Thursday, September 3, 2009

Baseball Numbers

I like to think that I know a lot about what I am talking. Here's the thing though, when speaking about baseball the numbers don't lie. So in baseball, if you don't know what you are talking about, then you REALLY have no clue. I discussed awhile ago how managers, more often then not, make decisions based on the numbers and averages.

In the early 2000s Billy Beane (Oakland A's GM) was the talk of the baseball world with his ability to consistently put a winning product on the field with a low payroll. Unfortunately the A's never made it past the ALCS, and now have come back to the medicrity, and are no longer contenders. Why? Pitching. Rich Harden, Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Houston Street are all gone and the A's have missed on many prospects they got in return.

I digress. The point I wanted to make is, that the Billy Beane's Moneyball theory was based on on-base-percentage. Basically, people who get on base with a high percentage, are extremely valuable to an offense's success. This instead of looking mainly at batting average for a batter's success rate.

OK, so to my point. As GM the bullpen might be the most overlooked unit with the exception of Closer. How does one tell whether or not a bullpen pitcher is successful as what they do? I think it must be more then just their ERA, which is a stat that at times can hide one's deficiencies.

I begin with WHIP. Walk + Hits per Innings Pitched. Having a WHIP lower then 1.40 is good, but the best pitchers hover around 1-1.10. Potential Cy Young winner in the NL Dan Haren's is 0.94 RIDICULOUS. The real stat to determine bullpen guy's success is their inherited runners stranded. What is better then a guy a gets the out he needs in a major spot, because guys are on base. This stat is not covered on any site with regularity. I found this online. Some Dodger fan HATES Guerillmo Mota, which as a former Marlin, he loved to let runners score when he came in relief.

So let's come up with a better way of quantifying a relief pitcher's success. WHIP + Inherited Runners Stranded is definitely the right start.

Peace, for now until later.


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