Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 24, 2006
BASEBALL: Off To The Races

Offense is definitely up, at least in the AL, where the league ERA is 4.91. I looked at the Hardball Times' ranking of AL pitchers by "xFIP," a defense-independent pitching metric that basically looks at a pitcher's expected ERA based on K, BB, groundball/flyball ratio and percentage of batted balls that are line drives. Among pitchers who would qualify for the ERA title, only two AL pitchers - even this early in the season when sample sizes are small and fluke performances are still the rule - have an xFIP below 4.24, those being Roy Halladay and the apparently struggling Felix Hernandez, with Chien-Ming Wang ranking third. (The NL, by contrast, has nine guys below 4.00). Note also that Brian Bannister's xFIP is 6.90, an indication - as if one were needed - that Bannister's run of success isn't going to last very long if he keeps walking more guys than he strikes out and keeps pitching with the bases loaded.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:13 PM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

Interesting stat.

Posted by: maddirishman at April 24, 2006 11:23 PM

Now I see something that makes me wonder. According to this stat Jeremy Affeldt is KC's best pitcher. Just shows that ever stat has its flaw.

Posted by: maddirishman at April 24, 2006 11:26 PM

Sample's too small IMO.

We'll see how it looks at the All Star break.

Posted by: Dwilkers at April 25, 2006 8:01 AM

Yankees fans will be delighted to see Wang up there. Take his xFIP and Chacon's BABIP, and they can almost convince themselves that they have a solid staff. That the stats are mutually exclusive shouldn't bother them too much.

Posted by: seamus at April 25, 2006 8:27 AM

maddirishman - Somebody's got to be the best on that staff.

Dwilkers - the league-wide sample isn't so small.

Posted by: The Crank at April 25, 2006 9:27 AM

Yeah Crank, I know, and his last two starts have been better than we have seen from him in a while. That being said, he is by far not the best on the staff. There was a time that it looked like he could be, but he is a bigger head case than Greinke.

Posted by: maddirishman at April 25, 2006 10:38 AM

I'm sorry but this new stat is hard to take. There are aspects of it that punish a pitcher for actually pitching well. Either this has not been fleshed out enough or it is just a stat that describes things that are not real. Stuff like this that goes to far and purports to explain things or predict things drive me nuts.

Posted by: jim at April 25, 2006 6:32 PM

maddirishman - All I'm saying is, who's better? Not Elarton. Not Mays. Bautista, Hernandez and Greinke are all unavailable.

Jim - You can try the unadjusted FIP if you prefer. Whether xFIP is better depends on whether you believe that a pitcher can affect the percentage of fly balls that go out of the park, which is debatable.

Posted by: The Crank at April 25, 2006 7:04 PM

The problem I have with this stat is that it essentially rewards ground ball pitchers who put guys on base but do not necessarily allow them to score. Schilling pitched his worst game of the year last night (5 ER in 6.2 innings) and both his FIP and xFIP got better even though his actual ERA went up over a run/game.

Posted by: jim at April 26, 2006 1:56 PM
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