Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Do the Giants have good pitching?

I was having some fun with the Sortable Team Stats on the MLB page. I looked at the Giants team pitching with four statistics in mind: OBA against, SLG against, WHIP, ERA. How'd we do? The LAtriners are number one in all those categories (NL only). The NL West shakes out like this for OBA against:

(1)LA .315, (3) AZ .327, (9) SD .339, (12) SF .343, (13) CO .345.

For SLG against:

(1) LA .350, (8) SD .407, (10) SF .413, (12) AZ .420, (13) CO .427.

Double thirteens for the Crockies! But wait--there's more. WHIP:

(1) LA 1.26, (5) AZ 1.37, (10) SD 1.43, (11) SF 1.45, (13) CO 1.47.

They're lucky with ERA, they grabbed the fourteenth spot:

(1) LA 3.70, (8) SF 4.23, (9) AZ 4.37, (12) SD 4.65, (14) CO4.72.

Nice to see that we are moving up. I had to go to FanGraphs and check our FIP:

(1) Braves 3.82, (2) LAtriners 3.97, (3) Mets 4.14, (4) Marlins 4.23, (5) GIANTS 4.26!, (6) Crockies 4.31, (7) Cards 4.33, 8) Snakes 4.36, (9) Puds 4.51, (10) Brewers 4.53.

What does it all mean? We have good pitching. But the competition is pretty stiff.

The statistics glossary at The Hardball Times has this to say about FIP:

Fielding Independent Pitching, a measure of all those things for which a pitcher is specifically responsible. The formula is (HR*13+(BB+HBP-IBB)*3-K*2)/IP, plus a league-specific factor (usually around 3.2) to round out the number to an equivalent ERA number. FIP helps you understand how well a pitcher pitched, regardless of how well his fielders fielded. FIP was invented by Tangotiger.


JC Parsons said...

The more I look at FIP the less impressed I am as a metric. I guess it is better than ERA but it also doesn't seem to be very useful. It seems to over value peripherals like K's and HR's. Not all HR's are equal, many pitchers ( Curt Schilling is a classic example ) are famous for giving up "insignificant" homers in low pressure spots. Is that figured in? It seems like super effective pitchers ( think Greg Maddux ) might not look so good in this perspective. I guess it just shows the limitations of any one stat; they need to used in groups and with care.

Zo said...

Well said, Doctor.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Unless you can add in some kind of "leverage" factor, I agree. It is, like most stats, context-neutral. But sheesh, it is the only stat on the list that puts our pitchers in the top five! Ya gotta love it for that.

Guys like Schilling "get away with" a higher HR total because they don't walk people and have lots of strikeouts. All of the XBH's he gave up were less damaging ("insignificant") because he didn't put many guys on in the first place!

FanGraphs, btw, uses some of the new ideas about context and "crucial" situations in their stats. Take a look here.