Sunday, February 13, 2011

Advanced Stats Pitching

When evaluating pitchers, we all know the stats/categories that count toward winning our league. What we forget is that there is not one specific statistic that give us a tell all insight into performance. What these “new” stats/formulas can do is uncover hidden treasure or keep us from shooting ourselves in the foot. Though there are more new age stats still to be evaluated/substantiated with larger data collection, the few I have given you should be considered valuable tools.
This represents the batting average against the pitcher. It's what the guys who've faced the pitcher have hit against him. For example, if a pitcher faces 500 batters in a season, and gives up 150 hits, the Opponent's Batting Average is .300, which is high.
            OppBA = H/AB
The league batting averages last year were .271 (AL) and .266 (NL), respectively. A guy who pitches that much above the league average will more than likely be on your waiver wire.

QSR: Quality Starts Ratio.
If a starting pitcher throws at least six innings and surrenders fewer than three earned runs, he is said to have given the team a "Quality Start." The theory of the QS is it puts the pitchers club in a position to win.
Why look at Quality Starts? The reason I track them is because teams whose pitcher can throw a quality start win 67.8% of the time. That correlates a good % of Wins for the starter, save chances for that teams closer, generally lower ERA for SP. Basic reasoning would imply that the more quality starts a pitcher gets, the better overall stats (and season) he’ll have.
That new statistic I have pondered recently is the Quality Starts Ratio. It is calculated by taking the number of Quality Starts thrown by a pitcher in a certain time period divided by his total number of starts during that same time period.
            QSR = QS/GS
Quality Starts Ratio is a much more useful statistical assessment of a pitcher's value to his team (or his fantasy team for our purpose) than either the Win-Loss record, the ERA, the WHIP or the OppBA. Here is a list of the only SP to have a 70%+ QSR. These pitchers are who you should be targeting in this year’s draft.

A simpler formula, known as Defense-Independent Component ERA (DICE

DICE = 3.00 + (13HR + 3(BB + HBP) – 2K)
That equation gives a number that is better at predicting a pitcher's ERA in the following year than the pitcher's actual ERA in the current year.
FIP Fielding Independent Pitching Formula
Tom Tango, an internet sabermetrician, independently derived a similar formula, known as Fielding Independent Pitching, which is very close to the results of DICE.

FIP = 3.10 + 13HR + 3BB – 2K

That equation gives a number that is much closer to a potential pitcher's ERA.

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