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  • #31
    Originally posted by Matthew C. View Post
    I'd be happy too. But if I could get 220 innings with a 200 ERA+ from a starter and a bunch of specialists filling the other 140 innings with 120+ ERA (about the norm for relievers), I'd take that easily.

    But that really isn't the question here. The question is, was Grienke with historic run prevention numbers (200+ ERA+) and a good IP total better than a guy with historic IP totals but just a good run prevention season? Yes, Lolich had 140 more innings...but he also gave up 69 more runs. Which is more valuable to a team? 140 innings or 69 runs? Run values suggest 69 runs is more valuable. WAR and I would agree. WAA says yes too. Cy voters agreed as well.

    But I will say again, if big IP totals are your thing, than WAR is the stat for you.
    jr - I forgot, if you want to weigh IP even more heavily, look at Fangraph's WAR which has a lower replacement level. So Lolich would likely be closer to Grienke in their variation.
    1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

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    1996 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2012 2014 2015


    The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
    The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by drstrangelove View Post
      After you eliminate the dead ball era pitchers Young(1), Galvin (2), Johnson(3), Alexander(10), Nichols (11), Keefe (12), here is the list of all-time for innings pitched in a career:
      "..........................
      Of these 8, 7 started their careers in the 4 man rotation. (Spahn, by the way, pitched 7 seasons of 289.2 - 310.2 innings or more, but in the 154 game schedule. Under today's schedule, he would be more like 7 seasons of 304 - 325, with another 2 at just under 300.) Each of these pitchers (excluding Maddux) pitched well into their 40's, despite huge pitch counts and massive innings.

      Afaik, there is no evidence that reduced pitch counts in a game or pitching fewer innings a season is allowing pitchers to pitch longer careers or more innings over the course of their career. Or even to reduce the number of injuries they suffer. They are simply pitching less.
      There is a step or two missing between "Afaik there is no evidence . . . " and "They are simply pitching less."

      Those pitchers were on my list, too, except Spahn and Sutton, but mine didn't stop at 8. Obviously no one is going to be among the top 8 unless they pitch a lot of innings per season along the way. But my concern is for those who pitch a lot of innings in a season and subsequently (I would say consequently) lose a good chunk of their careers.

      To my mind, there is no question that it is better to pitch 200 innings a year for 15 years than to pitch 300 for 10. Thus for me a five-man rotation would be preferable if

      a. Pitching injury is a function of tissue fatigue over a season
      OR
      b. Pitching injury is a function of the total number of pitches thrown, and variation is just a genetic lottery
      OR
      c. Pitching injury is completely random: it can come at any time, after any pitch.

      Case c would still favor the 5-man rotation in my view simply because the probability of pitching more seasons would be greater.

      To convince me that heavier pitching loads per season are equivalent would entail showing that pitchers' career pitch counts were shortened by pitching fewer innings a season.
      Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

      Comment


      • #33
        Actually, thinking it over, I wonder whether advances in sports medicine have increased number of innings thrown over a career. (Well, Tommy John surgery, of course, but generally?) One of the best things you can do for the health of an arm is not pitch with it. It may be that improved diagnoses and more and longer prescriptions of rest (or retirement) have lightened the pitching load. That wouldn't mean that advances in diagnosis and rehabilitation are a bad thiing, though.
        Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by Jackaroo Dave View Post
          There is a step or two missing between "Afaik there is no evidence . . . " and "They are simply pitching less."

          Those pitchers were on my list, too, except Spahn and Sutton, but mine didn't stop at 8. Obviously no one is going to be among the top 8 unless they pitch a lot of innings per season along the way. But my concern is for those who pitch a lot of innings in a season and subsequently (I would say consequently) lose a good chunk of their careers.

          To my mind, there is no question that it is better to pitch 200 innings a year for 15 years than to pitch 300 for 10. Thus for me a five-man rotation would be preferable if

          a. Pitching injury is a function of tissue fatigue over a season
          OR
          b. Pitching injury is a function of the total number of pitches thrown, and variation is just a genetic lottery
          OR
          c. Pitching injury is completely random: it can come at any time, after any pitch.

          Case c would still favor the 5-man rotation in my view simply because the probability of pitching more seasons would be greater.

          To convince me that heavier pitching loads per season are equivalent would entail showing that pitchers' career pitch counts were shortened by pitching fewer innings a season.
          I think you've crafted the analysis.

          a. Pitching injury is a function of tissue fatigue over a season
          OR
          b. Pitching injury is a function of the total number of pitches thrown, and variation is just a genetic lottery
          OR
          c. Pitching injury is completely random: it can come at any time, after any pitch
          OR
          d. Pitching injury is a result of pitching improperly because pitchers are encouraged to throw as hard as possible because they are expected to throw only a limited amount of pitches every 5 days.


          Pitching injuries are related to using more physical effort than the body was designed to withstand. It's a threshold injury, not a usage injury. Koufax, Spahn, Marichal, Perry, Ryan, have games with pitch counts of 160-220. Throwing 70 pitches as hard as humanly possible with as much leverage as possible is not the same as throwing 115 pitches at 85-90% with 15 at 100%.

          None of the pitchers in the 60's and 70's, barring a few relievers, were asked or expected to use absolutely 100% effort on each pitch or to throw as hard for as long as possible. Even hard throwers like Radatz were expected to go 2 or 3 innings if needed. And not surprisingly, the only guy in the top 8 from the 5-man rotation era was known to staunchly support the "throw less hard but with more control" method of pitching.

