Friday, October 8, 2010

Breaking down FIP

So, if you've been living in a cave, you might not have noticed the recent explosion of baseball metric stats. These stats claim to measure everything from how many runs a player is worth to the size of Bruce Bochy's head has attained on any given day. In my next few posts I'll take some time to break down a few of the metrics that have caught on and are becoming more common. Today's topic is FIP or fielding independent pitching.

FIP was designed by Tom Tango to be a metric that measures things that pitchers can control, and to give us an idea of the contribution the pitcher himself is actually making to his team.
The FIP formula is: (HR*13+(BB+HBP-IBB)*3-K*2) plus a league specific factor to account for league average ERA for that season. Tom Tango and Dave Cameron have both asserted that the stat isnt perfect, and doesnt take into account batted ball data (line drives vs ground balls) or situational pitching (runners on/ close and late etc), even so, I think that a few simple adjustments need to be made.

In my opinion, a BB isnt 1.5 times as bad as a K is good. It takes 4BB to create a run but only 3K's to end the inning. If a pitcher had a 1/1 K/BB ratio and struck out and walked 27 per 9IP he'd throw a shutout every time (that assumes an unrealistic no contact rate). If we assume that the pitcher walks one guy an inning has a BABIP against of .300, and a K/9 rate of 6 he would probably have an ERA right around 3. (One walk an inning, needs 2 singles or 1 double to score, pitcher K's 2 out of every 9 batters and gets 70% of hitters that make contact out)

Also not included in the stat are line drive or groundball metrics. I think a pitcher is very much in control of how hard the ball is hit (in most cases) and a line drive vs grounders and IF popups would also be beneficial. Yes, groundballs for hits would actually benefit the pitcher which may be a problem, but I think these two minor changes would improve the reliability of the metric and not give us numbers like this: Javier Vasquez went 11-12 with a 4.84 ERA in 2006, but had a 4.04 FIP metric. Meaning he was good from a FIP standpoint (or at least above average) but terrible from an ERA standpoint. Was his team that bad? Did or did he just give up a lot of hard hit balls and inopportune times? Was he bad or unlucky or both? How do we figure all of this out? We start by adjusting the metric to include a couple more things, and make BB less harmful for pitchers.. (Jonathan Sanchez and Clayton Kershaw seem to be able to survive walking people).

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday Grumblings with The Heckler

Interesting Fact of the Day: Every pitcher that has ever had 30+ Quality Starts in a Season has gone on to win the Cy Young Award. Felix Hernandez has 30+ Quality Starts this year.

Things that bother me

1. Fake Giants fans

Now don't get me wrong, I hate the Giants as a general rule so in essence, I hate all Giant fans. BUT I respect them. They are good fans. They are knowledgeable (for the most part) baseball fans that love their team and are willing die with them.

The Fake Giant fans are the ones that have gotten on the bandwagon in the last couple of weeks. They are the ones that give the Real Giant fans a bad name. I can't really distinguish between some of them at times, but I know just by listening to them talk. They are the ones clad in orange and black only in August and September. The rest of the time they are not really paying attention. They are the one's probably asking, "Hey what's with the Padres, they just came out nowhere?" Mind you they are saying this as the Padres are winning games to get the West closer as the season is closing out. They are the one's saying, "Man I totally didn't see Buster Posey playing so well all season." Mind you they are saying this in September as Buster is hitting 4th; the spot he has been hitting in for most of the year. Mind you Buster is one of only 2 people that has a chance to win the NL ROY (Heyward being the other one.).

I hope some of you real Giants fans choke out the Fake ones with those orange rally towels, it will do your fanbase good.

2. San Francisco 49ers Offense

Can the 49ers please sustain more than 3 drives a game? Yes, the offense had a multifaceted look to it this last Sunday. Yes, the offense moved the ball up and down the field all day AGAIN. Yes, Frank Gore was once again a Beast in the backfield.

So What?

I have an answer. GIVE THE BALL TO GORE INSIDE THE 20!

