NERD Game Scores for Saturday, June 25, 2016

Devised originally in response to a challenge issued by sabermetric nobleman Rob Neyer, and expanded at the request of nobody, NERD scores represent an attempt to summarize in one number (and on a scale of 0-10) the likely aesthetic appeal or watchability, for the learned fan, of a player or team or game. Read more about the components of and formulae for NERD scores here.


Most Highly Rated Game
Boston at Texas | 21:20 ET
Wright (98.1 IP, 102 xFIP-) vs. Griffin (33.2 IP, 112 xFIP-)
The adjusted xFIP figures for Steven Wright and A.J. Griffin are published here because they’re published for every pitcher scheduled to start in the day’s most highly rated game. Generally, this make sense: whatever a pitcher’s adjusted ERA at any moment, it’s more likely to resemble his xFIP figure going forward. But that’s only generally. Further research on DIPS theory over the last decade-plus has revealed that certain pitchers actually do exhibit signature batted-ball profiles.

Knuckleballers are one sort of pitcher of this sort. As a result, it’s not surprising to find that Wright has produced an ERA over than 30% lower than his xFIP relative to the league (106 xFIP-, 71 ERA-). Likewise, Griffin. He doesn’t possess a knuckleball, but does throw a curve that sits at just under 70 mph. Perhaps as a result of that — and a result of the interaction of that pitch with the rest of his repertoire — he’s conceded a .247 BABIP over 300-plus innings this year, only .237 this year.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Texas Radio.

Two Other Brief Notes
Today’s Free Game
Today’s free game features Toronto at Chicago AL, starts at 21:20 ET, and can be accessed by means of this hyperlinked text.

Broadcaster Rankings
Recently, the present author facilitated a crowdsourcing effort to reproduce the broadcaster rankings which appeared on this site roughly four years ago. The results from that effort are published here in one easily digestible post.

Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete and very sortable table for all of today’s games. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from and also the rest of the internet. Note that calculations both for team and game NERD scores feature adjustment for postseason odds that increases as season progresses. Read more about those adjustments here and here.

NERD Scores for June 25, 2016
Away SP TM GM TM SP Home Time
Ervin Santana MIN 4 5 6 4 10 NYA Michael Pineda 13:05
Matt Andriese TB 4 7 6 7 7 BAL Kevin Gausman 13:05
Jake Odorizzi TB 5 7 6 7 4 BAL Chris Tillman 19:05
R.A. Dickey TOR 8 6 5 3 3 CHA Miguel Gonzalez 14:10
Shelby Miller AZ 1 5 3 4 2 COL Jorge de la Rosa 16:10
John Lackey CHN 7 6 6 6 4 MIA Paul Clemens* 16:10
Carlos Carrasco CLE 7 8 5 5 2 DET Anibal Sanchez 16:10
Drew Pomeranz SD 6 5 4 3 2 CIN Brandon Finnegan 16:10
Gio Gonzalez WAS 6 7 5 4 3 MIL Matt Garza 16:10
Mike Fiers HOU 4 6 4 4 4 KC Chris Young 19:15
Kenta Maeda LAN 5 6 4 4 3 PIT Jeff Locke 19:15
Jacob deGrom NYN 8 6 5 2 5 ATL Julio Teheran 19:15
Steven Wright BOS 9 8 6 4 4 TEX A.J. Griffin 21:20
Dillon Overton* OAK 6 4 5 3 5 LAA Jhoulys Chacin 22:05
Jeremy Hellickson PHI 6 2 5 5 7 SF Madison Bumgarner 22:05
Mike Leake STL 5 6 5 5 5 SEA Nate Karns 22:10
SP denotes pitcher NERD score.
TM denotes team score.
GM denotes overall game score.
Highlighted portion denotes game of the day.

* = Fewer than 10 IP, NERD at discretion of wretched author.

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

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7 years ago

How does Dickey get an 8 for SP NERD? Honestly 90% of the time he’s not that fun to watch. The knuckler doesn’t really make for compelling TV

The Dude of NY
7 years ago
Reply to  Matt

Besides being a knuckleballer, he also is tied for the second lowest pace in baseball among qualifying pitchers.,a

7 years ago
Reply to  The Dude of NY

I get that it’s meant to be a purely mathematical exercise, meant to do away with pesky personal biases and whatnot, but I feel like there should be some sort of subjective “fun factor” assessment tied to the ratings. Because even in what’s supposed to be a wholly objective statistical model, there’s room for a little bit of subjective input to encapsulate the aspects the model can’t reliably quantify. Once you get past the novelty value of the knuckler, it’s not really interesting to watch a guy throw the same pitch for 90% of the game with a high degree of uncertainty as to whether or not it will be effective at any given time. A 2.5 hour Dickey game is far less interesting from a watchability standpoint than the average Marco Estrada start, but pure #s give Dickey an 8 for SP NERD and Estrada a bizarre 4. If we’re allotting bonus points of sorts to the knuckler purely on an intrigue factor, there should be something to be said for a case like Estrada where you have a guy with a bp-speed fastball coupled with one of the best changeups in the majors.

Perhaps SP nerd should be amended to use the linear pitch weight figures? Like maybe taking their best pitch by those #s and comparing them to the league average? Yeah they have little to not predictive value, but giving a NERD boost to a guy who has shown himself to have a crazy-outstanding slider/curve/change/sinker/whatever would allow you to help separate guys with a great pitch that might be fun to watch in spite of underwhelming other NERD-relevant values from the junkballers. I’m sure you could also build the knuckleball factor into that calculation somehow too, were you so inclined (I would not be, but that should be obvious by now)

And now I’ve just written a mini-essay on the subject of a game-watchability stat model. Man, my life is weird.

7 years ago
Reply to  Matt

“I feel like there should be some sort of subjective “fun factor” assessment tied to the ratings. ”

But the problem there…is that still going to please folks?

I mean, I think knuckleballs are awesome and the people who can throw them at the best hitters in the world and get them out are very interesting. Charlie Hough was one of my favorite pitchers because of that. They throw slower than some little leaguers (literally in terms of comparative distance/velocity), yet they get outs…and, like you said, they throw it almost exclusively…so the hitter knows what’s coming.

Likewise, watching soft-tossing lefties was more interesting to me as a kid than watching Clemens…and I was (and still am) a Red Sox fan. Why? Because watching, say Key or Glavine pitch was like watching my dream self pitch – a soft throwing lefty pitcher at the bigs and winning and getting guys out. If I was to make it to the majors (I didn’t of course) that would be me.

How can a score capture things like that? The score might say Hough or Key are “not as watchable” as Clemens or Gooden. Does that make the score wrong or do I just need to take it with a grain of my own preferences and go from there?