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July 7, 2011

BP Unfiltered

Halladay Cheer

by Rob McQuown

Little-known Roy Halladay facts (with apologies to a list of Chuck Norris facts):

- You don't decide your destiny, Roy Halladay chooses it for you.

- Roy Halladay makes mission impossible....possible.

- Nothing beats a failure but Roy Halladay.

- Roy Halladay can divide by zero.

- Roy Halladay was a top pitcher with two starts tied behind his back.

That's right, we were missing two starts for Roy Halladay, and some starts by some lesser hurlers as well.  We'd been investigating the reasons for Halladay being anywhere besides the top of the pitching lists, and finally figured it out.  No changes have been made to the formulae, but the various leader boards for pitchers now give him his full due. We apologize for the error and thank you for your patience.

Rob McQuown is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Rob's other articles. You can contact Rob by clicking here

10 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

R.A.Wagman

Thanks, Rob. That answers some questions, but not all. It might be useful for WARP's mass acceptance to have a writeup on why/how pitchers like Derek Lower, Justin Masterson, Jon Niese and Tim Stauffer are besting Halladay in WARP despite all evidence to the contrary.

Jul 07, 2011 04:52 AM
rating: 1
 
Pat Folz

Yeah, VORP looks 'right' now, but how on earth is Lowe still 0.6 WARP ahead of Halladay despite inferior run prevention numbers in fewer IP? Does the WARP calculation need to be updated separately with the missing starts?

Jul 07, 2011 06:38 AM
rating: 0
 
Scot

Yeah, the pitching WAR numbers still look way off. Derek Lowe the best pitcher in baseball so far in 2011? No. And any stat that says that he is is wrong. (FWIW, baseball reference has Lowe at ~1.0 WARP so far in 2011, and Fangraphs has him at ~1.7. Those numbers sound plausible given Lowe's stats; Baseball Prospectus's number doesn't. Worse stats in fewer IP than Halladay = more valuable? Don't think so.

Jul 07, 2011 07:14 AM
rating: 0
 
faithdies

Is BP overvaluing pitcher offense and defense?

Jul 07, 2011 07:26 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Rob McQuown
BP staff

We have definitely had our eye on Derek Lowe this season, and when Colin returns from the SABR convention, he may have more to add to this, but here's a big chunk of the apparent Halladay/Lowe discrepancy:

See the batting report, filtered to just pitchers:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/sortable/index.php?cid=1018548

Halladay: -0.5 BWARP, Lowe: +0.4 BWARP. BWARP here is non-pitching WARP, comprised of batting, fielding, and baserunning.

Halladay: -0.6 FRAA, -3.8 BVORP, -2.5 BRR ==> -0.5 BWARP
Lowe: +1.4 FRAA, +2.0 BVORP, -0.2 BRR ==> +0.4 BWARP

By contrast, baseball-reference.com appears to have 0's for fielding stats, batting runs above replacement computed by taking runs above average, positional adjustment, and then a replacement-level mod. I'll list the numbers in the same order as for the BP stats:

Halladay: n/a, -3 (-9+5+1), -0 ==> -0.3 WAR
Lowe: n/a, +3 (-2+4+1), -0 ==> +0.2 WAR

So, B-R has a difference of 0.5 WAR (+fielding), compared to
0.9 for BP. If you figure the 2 FRAA runs add 0.2 WARP, and take that out of the BP values, that becomes 0.7 for BP vs. 0.5 for B-R. Then, when you consider that each component at B-R is rounded to a whole number, who really knows how much difference there is? But it's not extreme.

My take has been that we may need to revisit the baserunning runs - those values seem to have too much magnitude, and my suspicion is they might not be getting regressed enough. This may or may not be the case, no promises. But I think this does indicate that *if* there is a bug in the coding, it's relatively small in scale, and the system - as designed - is the best available (though I think it took everyone multiple read-throughs of Colin's articles to adjust intuition on some things).


Jul 07, 2011 08:19 AM
 
Pat Folz

Thanks! I wondered if positional defense and/or hitting might be part of it, but figured those contributions would be too minor to account for the difference. Never even thought of baserunning!

Jul 07, 2011 09:36 AM
rating: 0
 
Scot

Which of these pitchers is better?

Pitcher A: 107 IP, 105 hits allowed, 146 total bases allowed (7 HR), 40 UIBB, 80 K

Pitcher B: 110.7 IP, 93 H, 127 TB (5 HR), 25 UIBB, 65 K

Pitcher C: 107 IP, 94 H, 140 TB (9 HR), 22 UIBB, 106 K

According to BP's pitcher's VORP, Lowe (pitcher A) is the best (34.1 PVORP). Jurrjens (pitcher B) is more than a win less valuable at 23.3 PVORP, despite what many would consdier to be better stats put up for the same team. Pitcher C is cliff Lee scaled to Derek Lowe's IP, and Lee's scaled line is good for 21.4 PVORP, despite allowing fewer hits, fewer total bases, fewer walks, and more strikeouts.

Hell, let's throw in Tim Hudson:

Hudson: 106.0 IP, 95 H, 133 TB (8 HR), 22 UIBB, 76 K.

Lowe: 34.1 PVORP. Hudson: 16.1 PVORP. In basically the same IP for the same team, Hudson has 10 fewer hits allowed, 13 fewer TB (though 1 more HR), 18 fewer UIBB, and 4 fewer Ks. 1 HR + 4Ks = 18 PVORP?

Jul 07, 2011 08:38 AM
rating: 0
 
Pat Folz

VORP is based on run prevention, pretty much just (LG_FRA - FRA)*IP (or Fair_IP). Hence Jon Niese ahead of Tim Lincecum. You're talking about peripherals, which are better indicative of pitcher quality (reflected in SIERA) and thus future run prevention. Descriptive vs. predictive stats.

Jul 07, 2011 09:49 AM
rating: 0
 
Scot

OK then, so Lowe's PVORP is out of whack because of a problem with FRA then. Lowe hasn't had particularly bad luck with bequeathed runners scoring (reviewing the game logs, only 3 of the 51 runs charged to Lowe have come from runners he passed on the relievers). Given how little confidence I have in defnesive stats, the major defnesive factors in FRA are why Lowe's numbers look out of whack. And looking at the other head-scratchers, I'd guess that FRA seems to over-rate ground-ball pitchers playing in front of less than stellar defensive infields who don't strike out many batters.

Which group of pitchers is better:

Group A: Roy Halladay, Felix Gernandez, Jered Weaver

Group B: Jon Niese, Derek Lowe, Tim Stauffer

According to PVORP, they're basically equivalent (100.2 PVORP fro Group A, 99.6 for Group B). I doubt there are very many people who would need to flip a coin to pick between which group they'd rather have. (baseball references pitching runs above replacement has Group A at 109, group B at 48. Fangraphs has Group A at 12.5 WAR, Group B at 5.5. Those numbers are much more in line with reality, IMHO)

Jul 07, 2011 10:27 AM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

You all took an opportunity to continue the "Roy Halladay facts" meme and responded with comments about statistics?

Why not keep it going?

Roy Halladay is his own control group.

Roy Halladay makes everyone a standard deviation.

Roy Halladay was christened ROY.

Jul 08, 2011 13:52 PM
rating: 1
 
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