CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Futures Guide 2014 is Now Available in Paperback and Three E-book Formats.

Premium and Super Premium Subscribers Get a 20% Discount at MLB.tv!

<< Previous Article
Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (06/24)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The En... (06/21)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The Be... (06/28)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: The ... (06/24)

June 24, 2013

Pebble Hunting

Matt Harvey Pitching to Pitchers

by Sam Miller


PECOTA ran a bit more than 1,000 hitter projections for 2013. The worst line it forecast was a .177/.205/.245 line from Elier Hernandez, an 18-year-old who had just hit .208/.256/.280 in short-season ball. The next worst was for Gabriel Rosa, who had just hit .245/.314/.406 in the Arizona instructional league, and who was forecast to hit .171/.200/.251. The average pitcher this year has hit .133/.162/.180, well below either player’s forecast.

So let’s take PECOTA’s word for it, and accept that major-league pitchers are, generally, worse hitters than every hitter in the majors, and every hitter in the high minors, and if not every hitter in the low minors then most. Let’s say they’re worse than every hitter in Nippon Professional Baseball, and every hitter in the Mexican League. Let’s further assume that they’re worse than a large number of hitters who have washed out of the minors because, through positional inflexibility and unsexy ages and generally limited upside and utility, are no longer allowed to take up organizational space—all the Eddy Martinez Esteves out there. How many is that? Around 500 big leaguers, around 3,000 minor leaguers, no fewer than 1,000 players scattered around foreign professional leagues, certainly dozens if not more college kids, a handful of extremely advanced high schoolers, and the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Eddy Martinez-Esteve desaparicidos. Let’s say that your average pitcher is the 10,000th-best hitter in the world.

And then let’s say that Matt Harvey is, oh, the fifth-best pitcher in the world. Imagine a movie by the fifth-best director going up in a film festival against a movie by the 10,000th-best director. Imagine the fifth-best jazz trumpeter in the world going up against the 10,000th-best jazz trumpeter in a jazz trumpet off. Imagine, for goodness sakes, the fifth-best pass rusher in the world charging against the 10,000th-best offensive lineman.

So that’s how you get this line, which is what pitchers have done against Matt Harvey this year:

  • 1 for 27, 16 strikeouts, .037/.074/.037

On Sunday, John Lannan went 0-for-2 against Harvey, with a strikeout. That’s an improvement; last year, Lannan struck out both times he faced Harvey, on six pitches. Today, by contrast, Lannan can feel good because he put the ball in play once. That’s what pitchers get to feel good about when they face Harvey. Small victories, with small rewards. Think about facing Matt Harvey as a carnival game, with bigger and better prizes for smaller and less embarrassing failures.

Tier 1 Victory: Touches Baseball
First off, let’s be clear about what we’re talking about here. This is a fastball to Ted Lilly:

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

7 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (06/24)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The En... (06/21)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The Be... (06/28)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: The ... (06/24)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article Interleague Report: Week Four
The Week In Quotes: April 14-20
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Monday, April 21
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Weekend Wrap-Up, 4/21
Premium Article Minor League Update: Weekend Games of April ...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Escape From New York, ...
Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: April 21, 2014

MORE FROM JUNE 24, 2013
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Power Anchors
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Monday, June 24
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of June 21-23
Overthinking It: This Week in Catcher Framin...
The Week In Quotes: June 17-23
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: The Biggest Losers (So Fa...
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around the League: June 24, 2...

MORE BY SAM MILLER
2013-06-27 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 2...
2013-06-26 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 2...
2013-06-25 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 2...
2013-06-24 - Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Matt Harvey Pitching to Pitc...
2013-06-24 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 2...
2013-06-21 - Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The End of a Fun Fact Machin...
2013-06-21 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 2...
More...

MORE PEBBLE HUNTING
2013-07-10 - Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Matt Harvey, Ross Detwiler, ...
2013-07-01 - Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Felix Hernandez, Lance Lynn,...
2013-06-28 - Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The Best Players We Snubbed ...
2013-06-24 - Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Matt Harvey Pitching to Pitc...
2013-06-21 - Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The End of a Fun Fact Machin...
2013-06-19 - Pebble Hunting: Every Manager's Face, Part 2
2013-06-18 - Pebble Hunting: Blind BABIP Test, Part 2
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2013-07-10 - Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Matt Harvey, Ross Detwiler, ...