3. College Football top 25 polls

Let's see Boise State win 59-0 against a conference opponent and drops to #4 in the polls. It doesn't matter that it was New Mexico State (or whoever it was), because they BLEW them out. Boise State didn't beat them 16-10, 23-21, was 59-0. ZERO. I don't really care if Oregon beat Standford. It was a closer game than it ended up being. Oregon didn't beat Standford 24-0. That is the equivalent to what Boise State did. If Oregon did beat Standford 24-0 or 45-10, then sure go ahead and put them #3. Otherwise what did Boise do to deserve dropping one spot? Oregon has now jobbed TCU and Boise State in the polls. Now it looks like Boise State is locked out of any chance of a National Title shot and all they did was shut out a weaker team; Just like they are supposed to do.

Final Thought

So why do they show High School Football on ESPN, ESPN2, FSN (in all areas) and ESPNU (thought this channel was dedicated to college sports?) again? I think it is a bad idea to have high school athletics on television (any more than the local public access channels replaying games the day after on Saturday mornings after the game.). When are you going get to teach these kids the value of an education and a ground outlook when ESPN is coming to your Friday Night game. Along those lines we should also get rid of the National releases of the High School top 50. What does that prove? Other than showing that Florida, California, Texas have a lot of high school in their states.

We need to stop before high school football becomes just like college football. You laugh but if you look in California they are already putting in inroads towards such a future. The CIF champions from southern California and northern California now play in a Bowl Game against each other. Now what?

See you on Friday for my end of the week grumblings

The Heckler

Monday, October 4, 2010

Post Season Awards

Here's my rundown of the way the hardware should be passed around this offseason, I'll start in the NL.

MVP- Joey Votto his .324/.424/.600/1.024 slash line, with an OPS+ of 174 speaks for itself in terms of his success (he lead the league in OPS+, WPA, OBP and SLG and was 2nd in AVG, 3rd in HR and RBI), but the way in which he did it also speaks volumes. He has hit .369 with runners in scoring position, and .357 in the last three innings of games.

Apologies to Albert Pujols and Carlos Gonzalez

CY- Roy Halladay, I dont even think its really close.

Apologies to Adam Wainwright and Tim Hudson

ROY-Buster Posey I could make a realistic argument, but Im a Giants fan so Posey wins.

Apologies to Neil Walker, Jason Heyward and Jamie Garcia

Manager of the Year- Bud Black; Anyone that can take that Padres team, and be in the hunt for a playoff spot until game 162 deserves the award. My hat is off to the man.

Apologies to Bobby Cox, Bruce Bochy, Dusty Baker

American League

MVP-Josh Hamilton. Because of his rib injury, I hesitated picking him over Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano, but after viewing the stat lines I decided he was the man who deserved the award. He hit led the league in average, slugging and OPS at .359/.633/1.044 respectively. He hit 32 HR and 100 RBI in 133 games (good for 5th and 12th in the league) and most importantly, he was the best player for one of the best teams in the AL this year. The Rangers built their lead in the first 5 months of the season when Hamilton was healthy, the time that he missed was not significant to their AL West title.

Apologies to Miggy and Cano

CY- Felix Hernandez. The man, the myth, the king.

Apologies to nobody, Felix was better than you all were this year.

ROY-Austin Jackson, scored 103 runs, got 181 hits, 34 doubles and 10 triples to go with 27 SB, no rookie since Ichiro has reached those stat lines and Jackson gets himself a ROY for doing so. Neftali Feliz was a great closer but he only counts for one inning a game. He finishes a close second

Apologies to Neftali Feliz

Manager of the Year- Ron Gardenhire has the Twins in the hunt for the best record in the AL until the last few days of the season and we never hear anything about the Twins. Did I mention they lost their All Star closer and MVP first baseman for the season?

Apologies to Joe Maddon

Giants Win!!!


Monday Musing by the Heckler

In respect to my partner Ross: Congratulations to the Giants for winning the NL West Title.

