Posted tagged ‘Felix Hernandez’

KILL THE WIN

October 20, 2013

For those of you that follow Brian Kenny on twitter you know his mission this season has been to “#KILLTHEWIN”. This is a worthwhile mission and I’m here to voice my support. Granted if you are a follower of this blog (I probably lost them when I didn’t post for two years) you know the win is an expired stat, but this is for those who may have happened upon 4PARL by chance.

The win is an archaic stat that currently has no useful performance evaluation qualities. Despite that, too much stock is put into the win by coaches, players, fans, and the media. These parties need to progress in terms of its evaluative thought process and there are several easy to learn metrics available on the internet that are better indicators of a pitchers performance.

The box score dates back to the early 1860’s when writer Henry Chadwick devised a system to better track the game of baseball and keep tallies of individual stats. At the time, the win was a stat that made sense. Pitchers pitched all nine innings. If he won, the team won. Fast forward some 150 years and the win is no longer a relevant stat in baseball. This is what the stat does- it gives credit to the pitcher who leaves the game with his team winning, assuming the team does go on to win. It makes no distinction of how the pitcher performed during his time in the game. it does not matter if the pitcher threw a shutout or gave up ten runs. If he leaves with a lead and the team keeps that lead, the pitcher gets a win.

How ridiculous is that? You can get credit for helping a team win, even if your performance hurt the team. On September 17, Yusmeiro Petit went six innings for the San Francisco Giants against the New York Mets. He allowed seven hits and three walks for a total of ten base runners. He gave up four runs in those six innings and struck out just one batter. Yet he still got the win to go to 4-0 on the season. On the final game of the regular season, Justin Verlander threw six shutout innings against the Miami Marlins. He allowed three hits and a walk while striking out ten batters. Yet his team was no-hit so he had nothing to show for it. Tell me how it makes sense that Petit can pitch pretty terrible and be credited with a win, while Justin Verlander can put up a much better performance and not get credit for it. You can’t.

Now let’s play everybody’s favorite game: Pitcher A and Pitcher B.

Pitcher A: 21-3, 214 IP, 10.08 K/9, 2.35 BB/9, 0.76 HR/9, 2.74 FIP

Pitcher B: 12-10, 204 IP, 9.51 K/9, 2.03 BB/9, 0.66 HR/9, 2.61 FIP

Here we see two near identical, dominant pitchers. Both have K rates over 9, low BB and HR rates, and FIPs well under 3.0. Yet one pitcher is 21-3 and the other has a near .500 win/loss record. Well, pitcher A is Cy Young favorite Max Scherzer. The other is Felix Hernandez.

If wins had any value in evaluating performance, then Felix Hernandez should be much better than 12-10. The difference is that Felix Hernandez plays for the Mariners who scored 3.85 runs per game while Scherzer played for the Tigers who scored 4.91 runs per game. And that figure jumped up to 5.9 runs in games that Scherzer pitched! It’d be near impossible NOT to win 20 games with that kind of run support.

So as you can tell, so many outside factors other than a pitcher influence their win and loss record. Sure, most of the time the pitcher still has to be at least average in a game to get a win. But he needs help from the defense- a good defense can take away quite a few runs in a season. Moreover, the pitcher needs a lot of help from the offense. You can be dominant but still not get the win. You can be terrible but still get a win because the offense scored ten runs.

In the face of all this common sense, coaches, players, fans, and the media still put value in the win. When Max Scherzer won his 20th game, it was a huge news story. In fact, he will probably win the Cy Young this year on his 21 wins alone, and not because he did the three things a pitcher can control well (strikeouts, walks, home runs). Jack Morris is still a Hall of Fame contender because of his 254 career wins even though he was “only” a good pitcher. Tom Glavine is in the Hall of Fame for winning over 300 career games, even though he was simply a mediocre pitcher for most of his career- he just had the fortune of playing for a dominant Braves team in the 1990’s.

