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Pitcher’s Luck: Workhorses

Posted By Jeff Zimmerman On October 3, 2011 @ 11:15 am In Meta Analysis,Starting Pitchers | 6 Comments

On Friday, I looked at some 2011 Luck leaders and laggards among full time hitters. Today, I am looking at pitchers that pitched over 180 innings. They were the workhorses of a pitching staff.

I would like to make a couple of points to begin with. First, if a pitcher struggles, they are not as likely to pitch as much. The list shows more lucky pitchers than unlucky pitchers. I see this as totally expected. Second, I assumed a league average BABIP for each pitcher. There is some evidence that some pitchers are able to have some control over their BABIP. Feel free to adjust the ranking if you believe the numbers to be incorrect for a pitcher.

Here are the leaders and laggards for 2011 (a complete list of hitters and pitchers from 2009 to 2011):

Rank Name Luck LOB% BABIP TBF HR/FB ERA FIP xFIP
1 Weaver, Jered 8.1 82.6% 0.250 926 0.063 2.41 3.20 3.80
2 Cain, Matt 7.5 70.6% 0.260 907 0.037 2.88 2.91 3.78
3 Hellickson, Jeremy 7.3 82.0% 0.223 774 0.081 2.95 4.44 4.72
4 Halladay, Roy 7.2 78.1% 0.298 933 0.051 2.35 2.20 2.71
5 Kershaw, Clayton 6.7 78.6% 0.269 912 0.067 2.28 2.47 2.84
6 Verlander, Justin 5.6 80.3% 0.236 969 0.088 2.40 2.99 3.12
7 Kennedy, Ian 5.6 79.2% 0.270 900 0.077 2.88 3.22 3.50
8 Lincecum, Tim 5.0 78.5% 0.281 900 0.080 2.74 3.17 3.36
9 Beckett, Josh 4.9 80.0% 0.245 767 0.096 2.89 3.57 3.58
10 Masterson, Justin 4.6 72.9% 0.302 908 0.063 3.21 3.28 3.64
61 Hochevar, Luke -1.3 66.0% 0.275 835 0.115 4.68 4.29 4.05
62 Lowe, Derek -1.4 65.9% 0.327 830 0.102 5.05 3.70 3.65
63 Westbrook, Jake -1.4 69.1% 0.313 809 0.114 4.66 4.25 4.08
64 Penny, Brad -1.5 67.2% 0.310 803 0.113 5.30 5.02 4.77
65 Capuano, Chris -1.7 72.0% 0.311 802 0.120 4.55 4.04 3.67
66 Scherzer, Max -1.7 73.7% 0.314 833 0.126 4.43 4.14 3.70
67 Myers, Brett -2.1 70.2% 0.293 917 0.133 4.46 4.26 3.75
68 Arroyo, Bronson -3.2 74.4% 0.278 855 0.159 5.07 5.71 4.54
69 Carmona, Fausto -3.9 62.1% 0.291 833 0.130 5.25 4.56 4.17
70 Burnett, A.J. -6.6 70.0% 0.294 837 0.170 5.15 4.77 3.86

Here are my thoughts on some of the players:

Jeremy Hellickson – In his first full season in the majors, Jeremy had a great year. He had an unbelievable BABIP (0.223). This value allowed his ERA (2.95) to be about 1.5 less than his FIP (4.44) and xFIP (4.72). He has no history of out performing his BABIP like Cain or Weaver. He may be a decent pitcher, but it is time to SELL HIGH.

Clayton Kershaw – The key to his emergence as an ace is the drop in BB/9 over the last 3 years from 4.8 to 3.6 to 2.1. As long as he keeps the walks down, he will remain a top pitcher. Now, I would say that I would have no problems moving him in the right deal. His value is pretty much topped out after winning the pitching triple crown.

Josh Beckett – Last season, he ranked as the most unluckiest pitchers (-9.7 Luck) among those pitchers that threw over 100 IP. This season he rebounded into one of the league’s better pitchers.

Ian Kennedy – I am not sure what to think of his 2011 season. He had a lower home run rate (1.21 HR/9 to 0.79 HR/9) and walk (3.2 BB/9 to 2.2 BB/9) in 2011 compared to 2010. I really don’t like to have a pitcher that pitches 1/2 their games at Chase Field. I would be careful about picking him up too early/high, but don’t be afraid if the price is right.

Bronson Arroyo – While he was never considered to be a great pitcher, his 2010 was decent for fantasy purposes. His 2011 was brought down by a career high 2.04 HR/9. I would see little interest in him, even in a deep league. He could be picked up for little next season.

Fausto Carmona – Fausto is not a good pitcher. He is still getting too much love from the 2007 season when he got 19 wins. He does not even had a K/BB rate over 2.0 in 4 seasons. Just stay away.

A.J. Burnett – All of his problems this year came from giving up the long ball. His xFIP (3.86) is inline with both Cain’s (3.78) and Weaver’s (3.80) xFIP. Also, his career xFIP (3.78) is close to his ERA (4.10) and FIP (4.01). I would expect a nice rebound from him next season.


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