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March 12, 2014

Five to Watch

American League Starting Pitchers

by Craig Goldstein


As we learned in the NL iteration of this exercise, BABIP affects bad and good pitchers alike, but that doesn’t mean it is pure luck. Team defense, ground-ball rates and the ability to miss bats all factor in to a pitcher’s likelihood of retaining a low BABIP, decreasing a high BABIP or just producing consistent a consistent BABIP year-to-year.

Below are the top five BABIP affected pitchers in the American League from 2013. While one has since been sent to the National League, there’s reason to believe that four of the five have the ability to be better this year than they were last year. Then there’s Joe Saunders.

Name

BABIP

K%

BB%

ERA

Bud Norris

.333

18.9%

8.3%

4.14

Joe Saunders

.332

13.1%

7.4%

5.26

Doug Fister

.332

18%

5%

3.68

Rick Porcello

.317

19.3%

5.8%

4.43

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

BP Comment Quick Links

buckoneil

Craig:

Thanks for this. Great stuff! Given the apparent correlation between infield defense and BABIP, has anyone at the team taken a look at the best/worst projected infield defenses and lined them up against the pitchers with the highest GB%?

What metrics could/would you use for infield defense? Besides "2013 Tigers bad, Pirates good", I'm ignorant.

Mar 12, 2014 04:58 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

It's a good idea and I'll see if we can carve out the time to look at it. I'm not sure off the top of my head what the approach would be to tackling this in terms of metrics but it's worth discussing. Thanks!

Mar 12, 2014 08:03 AM
 
majnun

Wow I knew the Tigers didn't play defense but three on the list was still shocking

Mar 12, 2014 05:06 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

It *is* a bit shocking, though it's worth noting that all three pitchers had seen lower BABIPs in their previous seasons with the Tigers, so luck is a part.

Mar 12, 2014 08:03 AM
 
kcheaden

Watching Peralta and MCab at SS & 3rd base was a joke last year. The worst range for a 6&% combo I've ever seen. There was one Fister start in which Peralta allowed three infield hits. I felt bad for their picthers.

Mar 12, 2014 19:57 PM
rating: 0
 
TGisriel

After reading this article, I assumed that Norris' BABIP declined in 2013 when he moved teams from Houston to Baltimore because of Baltimore's defense. Nope. It went up from .316 in Houston to .382 in Baltimore. His ERA also went up after the move from 3.93 to 4.80.

But his FRA went down from 3.98 to 3.31. How do we explain this?

I think it was because his K/9 improved when he moved to Baltimore from 6.4 to 10.1, his OppSlg improved from .418 to .405 and his GB% increased from 41% to 45%.

I find this a curious mix of stats.

Mar 12, 2014 09:13 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

It's also worth pointing out that 50.2 IP just isn't a large sample and his BABIP likely wasn't normalized while in Baltimore. A few weird hits here or there would wreak havoc on the overall numbers

Mar 12, 2014 18:48 PM
 
Nacho999

I could have sworn they used to call it The Ballpark at Arlington, but I guess I'm wrong...Anyway, I totally understand that frustration...I call Boston (The Shawmut Center, New Garden, FleetCenter, TD Banknorth, do'h!, TD) Garden The Naming Rights For Sale Center...I detest name changes for fields...Great money for the owners, but it really eats at tradition...Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park...Those names (with any luck) will never be for sale...ever!...It's tough when a company builds a place and corporate takeover forces a name change; I suppose that's what happened to Pac-Bell without knowing, but I don't think company names have any place in naming a park and should never be for sale...Advertise all you want, but don't ever change the name Madison Square Garden...It's not right...

Mar 13, 2014 16:04 PM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

Having a stadium named after a company is one of the oldest traditions in baseball- Wrigley Field!

Mar 13, 2014 17:01 PM
rating: 0
 
MaineSkin

There's a direct correlation between batted ball speed off the bat and BABIP. All I heard from Fantistics owner was it's use for hitters like Marte who ranks in the top 5 which supports the BABIP he supposedly cannot sustain in '14. Ok, I'll get to my point. Bud Norris gets hit and hit hard and I'd put money on his pitches have a high batted ball speed off opponents bat. The stuff just isn't that good and until we get all of this type of data from MLB guys like Norris will never leave the interesting ranks. The Tigers guys actually make sense, but Norris? Os had the best defense by a large margin I believe, so the high BABIP w/a 45% GB% in Baltimore tells me he's jmbeing barreled up which obviously will allow more hits per contact.

Mar 14, 2014 23:13 PM
rating: 0
 
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