New Stats at The Hardball Times

The Hardball Times has posted some great new statistics for the 2004 season. I decided to take a look at how the Braves pitchers were doing with some of the stats, which are designed to isolate individual performance and externalities that exist in more common measures of performance. I separate the team into starters and relievers and report the Fielding Independent Pitching Runs (FIP) (developed by Tangotiger), Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP), and the Strike-out to walk ratio (K/BB). The first and last measures focus on pitcher performance excluding defense. BABIP shows how many balls in play become hits. Assuming pitchers have no effect over balls in play (which seems to be largely true) a low BABIP indicates good luck and a high BABIP indicates bad luck on balls put in play. To see more about isolating individual contributions to the joint product of defense see Futility Infielder’s excellent primer.

Thomson J. -0.6 1 0.305 3 2.48 1
Wright J. 0.3 2 0.268 2 1.00 3
Ortiz R. 0.63 3 0.324 4 1.93 2
Ramirez H. 0.71 4 0.219 1 0.59 5
Hampton M. 1.74 5 0.38 5 0.88 4

Cruz J. -0.79 1 0.276 6 1.75 4
Reitsma C. -0.09 2 0.257 4 8.88 2
Alfonseca A. 0.51 3 0.385 7 0.43 7
Gryboski K. 1.26 4 0.19 3 1.96 3
Nitkowski C. 2.02 5 0.167 1 0.83 6
Smoltz J. 2.47 6 0.182 2 10.00 1
Cunnane W. 5.05 7 0.269 5 1.64 5

What do I notice first? Well, John Thomson and Juan Cruz appear to be the Braves best starter and reliever. Russ Ortiz seems to be pitching better than he has looked. His K/BB is almost 2 and his BABIP is high. So, I expect Ortiz’s numbers to improve. Haracio Ramirez, on the other hand, appears to have gotten somewhat lucky. His FIP is not much different from Ortiz, but his BABIP indicates he has had some good luck on balls in play and his K/BB is the worst among the starters. Among the relievers Smoltz looks bad because of the three early HRs. He has gotten a bit lucky on balls in play, but his K/BB is actually undefined since he has not walked a single batter. I assigned him 10, which is equal to his Ks. Nitkowski has not only been bad on his own, but his BABIP is the lowest on the team. That means it could be even worse. Reitsma looks to be a good acquisition.

Anyway those are just some general observations and the season has just begun. I just wanted to hype the new stats on Hardball to say thanks. It is fast becoming one of my favorite sites.

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