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Thread: 320 innings in a season

  1. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by willshad View Post

    Anyway, you are misunderstanding my point. I am saying that if a pitcher pitches as much as TWO starters would pitch, and pitches at a lower level than those two starters put together, then he really is not as more valuable than they are. He is accumulating more 'value' due to pitching more, but the team overall is suffering because overall the pitching is worse.
    Yes, this is correct. Having said that, however, what does it mean?

    If a pitcher is pitching x number of innings at below a replacement level, than 100% of his innings should be replaced.
    If a pitcher is pitching x number of innings at replacement level, but if he were pitching fewer innings he would be above replacement level, then he should pitch fewer innings with the extra made up by a replacement level pitcher.

    If a pitcher is pitching x number of innings ABOVE replacement level, than the team should FIRST look to replace any other pitcher it has that are pitching at below replacement level.

    Thus, no, it doesn't hurt the team to have Lolich at 124 ERA+ as long as the rest of the staff that would have replaced him was at 71-83 ERA+. It helps them a ton that he handles all that work load. It wouldn't be an issue unless the rest of the staff was Koufax, Gibson, Maddux and Martinez, in which case, yes, Lolich's starts need to be reduced.

    I think it's confusing to discuss value versus quality. That's why WAR is a useful stat. A pitcher who pitches 376 innings and gets 9 WAR is just as valuable as a pitcher who pitches 229 innings and gets 9 WAR, even though he's not better (or quite as good).

    This isn't like batting where getting 200 hits in 500 at bats is BOTH better than getting 200 hits in 650 at bats, and more valuable. The extra 150 at bats get spread over extra hitters who will get added hits and added runs to the team.

    The pitcher who gets 9 WAR in 376 innings is by definition better than replacement level, just like the one who is better but does the same in 229 innings. The extra 147 innings (at above replacement level) are still valuable because without them the team will have had to use pitchers who ERA+ of 71-83. The team would give up more runs. It's not as if Lolich stopped the Tigers from using better pitchers.

    By the same token, Greinke was certainly better than Lolich, but he also sat on the bench doing nothing for 147 innings while the Royals used pitchers with ERA+ of 68-94. He didn't help them by letting those guys pitch the way a batter helps the team by getting 200 hits with 150 fewer outs.

    To use an extreme example, a team ERA+ of 124 is an amazingly good stat. Last year, the 2 highest was Tampa was at 120 and Washington at 119. 124 is really excellent. The Dodgers in the 60's would win at below 120.

    If Lolich could have been at 124 ERA+ for 162 complete games, he would be the most valuable player who ever stepped on a field. Volume at a pretty good level can be just as valuable at high quality at a pretty good volume. That's what pitching WAR tells us.
    Last edited by drstrangelove; 12-22-2012 at 05:48 PM.

  2. #42
    I don't like WAR, purs and simple; so I came at the Grienke-Lolich from another perspective, pretty well convinced, up front, that I'd come down in favor of Lolich.

    Nope. That was a surprise to be.

    I took Earned Runs for Lolich 122], then didvided that by BFP, Lolich [1,538] and got a quotient of
    .0793. The League pitchers that season yielded 6,650 ER with 72,931 = .0912. That was my first red flag: The entire League had ER/BFP below .1000 which is unusually low.

    I applied the League rate [.0912] tp Lolich's BFP [1,538] = .0912*1,538 = 140.27. That gave me what I wanted to know: the number of earned runs Lolich saved in his 376 workhorse innings pitched. It surprised me that it was only 140.27-122 = 18.27 runs saved.

    Doing the same with Grienke, his 55 ER came with 915 BFP = .0601, astounding, like HoF stuff. Moreover, his League numbers were .1142, a tougher pitching climate, 25.2% higher than in Lolich's season.

    Applying the League rate [.1142] to Grienke's BFP I get 104.49 runs. Grienke saved [104.49-55] = 49.49 runs and did it in 146.9 fewer IP [or 623 fewer BF].

    Another way to look at this is a Pythago W-L projection based on pitcher runs to League runs:

    Lolich: .0793*5209 [Team AVG BFP] = 413 ER vs LG at 475 ER projects a .569 W-L Pct. Lolich was 25-14, or .641 vs. 22-17 projected by Pythago.

    Grienke: .0601*6245 = 375.32 ER vs. LG at 713 ER projects a .783 W-L Pct. Grienke was 16-8, or .667 when Pythago would have projected 18.8 W and 5.2 L in 24 decisions.

