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WAA analysis - Whitey Ford 1958 vs. Zack Greinke 2009

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post

    For a single season, I believe there are complications with both methods. FIP ignores pitcher skill (inducing grounders to the correct fielder, bearing down in pressure circumstances, using fielder position, etc.) while ERA includes an element of luck. Bothrops has said that FIP correlates better for a single season, but thinks ERA is possibly better for a career. For me, I prefer to use ERA as I assume luck is 50% for you and 50% is against you, while FIP always ignores possible skill.
    Season to season FIP is a lot better. Not only does FIP correlate better to FIP...FIP actually is a better predictor of NEXT SEAON'S ERA THAN ERA IS!!!!!!!
    It takes about 7 full seasons for a pitcher's career ERA to be a better predictor of their next season ERA than FIP.

    So I would always use FG for guys in their first 7 seasons - a 50/50 mix of both for seasons 8-10 or so, and some runs allowed system after that.

    Once could regress season by season based on career peripheral rates - but that is a ridiculously long process.
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    • #17
      WAR looks not just at league run environment, but the specific lineups that the pitcher faced to determine opponents hypothetical run output, so now two pitchers on the same team won't get identical run environments like they do in ERA+.

      If you want to find a pitchers defense/lineup/park etc. fully neutralized ERA+ using war, you take RA9-average divided by RA9

      In this case, Ford gets 3.44/2.54 which is just a 135 totally neutralized ERA+. It also gives him a relative ERA of 2.54/3.44. That is a relative runs allowed of a little over .7

      If you take 3.44-2.54 time 219 1/3 innings divided by 9 inning per game, it does mean that he "saved" 22 runs compared to average.

      Greinke has an RA9 of 2.51 and an RA9-average pitcher of 5.46. This makes his neutralized ERA+ 218, and his relative ERA .460 and his runs saved, well, I get 75 which matched BBRef with rounding errors allowed for.

      So at face value it may look like Greinke is saving 75 runs in a 5.46 environment while Ford was saving 22 runs in a 3.44 environment

      The big question here first is, why does Ford's RA9 avg (which is what the league pitching would be expected to do under his conditions) come to 3.44 when his RA9opp was 4.07. In other words, a drop from 4.07 to 3.44 while Grienke's rises from 4.77 to 5.46.

      Defense accounts for some, making Fords drop from 3.71 to 3.44 and Grienke's rise from 5.34 to 5.46. Grienke gets another 0.19 for role because starting pitchers gave up more runs per inning than the league average when he pitched because of specialized relievers. That would make Grienke's adjustment from 5.53 to 5.46 and Fords from 3.71 to 3.44 which matches their estimate of the total park factor for the pitchers.

      Ford's park factor for ALL of his parks is calculated at 92.7% (3.44/3.71) while Grienke's in 98.7% (5.46/5.53).

      Matthew, in a way this makes up for modern pitchers pitching fewer innings in terms of WAA because starting pitchers ERA+s are held down by relievers pitching more innings below the league ERA.

      So difference 1 is that Grienke pitched against lineups that averaged 4.77 runs per game and Ford pitched against lineups that averaged 4.07 runs per game. Second is the defensive difference where an average pitcher with Grienke's defense would be expected to give up 5.34 runs per game while an average pitcher with Ford's would give up 3.71 per game. Adjusting for park and role, they are calculating that an average pitcher in Ford's setting would be allowing just 3.44 and in Grienke's 5.46.

      Keep in mind too that the pitchers themselves are lowering the run environment in games that they pitch.

      If we simply take Ford's estimated relative runs allowed of .74 and Grienke's of .46 and do a pythagorean estimate over, say 24 "games" worth of innings where an average team would be expected to go 12-12, Grienke's teams would be expected to go 19.8-4.2, or 7.8 WAA, while Ford's would 15.5-8.5 or about 3.5 above average, pretty much in line.

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      • #18
        I looked into the RAA to WAA math, and was not able to duplicate it due to me not having all the factors they use in their calculations. I'll estimate it as I have previously since I don't have the numerical backup factors.

        I still think that Ford is being unnecessarily penalized for playing in a lower scoring environment, as would be deadball pitchers and other lower scoring eras such as the late 1960's-1970's. I do not think WAR can effectively be used to judge pitchers across eras with this issue present.
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        • #19
          Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post
          I looked into the RAA to WAA math, and was not able to duplicate it due to me not having all the factors they use in their calculations. I'll estimate it as I have previously since I don't have the numerical backup factors.

