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Daily Notes: Pitcher NERD, Now Featuring Pace

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. Pitcher NERD, Now Featuring Pace
2. Today’s Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Pitcher NERD, Now Featuring Pace
What the Reader Needs to Know
A thing the reader might need to know — to benefit from the present discussion, at least — is that NERD is the very proprietary watchability metric crafted artisanally by the present author and found daily in these Notes. (Read more about NERD here.)

What Else the Reader Needs to Know
Another thing the reader should know — again, with a view to benefiting from the present discussion — is that Pitcher NERD is the version of NERD which applies to pitchers exclusively.

A Note Regarding Pitcher NERD, Its Improvement
It has recently and somewhat emphatically been brought to the author’s attention that, while widely (and correctly) regarded as infallible, that Pitcher NERD might also (paradoxically?) benefit from the inclusion of an additional variable — namely, from the addition of pitcher pace.

A Note Regarding Pitcher Pace, What It Is
Introduced to the present site about 2.5 years ago, pitcher pace is a measure of the time (in seconds) each pitcher takes between his pitches.

A Note Regarding Pitcher Pace, Its Relevance to Watchability
The relevance of pitcher pace to watchability is probably obvious. Insofar as the time between pitches does not directly contribute to the action of a game, any pitcher who reduces that amount of time necessarily increases the proportion of action to non-action.

A Note Regarding Pitcher Pace, Its Average and Range
With regard to pitcher pace, a normal figure for a starter is about 22 seconds. The very best starters by this measure (Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey) typically average about 17 or 18 seconds between pitches. The very worst starters (Yu Darvish, Bud Norris, Mike Pelfrey), about 26 seconds. (The complete pace leaderboard can be found here.)

On Integrating Pitcher Pace into Pitcher NERD
After careful inspection both my means of his eyes and his heart, the author has concluded that adding half of a pitcher’s pace z-score — that is, the number of standard deviations relative to league-average pace, divided by two — to his overall NERD score is both good and very good.

Therefore, Updated Pitcher NERD Components
Here are the updated components included in the calculation now of Pitcher NERD:

• xFIP
• Swinging-Strike Rate (SwStrk)
• Strike Rate (Strk)
• Velocity (Velo)
• Age
• ERA-xFIP (Luck)
• Knuckleball Rate (KN)

Updated Pitcher NERD Formula
Here’s the updated formula itself (where z represents the z-score for the relevant metric):

(zxFIP * 2) + (zSwStrk / 2) + (zStrk / 2) + zVelo + zAge + (zPace / 2) + Luck + (KN * 5) + Constant

Results: Greatest Increase
Here are the three pitchers whose NERD scores most increase with the new addition:

Name Pace zPace oNERD nNERD
R.A. Dickey 16.8 2.67 8 9
Mark Buehrle 17.7 2.19 2 3
Roy Halladay 18.4 1.82 4 5

Results: Greatest Decrease
Here are the pitchers whose NERD scores were most negatively affected by the addition of pace:

Name Pace zPace oNERD nNERD
Mike Pelfrey 26.6 -2.54 1 0
Bud Norris 26.0 -2.22 3 2
Yu Darvish 26.0 -2.22 10 10

Today’s Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
Pittsburgh at New York NL | 19:10 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
Pirates left fielder Starling Marte is currently among the top-10 field players by WAR (1.8). While due for BABIP regression (his current mark is .404), he does possess an exciting and useful skill set that allows him to provide value in basically every facet of the game.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: New York NL Television.

Toronto at Tampa Bay | 19:10 ET
R.A. Dickey pitches for Toronto. “How many seconds will he take between pitches?” one doesn’t actually probably wonder. In any case, “About 17” is the answer.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Toronto Radio.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 5.2.

Note: the following table is entirely sortable.

Away SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Bartolo Colon OAK 6 7 7 10 7 CLE Scott Kazmir* 12:05
CC Sabathia NYA 5 6 5 7 4 COL Jeff Francis 15:10
Doug Fister DET 5 7 5 3 4 WAS Dan Haren 16:05
Jeremy Guthrie KC 5 6 5 7 3 BAL Freddy Garcia* 19:05
Kevin Correia MIN 2 3 5 9 6 BOS John Lackey* 19:10
Jeff Locke PIT 1 8 3 7 2 NYN Dillon Gee 19:10
R.A. Dickey TOR 9 5 8 7 8 TB David Price 19:10
Jason Vargas LAA 1 4 3 5 3 HOU Lucas Harrell 20:10
Cole Hamels PHI 6 2 6 5 7 AZ Patrick Corbin 21:40
Julio Teheran ATL 6 8 5 5 3 SF Ry. Vogelsong 22:15

To learn how Pitcher and Team NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.