    Any way I look at it Grienke saved more runs with less physical effort in IP ... man, is that ever efficient!

  3. #43
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    Apparently I was mistaken in how WAR related to innings pitched.

    I still believe that it is misleading, and the high innings pitched reaches a point of diminishing returns.

    For instance, in 1972 Wilbur Wood pitched 376 innings, and had a 126 ERA+. His WAR for the season was 10.3, which is not just a good total, but an all time great total...as good as any season Tom Seaver had in his career. Seaver actually had LESS WAR in 1971, when he had a 194 ERA+. If the White Sox did not have Wood that season had used a 5 man rotation instead of 4, and the two pitchers pitching in place of Wood had a 140 ERA+ each, then his WAR would be MUCH higher than either guy, even though his team is worse off due to him pitching in place of the two men.

    To me, being 'good' for a ton of innings should not translate to an all time great season.

    If some guy managed to pitch every inning of every game for his team, and pitched to a league average level, he would be have had the greatest season of all time, according to WAR.

    In reality, he would be just an average pitcher.

  4. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by willshad View Post
    Apparently I was mistaken in how WAR related to innings pitched.

    I still believe that it is misleading, and the high innings pitched reaches a point of diminishing returns.

    For instance, in 1972 Wilbur Wood pitched 376 innings, and had a 126 ERA+. His WAR for the season was 10.3, which is not just a good total, but an all time great total...as good as any season Tom Seaver had in his career. Seaver actually had LESS WAR in 1971, when he had a 194 ERA+. If the White Sox did not have Wood that season had used a 5 man rotation instead of 4, and the two pitchers pitching in place of Wood had a 140 ERA+ each, then his WAR would be MUCH higher than either guy,
    His WAR would be higher than either guy, but it wouldn't be higher than both guys' totals added together.

    If two pitchers combined to pitch 376 innings with a 126 ERA+ their combined WAR total would be 10.3. 5.15 for each. So, of course, if one pitcher pitches all 376 innings his WAR should be 10.3 since the production is the same.

    If the two 140 ERA+ pitchers pitched 376 innings and had, say, 13 WAR then Wood would have 13 WAR if he pitched 376 innings with a 126 ERA+

    If some guy managed to pitch every inning of every game for his team, and pitched to a league average level, he would be have had the greatest season of all time, according to WAR.

    In reality, he would be just an average pitcher.
    Really? A guy pitching 1450 innings you would consider average?

    You're still confusing things.

    There were about 43355.3 innings pitched in the major leagues last season. A total of 460.6 WAR were credited to pitchers.

    That's 1445 innings and 15.4 WAR per team

    Whether those innings and WAR were produced by 1 pitcher, 12 pitchers, 20 pitchers, or 1445 pitchers, the level of production is the same.

    Suppose an entire team had only one player. He pitches, he hits, he fields balls. He does everything on the field. The team finishes at .500 (an average team).

    How much credit should the sole player get? All of it right? How much is that?

    A replacement level team is expected to win about 47 games. An average team would win 81 games. 81-47=34 wins. The sole player playing every position and doing everything is solely responsible for those 34 wins, correct? Even though his overall production was exactly average.
    Last edited by filihok; 12-22-2012 at 09:59 PM.

  5. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by filihok View Post
    No.

    Average WAR (using FanGraphs FIP based WAR and RA-9 WAR and B-R WAR) for Greinke = 9.7
    Average WAR for Lolich 8.5
    yes but I do not think it is that easy. it is both quality and quantity that is important. remember that a game still has 9 innings and the other innings have to be pitched always. so those innings have to be pitched by a reliever who is likely weaker. so by leaving earlier the pitcher actually does cost a team runs (unless the have 5 mo riveras in the pen). WAR does factor playing time (rightfully) and the top20 WAR seasons by pitchers all happened before WW1 (I'm not sure if that a good POV just like the fact that all clean huge OPS+ seasons happened till about 1950).
    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by filihok View Post
    His WAR would be higher than either guy, but it wouldn't be higher than both guys' totals added together.

    If two pitchers combined to pitch 376 innings with a 126 ERA+ their combined WAR total would be 10.3. 5.15 for each. So, of course, if one pitcher pitches all 376 innings his WAR should be 10.3 since the production is the same.

    If the two 140 ERA+ pitchers pitched 376 innings and had, say, 13 WAR then Wood would have 13 WAR if he pitched 376 innings with a 126 ERA+


    Really? A guy pitching 1450 innings you would consider average?

