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Ben and Sam discuss whether we should care about pitch counts in no-hitters, then talk about the gap between Joe Blanton's actual and estimated ERA.

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December 21, 2012 5:00 am

Overthinking It: The Mike Minor Mystery


Ben Lindbergh

How can we tell whether a player's performance improved because he did something different or because he had better luck?

Through his first four starts and 26 1/3 innings of 2012, Braves starter Mike Minor allowed one home run, striking out 21 and walking five. He had a 3.42 ERA, and the Braves were 3-1 when he pitched.

Then came his next six starts. In those six starts (four of which Atlanta lost) and 31 2/3 innings, Minor still struck out 30, but he walked 16 and gave up 12 home runs—as many as Tim Hudson allowed all season. Minor’s outings got so ugly that on May 21st, after the fifth of those sixth starts, Fredi Gonzalez defended him—sort of—by saying, “he only gave up four solo home runs.”

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Things people said that look less smart in retrospect (and probably didn't sound that smart at the time).

Elsewhere on the site today, I have an article up about Braves starter Mike Minor, who was awful early in the season and excellent (at least in terms of preventing runs) after May. In that article, I referred to a May 22nd post by Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who cited Minor's respectable xFIP and dared to raise the idea—without ever officially endorsing it, mind you—that he might not continue to allow home runs quite as often as he had to that point. That post got 107 comments. These are the best 15.

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