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland is one of the many coaches who still loves the win. In regards to Scherzer he said earlier this season, “I also like guys that win. I’d rather have a pitcher nobody is talking about who has won 15 games than somebody everyone is raving about who has won five”. That is a very stubborn point of view. Baseball is very much a team game. Mediocre pitchers can win 15 games and start pitchers can win very few. Chris Tillman won 16 games this year. He had a 4.42 FIP and did more to hurt his team than help with an atrocious 1.44 HR/9. Stephen Strasburg only won 8 games despite putting up some pretty fantastic numbers.

The win was created during the Civil War. Baseball thought needs to catch up with the 21st century. A stat that is 150 years old should not carry the weight that it does. It has no evaluative value and yet it still is one of the most popular statistics in the game. This should not be when there is a wealth of performance stats that are widely available a better indicator of pitcher performance.

Pitchers control three outcomes: strikeouts, walks, and home runs. They do not full control hits because the defense and their range plays a big part in whether a ball is caught for an out or not. A home run is a controllable skill because the defense has no impact on the result and because some pitchers are ground ball pitchers while others are fly ball pitchers. So you can look at K/9, BB/9, and HR/9 which is the rate per innings of those three categories. FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching takes those three outcomes into account and adjusts for the league and it is on the ERA scale so it’s easy for the casual fan to know what is a good FIP and a bad FIP. These basic indicators are simple to understand, easy to calculate and/or look up, and better for evaluating pitcher performance.

It’s the year 2013. KILL THE WIN.

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Jered Weaver locked up long term

August 22, 2011

The LA Angels signed Weaver to a 5/$85mil extension. That means he’ll be an Angel until 2016 and until he’s 33 years old. So let me say: this was a great deal.

Jered Weaver is a stud. That simple. Since his debut in 2006, his fWAR has gone up every season and this season should top out around 6+ fWAR. He’s had a BB/9 in the 2’s every season. In all his seasons of 30+ starts, all but one he has had a K/9 in the 7’s; the exception? 2010 when it was 9.35. These past two seasons Weaver has been a top of the league ace and is consistent and dependable as hell.

Weaver would have had one more year of arbitration before signing the extension. So in all likelihood he would have made around $13mil in my estimation. Then he would have been a FA. Here’s how I believe that would have played, and payed, out:

WAR: 6, 5.5, 5, 4.5

Value ($): 30mil, 28.9, 27.5, 23

Excessive? Yeah, but that’s what his market projects to be if he achieves those WAR numbers, which is a very realistic figure in my opinion. If $ per WAR goes up 250K a year starting at $5mil in 2013, that’s how much he’d be worth. So I have his projected value at $122.4mil. Since he’ll be paid $85mil, that’s a saving of $37.4mil- enough to lock up Mike Trout!

Would he have gotten that much as a FA? It’s tough to say. I’m inclined to say yes if GMs see him in the same class as a CC Sabathia or Johan Santana when they were in contract negotiations.

So basically, great deal. It’s a deal that’s similar to the extensions Verlander and Felix Hernandez signed, and Weaver is in their class, so all around it’s a good deal for player and team.

Handicapping the Awards – AL Cy Young Edition

July 1, 2011

We are just about at the halfway point of the MLB season, so it’s time to start handicapping the award races. Today we’ll look at the AL Cy Young race.

The favorite

Justin Verlander – SP – Detroit Tigers (3.6 WAR)

While Jered Weaver may have gotten off to the better start and have a higher WAR, Verlander is the favorite for the award. His K/9 and BB/9 are both better than Weaver’s, as well his K-BB (101 for Verlander; 78 for Weaver). Weaver does give up less home runs and his FIP is a little bit better, BUT, Verlander still has a good HR rate- it’s under 1.0- and his FIP is still an outstanding 2.88 while his xFIP is 2.98. The only thing to look to be wary of is a really low BABIP of .222. I don’t think it will be a problem the rest of the season in terms of correcting itself, but we’ll see.

