Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
May 5, 2005
BASEBALL: DIPS and Downs
Now that we're a bit of the way into the season and have a little 2005 data to weigh a bit into the balance (most of your significant starting pitchers have thrown between 25 and 45 innings), I thought I'd take a look at some DIPS numbers (see here; I used the simplified DIPS formula). Using David Pinto's Day by Day Database - which easily enables copy & pasting into a spreadsheet - I ran the DIPS numbers for every major league pitcher who threw at least 70 innings between the 2004 All-Star Break and Tuesday. Bear in mind, of course, that DIPS isn't perfect, and the rough formula is a bit, well, rough. But this is shorthand for whose numbers back up the idea that they've pitched well since the middle of last season.
For ease of reading, I'll break out the DIPS ERAs in groups; bear in mind that the average DIPS ERA for the group was 4.42, and the median (Brett Tomko) was 4.46. Today, we'll do roughly the top half, the pitchers at 4.50 and under:
3.00 and Below
Pretty heady company there for Peavy and Burnett.
3.01 to 3.50
You see with Schmidt, as with Pedro, that the elite guys rank higher here than they do on the ERA charts, suggesting that their rough patches are largely poor defense or luck. On the other hand, few pitchers have received less attention for a stretch of outstanding pitching than John Thomson.
3.51 to 4.00
Yes, that's Kevin Brown, he of the 5.38 ERA over this period; while Brown's problems obviously run deeper than his stuff, at this point he may have more gas left in the tank than Tom Glavine, who we will meet much lower on these lists. (Would you trade Brown for Glavine, or Glavine for Brown? I might do that deal if I were the Mets, and I might if I were the Yankees). And you can see why the Mets will be banking on Kris Benson to step in as their #2 starter beginning tonight. The emergence of Jeremy Bonderman, Erik Bedard, Dontrelle Willis and Danny Haren is also in evidence. And Carl Pavano is what he is: a slightly younger, better version of Jon Lieber.
4.01 to 4.50
Hamton, unlike Thomson, hasn't really pitched as well as his ERA, although Hampton's extreme ground ball tendencies help him in other ways, like DP balls. I was surprised to see Mark Hendrickson up with guys like Mussina and Radke and Kerry Wood. Jarrod Washburn, once the Angels' ace, is the fifth Anaheim starter listed here. You can also see Maddux and Zito regressing, although in Maddux's case that's part of a lengthy period of slow erosion; a few years as a league-average starter will do nothing to dim his legend and could get him a truly staggering career win total.