          I still think that Ford is being unnecessarily penalized for playing in a lower scoring environment, as would be deadball pitchers and other lower scoring eras such as the late 1960's-1970's. I do not think WAR can effectively be used to judge pitchers across eras with this issue present.
          Greinke's league ERA was 4.32 and Ford's was 4.28. 4.28 is not particularly low, historically speaking.
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          • #20
            Originally posted by Bothrops Atrox View Post

            Greinke's league ERA was 4.32 and Ford's was 4.28. 4.28 is not particularly low, historically speaking.
            That is very true.

            A more accurate statement from me should read "I still think that Ford is being unnecessarily penalized for being analyzed in a lower individualized scoring environment, as would be deadball pitchers and other lower scoring eras such as the late 1960's-1970's. I do not think WAR can effectively be used to judge pitchers across eras with this issue present, when certain pitchers have much larger run saving potential differences to work with."
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            • #21
              Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post

              That is very true.

              A more accurate statement from me should read "I still think that Ford is being unnecessarily penalized for being analyzed in a lower individualized scoring environment, as would be deadball pitchers and other lower scoring eras such as the late 1960's-1970's. I do not think WAR can effectively be used to judge pitchers across eras with this issue present, when certain pitchers have much larger run saving potential differences to work with."

              So so how might you compare a guy with a 3.00 era in a 5.00 league and a guy at 1.5 in a 2.5? They should work out to the same value in war. Note that when a player has a very low era, he lowers his own personal run Setting and changes the win to run adjustment. I’ll look into it more in depth.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by brett View Post


                So so how might you compare a guy with a 3.00 era in a 5.00 league and a guy at 1.5 in a 2.5? They should work out to the same value in war. Note that when a player has a very low era, he lowers his own personal run Setting and changes the win to run adjustment. I’ll look into it more in depth.
                Please do.

                What I'm saying is that I don't know if we can compare players directly for an absolute numeric value. I was thinking a ratio comparison would be more apt, but that is very similar to an ERA+ comparison which already exists. Yet that still does change the fact it is much easier to reduce runs the further a pitcher moves away from a 0.00 league ERA.

                Any pitcher who throws in a high scoring environment has a much better "window" to prove their greatness in. When players are looked at in a confined run scoring environment, it is tougher to stand out, as no human being can ever be perfect but a higher scoring run environment gives a pitcher more cushion to play with.
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                • #23
                  WAR gives us a number that tells us the relative value of what a pitcher did. We have to decide how hard that was to do on our own. I will mention that in a lower run setting, top pitchers were able to stay in the game longer, and might have been able to cruise a little, but that also means that there were fewer second rate arms racking up innings. It looks though like even the second rate arms throwing a few pitches could outpitch a startet the 4th time around. I agree that there is a basement on run prevention. Since scoring runs requires more than one thing to happen usually, a pitcher can throw a shutout but still have pitched better.

                  In '09 WAR finds that Grienke's league would have allowed 5.46 runs per game in his situations while he allowed 2.51. He gets 73 runs and 8.3 WAA for that effort. The runs are correct based on the RPG numbers. Ford allowed an almost identical 2.54 and his league is rated at 3.44. He got 22 runs saved and 2.6 WAA

                  So how many runs saved would yield a win?

                  I will try to come back to this post later, but keep in mind that the pitchers are affecting the run environment in the games they pitched. Hitters don't have this kind of per game effect on the run environment. In my methodology, they would both have the same WAA if they allowed zero runs.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by brett View Post
                    WAR gives us a number that tells us the relative value of what a pitcher did. We have to decide how hard that was to do on our own. I will mention that in a lower run setting, top pitchers were able to stay in the game longer, and might have been able to cruise a little, but that also means that there were fewer second rate arms racking up innings. It looks though like even the second rate arms throwing a few pitches could outpitch a startet the 4th time around. I agree that there is a basement on run prevention. Since scoring runs requires more than one thing to happen usually, a pitcher can throw a shutout but still have pitched better.

                    In '09 WAR finds that Grienke's league would have allowed 5.46 runs per game in his situations while he allowed 2.51. He gets 73 runs and 8.3 WAA for that effort. The runs are correct based on the RPG numbers. Ford allowed an almost identical 2.54 and his league is rated at 3.44. He got 22 runs saved and 2.6 WAA

                    So how many runs saved would yield a win?

