Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.
How Last Spring’s Pitching Leaders Fared (Amended)
In yesterday’s edition of the Notes, we considered how the top-10 pitchers from last spring — according to the SCOUT leaderboards, that is — how those pitchers ended up faring during the 2012 regular season.
While it’s manifestly the case that the author has little idea what he’s doing, it’s also the case that he knew even less of what he was doing when he published the final spring-training SCOUT pitching leaderboards last April, or whenever. In the meantime, I’ve made some slight changes to SCOUT that correlate directly to my increased understanding of how to use certain functions in Excel.
Recalculating pitching SCOUT from last spring, then, using the benefit of More Knowledge, here are the top-10 pitchers by that measure:
|Zack Greinke||– – –||74||——||34||34||212.1||868||23.0%||6.2%||49.2%||88||79||80||5.1|
|Francisco Liriano||– – –||74||——||34||28||156.2||693||24.1%||12.6%||43.8%||128||103||100||1.8|
|Chris Sale||White Sox||84||——||30||29||192.0||772||24.9%||6.6%||44.9%||71||75||78||4.9|
Some different names populate this version of top-10 list than yesterday’s, but the idea is roughly the same: these pitchers were better than other pitchers last spring, for the most part, at striking batters out. They were also pretty good at striking batters out during the regular season, too. Because recording strikeouts also correlate rather highly to run prevention, these pitchers were also pretty good at doing that, too.
How Last Spring’s Pitcher Laggards Fared
Below are the 10 pitchers from the bottom of last spring’s SCOUT pitching leaderboard. SCOUT- combines regressed strikeout and walk rates in a kwERA-like equation to produce a number not unlike ERA-, where 100 is league average (in this case, for all spring pitchers) and below 100 is better than average. xK% and xBB% stand for expected strikeout and walk rate, respectively.
|J.A. Happ||– – –||117||——||28||24||144.2||627||23.0%||8.9%||44.0%||121||102||99||1.8|
|Jeremy Guthrie||– – –||115||——||33||29||181.2||788||12.8%||6.4%||40.8%||109||118||118||1.0|
|Wandy Rodriguez||– – –||114||——||34||33||205.2||875||15.9%||6.4%||48.0%||97||103||105||2.5|
|Jason Marquis||– – –||114||——||22||22||127.2||561||16.2%||7.5%||52.5%||137||135||101||-0.2|
• It’s important to begin by recognizing that, because SCOUT- features regressed strikeout and walk rates, this is not merely a list of the 10 worst performances from last spring (or nine, technically, because other laggard Mark Hamburger made zero major-league appearances), but rather the 10 worst performances by pitchers who were permitted to throw a relatively substantial numbers of innings. None of the pitchers here threw fewer than 10 innings, or faced fewer than 44 batters.
• While the top-10 pitchers by SCOUT from last spring went on to post a collective regular-season park-adjusted ERA about 8% lower than league average, this group posted one about 21% higher than league average during the regular season.
• Also of note: while this group of laggards did not feature a regular-season walk rate much worse than the leading group, their collective strikeout rate was ca. 7 percentage points worse. This make sense: because strikeout rate becomes reliable in smaller samples than walk rate, it more greatly informs SCOUT-. That the group of leaders would go on to outproduce the laggards by strikeout rate in the regular season, too, is perhaps not surprising.
Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.