    You're still confusing things.

    There were about 43355.3 innings pitched in the major leagues last season. A total of 460.6 WAR were credited to pitchers.

    That's 1445 innings and 15.4 WAR per team

    Whether those innings and WAR were produced by 1 pitcher, 12 pitchers, 20 pitchers, or 1445 pitchers, the level of production is the same.

    Suppose an entire team had only one player. He pitches, he hits, he fields balls. He does everything on the field. The team finishes at .500 (an average team).

    How much credit should the sole player get? All of it right? How much is that?

    A replacement level team is expected to win about 47 games. An average team would win 81 games. 81-47=34 wins. The sole player playing every position and doing everything is solely responsible for those 34 wins, correct? Even though his overall production was exactly average.
    I do understand how it works. My point is not that their WAR value should CHANGE, but that it is misleading. To me if you are an average pitcher, then you are an average pitcher, whether you pitch 200 innings or pitch 1000 innings. Being 'average', or even 'good' for a massive amount of time should not somehow translate into greatness.

    I do see the value in pitching more innings, but I just think that you should have to perform 'great' in order to end up in the realm of greatness. So, I am much more impressed with Seaver's 1971 season than I am with Wood's 1972 season.

  7. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by willshad View Post
    I do understand how it works. My point is not that their WAR value should CHANGE, but that it is misleading. To me if you are an average pitcher, then you are an average pitcher, whether you pitch 200 innings or pitch 1000 innings. Being 'average', or even 'good' for a massive amount of time should not somehow translate into greatness.

    I do see the value in pitching more innings, but I just think that you should have to perform 'great' in order to end up in the realm of greatness. So, I am much more impressed with Seaver's 1971 season than I am with Wood's 1972 season.
    No average pitcher has come close to 1000 innings. Nothing average about that.

    There are two kinds of statistics; counting stats and rate stats.
    Counting stats are things like: hits, runs, hr, RBI, Wins, saves, strikeouts. They count what happens and players who play more get more of these stats.
    Rate stats are things like: batting average, ERA, on base percentage, slugging percentage, strike our rate. The measure how often something happens and don't depend on playing time.

    WAR is a counting stat. If you play more, you can accumulate more WAR.

    Take the example of the one-man team. That player would have an average ERA, but 1450 innings, 81 wins, an unheard of amount of strikeouts. Batting, he'd have a league average batting average, a league average OBP and SLG. But over a hundred of home runs and hundreds of RBI.

    By his rate stats he'd be average in every way.
    By his counting stats he'd have unheard of numbers.

    When we use WAR to say one player is 'better' than another it's a bit of a misnomer. What we are actually saying is that one player produced more wins (above replacement) than another. Typically, we are referring to full time players who have a similar number of plate appearances or innings pitched.

    In this example, Seaver and Wood, we're not dealing with two players who played equally. We can then make WAR into a rate stat. We do this by figuring WAR per some amount of innings pitched. We can use Seaver's 286 innings, for example. Seaver had 9.7 WAR in 286 innings, or 9.7 WAR / 286 IP. How about Wood. 10.3 WAR in 386 innings. That's 7.9 WAR / 286 IP. This shows that Seaver was better on a per inning basis.

    This is also why stats like RBI don't tell the whole story. In 1986 Willie McGee had 48 RBI. In 1987 McGee had 105 RBI, in 1988 McGee had 50 RBI. What happened to McGee in 1987? Why was he so good?

    Well, he wasn't. He just had more opportunity.
    in 1986 McGee drove in 16% of the 291 runners on base when he batted
    in 1988 McGee drove in 14% of the 369 runners on base when he batted
    in 1987 McGee drove in 17% of the 544 runners on base when he batted

    Maybe an easier way to look at it would be hits.
    Derek Jeter had the most hits in 2012. 216 of them. He also had the most at bats and plate appearances.
    Miguel Cabrera 'lead the league in hitting'. He had a 205 hits in 622 at bats. A .330 batting average (hits/at bat).

    WAR is like hits. The more you play, the more you get.
    WAR/IP or WAR/PA is like batting average. The better you play. The higher your stat.

  8. #48
    One last example.

    Last season Fernando Rodney had a .60 ERA. Dominant. He accomplished this over 74 innings.
    This season was worth 3.7 WAR (baseball-reference WAR).

    Last season Justin Verlander led all major league pitchers in WAR with 7.6 (over double what Rodney had). He had a 2.64 ERA in 238 innings.