In striking distance aka the rest of the field

Jered Weaver – SP – Los Angeles Angels (3.9 WAR)

Weaver got off to a blazing start and has only cooled down slightly. He has a 7.74 K/9, 2.04 BB/9, and 0.36 HR/9 to go with a 1.97 ERA, 2.45 FIP, and 3.47 xFIP. He’s looking at a 6+ WAR season and if his performance continues in the second half, then he could also be looking at the Cy Young award come November.

CC Sabathia – SP – New York Yankees (3.9 WAR)

For all the talk about his declining K rate and his end of season opt-out, CCs fine season has been lost in the shuffle. He is currently sporting a 2.66 FIP and 3.23 xFIP. Once again CC has been the Yankees horse, clocking in at 129 innings at the moment, tying him for second in the AL in IP.

Dan Haren – SP – Los Angeles Angels (3.3 WAR)

While his staff mate Jered Weaver gets all the attention, Haren has been just as special. Haren has a 7.56 K/9, 1.39 BB/9- which is best in the league- an 80 K-BB which is better than Weaver’s and a 2.69 FIP and 3.06 xFIP. It should be a fun second half watching these two compete with each other for a Cy Young.

David Price – SP – Tampa Bay Rays (3.3 WAR)

My boy David Price has once again been a dominant ace for the Rays and put himself in contention for the Cy Young award. He is among the league leaders in strikeouts with an 8.85 rate, but he also doesn’t put anyone on base, as shown by his a 1.68 BB rate. Price also does a good job preventing home runs and the result is a 2.67 FIP and 2.89 xFIP. In fact, of most of these contenders chasing down Verlander, I think Price probably has the best chance of doing so.

Felix Hernandez – SP – Seattle Mariners (3.3 WAR)

While last season’s award winner has not been as dominant as he was in 2010, especially with teammate Michael Pineda stealing some attention, Felix has still been kingly. A 3.3 WAR, 2.81 FIP and 3.11 xFIP are nothing to scoff at. Along with Price and Verlander, Felix again is atop the K leader boards, and he has the best HR/9 of his career. In fact, a 2.81 FIP and 8.65 K/9 would also be the best marks of his career.

James Shields – SP – Tampa Bay Rays (2.9 WAR)

Finally putting everything together, James Shields has been awesome. He has an 8.88 K/9 to lead the league, along with a 2.10 BB/9, 3.07 FIP, and 2.80 xFIP. Home runs allowed are usually a problem for him, but he has kept his HR/9 below 1.0 at 0.91. If he can keep the home runs down, Shields should be a contender all season long.

The roadtrip from hell

May 27, 2011

Starting tonight the Yankees embark on a nine game road trip. They are heading to Seattle for the weekend series, then down to Oakland, and finally will cap off the road trip with a series at Anaheim.

While west coast trips are never fun, this doesn’t seem so bad. I mean, both Seattle and Oakland have terrible offenses, and Anaheim isn’t anything special. Well, take a look at the pitching match-ups.

Seattle: Felix Herandez, Michael Pineda, Justin Vargas

Oakland: Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez

Los Angeles: Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana

Yup. That’s arguably the best three trio’s in the AL. Not only do we get to face them, but we face them on the road AND it’s a west coast trip. For real- we couldn’t have missed Weaver, or Felix out of the nine games? This has to be the worst scheduling luck I’ve seen. That’s seven possible Cy Young candidates right there. And we NEVER win in LA anyway. LA could throw their backup catcher against us and win*.

*At least Howie Kendrick is out. Otherwise we’d get shutout AND get ten runned.

And when the Yankees return home, they get Boston (and then Cleveland). Yay! And I bet they get Lester/Beckett/Clay with their luck.

Joey Votto takes home NL MVP

November 22, 2010

Congratulations Joey! Votto was one of my favorite prospects when he was coming up through the Reds system (mainly because of his Italian last name) and it’s been fun watching him develop into a premiere franchise player.

I still find it funny he needed a final vote to get on the NL All-Star team. The f’ing MVP needs a final vote. What can ya do?

