire careers.

(To say nothing of Morris.)

Fred
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Fred
2 years 8 months ago

Rodriguez and Gallardo have had home run problems.

I’m confused. I thought pitchers really didn’t have much control over their own home run rate at all.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 8 months ago

They most definitely do. That is one of the principles of FIP, which uses a pitcher’s own HR rate.

There is a theory, which is the basis for xFIP, that pitchers do not control their home run rate as a proportion of their flyballs allowed. In other words, pitchers control their home run rates by controlling their fly ball rates, but they cannot control how many of the fly balls go for homers.

This is not entirely true, but, like with BABIP, it is often useful to assume it is true. Whatever influence they have on their HR/FB rates appear to be much smaller than the influence of park and luck.

So a pitcher with home run problems may be one who gives up a lot of flyballs, but there are also pitchers who, for reasons we don’t entirely understand, seem to see a greater number of flyballs clear the yard than a league average pitcher does.

Balthazar
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Balthazar
2 years 8 months ago

This.

I would say park:luck:pitcher at something like 5:4:1, but that’s just me guessing having watched a couple of decades.

What is it about some guys that more of their FBs leave the yard? Hard contact is the obvious factor, which suggests two components. One is how good a look at the pitch a batter gets. The other is what kind of life there is on the ball (movement) regardless of where it crosses the strikezone. How good a look a pitcher gives a hitter _is_ a pitcher-specific factor rather than an aggregate factor, but it may be hard for a pitcher to control it since it’s intrinsic to his pitching motion. The place I’d start looking is with the last factor, movement. Not all contact is equal, and this is where the ‘pitcher influence’ factor is likely largest. If a guy gets good movement, even if he makes a mistake in the zone the batter may not quite get all of the ball, or may not be able to backspin it quite as cleanly. That’s when balls die short of the fence or just hook foul.

Comps, schmomps
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Comps, schmomps
2 years 8 months ago

Sounds like Dave’s trying to talk himself into not liking Tanaka even though Tanaka is an obvious talent. Then when his Mariners swing and miss (as they do a lot of the time in the offseason), he can just write sour grapes articles about the volatility of pitchers, or of how the M’s should really have been going after Garza all along, and so on.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 8 months ago

Do you really have to talk yourself into not liking a 140 million dollar deal for a pitcher with no MLB experience?

Seattle Homer
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Seattle Homer
2 years 8 months ago

Yup. Because Dave’s such an apologist for the Mariners’ FO…

DNA+
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DNA+
2 years 8 months ago

…that depends upon if you prefer process or results.

Dave
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Dave
2 years 8 months ago

Seems to me that Garza or Jimenez would be a much better signing for the money. You don’t have to wonder how another Japanese pitcher will transition to the US, you don’t have to worry that he’s already thrown his arm off (1300+ IP already) and you would have to spend probably 3-4 years $17-18mil per vs what – 6-7 years at $18-20mil per (counting posting fee)?

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 8 months ago

It seems to me that the much more pressing question is whether we think Tanaka will actually manage those numbers. Considering our measurements of value are largely determined by K%, BB%, and GB%, if we assume he will have numbers in the range you chose, then yes, of course we have a pretty good idea of what his value will be. But what reason do we have to believe he will have a BB, K, and GB rate within the ranges you chose?

Bill
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Bill
2 years 8 months ago

A couple of things that I think people forget is that while Tanaka has thrown a lot of innings, he has also had more rest between his starts and has had fewer starts. If Tanaka does come over and pitch well for a long period of time, would this not be the beginning of the possibility of 6 man rotations in MLB?

Belloc
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Belloc
2 years 8 months ago

No, for two reasons:

1. Tradition (also known as inertia)
2. Economics (starting pitchers command a lot more money than mop up/long relievers)

Nevertheless, there is some research that suggests a six-man rotation might be optimal. In general, pitchers do not perform any better with four days of rest between starts than with three days. But when they get more than four days of rest between starts, they do perform better. So some extra rest appears to be good for starting pitchers, which makes sense given the trauma caused by repeatedly throwing a baseball at high velocities.

So teams should probably ditch the five-man rotation and replace it with a four or six.

Or, better yet, go with four veterans as your starting rotation, and assign two young pitchers to roles where they divide their time between starting and relieving.

Wally
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Wally
2 years 8 months ago

Don’t we always get treated to a “Don’t throw your ace on 3-days rest” article every year around playoff time on this site?

How does that jive with a 4-man rotation being no worse than a 5-man rotation?

Ray Guilfoyle
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

I wrote something using similar filters over at Fake Teams (resulting in a similar list of starters), for fantasy purposes, but it wasn’t related to Tanaka. It was looking at how pitchers who induced GB at a 45% rate or higher, with K/9 > 7 and BB/9 < 3 performed over the last 3 seasons. On average they performed very well in the ERA category.

http://www.faketeams.com/2013/11/29/5155166/starting-pitchers-rankings-the-45-7-3-club?utm_source=faketeams&utm_medium=nextclicks&utm_campaign=blogs

Ray

Mike Green
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Mike Green
2 years 8 months ago

I clicked on Dave’s link to the top starting pitcher projections for 2014 according to Steamer. 7 of the top 8 starting pitchers had 192 projected innings exactly. It looks to me like Steamer has a very unrefined durability projection.

Owen
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Owen
2 years 8 months ago

You’re still way underrating Shin-Soo Choo, who’s projected for 10.9 WAR next year according to Oliver. He will accrue this value over 286 games and 1200 PA, to be fair. But don’t give him too much credit for personally organizing an additional 124 games for the Rangers and never missing a day: as far as I can tell, all position players are projected by Oliver for that exact total of PAs.

It’s going to be a good year. Mike Trout will have 18.7 WAR and Billy Hamilton will steal 128 bases. But fix your databases, Appelman.

Jimmer
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Jimmer
2 years 8 months ago

Oliver projects Choo at 5.4, not 10.9. Steamer projects 3.1

Mr Punch
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Mr Punch
2 years 8 months ago

These comps may not be “aces,” but the eighth-ranked guy won a Cy Young at 26, and the next down is the best starter on the current champs.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
2 years 8 months ago

He never says they aren’t aces. He says the average of them is not an ace, which is true.

BillyF
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BillyF
2 years 8 months ago

Mr. Cameron, you may write about how Youkilis and Travis Blackley will fare in the Pacific League with Tanaka’s old teammates (Rakuten Eagles).

Will Lofton
Member
Will Lofton
2 years 8 months ago

7/100 is the most I’d go for Tanaka.

beckett19
Member
beckett19
2 years 8 months ago

th problem with a sixan rotaton I think, is this. In “The Book”, the authors calculated the statistics a pitcher would likely put up in a six-man rotation as opposed to five. Without a doubt, they showed improvemement. However,the top five pitchers now have less starts with which to make an impact with those improved numbers, and the sixth pitcher throws more. Giving these starts to the sixth man was found to precisely offset the gain in overall skill level. So, this solution would only work if teams could find above-average sixth men, which would require attributing resources. If a team can find one, all the better. But there are not an unlimited number of pitchers in the world, so this can be difficult.

Gregory
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Gregory
2 years 8 months ago

Adding a 6th starter also takes a pitcher away from the bullpen which means teams are stuck with 1 fewer specialist pitcher.

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