Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball not nicknamed Doc. I am flabbergasted he is not tier one, and I do not use that word often.
Comment by Must-See J.V. — July 7, 2011 @ 10:24 am
Al much as I like advanced statistics, watching nearly every Verlander start and most Yankee games, it seems pretty obvious that Verlander is a better pitcher than CC.
Comment by Heavy Consumption — July 7, 2011 @ 10:36 am
On Verlander- the idea here is to look beyond his ERA to project what he will do in the future. Besides the lower walk rate, which I argued I don’t think is sustainable, how has he improved to make everyone believe he is suddenly a top 3 pitcher in baseball?
Comment by Mike Podhorzer — July 7, 2011 @ 10:38 am
I think Bedard is lower than he should be, but I understand why he’s there (injury risk). I put him in the ‘Chipper Jones’ from the mid-2000s class; when he’s healthy, he’ll perform. But be prepared to stash him on the DL.
Verlander showed pretty similar control in 2009, though. It wasn’t sub 2, but it was pretty close. Verlander since he got really good in 2009 was a guy whose FIP was always better than his ERA because he didn’t seem to pitch well with men on base. He’d have big innings of two or three runs. Those of us who watched him thought he’d get frustrated and try to throw his fastball past everyone every pitch when he was in trouble, and it usually got him into more trouble. This was especially true in 2009, when he threw his fastball 67% of the time. Now, his pitch selection has totally changed, he’s down to 50% fastballs. So that could be one reason strand percentage has improved, though I agree that 80% is unsustainable.
Another thing to look at is the dogma about BABIP being .300 every year. It’s not this year. Offense is down. Most of the BABIPs I’m looking at are around .285. So maybe it’s time to recalculate. It wouldn’t be the first time league average BABIP has fallen, either. FIP was developed during a time of unprecedented offense, and no one has taken a look into it to see if the model still works with the reduced offense we’ve been dealing with the last three years.
Verlander’s been a sub 3.00 FIP pitcher since 2009. Lester has never had a sub 3.00 FIP. Verlander has thrown 50 more IP since the beginning of 2009. Verlander’s walk rate has been almost 1 per 9 lower since then. Verlander’s strikeout rate is a shade lower, which he compensates for in fantasy terms by throwing more innings.
I do not see how Verlander can be ranked lower than Lester. You can’t argue wins. You can’t argue FIP. You can’t argue control. You can’t argue wins. You could argue strikeout rate, but those are neutralized by gross strikeouts. Your entire argument comes down to ERA. Even if Verlander’s ERA matched his FIP (or his xFIP, or his tERA), he’s still basically a half-run better than Lester with more innings, more strikeouts, more walks, and if the past is to be relied on for this, equal or more wins.
I mean, I don’t even understand how this is an argument. If you have people clamoring that Verlander is underrated here, it’s because he is underrated here. I just showed you why with regard to Lester. And without getting too deep into it, if you give Sabathia anything resembling his normal HR/FB%, I could show you why Verlander’s better than him, too.
LOL at you sticking with your silly placement of EJax so high. Hey look, he STILL has a 4.30 ERA and 1.44 WHIP!
He is and always will be a mediocre fantasy starter, FIP be damned.
Can you please justify how EJax could be ahead of CJ and Gio, two guys who have similar or better FIP numbers and MASSIVELY better “real world” numbers? Both Gio and CJ were significantly better fantasy pitchers last year, and have been significantly better fantasy pitchers this year. Why would EJax rank ahead of both of them? Is this some silly, stubborn need to stick to the preseason “EJax is primed for a breakout” predictions because of a couple of good months at the end of last season under Cooper?
seriously, can you please justify Lester being a full tier up from Verlander? Verlander has significantly better FIP/xFIP numbers, he has a track record of studliness as long as Lester’s, and he piles up Wins like Lester too (one of Lester’s biggest strengths).