In respect to all my Dodgers fans out there: The Padres almost took it away from the Giants, they are lucky to have that crowd behind them and to be playing the last 3 games in San Francisco. The Giants better hope that they can hit when they get to the NLDS, otherwise they will be one and done. I am hoping for one and done.

Interesting fact of the Day: The Cleveland Browns have led in the 4th Quarter of EVERY game this year. Regular Season Record: 1-3

Monday Musing by The Heckler

San Francisco 49ers

So where do I began with the 49ers. They led in Sunday's game for 59:58 of the game. Of course that means they lost in the last seconds. Final score: 16-14. Season record: 0-4. Next week's opponent: Philadelphia Eagles.

The die hard fan in me wants the Niners to rally and finish 8-8 or 9-7; make the playoffs as the NFC West winner and make some noise as the first home team to be a underdog in the playoffs. The realistic, long-term minded fan in me wants the Niners to finish 3-13, 2-14 or 4-12 and get the number 1 overall pick. Then the Niners can draft Andrew Luck of Standford and go from there.

Sigh. It is going to be a LONG season folks.

St. Louis Rams

The Rams are 2-2 and on a 2 game winning streak. Sam Bradford is making the Rams feel as smart as smart can be. No more David Carr comparisons. I personally assumed that the Rams would be 0-4 right now. So all I can say is: I was wrong.

Houston Texans

The Texans are 3-1 for the first time in the History of their franchise. They have a running attack that is valuing the ball. The defense is gelling at the right time and they will get back Brian Cushing next week, which should make their defense that much better. The Texans have finally arrived and the rest of the NFL had better take notice.

The United States Ryder Cup Team

The rest of the world is going to go on and on about how historic the almost victory was. 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 was the margin of victory by the Europeans. The Cup came down to the 17th hole of the last pairing of the day. It NEVER comes to that, but it did this year. The United States over came a 4 point deficit to almost pull off the repeat.

Great. So What?

Stewart Cink lost a 1 shot lead down the stretch to halve his match. The United States only got a half point during the 3rd Session. A HALF POINT! The United States won 3 out of the 4 Sessions. The Europeans are the first team to EVER lose the singles matches and still win the Ryder Cup.

We choked. On their turf. We had the top 2 players in the World and we lost because the other guys couldn't hold their end up. Tiger got 3 points in 4 Sessions, a career high. Phil did the best he could, even mustering up some intestinal fortitude during single's play. Even the no name young guns made a mark at the Cup. But it was Cink who choked, like he was overwhelmed by the moment. If Cink holds on and gets the full point the United States would have retained the Cup and won on European soil for the first time in the last 4 Ryder Cups held there.

United States Woman's Basketball National Team

The United States just won both the Men's and Women's World Championship in basketball. The men were young and had really no expectations on their shoulders. Sure they hadn't won a FIBA World Title in a couple of tries, but they had won the Olympics with another squad, so the "B" squad didn't have any pressures associated with them. Just had to make a good showing. The women on the other hand went into the World Championships as one of the favorites. They had the best squad going in and anything less than a Title would have been failure.

The Women blew out all their competition on their way to the Gold Medal. They actually made up for the last time they were favored in the Worlds. That year they won the Silver. The bitterness was still in their mouths when they went through this years tournament. They played like they had something to prove. It is a good day for United States basketball.

What to look forward to in the up coming week:

1. MLB playoffs start: Giants, Phillies, Braves, and Reds in the National League; Yankess, Rays, Twins, and Rangers in the American League. (Sigh. Go Twins I guess.)

2. Monday Night Football: Miami Dolphins v. New England Patriots (look for the Dolphins to give the Pats a run for their money, but I think that the Pats are just too much in the end of the Dolphins. Patriots win: 24-23

3. Start of the NBA preseason (It started on Sunday but it truly starts this week).

4. Week 5 of the NFL.

See you guys on Wednesday for: Middle of the Week Grumblings with the Heckler

The Heckler