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What can Hisashi Iwakuma's early season work teach us about using the most effective stats available?

Hisashi Iwakuma had the odd occurrence in his 2012 season where he was actually better as a starter. Most pitchers are not only better in short bursts out of the bullpen, but markedly so. Iwakuma spent 30 1/3 in the bullpen pitching to a 4.75 ERA and 1.42 WHIP with an 18 percent strikeout rate and 12 percent walk rate. He took off once he become a starter, posting a 2.65 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 95 innings with a 20 percent strikeout rate and seven percent walk rate.

His 2013 season is off to an even better start as he has managed a 1.69 ERA and 0.53 WHIP in 26 2/3 innings through his first four starts. The only impediment to his success so far has been a blister issue, though something tells me his 100 percent left on base rate and .119 BABIP are set to rise. I have noticed that his batted ball mix is different from 2012 as his flyball rate climbed dramatically from 27 percent to 42 percent, including a 13 percent infield flyball rate.

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