          My point in my list is that:
          1) pitching injuries have not declined, they've gone up
          2) while pitching loads have declined
          3) while pitch counts have been lowered and controlled

          It's not really a comparison of pitching 300 innings for 10 years versus 200 innings for 15 years. (If it were, we'd see people on the top of the list from 5-man rotations.)

          The reality is that it's a comparison of pitching 280 innings for 15 years while NOT throwing with absolute effort on each pitch versus pitching 200 innings for 15 years while trying to make every pitch 100%. The 280 innings a year from a number 1 starter is far more valuable at 90% than 200 innings at 100% with the extra 80 made up by a replacement pitcher. Pitchers since 1900 have known that you can pitch successfully without 100% effort. In fact, it's better for the team if you do.

          Greinke was very good at 229 innings with a 205 ERA+. He would have been great for his team with 299 innings at 185 ERA+.

          The list I posted proves my point. No one is getting close to the top of that list.
          Last edited by drstrangelove; 12-18-2012, 09:54 PM.
          "It's better to look good, than be good."

          Comment


          • #35
            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.
            Lou Gehrig is the Truest Yankee of them all!

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by JR Hart View Post
              If I was a manager and knew going in that I was going to get this: 45 starts 376.1 innings, 25-14 2.92 ERA+124, I'd be pretty happy. I wouldn't be worry about mythical replacement players. I'd know that I had a pony.
              Just looking at it in general, there are a few things to like.

              Those extra 12 or so starts would mean less games pitched by my #5 or call-ups. There'd be no need to waste money and roster spots on FA signings like Sidney Ponson and Bruce Chen that year. The 29 CGs would lead to less games needed by the bullpen who's ERA was near 6 not counting Soria.
              "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by Ben Grimm View Post
                Just looking at it in general, there are a few things to like.

                Those extra 12 or so starts would mean less games pitched by my #5 or call-ups. There'd be no need to waste money and roster spots on FA signings like Sidney Ponson and Bruce Chen that year. The 29 CGs would lead to less games needed by the bullpen who's ERA was near 6 not counting Soria.
                I don't think there's any inherent value in pitching more, if the additional level you are pitching at is not good. That's why i think that pitcher's WAR is unreliable, especially the high innings pitched guys.

                For instance, imagine a hypothetical situation: a guy who was so good at playing shortstop, that he could play short AND third base at the same time. The manager only used 8 players, and the guy was inserted into the lineup 2 times. Imagine this guy played the field (both positions) and hit at an overall league average level.

                What would his WAR be? Twice as much as the average player who played short and hit at a league average level. Even more than a star player. But would you rather have THIS guy, or have a star third baseman, along with a league average shortstop? Which situation would be better for your team?
                Last edited by willshad; 12-22-2012, 12:19 PM.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by willshad View Post
                  I don't think there's any inherent value in pitching more, if the level you are pitching at is not good. That's why i think that pitcher's WAR is unreliable, especially the high innings pitched guys.
                  I don't think you understand WAR that well.

                  http://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/misc/war/
                  http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/201...to-explain-war


                  War is dependent on both the quality of the playing time and the quantity of the playing time.

                  If a pitcher is replacement level and pitches 1 inning his WAR will be 0. If he pitches 100 innings his WAR will be 0. If he pitches 200 innings his WAR will be 0.

                  If a pitcher is a 2 WAR player at 200 innings and pitches 1 inning his WAR will be 0. If he pitches 100 innings his WAR will be 1. If the pitches 400 innings his WAR will be 4.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by filihok View Post
                    I don't think you understand WAR that well.

                    http://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/misc/war/
                    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/201...to-explain-war


                    War is dependent on both the quality of the playing time and the quantity of the playing time.

                    If a pitcher is replacement level and pitches 1 inning his WAR will be 0. If he pitches 100 innings his WAR will be 0. If he pitches 200 innings his WAR will be 0.

                    If a pitcher is a 2 WAR player at 200 innings and pitches 1 inning his WAR will be 0. If he pitches 100 innings his WAR will be 1. If the pitches 400 innings his WAR will be 4.
                    That's not how I understand it. I thought there was an additional value added to WAR, simply related to playing time. I know that batters have RRep, which gives them credit just for showing up. For example, if Wilbur Wood and Zack Grienke both pitch 200 innings at a 200 ERA+, they will have similar WAR, but if Wood pitches an extra 150 innings at replacement level, he will have a much higher WAR total than Grienke for the season.

                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by willshad View Post
                      That's not how I understand it. I thought there was an additional value added to WAR, simply related to playing time. I know that batters have RRep, which gives them credit just for showing up. For example, if Wilbur Wood and Zack Grienke both pitch 200 innings at a 200 ERA+, they will have similar WAR, but if Wood pitches an extra 150 innings at replacement level, he will have a much higher WAR total than Grienke for the season.
                      That's not correct. If Wood and Greinke pitch 200 innings at a 4 WAR level, they will each have 4 WAR. If Wood then pitches an extra 150 inning at replacement level he'll have 200 IP @ 4 WAR + 150 IP @ 0 WAR = 4 WAR.

                      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.
                      You're right.
                      Take Wood from above. 350 innings of 4 WAR production.
                      If you have 2 starters, 1 who pitches 200 innings of 3 WAR production and another who pitches 150 innings of 2 WAR production that's 350 innings of 5 WAR production.
                      The 2 starters together are more valuable.

                      He is accumulating more 'value' due to pitching more, but the team overall is suffering because overall the pitching is worse.
                      I don't understand why you say this

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        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, 05:48 PM.
                        "It's better to look good, than be good."

                        Comment


                        • #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!

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              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, 09:59 PM.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                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.

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