Tomorrow the award I’ve been most looking forward to will be announced- AL MVP. Josh Hamilton will probably win in a runaway, but I’m hoping my boy RC can at least get a couple first place votes.

And once again I’ve got to give props to the BBWAA. On the big four awards, they are batting 1.000 so far (Doc Halladay, Felix Hernandez, Joey Votto).

 

Holy shit, the BBWAA is coming around

November 18, 2010

Today they announced that Felix Hernandez won the AL Cy Young AND he got 21/28 first place votes. Wowzers.

I love to give the BBWAA crap, but this has been one of the better award seasons in a long time, so I will give them props for coming around. More and more they are starting to say goodbye to the truly horrible stats, like W/L record, which I’ll take. Sure, we won’t see them using WAR anytime soon, but slowly they are starting to reach the middle ground between19th century stats and Sabermetrics.

Just a few years ago Bartolo Colon embarrassingly won the Cy Young because he had 21 wins, while Johan Santana had 16 wins. Well, Felix Hernandez had 13 wins and beat out CC Sabathia who had 21 wins.

Maybe we should change this blog’s byline.

MLB award winners

November 7, 2010

Sorry for the delayed post on this topic, but without further ado here are my picks for the 2010 MLB awards.

AL MVP- Josh Hamilton (.359/.411/.633/.447/182, 571 PA, 7.0 aWAR)

Hamilton was just too dominant. I concentrated on WAR to figure out my MVP, along with several other factors. Since there are two versions of WAR, I got the average of rWAR and fWAR, which is what Tom Tango recommends. On here I pretty much use only fWAR, but for better analysis, I found the average of two versions this time around. While Hamilton didn’t look at hot with rWAR as he did with fWAR, his average was still the best and I put more stock in fWAR. Granted he missed a month, a month in which he could have slumped. But it also could have been his best month. He put up an insane .447 wOBA with positive defensive value playing center field. That’s an MVP to me.

Runner-ups: 2) Evan Longoria 3)Adrian Beltre 4) Robinson Cano 5) Miguel Cabrera

NL MVP- Joey Votto (.324/.424/.600/.439/177, 648 PA, 6.8 aWAR)

Offensively, Votto was nearly the Josh Hamilton of the NL. He absolutely killed the ball en route to leading the Reds to the NL Central division. Now, while his fWAR bested Albert Pujols, his rWAR was a full win behind Pujols, giving Pujols a better aWAR. However, the difference was due to difference in defensive metrics. According to fWAR, Votto was a slightly better hitter and they were equal defenders. According to rWAR,they were equal offensively, but Pujols was much better defensively.With SSS issues of defensive metrics and the difference in defensive metrics used in each version of WAR, I feel more comfortable saying Votto had the better year.

Runner-ups: 2) Albert Pujols 3) Ryan Zimmerman 4) Matt Holliday 5) Troy Tulowitzki

AL Cy Young- Felix Hernandez (249 IP, 3.04 FIP, 3.26 xFIP, 6.1 aWAR)

For most of the season I had Francisco Liriano as my Cy Young winner. But he got kind of ill in September and faltered a little bit while Felix picked up steam. I feel bad knocking Liriano for that, but he made the starts and wasn’t his usual self. So be it. Hernandez was a boss, leading the league in innings and excelling in all the things a pitcher can control- K, BB, HR allowed.

Runner Ups- 2) Cliff Lee 3) Francisco Liriano 4) Jered Weaver 5) Jon Lester

NL Cy Young- Roy Halladay (250 IP, 3.01 FIP, 2.92 xFIP, 6.9 aWAR)

This one is not even a contest. Halladay arguably had his best season as a professional, leading the league in innings and WAR. Looking at all his full seasons, he posted the best K/9 of his career and tied his best BB/9 at 1.08 walks per nine. He absolutely destroyed the National League.

