July 11th, 2013

Today's slate.

The Big Hurst - Ryan Dempster

skoormit - Jordan Zimmerman

La Osa Rosa - Anibal Sanchez

The Big Hurst: Ryan Dempster?  Ryan Dempster.  Ryan Dempster?  Ryan Dempster.  What do you mean Ryan Dempster?  I mean Ryan Dempster!  Also, I have something new I'm curious about.  I posted a little bit ago about how pitching performance in a game seems keyed to some formula like PITCHING TALENT + RANDOM FACTOR.  But now I'm wondering how much of this random factor is keyed to the pitcher and how much of the randomness is keyed to the offense the pitcher is facing.  Batting lineups go through good days and bad days just like pitchers, but we seem to talk about them a whole lot less.  Variability tends to get attributed to the pitcher.  So which is the stronger force, pitcher randomness or hitter randomness?  And how much stronger?  My intuition says pitchers are more random than hitters for two reasons.  First, because that's the way everybody talks about it.  Second, because a pitcher is just one guy, while a batting order has nine guys that'll tend to even out the cycles.  But I'm not so sure.  It's very difficult to separate out any randomness in Game Scores and attribute it to the offense versus the defense.  When a pitcher scores a 70, is that a good day for the pitcher or a bad day for the offense?  When he scores a 30, is that a bad day for the pitcher or a good day for the offense?  When a batter hits a home run, was it a "hanging" bad pitch or just a good swing?  This is very difficult to untangle.  Perhaps there's an allegory to life.
La Osa Rosa: I’m picking Anibal Sanchez today! My score is getting worse and worse. I’m down to 0.7
The Big Hurst: A note about the Braves.  I've heard commentators suggest that their offense isn't great, but I'd disagree.  Even though they've got the most strikeouts in the National League, I'd say they're one of the better offenses.  But they definitely look strange.  They've got three regulars currently batting .225 or under: B.J. Upton, Dan Uggla, and Jason Heyward.  Now Upton's troubles are well-documented (-1.4 WAR), but my eye was drawn to the fact that both Uggla and Heyward, at this moment, have an identical .323 on-base percentage.  This is a terrific example of how batters can have offensive value, even with a low average.  Appearances to the contrary, Uggla has some real value because of his walks and monster power and Heyward is actually treading water.
   Mentioning B.J. Upton, I was curious about the worst batter WARs in the majors this year:
* Jeff Keppinger (CHW): -1.9
* Yuniesky Betancourt (MIL): -1.5
* B.J. Upton (ATL): -1.4
* Mark Kotsay (SDP): -1.4
* Starlin Castro (CHC): -1.4

   And the worst batter WARs over the last few years:
* Jeff Francoeur (2012): -2.3
* Adam Dunn (2011): -2.8
* Nate McLouth (2010): -2.7
* Yuniesky Betancourt (2009): -2.0
* Jose Guillen (2009): -2.0
* Mike Jacobs (2008): -2.0


The Big Hurst: Oh, Ryan Dempster! It felt like this.


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