It is now a True Fact of History that the Futures Game — which annual contest features the most notable prospects within all of baseball — took place yesterday (Sunday) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There are a likely number of ways in which one could speak about the game intelligently. The author is prepared to utilize close to zero of them.
No, what I’ve done instead is to hide within that safest of spaces — i.e. the spreadsheets facilitated by my personal edition of Microsoft Excel.
On a recent edition of FanGraphs Audio, managing editor Dave Cameron and I briefly revisited a post written for these pages by Tom Tango in 2011 on the topic of pitching game scores and which version (of the four he introduces) might best represent a pitcher’s single-game performance.
I have no intention of weighing in, specifically, on which of the four really does best represent a player’s performance in a game. As a means to further acquainting ourselves with certain prospects, however, I’ve calculated game scores for every pitchers and hitter who appeared in yesterday’s contest.
For each pitcher, I’ve produced two sorts of score: the strikeouts-and-walks version (denoted as kwSC) and the FIP version (denoted as fSC). For hitters, I’ve adapted two version’s of the pitching game scores using a potentially sound methodology: the FIP variety (denoted, again, as fSC) and also a linear-weights version (lwSC).
As noted by Tango in the aforementioned post, these game scores are intended to mimic roughly win percentage. So, as he notes, “a Game Score of 50 means you will win 50% of the time. A Game Score of 70 means you will win 70% of the time, and so on.”
Here’s how the four are calculated:
Pitcher Strikeouts and Walks: 0.4 * IP + 3 * (SO – BB) + 40
Pitcher FIP: 2.5 * IP + (2 * SO – 3 * BB – 13 * HR) + 40
Batter FIP: 2.5 * AB + (13* HR + 3 * BB – 2 * K) + 40
Batter Linear Weights: 2.5 * AB + (3 * BB + 5 * H + 8 * HR) + 40
Because of the abbreviated appearances by most players, the numbers naturally don’t approach 100. Still, applying an objective measurement to their performances still serves more or less to separate the best of those performances from the worst.
Pitcher Game Scores
Here are the pitching game scores from Sunday’s Futures Game, calculated according to the methodology above. Pitchers are sorted by the FIP variety of game score.
|Henry Owens||Red Sox||1.0||0||1||0||43||45|
|Daniel Norris||Blue Jays||1.0||0||1||0||43||45|
Batter Game Scores
Here are the batting game scores from Sunday’s Futures Game, also calculated according to the (potentially flawed) methodology above. Batters are sorted by linear-weight game score.
|Dalton Pompey||Blue Jays||4||0||1||0||2||48||60|
|Sean Coyle||Red Sox||2||0||0||0||0||45||45|
|Micah Johnson||White Sox||2||0||0||0||0||45||45|
|A.J. Jimenez||Blue Jays||1||0||0||0||0||43||43|
Three Notes of Assorted Merit
- By the methodology used here, right-handed Miami prospect Domingo German and Texas third-base Joey Gallo might reasonably be considered the top players of this particular edition of the Futures Game — the former for having recorded two strikeouts in a full inning of work, the latter for his home run in four at-bats.
- Of note, perhaps, is the way in which the above players illustrate potential flaws attendant to the game scores as constituted here. Tigers pitching prospect Jake Thompson, for example, recorded as many strikeouts as Santana in one-third fewer innings — and yet is more or less penalized for his efficiency. Cubs prospect Javier Baez, meanwhile, receives a lower score than both Gallo and Toronto’s Dalton Pompey, despite having matched Gallo’s production in two fewer at-bats. The differences in score are minor, but do reveal possible areas of concern.
- The case of Houston’s Michael Feliz illustrates how one’s concerns will inform his or her definition of “best single-game performance.” Based merely on strikeout and walk figures — i.e. two metrics which become reliable in relatively small samples — Feliz produced one of the top performances of the game. Based on FIP, however — which includes home runs and which becomes reliable less quickly — his performance was second-worst.
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