A look at which pitchers were lucky as a result of their BABIP and LOB%, which were unlucky, and which may have a chance of repeating what looks like a lucky/unlucky 2011
Last season, one of my favorite baseball reads that became useful fantasy knowledge was this piece by Rich Lederer at Baseball Analysts. What he laid out is something that I’ve recommended and used in previous years as a quick and dirty way to look for potential targets at the end of drafts. If you believe in simple regression to the mean, it makes sense to target pitchers that were well below their personal and/or league average, since logic dictates they should do better the following season. As Lederer put it:
Jason examines the state of Tout Wars AL and suggests a course of action for owners who are falling out of contention.
Some teams played their 82nd game of the 2011 season last night, meaning we are now officially in the unofficial (but mathematically accurate) second half of the season since people seem to cling onto the All-Star Break being the equal divider between the two halves. The 14th of 26 fantasy scoring periods begins for most leagues this Monday, giving us just 12 scoring periods to make up ground in the standings in order to win the league. Yes, I said win because second place is still just the first loser as far as I am concerned.
With a spot secure in the Twins' rotation, Duensing discusses his pitch repertoire, BABIP, and sequencing.
Brian Duensing is out to prove that his 2010 season was a sign of things to come and not a luck-influenced anomaly. The 28-year-old southpaw began last year in the Twins’ bullpen, only to move into the starting rotation after the All-Star break and impress to the tune of an 8-2 record in 13 starts. He was no less effective as a reliever, as his overall totals included a 10-3 record and a 2.62 ERA in 53 appearances. It was a heady first full big-league campaign, but two numbers offer a cautionary tale going forward: a .272 BABIP and a 5.37 K/9 rate.
The Twins will depend on both Mauer and Morneau to reclaim the Central title, but CHIPPER's prognosis is negative.
The Team Injury Projections are here, driven by our brand new injury forecasting system, the Comprehensive Health Index [of] Pitchers [and] Players [with] Evaluative Results—or, more succinctly, CHIPPER. Thanks to work by Colin Wyers and Dan Turkenkopf and a database loaded with injuries dating back to the 2002 season—that's nearly 4,600 players and well over 400,000 days lost to injury—we now have a system that produces injury-risk assessments to three different degrees. CHIPPER projects ratings for players based on their injury history—these ratings measure the probability of a player missing one or more games, 15 or more games, or 30 or more games. CHIPPER will have additional features added to it throughout the spring and early season that will enhance the accuracy of our injury coverage.
These ratings are also available in the Player Forecast Manager (pfm.baseballprospectus.com), where they'll be sortable by league or position—you won’t have to wait for us to finish writing this series in order to see the health ratings for all of the players.
A sampling of starting pitchers whose 2010 SIERAs predict better (or worse) times ahead.
Earned Run Average can't be trusted in small samples. It has little predictive ability over short spans of time, given the number of things that can influence it—defense, park effects, batting average on balls in play, or just plain old dumb luck. When enough innings are looked at together, ERA has its merits, but with less available data, run estimators—like SIERA—are the better bet for year-to-year predictions.
That means that SIERA is useful for seeing which players over- or underperformed in terms of their ERA. (No, Matt Cainwas not one of them.) Using this tool, we can predict some likely 2011 sleepers, as well as some pitchers who will miss the good old days when extra luck and quality defenses saved them inning after inning.
Can the Yankees' young pitching prospect deal on the inside corner, and if so, what does it portend?
After Yankees fans swarmed Twitter and informed the world of Manuel Banuelos’ impending arrival on Friday night, I flipped over to the MLB Network. With a YES Network simulcast in full effect, there would be plenty of Yankee-related talk and hyperbole tossed about as Michael Kay and Ken Singleton provided audio to the images. As an added bonus, manager Joe Girardi partook in the spring delight: an interview during the run of play.
For Banuelos’ part, he looked about as good as you can. The buzzwords thrown around about his arm action and delivery—usually but not entirely limited to “smooth” and “effortless”—were on display. His fastball ran into the mid-90s, and he showed off his secondary offerings to good effect, even on back-to-back pitches—an attribute Girardi noted.The announcing crew spent time talking about how poised Banuelos appeared and wondered aloud whom he resembles on the mound (their answers: David Cone and Johan Santana). For casual observers, learning that Banuelos is 19 years old had to come as a shock, as he certainly did not look it, even with his smallish frame. Instead, he looked every bit worthy of the five-star designation that BP prospect guru Kevin Goldsteinawarded to him.
Phil Hughes silences the doubters by coming up big as the Yankees finish off a sweep of the Twins.
At the outset of the American League Division Series between the Yankees and Twins, doubts about the defending world champions centered almost entirely upon their rotation. Quite reasonably so, given that aside from ace CC Sabathia, their starters had put up a 5.91 ERA after the All-Star break, and that Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, and every other one of manager Joe Girardi's options had sizable question marks next to their names. But even with Sabathia scuffling in Game One against the Twins, the Yankees were able to pull off a sweep of the series. On Thursday, Pettitte shook off concerns about his health and his stamina to pitch like a man who'd done it all a thousand times before. On Saturday night it was Hughes' turn, and with an electrified Bronx crowd of 50,840 at his back on a clear, crisp October night, he simply stifled the Twins with seven shutout innings while the Yankees offense pounced upon his opposite number, Brian Duensing. After four innings and a 5-0 lead, the outcome was never in doubt; the Yanks had their sweep.
The Bombers blast their way back into the ALCS, while the Rays live to play another day.
When you're down 2-0, everything is a matter of last-chance sweepstakes. Do or die, theirs to reason why—curse you, Jim Wolf—with nothing to do but try and rally from it, because in a five-game series, you just need to set everything else aside and recognize that there are no tomorrows, not if you don't create them yourself. One of the two teams down to their very last game in every game left in the round, one did exactly that, one less so.
A breakdown of the starting pitchers in Saturday's post-season games.
Rangers vs. Rays Matt Garza: 3.91 ERA, 4.29 SIERA Garza maintained a similar ERA in 2010 to last year’s 3.95, but his SIERA rose from 3.83 to 4.29 due a drop in his strikeout rate. Garza struck out 22 percent of hitters in 2009 only to whiff 17.5 percent in 2010. Garza maintained his ERA because his BABIP was .247 with men on and .208 with runners in scoring position. His walk rate fell from 9.2 to 7.4 as well, which meant that he allowed a similar number of baserunners even though he allowed more hits due to the decreased strikeout rate. However, Garza is likely to allow more of those runners to score as his BABIP in high-leverage situations increases. Garza may look like a solid second starter with his ERA, but this season he pitched like an average pitcher.