Daily Notes: Pitching Stats with Live and Yesterday Splits

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

1. Pitching Stats with Live and Yesterday Splits
2. Today’s Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
3. Today’s Game Odds, Translated into Winning Percentages

Pitching Stats with Live and Yesterday Splits
With the addition recently of both the Live and Yesterday splits to the site’s leaderboards, it’s possible now to get a sense of how players are performing in real time by certain advanced metrics in a way that wasn’t before.

What the author has found himself wondering, though, is how best to adjudge the day’s Champions of Hitting and Pitching using the metrics available at the site. As is the case even with larger samples, there are actually multiple ways of doing so — it’s a matter always, as Dave Cameron suggests, of the particular question one is attempting to answer.

Yesterday, I considered the usefulness of some batting metrics on a single-game basis. Below are three pitching metrics and their relevance to our new Live and Yesterday splits.

Yesterday, we established that wOBA is probably the best metric for assessing a player’s batting production per plate appearance. Expected Fielding Independent Pitching, or xFIP, is the closest antecedent for pitchers — except on a per-inning (as opposed to per-plate-appearance) basis. Pitchers who are able to accrue strikeouts while also avoiding walks and fly balls tend to prevent runs more effectively than pitchers who don’t do that. If there’s a drawback to xFIP, it’s that relief pitchers who’ve pitcher 0.1 innings mostly occupy the top of the single-game leaderboards.

Here, for example, are the seven pitchers to post the best possible single-game xFIP on Thursday:

Name Team IP xFIP
Al Alburquerque Tigers 0.1 -3.24
Esmil Rogers Blue Jays 0.1 -3.24
Joe Thatcher Padres 0.1 -3.24
Shawn Camp Cubs 0.1 -3.24
Tyler Robertson Twins 0.1 -3.24
Ryan Cook Athletics 1.0 -3.24
Sam LeCure Reds 1.0 -3.24

And here’s a second xFIP leaderboard from Thursday, limited only to starting pitchers:

Name Team IP xFIP
Jeremy Guthrie Royals 6.0 1.49
Eric Stults Padres 5.0 2.03
Cliff Lee Phillies 8.0 2.03
Gavin Floyd White Sox 6.0 2.56
Roberto Hernandez Rays 6.2 3.10

Last year, as a supplement to pitcher WAR (which is based on FIP), FanGraphs released a WAR-like metric for pitchers based not on FIP but actual runs allowed per nine innings (RA/9). Over a large sample, this metric tends to reward pitchers who are able to exert control over opponent BABIP or have particularly high left-on-base percentages (which is to say, Matt Cain). It’s both park- and league-adjusted — which has the capacity to create slight irregularities on a per-game basis. As such, RA9-Wins on the Live and Yesterday splits are best regard as close, but unofficial.

Here are the leaders from Thursday by RA9-Wins:

Name Team IP RA9-Wins
Cliff Lee Phillies 8.0 0.6
Andy Pettitte Yankees 8.0 0.4
Travis Wood Cubs 6.0 0.4
Eric Stults Padres 5.0 0.3
James McDonald Pirates 7.0 0.3

Useful for assessing the production both of hitters and pitchers, RE24 is a measure of expected runs added by a player relative to average using the 24 base/out states. If that sounds confusing at first, consider this helpful example, courtesy David Appelman:

In game 4 of the 2007 World Series, the RE for the Red Sox to start the inning was .52. When Jacoby Ellsbury doubled off Aaron Cook in the very first at-bat in the game, the Red Sox were then expected to score 1.15 runs for the rest of the inning. The difference or RE24 was .63 runs. Ellsbury was credited +.63 runs and Aaron Cook credited with -.63 runs.

RE24, therefore, is a record of everything that resulted — in terms of actual run-scoring, or run-scoring “potential” — from a specific batter’s plate appearances. Because more than strikeouts, walks, and home runs are considered, a pitcher might post a better or worse single-game RE24 relative to his FIP.

An example of that from the batting side: on Wednesday, Adam Dunn recorded .933 wOBA and 1.9 wRAA, but only a 0.57 RE24 — because of a double play into which he grounded, and for which RE24 penalizes him more strongly than wOBA, which just regards it as a normal out.