Runner-ups- 2) Josh Johnson 3) Ubaldo Jiminez 4) Adam Wainwright 5) Roy Oswalt

AL Rookie of the Year- Austin Jackson (.293/.345/.400/.333/108, 675 PA, 3.1 aWAR)

While some people  might pick Neftali Feliz, I think Austin Jackson is a no-brainer. He played a more valuable position, was an above-average hitter and played superb defense. Putting up a 3.7 fWAR as a rookie is impressive. Jackson will be a solid player for Detroit for a long time. Also, if he didn’t get hurt, Caros Santana probably would have won the award. But he was called up late, and then missed a lot of time because of his injury. I put him at #5 anyway just to recognize him.

Runner-ups- 2) Brian Matusz 3) Neftali Feliz 4) John Jaso 5) Carlos Santana

NL Rookie of the Year- Jason Heyward (.277/.393/.456/.376/138, 623 PA, 4.7 aWAR)

Jason. Heyward. Is. A. Beast. I mean for real. He was twenty years and almost put up a .400 OBP in a full season. He had 91 BB despite spending some time on the DL. The dood can hit- and field. It was tempting to pick Posey, especially after watching his postseason, but Heyward had nearly 200 more PA in the regular season and was amazing in his own right. The NL rookie class had to have been one of the best ever.

Runner-ups- 2) Buster Posey 3) Jaime Garcia 4) Mike Stanton 5) Stephen Strasburg

AL Comeback Player of the Year- Colby Lewis (201 IP, 3.55 FIP, 3.93 xFIP, 4.0 aWAR)

In a tightly contested race, Lewis just edges Francisco Liriano. Yes, Liriano had a better season. BUT I find Lewis’ comeback more amazing- and he still had a fantastic season. Sure Liriano hasn’t been relevant since 2006, but Lewis pitched in JAPAN for the past two seasons. At least Liriano was hurt and fiddling around in America.

Runner-ups- 2) Francisco Liriano 3) Vernon Wells 4) Paul Konerko 5) Alex Rios

NL Comeback Player of the Year- Aubrey Huff (.290/.385/.506/.388/145, 668 PA, 5.8 aWAR)

Call this the Year of the Comeback. Much like the AL, there was an abundance of comeback players to choose from. Of all  my picks, this one was one of the toughest. But Huff had the best years of the players I narrowed it down to, and he had the worst performance of anyway in 2009. So he slides in perfectly as the winner.

Runner-ups- 2) Brett Myers 3) Anibal Sanchez 4) Kelly Johnson 5) Rickie Weeks

AL Most Improved/Breakout Player of the Year- Jose Bautista (.260/.378/.617/.422/169, 683 PA, 6.3 aWAR)

I think this one is a no-doubter. Jose Bautista went from a utility-role player to mashing 54 home runs. His WAR reached MVP level. Using fWAR, he bested his previous WAR high of 1.9 by five wins. Wowzers.

Runner-ups- 2) Daric Barton 3) Brett Gardner 4) CJ Wilson 5) David Price

NL Most Improved/Breakout Player of the Year- Andres Torres (.268/.343/.479/.363/128, 570 PA, 5.3 aWAR)

There were a ton of breakout players, but Andres Torres had the biggest breakout. He debuted in 2002 from 2002 through 2005 he never posted a fWAR above 0. Then he went to the minors from 2006 through 2008. He posted a 2.0 WAR last year in 75 games, but really broke out this season with a 6.0 fWAR. He hit well and was a monster of a fielder. Three players I want to mention for improving, but who didn’t even make my top five are Chris Young, Martin Prado, and Omar Infante.

Runner-ups- 2) Jay Bruce 3) Angel Pagan 4) Stephen Drew 5) Chase Headley

AL Relief Pitcher of the Year- Joakim Soria (65 IP, 2.53 FIP, 2.99 xFIP, 2.1 WAR, 2.18 pLI)

Joakim Soria did his best Mariano Rivera performance this season. Not only was he among the leaders in FIP, xFIP, and WAR, but he had the highest leverage index of the players I narrowed my search down to, meaning he performed like a beast in tougher situations than the other candidates for the award. He simply was the best reliever in the AL.