Lester is not an elite ERA/WHIP guy — I still can’t understand how he is a full tier up from Verlander, Weaver, and Haren.
also, on that same note, Brandon Morrow isn’t that good. In fantasy FIP means diddly, and Morrow has yet to be anything but a mediocre fantasy pitcher.
again, is this just a stubborn need to stick to preseason breakout predictions? How’s Ricky Nolasco’s impending ERA breakout looking these days?
it’s amusing to see you use FIP/xFIP to justify some unjustifiable rankings like Morrow or EJax, and then also apply it inconsistently (e.g. Lester being above Verlander or Weaver). It may be time for some self examination about your methodology.
I mean, take your teammate Weaver: better ERA, better WHIP, better strikout rate, more wins. So it’s objectively factual that Weaver has been a better fantasy pitcher so far in 2011. And Weaver has better in in 2010 as well.
Weaver has a better FIP, Haren has a better xFIP. I think at best you can say they are neck-and-neck.
Danks is at the bottom of the tier, and Romero is at the top, and both Jackson and Morrow have significantly better xFIP than Romero. Here at Fangraphs, people don’t look at just wins and ERA. In fact, I would say we hardly do.
I would like to clamor for an R.E.M. tier – almost 30 years now and still going strong. Guys like James Shields would fit perfectly in the R.E.M. tier, or anybody on the Braves (forget about the AL/NL dichotomy, don’t most people play in mixed leagues anyway?)…
honestly, id like to see combined AL and NL rankings. i mean if im in an AL or NL only league, ill just pay attention to the guys in that league on that list. as in if im in an NL or AL only and see mixed rankings, i just adjust. if i see them in segregated rankings, and i play in a mixed league (which most people do), there is nothing i can do but guess where guys stack up.
Combined AL / NL rankings would be more useful to me too. The way I would do it is assume a standard 12 team mixed league with 5 SP per team, or 60 total SP. Then do something like 10 tiers, with 6 or so per tier, that way Mike P. could work in the Pink Floyd and R.E.M. tiers, which should be mandatory in a list like this.
Actually, a better option for naming the tiers would be to use the lineup for the Rays after-game weekend concert series (past performers include The Beach Boys, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, M.C. Hammer, REO Speedwagan, The Wiggles, Avril Lavigne, Jimmy Buffett, **.countrywesternband.**, **.guyfromamericanidol.**)… Does every team have these things or just the Rays?
“Besides the lower walk rate, which I argued I don’t think is sustainable, how has he improved to make everyone believe he is suddenly a top 3 pitcher in baseball?”
Well according to fangraphs he’s been one of the top 3 pitchers in baseball for a few years now. For the past 3 seasons only Halladay has produced more WAR(and even that’s by only .1) and since he debuted in 06 I believe he’s in the top 5. So maybe he hasn’t made any improvements, maybe his bad fortune is finally becoming good fortune since his fielding dependent stats have shown that he should’ve been better than what his regular stats have been the past few years.
CS3 – the Rays have the 3rd highest attendance in the AL East, for what it’s worth. Toronto and Baltimore wish they had TB’s fan base (and Toronto wishes they had our bullpen, but that’s another story). More than that, they wish they had the Wiggles performing after last Sunday’s game.
David – I disagree. The title should be “Now Please Help Me (Re)Name My Ranking Tiers.”
Let’s start with the most obvious: Why does the naming convention suddenly break down when we hit the Injured Players and Players Demoted to the Minor Leagues? There is gold to be mined there. Some suggestions:
The Minutemen or Wasted Youth = Demoted to Minor Leagues
Tom Waits, The Beach Boys, Circle Jerks, or Morphine = Injured Players
WAR uses FIP, correct? I use xFIP, I always ignore FIP. xFIP has been shown to be a better predictor of future ERA than FIP, so why use FIP? Verlander has kept his FIP lower coz of below league average HR/FB ratios. How much of that is luck, the park, or skill, I don’t know. We prob need a larger sample size to be sure.
Comment by Mike Podhorzer — July 8, 2011 @ 5:02 pm
Yeah, if it was me, I’d flip the rankings, and put the second Fausto Carmona ahead of the first one.
Agreed. Verlander is one of the top 3 pitchers in baseball. In fact he may have the best arsenal of stuff in baseball. The author loves stats. He also thinks luck has a lot to do with Verlander…. I suggest this guy take a look at what kind of stuff Verlander has and re-evaluate his “luck” theory.