                    I will try to come back to this post later, but keep in mind that the pitchers are affecting the run environment in the games they pitched. Hitters don't have this kind of per game effect on the run environment. In my methodology, they would both have the same WAA if they allowed zero runs.
                    I fully agree with this. I don't have a good answer as to how the numbers should be calculated to come up with a single value to show worth, but I disagree with how it is currently done. Not much of a helpful answer, but that's where I stand.
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                    • #25
                      Using a winning percentage calculation which would give them the sam winning percentage (100%) if they gave up zero wins I’ve got Grienke at around 7.7 WAA and Ford at about 3.7. That would be if they only pitched complete games though. I can make adjustments based on how many innings they pitched per appearance. Based on defensive estimates, lineups they faced and specific parks they pitched in their relative era’s are pretty far apart. I think I wrote 217 adjusted era+ for Grienke and 135 for Ford. Defense is the biggest issue, but it looks like Ford pitched in more pitcher’s parks on the road. It also looks like he drew a little below average lineups that year. If he had faced average lineups in average parks his adjusted era+ would have been around 155 and I would get about 5.0 WAA. If he had put up those numbers also with an average defense he’s at 5.5. Looks like his road parks and opponents were both below average scoring that year. I may check out whether he seems to have drawn easier opponents.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        As a side note, my folks mentioned that Billy Pierce and Whitey Ford were often saved to pitch against the Yankees and White Sox, as the Sox (and Indians) were probably the best and most competitive team of that era relative to the Yankees. Their recollections were correct:


                        Billy Pierce:

                        Cleveland - 78 games started versus
                        Yankees - 76
                        Baltimore - 58
                        Boston - 49
                        Detroit - 44
                        Athletics - 43
                        Twins/Senators - 38
                        others with less

                        Whitey Ford:

                        White Sox - 73
                        Orioles - 64
                        Indians - 57
                        Twins/Senators - 57
                        Athletics - 53
                        Tigers - 47
                        Red Sox - 43
                        Angels - 26
                        Senators (V2) - 18

                        So Pierce and Ford were used versus the best teams more frequently, which I don't think many people factor into their calculations.
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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post
                          As a side note, my folks mentioned that Billy Pierce and Whitey Ford were often saved to pitch against the Yankees and White Sox, as the Sox (and Indians) were probably the best and most competitive team of that era relative to the Yankees. Their recollections were correct:


                          Billy Pierce:

                          Cleveland - 78 games started versus
                          Yankees - 76
                          Baltimore - 58
                          Boston - 49
                          Detroit - 44
                          Athletics - 43
                          Twins/Senators - 38
                          others with less

                          Whitey Ford:

                          White Sox - 73
                          Orioles - 64
                          Indians - 57
                          Twins/Senators - 57
                          Athletics - 53
                          Tigers - 47
                          Red Sox - 43
                          Angels - 26
                          Senators (V2) - 18

                          So Pierce and Ford were used versus the best teams more frequently, which I don't think many people factor into their calculations.
                          Chisox were not the best offensive opponent and I am almost sure played in a pitchers’ park.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by brett View Post

                            Chisox were not the best offensive opponent and I am almost sure played in a pitchers’ park.
                            Absolutely true; I was just saying Ford and Pierce were used to get wins versus the best teams.
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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post
                              As a side note, my folks mentioned that Billy Pierce and Whitey Ford were often saved to pitch against the Yankees and White Sox, as the Sox (and Indians) were probably the best and most competitive team of that era relative to the Yankees. Their recollections were correct:


                              Billy Pierce:

                              Cleveland - 78 games started versus
                              Yankees - 76
                              Baltimore - 58
                              Boston - 49
                              Detroit - 44
                              Athletics - 43
                              Twins/Senators - 38
                              others with less

                              Whitey Ford:

                              White Sox - 73
                              Orioles - 64
                              Indians - 57
                              Twins/Senators - 57
                              Athletics - 53
                              Tigers - 47
                              Red Sox - 43
                              Angels - 26
                              Senators (V2) - 18

                              So Pierce and Ford were used versus the best teams more frequently, which I don't think many people factor into their calculations.
                              WAR - whose alleged incorrectness is the thrust of your thread- DOES factor in offensive strength of opponent.
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