Runner-ups- 2) Matt Thornton 3) Mariano Rivera 4) Neftali Feliz 5) Rafael Soriano

NL Relief Pitcher of the Year- Carlos Marmol (77 IP, 2.01 FIP, 2.95 xFIP, 3.1 WAR, 2.04 pLI)

There were a ton of great relievers in the NL this season. Brian Wilson, Heath Bell, Matt Belisle, etc. But Marmol was the most dominant. His K/9 was 15.99. You read that right. 15.99. Sure, he walked more than five batters per nine, but chances are he would strike out the side before he would walk in a run. His K-BB was a +86. Brian Wilson had 93 STRIKEOUTS. And Marmol’s K-BB was 86. Simply amazing. Plus, he was among the leaders in pLI.

Runner-ups- 2) Brian Wilson 3) Heath Bell 4) John Axford 5) Matt Belisle

AL Silver Slugger Awards-

C- Joe Mauer (.327/.402/.469/.373/136)

1B- Miguel Cabrera (.328/.420/.622/.429/172)

2B- Robinson Cano (.319/.381/.534/.389/145)

3B- Adrian Beltre (.321/.365/.553/.390/143)

SS- Alexei Ramirez (.282/.313/.431/.322/97)

OF- Josh Hamilton (.359/.411/.633/.447/183)*

OF- Jose Bautista (.260/.378/.617/.422/169)

OF- Shin-soo Choo (.300/.401/.384/.388/147)

DH- Luke Scott (.284/.368/.535/.387/143)

* AL Offensive Player of the Year

NL Silver Slugger Awards-

C- Brian McCann (.269/.375/.453/.361/128)

1B- Joey Votto (.324/.424/.600/.439/177)*

2B- Dan Uggla (.287/.369/.508/.381/140)

3B- Ryan Zimmerman (.307/.388/.510/.389/146)

SS- Troy Tulowitzki (.315./.381/.568/.408/150)

OF- Carlos Gonzalez (.336/.376/.598/.416/155)

OF- Jayson Werth (.296/.388/.532/.397/150)

OF- Matt Holliday (.312/.390/.532/.396/153)

P- Yovanni Gallardo (.254/.329/.508/.363/130)

* NL Offensive Player of the Year

AL Gold Glove Awards-

C- Matt Weiters (1060 innings/5 DRS/13 FSR)

1B- Daric Barton (1331 innings/20 DRS/5 FSR/12.1 UZR)

2B- Robinson Cano (1393 innings/7 DRS/10 FSR/-0.6 UZR)

3B- Evan Longoria (1330 innings/15 DRS/20 FSR/11.1 UZR)

SS- Alexei Ramirez (1376 innings/16 DRS/12 FSR/10.8 UZR)

OF- Brett Gardner (1211 innings/16 DRS/12 FSR/21.9 UZR)

OF- Carl Crawford (1260 innings/14 DRS/15 FSR/18.5 UZR)

OF- Ichiro Suzuki (1411 innings/12 DRS/15 FSR/14.8 UZR)

P- Mark Buehrle

NL Gold Glove Awards-

C- Yadier Molina (1138 innings/6 DRS/19 FSR)

1B- Ike Davis (1263 innings/13 DRS/3 FSR/10.1 UZR)

2B- Brandon Phillips (1311 innings/0 DRS/18 FSR/9.7 UZR)

3B- Ryan Zimmerman (1189 innings/20 DRS/16 FSR/13.9 UZR)

SS- Brendan Ryan (1127 innings/27 DSR/11 FSR/11.5 UZR)

OF- Andres Torres (1120 innings/12 DRS/10 FSR/21.2 UZR)

OF- Jay Bruce (1199 innings/17 DRS/9 FSR/20.2 UZR)

OF- Michael Bourn (1189 innings/16 DRS/8 FSR/17.6 UZR)

P- Tim Hudson

Click here to see how we did on our pre-season award predictions!