Furthermore, RE24 is park-adjusted for the stadium in which each specific game is being played — so the run expectancy with no outs and the bases loaded is actually about 0.1 runs higher at Chicago’s US Cellular Field than Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field.

Here are the single-game pitching RE24 leaders from Thursday:

Name Team IP RE24
Cliff Lee Phillies 8.0 3.70
Andy Pettitte Yankees 8.0 3.10
Travis Wood Cubs 6.0 2.42
Jeremy Guthrie Royals 6.0 2.34
Eric Stults Padres 5.0 2.20

Today’s Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
Miami at New York NL | 19:10 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***
Alex Sanabia faces Jeremy Hefner,” is about the most rousing comment of which the author is capable with regard to this game. Here’s Sanabia’s Steamer projection: 50.0 IP, 4.16 ERA, 0.2 WAR. And Hefner’s now, too: 59.0 IP, 4.26 ERA, 0.3 WAR.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: New York NL Television.

Oakland at Houston | 20:10 ET
King of Minor-League Strikeouts in 2012 (and personal favorite of the author) Dan Straily makes his season debut for Oakland. Here’s his projected line for 2013, according to Steamer: 116.0 IP, 19.9% K, 8.8% BB, 4.22 ERA, 1.2 WAR. He’s opposed by the pitcher (Brad Peacock) whom Houston acquired (along with Chris Carter) in exchange for Jed Lowrie.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Houston Television.

Today’s Game Odds, Translated into Winning Percentages
Here — for purposes entirely of entertainment and not for gambling, which is a Scourge of Propriety — are all of today’s games with moneyline odds (from relatively “sharp” sportsbook Pinnacle Sports) translated into projected winning percentages (and adjusted to account for the vigorish).

Games are listed in Eastern Time, as the author has bothered to learn how to convert time zones in Excel. Game presented in order, first, of National League and then American League and, finally, then interleague play.

Game Teams Starters Line Win%
16:10 San Diego Padres Jason Marquis 2.36 41.5%
ET Colorado Rockies Jeff Francis 1.68 58.5%
16:35 St. Louis Cardinals Jake Westbrook 2.06 47.6%
ET San Francisco Giants Barry Zito 1.87 52.4%
19:10 Miami Marlins Alex Sanabia 2.50 39.2%
ET New York Mets Jeremy Hefner 1.61 60.8%
19:10 Washington Nationals Dan Haren 2.04 48.0%
ET Cincinnati Reds Homer Bailey 1.89 52.0%
19:30 Chicago Cubs Scott Feldman 2.65 37.0%
ET Atlanta Braves Mike Minor 1.56 63.0%
20:10 Arizona Diamondbacks Wade Miley 2.07 47.4%
ET Milwaukee Brewers Kyle Lohse 1.86 52.6%
22:10 Pittsburgh Pirates Jonathan Sanchez 2.82 34.8%
ET Los Angeles Dodgers Zack Greinke 1.50 65.2%
13:05 New York Yankees Ivan Nova 2.65 37.0%
ET Detroit Tigers Doug Fister 1.56 63.0%
14:05 LAA Angels Jason Vargas 2.08 47.1%
ET Texas Rangers Derek Holland 1.86 52.9%
15:05 Minnesota Twins Liam Hendriks 2.38 41.2%
ET Baltimore Orioles Jake Arrieta 1.67 58.8%
19:05 Boston Red Sox Felix Doubront 2.50 39.2%
ET Toronto Blue Jays Josh Johnson 1.61 60.8%
19:10 Cleveland Indians Zach McAllister 2.61 37.6%
ET Tampa Bay Rays Matt Moore 1.57 62.4%
20:10 Oakland Athletics Dan Straily 1.68 58.5%
ET Houston Astros Brad Peacock 2.36 41.5%
20:10 Seattle Mariners Blake Beavan 2.36 41.5%
ET Chicago White Sox Jose Quintana 1.68 58.5%
16:05 Kansas City Royals Wade Davis 2.11 46.5%
ET Philadelphia Phillies Kyle Kendrick 1.83 53.5%

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

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Bluebird in Boulder
Bluebird in Boulder

One could infer from this data that Cliff Lee is kinda good?