Baseball Prospectus has, since its inception, been dedicated to the concept that that there are better ways for major league baseball teams to make decisions. Augmenting conventional, scouting-based reports with objective evidence gathered through analysis of the statistical record can help a team gain a competitive edge. This philosophy, long advocated by BP, reached a critical mass of awareness through Michael Lewis' bestseller Moneyball, and initiated a wave of change that has swept across the ranks of professional baseball. It has even carried some
BPers into positions with major league teams. That trend continues today.
Keith sees what he can learn from a database of pitch data, wondering if plate appearances today require more pitches than they did in "the good old days."
I was recently wondering about the how the game has changed, even over that relatively short span of time. One of the things you commonly hear about "the old days" is how pitchers threw so many more innings, presumably because they were tougher, less coddled, or generated more testoserone. From a sabermetric perspective, the arguments against that usually include how selective memory focuses on the exceptional pitchers, not the dozens or hundreds of pitchers who were forced to quit early due to a dead arm, or how pitchers nowadays have to expend a full effort on every pitch, unlike in Christy Mathewson's day where pitchers could coast until crucial moments of the game, or how even the greats of a generation ago were pitching significantly fewer innings than their predecessors, and how this trend has been almost constant since the inception of professional baseball. While there is truth in all of these arguments, I was interested in a different tack. What if plate appearances themselves require more pitches in the modern game than in years past? If batters have gotten more selective, or better at fouling off pitches, then 30 batters faced in 1950 may have taken less pitcher's work than 30 batters in 2005 would have.
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Keith revisits relief pitcher stat categories armed with some new information from our play-by-play database.
Interestingly, only 19 pitchers had a "choke" during 2005, and only one pitcher had more than one--Chad Bradford, with just two chokes. On July 26th, he came into a 5-1 game with two runners on base, and lost the lead on an Aubrey Huff grand slam. Then on August 9th, he came in with the bases loaded and a 7-3 lead, and gave up two hits, an intentional walk, and two run-scoring groundouts, and left with the game 7-7 and runners still on second and third.
Ever need a simple expected runs matrix on the fly? Keith has one for you.
Baseball Prospectus to the rescue. Here's a quick and dirty way you can approximate the expected number of runs given the bases that are occupied and the number of outs. We'll use an example to demonstrate--runners on first and third with one out:
We salute those players who most resembled Rob Deer in 2005.
In more mundane terms, the Three True Outcomes (TTO) are those plate appearances
that end without the defense getting a chance to touch the ball, plate appearances that end in a home run, a walk, or a strikeout. What started as a tongue-in-cheek tribute to
a unique player (Deer) has, ironically, turned out to have useful applications
not for batters, but for pitchers, in the form of Voros McCracken's work into
defense-independent pitching statistics.
Which player best evoked the spirit of Rob Deer to win the 2004 Three True Outcomes title? Keith Woolner takes a look.
The Three True Outcomes are, at their core, a celebration of hitters, epitomized by
the patron saint of the TTO, and the prototype for early BP book covers, Rob
Deer. Last year,
we introduced a more formal method for balancing the contribution from each True
Outcome to a hitter's overall rating. To summarize that method, we compute each
hitter's HR/PA, BB/PA, and SO/PA and divide it by the MLB average to normalize the
rate. We then look at the lowest value for each hitter (i.e. determining which
category he performed worst in compared to league average), and use that value as
the hitter's overall score. This ensures that those who rise to the top of the
rankings truly embrace and produce all three True Outcomes in abundance.
Continuing to add to Baseball Prospectus' stable of stat reports, Keith Woolner unveils new entries for rookies and RBI opportunities. Plus all-new, fully-updated reliever reports, with some new twists.
As with the revisions to SNWL, I've broken down the new reliever statistics into three reports. The first looks specifically at inherited and bequeathed runners, to determine what a reliever's "fair" RA would have been, taking into account the runners on base and the number of outs both when he entered the game, and when he left.
After successful surgery, the Support-Neutral pitching statistics return, bigger and better than ever. Keith Woolner takes a look at the changes.
The Support Neutral Win-Loss pitching report has been an integral part of Baseball Prospectus since our inception in the mid 1990s. In fact, Michael Wolverton invented SNWL way back in 1993, when it was presented in a paper published by SABR's "By The Numbers" statistical newsletter. The concept behind Support Neutral pitching statistics is a simple one: determine what a pitcher's W/L record "should" have been, if he had gotten average performances from his teammates, adjusted for park, and looking at each start individually.
Leave it to Randy Johnson to ruin a perfectly good trivia question. At the
end of my previous article on "Hidden
Perfect Games," I included a trivia question on the remaining pitcher who
tossed two perfect games (hidden or not), having already named Pedro Martinez and Tom Browning. In the meantime, Randy Johnson threw an "official" perfect game on May 18th, to go along
with a hidden perfect game in 1998, to add his name to list of those attaining multiple perfection.
In response to the original question, many people sent in their guesses...