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New Stat Alert: SIERA

A brief look at Baseball Prospectus's new pitching stat, "SIERA".

FG Love for Chris Carpenter

Eric Seidman looks at how dominant Chris Carpenter has been in his four starts this season, comparing him to Zack Greinke. I mostly link to it because this made my jaw drop: In four starts, Carpenter has added more wins to the Cardinals than their entire bullpen. If you’re skeptical, the combo of Motte, Franklin, Thompson, Miller, Reyes, Kinney and Boggs (as a reliever) has combined for 0.5 wins above replacement. This speaks more to the ineptitude of their bullpen but serves to show that a good starter in just four starts can be twice as effective, if not more, than a reliever available all season. Yup.

When Is A Small Sample Size No Longer Small?

Eric Seidman at Fangraphs has a nice article summarizing research on when sample sizes become (somewhat) reliable for hitters. The research suggests that the following stats begin to stabilize with the corresponding number of plate appearances: 50 PA: Swing % 100 PA: Contact Rate 150 PA: Strikeout Rate, Line Drive Rate, Pitches/PA 200 PA: Walk Rate, Groundball Rate, GB/FB 250 PA: Flyball Rate 300 PA: Home Run Rate, HR/FB 500 PA: OBP, SLG, OPS, 1B Rate, Popup Rate 550 PA: ISO Did not stabilize by 650 PA (the cutoff): BA, BABIP The underlying work was done by a well respected analyst who goes by the handle Pizza Cutter at the Statistically Speaking blog. His research on pitchers is here.

The Worst Starters The Rest of the Year

Eric Seidman at Fangraphs uses Dan Szymborski's new in-season ZiPS leader boards to find the worst starters that will likely see a significant number of starts the rest of the year: Adam Eaton, Orioles: 19 GS, 99 IP, 1.53 K/BB, 6.09 ERA Franklin Morales, Rockies: 19 GS, 97 IP, 0.89 K/BB, 6.03 ERA Rick Porcello, Tigers: 20 GS, 95 IP, 1.19 K/BB, 5.97 ERA Dustin Moseley, Angels: 20 GS, 111 IP, 1.71 K/BB, 5.92 ERA Including performances so far, that would make this seasons' worst overall starters look like: Adam Eaton, Orioles: 25 GS, 130.1 IP, 1.55 K/BB, 6.35 ERA Carlos Silva, Mariners: 27 GS, 149.2 IP, 1.94 K/BB, 6.31 ERA Sidney Ponson, Royals: 21 GS, 125.0 IP, 1.28 K/BB, 5.83 ERA Franklin Morales, Rockies: 21 GS, 101.0 IP, 1.01 K/BB, 5.83 ERA Now, what issues might we have here? One, ZiPS isn't really paying much attention to projecting playing time, like most projection systems. Two, as with most (all?) projection systems out there, ZiPS doesn't know about injuries, new pitches, or other scouting-style data. With the prevalence of pitch f/x these days, I wouldn't be surprised if we see a projection system for pitchers that utilizes that data to some extent. Changes in fastball velocity, control, pitch movement, and pitch selection should be able to help tell us a pitcher's story objectively.

If Pettitte is a fifth starter, he is without question the best fifth starter in baseball right...

If Pettitte is a fifth starter, he is without question the best fifth starter in baseball right now, given that he would be a #3 in most other teams in the game and perhaps even a #2. Put him on some of the lesser-quality teams like the Nationals, Rockies, and Pirates and he might actually be the ace. If the Yankees have a fifth starter, it sure isn’t Andy Pettitte, and if any of their starters is going to be relegated into bullpen duty, it should not be Andy Pettitte. People really need to start realizing that what he brings to the table is not a marginal upgrade over an average or replacement pitcher but rather almost the guarantee of +3.5 to +4 wins.

FanGraphs: Why No Love for Pettitte? Eric Seidman makes the case that Andy Pettitte should not be getting the Joba argument. I did not realize at all that he's already been worth a full win by FG WAR this season and has pretty much been an All-Star caliber player the last several seasons. Frankly, I just assumed there was merit to him being the 5th starter and a bullpen option. Guess I was wrong.

More Pitchers Bad at Holding Runners

FanGraphs has another update on pitchers who can't hold runners, and includes a run down of some of the worst seasons in the Retro Sheet era. There's a list of pitchers who have allowed runners to exceed the break-even point five times or more in history, and some of them are some pretty big names in pitching. As he points out, though, not being able to hold runners if your'e a Hall of Famer is a lot less significant than not being able to hold runners if you're Chris Young.

Revisiting the Horror of the 2003 Detroit Tigers

Fangraphs' Eric Seidman looks back at the 2003 Detroit Tigers, who lost 119 games, and who from that team still lives on in the majors.

The Enigma Formerly Known As Gavin Floyd

I can remember Gavin Floyd’s first start like it was yesterday. Never before had I been able to experience firsthand the sort of hype that surrounded him that night. The Phillies were in third place, playing the dreadful-at-the-time Mets, and had vastly underachieved all year long. When the hot prospect threw an absolutely ridiculous curveball to the befuddled Cliff Floyd, striking him out to end the first inning, it’s safe to say I was not alone in thinking this kid could be the answer. Unfortunately, he was not the answer. Even though the Phillies went on a 20-8 run to close out the season, Floyd would frustrate fans with spurts of brilliance masked by the inability to harness his "stuff." A change of scenery was deemed necessary and Floyd soon found himself a member of the Chicago White Sox. ... His FIP of 5.07 results in the second highest discrepancy between FIP and ERA; only Fausto Carmona’s ERA has been luckier than Floyd’s. Instead of focusing on why he will not sustain this current level of performance, I would much rather look at what has contributed to these numbers. ...

Fan Graphs: The Enigma Formerly Known As Gavin Floyd

FanGraphs takes a look at how Gavin's getting it done in '08

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