Daily Notes: Feat. No Fewer Than Two Graphs in re Shelby Miller

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

1. Featured Game: St. Louis at Milwaukee, 20:10 ET
2. Other Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Featured Game: St. Louis at Milwaukee, 20:10 ET
Regarding the Cardinals, Who’s Starting for Them
In terms of who’s starting for the Cardinals tonight, it’s young and prized right-hander Shelby Miller.

Regarding Shelby Miller, His Performance to Date
Regarding Shelby Miller’s performance to date, it wouldn’t be inaccurate at all to characterize it as excellent. To wit: 5 GS, 30.2 IP, 27.1% K, 8.2% BB, 45.5% GB, 3.24 SIERA, 83 xFIP-, 0.5 WAR.

Regarding Miller, His Approach
One thing regarding Shelby Miller’s approach is his reliance on just two pitches, his fastball and curve — which pitches he’s throwing a combined 99% of the time, according to PITCHf/x data.

Regarding Miller, His Approach, Part II
Writing about Miller last week, Bryan Smith “found just 14 player seasons [from the last five years] where a player’s two favorite pitches represented more than 90 percent of his total pitches thrown.” Of note: the combined ERA of those 14 players seasons is 3.71, which is lower than the author would have assumed, at least.

A Statistical Concept Which Might Apply Here
A statistical concept which might apply to those 14 players season in question is selection bias. As it is generally the case that pitchers who throw only two pitches are relegated to the bullpen, the ones who remains as starters might have to be particularly good to do so.

Another Statistical Concept Which Might Apply Here
Another statistical concept which may apply here is any of Doob’s martingale convergence theorems. How they would apply I’m sure I don’t know, but they might.

A Graph Pertaining to Shelby Miller
Here’s graph of Shelby Miller’s average velocity by start so far — which graph (a) appears to reveal a trend upwards and (b) is presented in the default Excel format:

Miller Graph 1

Another Graph Pertaining to Shelby Miller
Here’s a similar graph to the one above, except with Shelby Miller’s face overlayed onto it and also a Cardinals-themed color scheme:

Miller Graph 2

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast
Per the results of our crowdsourcing project from the 2011-2012 offseason, FanGraphs readers prefer Milwaukee Radio (link).

Other Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
Washington at Pittsburgh | 19:05 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
Right-hander A.J. Burnett starts for Pittsburgh, making this table of the top-three qualified starters per strikeout rate entirely relevant:

Name K%
Yu Darvish 38.4%
Max Scherzer 36.2%
A.J. Burnett 32.9%

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Washington Radio.

Boston at Texas | 20:05 ET
The Red Sox are second among all major-league teams by combined defensive runs saved and baserunning runs — which stat (a) isn’t a real thing, but which also (b) probably indicates something in the way of team speed and athleticism.

Here are the top five teams by that totally fabricated measure:

Team Fld BsR Tot
Giants 14 3 17
Red Sox 10 5 15
Rays 11 1 12
Royals 10 2 12
Orioles 10 1 11

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Texas 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 4.9.

Note: the following table is entirely sortable.

Away SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Mike Leake CIN 3 4 5 5 6 CHN Carlos Villanueva 14:20
Ricky Nolasco MIA 2 0 4 1 7 PHI Jon. Pettibone* 19:05
Pedro Hernandez* MIN 2 3 4 10 5 CLE Justin Masterson 19:05
A.J. Griffin OAK 4 7 5 6 5 NYA CC Sabathia 19:05
Ross Detwiler WAS 5 3 6 7 8 PIT A.J. Burnett 19:05
Felix Hernandez SEA 9 4 6 3 5 TOR Ricky Romero* 19:07
Shaun Marcum* NYN 4 8 6 8 7 ATL Mike Minor 19:30
Felix Doubront BOS 7 10 7 4 8 TEX Derek Holland 20:05
Dylan Axelrod CHA 1 2 3 7 4 KC Jeremy Guthrie 20:10
Doug Fister DET 5 4 4 7 2 HOU Bud Norris 20:10
Shelby Miller STL 9 2 7 6 6 MIL Kyle Lohse 20:10
Matt Moore TB 7 8 6 7 4 COL Jeff Francis 20:40
Miguel Gonzalez BAL 0 6 2 3 1 LAA Jason Vargas 22:05
Wade Miley AZ 4 4 3 4 0 SD Jason Marquis 22:10
Clayton Kershaw LAN 9 2 6 6 3 SF Barry Zito 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.

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Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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On the application of Doob’s theorems: Once one takes into account that the only possible description of Shelby’s performance in terms of martingales is that of a super-martingale, the theorem applies to tell us that over almost all possible futures, his pitches will converge. No change-ups, if you will.