    Obviously Rodney was more dominant. Just as obviously (I hope), Verlander had a bigger hand in helping his team win games.

  9. #49
    WAR is not a counting stat. It's like calling MVP awards won a counting stat.

    WAR is not a measure of how many innings a pitcher pitches. It's a measure of his adjusted pitching quality (to replacement level) times the quantity of innings. The average pitcher is NOT replacement level. Replacement level (which could have it's own thread) is variously measured at 15-25% BELOW the average MLB pitching level.

    A pitcher who is average is 15-25% better than whoever that team would need to go get to replace him. If one does not follow this critical point, then I can see that it's confusing. So, you really must understand this part.

    Please note that: there are TONS of innings tossed each year by pitchers well below average (e.g., ERA+ of 60-90). If one thinks that there are 'average' pitchers in Triple A or Double A just toiling away because average pitchers are in the majors racking up counting stat WAR, then that is a gross error.

    You don't get WAR just because you pitch. You don't get it just because you pitch a lot.

    Since WAR compares a pitcher to replacement level, a pitcher with positive WAR is helping his team win games. You can accumulate a lot of WAR in 2 ways:

    1) pitching a LOT at a decent amount better than replacement level or
    2) pitching a decent amount at a lot better than replacement level.

    Both methods help a team equally IF the WAR amount is equal. The "Why" of this is what seems to be confusing.

    Teams must pitch all the innings they pitch regardless of how well any individual pitches his innings. If a team plays a full game and the starter throws 5 innings of perfect baseball and leaves, the team STILL has to pitch at least 4 more innings. There is no bonus for pitching perfect baseball.

    1) Every pitcher who is above replacement level helps his team win games but he ONLY does that while he pitches. He doesn't help the team by sitting on the bench, drinking beer in the locker room or napping in the bullpen.
    2) Every inning that is NOT pitched by a pitcher above replacement level NEEDS to be pitched by a pitcher at or below replacement level.

    If one were to assume that there are 140+ ERA pitchers sitting in AAA ball or not getting contracts, then would be erroneous. The 'leftover' pitchers not being used are close to or below replacement level. As a result, you can see from 1) and 2) above, that a pitcher above replacement level helps his team every time he pitches because he is better than anything else they have.

    The more a pitcher is above replacement level, the more it helps.
    The more a pitcher above replacement level pitches, the more it helps.

    WAR is meant to measure total contribution to a team during a season or career, not contribution per inning or contribution per AB. It's (IMO) incorrect to confuse value with quality. A pitcher with the same WAR in a season as another pitcher has the same value.

  10. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by drstrangelove View Post
    WAR is not a counting stat.
    Yes it is. It's certainly not a rate stat.

    It's like calling MVP awards won a counting stat.
    That'd also be a counting stat.

    WAR is not a measure of how many innings a pitcher pitches. It's a measure of his adjusted pitching quality (to replacement level) times the quantity of innings. The average pitcher is NOT replacement level. Replacement level (which could have it's own thread) is variously measured at 15-25% BELOW the average MLB pitching level.
    This is all true.

    A pitcher who is average is 15-25% better than whoever that team would need to go get to replace him. If one does not follow this critical point, then I can see that it's confusing. So, you really must understand this part.
    Except you misunderstood it; or explained it poorly. The word 'need' makes no sense.
    Replacement level is a level of production where a player no longer has value.
    Remember that value is related to scarcity.
    How many players can be expected to produce 10 WAR in a season? Very few. They are very valuable.
    How many players can be expected to produce 5-10 WAR per season? Also few. But there are some. Maybe 30? About 1 per team
    How many players can be expected to produce 2-5 WAR per season? A lot more. About 130 last season. 4 or more per team.
    How many players can be expected to produce 1-2 WAR per season? Hundreds. Enough fill out rosters for most every team in baseball.
    How many players can be expected to produce 0 WAR per season? Even more than that. So, many that they have zero value.

    A team always wants to replace a player with another productive player, however, there are a limited number of productive players. There are, basically, an unlimited amount of replacement players.


    Please note that: there are TONS of innings tossed each year by pitchers well below average (e.g., ERA+ of 60-90)
    .
    By ERA+ any pitcher below 100 would be below average (not counting differences between leagues and starter/relieving)

    If one thinks that there are 'average' pitchers in Triple A or Double A just toiling away because average pitchers are in the majors racking up counting stat WAR, then that is a gross error.

