Largely Irresponsible Leaderboard: Spring Training Pitchers

Last week, in a move that has been hailed as simultaneously “bold” and “very bold” by the author himself, I published a largely irresponsible leaderboard of regressed pitching leaders from spring training so far.

That post’s existence in the world was predicated on three conditions, as follow:

(a) Spring-training stats don’t appear to be very predictive of regular-season stats; but

(b) The return of baseball is exciting, and invites consideration of some sort; and

(c) Research suggests that, of all spring-training stats, pitcher strikeouts and (to a lesser degree) walks are probably the closest thing to predictive.

Owing to the wild success of that first post, what follows is the a second — and ever current — SCOUT pitching leaderboard for spring training. SCOUT- combines regressed strikeout and walk rates in a kwERA-like equation to produce a number not unlike ERA-, where 100 is league average and below 100 is better than average. Note that xK% and xBB% stand for expected strikeout and walk rate, respectively.

Player Team G GS IP TBF K BB xK% xBB% SCOUT-
Taylor Jordan WSH 3 1 7.0 29 11 0 27.2% 7.5% 75
Luke Putkonen DET 4 0 6.0 20 9 0 26.9% 8.0% 77
Aroldis Chapman CIN 3 0 5.0 20 9 0 26.9% 8.0% 77
Joaquin Benoit SD 4 0 4.0 16 8 0 26.6% 8.2% 79
Drew Hutchison TOR 2 2 5.0 22 9 1 26.4% 8.5% 80
Evan Reed DET 5 0 6.0 20 8 0 25.5% 8.0% 81
Zach Miner SEA 4 0 4.1 14 7 0 25.8% 8.3% 81
Carlos Carrasco CLE 3 1 7.0 27 9 1 25.0% 8.2% 83
Donnie Joseph KC 4 0 3.1 11 6 0 25.2% 8.5% 83
Seth Rosin LAD 3 0 8.0 34 10 1 24.4% 7.8% 84

Some notes:

  • Washington’s Taylor Jordan has produced the most impressive spring-training performance among all pitchers, it would appear. His most recent appearance, this past Saturday against a lineup of mostly Atlanta starters, was the best of his three total ones (box): 3.0 IP, 12 TBF, 6 K, 0 BB. While Ross Detwiler is probably the favorite to win the last spot in the Nationals rotation, Jordan could merit consideration for starting duties, as well.
  • Since last week’s edition of the irresponsible leaderboard, Detroit reliever Luke Putkonen has recorded two appearances and 3.0 innings, posting a 4:0 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the process. The performance isn’t very surprising: he produced an 87 xFIP- in ca. 30 major-league innings last year.
  • Toronto’s Drew Hutchison produced this past week the second of his two very strong spring appearances, recording the following line (box): 3.0 IP, 12 TBF, 5 K, 1 BB. Hutchison has an “outside chance” of winning a rotation spot, said John Farrell* at the beginning of the month. One assumes his spring thus far hasn’t hurt those chances.

*As several readers have noted, it is John Gibbons and not Farrell currently employed to manage the Blue Jays.

We hoped you liked reading Largely Irresponsible Leaderboard: Spring Training Pitchers by Carson Cistulli!

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

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John Farrell is a very busy guy. Coaching Blue Jays and Red Sox at same time must be exhausting.


Wasn’t that pretty much what he spent all of 2011 and 2012 doing anyway?