    You don't get WAR just because you pitch. You don't get it just because you pitch a lot.

    Since WAR compares a pitcher to replacement level, a pitcher with positive WAR is helping his team win games. You can accumulate a lot of WAR in 2 ways:

    1) pitching a LOT at a decent amount better than replacement level or
    2) pitching a decent amount at a lot better than replacement level.
    3) Pitch a lot at a lot better than replacement level.

    Both methods help a team equally IF the WAR amount is equal. The "Why" of this is what seems to be confusing.

    Teams must pitch all the innings they pitch regardless of how well any individual pitches his innings. If a team plays a full game and the starter throws 5 innings of perfect baseball and leaves, the team STILL has to pitch at least 4 more innings. There is no bonus for pitching perfect baseball.

    1) Every pitcher who is above replacement level helps his team win games but he ONLY does that while he pitches. He doesn't help the team by sitting on the bench, drinking beer in the locker room or napping in the bullpen.
    2) Every inning that is NOT pitched by a pitcher above replacement level NEEDS to be pitched by a pitcher at or below replacement level.

    If one were to assume that there are 140+ ERA pitchers sitting in AAA ball or not getting contracts, then would be erroneous. The 'leftover' pitchers not being used are close to or below replacement level. As a result, you can see from 1) and 2) above, that a pitcher above replacement level helps his team every time he pitches because he is better than anything else they have.

    The more a pitcher is above replacement level, the more it helps.
    The more a pitcher above replacement level pitches, the more it helps.
    This is all pretty true.

    WAR is meant to measure total contribution to a team during a season or career, not contribution per inning or contribution per AB. It's (IMO) incorrect to confuse value with quality. A pitcher with the same WAR in a season as another pitcher has the same value.
    Of course we can use math to figure out that if a player produces 2 WAR in 200 innings that he produced WAR at a rate of 1 WAR per 100 innings.

  11. #51
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    What throws a lot of people off is the fact that average or above average pitchers get a disproportionate bulk of innings pitched. There are tons of below average or replacement pitchers who aren't good enough to get accumulate innings or shift the mean ERA, etc. that much. So even though an Edwin Jackson may have an average ERA+ and IP numbers of a #3 or 4 starter, he is certainly better than well more than half of pitchers who pitched in the MLB during the season. Mean vs. median. So fwiw, WAR may say that Jackson is "average", but there are still a lot more MLB pitchers behind him than in front of him.

    Ex. Chris Capuano had a 1.8 WAR - which is "average". But he was also 39/374 of all NL pitchers in WAR.
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  12. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew C. View Post
    Ex. Chris Capuano had a 1.8 WAR - which is "average". But he was also 39/374 of all NL pitchers in WAR.
    Where does he rank among starters? Of course most relievers won't produce more than 2 WAR


    If he ranked 39th among starters,

    15 teams in the NL
    15 #1 starters
    15 #2 starters = 30 pitchers
    9 #3 starters = 39 pitchers

    That puts Capuano in the middle of the middle group. Average.

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by White Knight View Post
    The funny part is pitching injuries are not down one bit from the 1970's. While I wouldn't call it a conspiracy, innings limits, the pitch count, and the 5 man rotation are a farce supported by the uneducated baseball higher-ups. They all need to go.
    I like this.
    "I go all out. And I'm going to bring that to the table every day, in good times and bad times." - Eric Byrnes

    "...far too many people want to retroactively apply today's standards to yesterday's players, as if they played the game under the same assumptions and just heedlessly and obdurately plowed on in their own groove." - Los Bravos

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by filihok View Post
    Where does he rank among starters? Of course most relievers won't produce more than 2 WAR


    If he ranked 39th among starters,

    15 teams in the NL
    15 #1 starters
    15 #2 starters = 30 pitchers
    9 #3 starters = 39 pitchers

    That puts Capuano in the middle of the middle group. Average.
    HE was about 29th out of about 80 who started 15 or more games. Of course relievers are full of pitchers who are not good enough to be starters. So considering most relievers are worse than Capuano, he is still well above the median of all pitchers in value. This just shows why WAR has value, because "average" in WAR is above average in value reality. There are far more pitchers with fewer than 1.8 WAR than more. Relievers and starters. Therefore, Cap is certainly a guy you want on your team for the right price. Most guys cannot be starters that give you around 180 innings at a league-average ERA. That has a lot of value.
    Last edited by Bothrops Atrox; 12-23-2012 at 04:07 PM.
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