June 26th, 2011 at 12:21 AM ^

Every major league teams uses advanced stats.  Why?  Because they tell us more.

These stats being mentioned were created to sort out the noise that is prevalent in a stat like wins.

They tell us how a player performed after adjusting for the things that are or aren't in their control.

Your only counter argument is that somehow advanced stats don't measure things situationally.  Well, yes some don't.  But there are also stats such as Leverage Index and Win Probability Added that do measure those things in a much more concise manner than a simplistic stat such as wins.  Whether you perscribe to their usefulness is up to you, but just know that the entire educated baseball community uses advanced stats in some combination with their own subjective opinions.

You should root for wins as a fan. 

They just don't necessarily tell you the truth about a players performance on an individual level.

For proof, the correlation between wins in one season and wins in the next is lower than the correlations between expected wins based on FIP in the 1st season and wins in the next season

skunk bear

June 26th, 2011 at 1:08 AM ^

It is not a computer game, Nick.

I have a feeling that I am arguing with a bunch of math nerds who never played real baseball, but do play a lot of computer simulations.

Real baseball is played by real people in the real world.

These real people are inconsistent in how much of their potential they realize from game to game and season to season. You can't just say that Felix Hernandez is at a particular skill level in real life the way computer games allow you to. Every pitch Felix makes is another challenge for Felix to rise up to or falter in the face of.

That means that there is no "truth" about a player's performance.

And that only leaves whether the performance was good enough to win or not.

For the better competitors it is good enough more often. For the lesser competitors it more often isn't.

Finally, whether this "dude" is going to "win" this argument is beside the point. No major league team uses statistics, no matter how advanced, to the exclusion of everything else.I hate to break it to you,but statistical measurements are incapable or measuring all relavant considerations. They can never be more than a tool that provides extra insight.

BTW: major league teams root for wins also, not just fans.


June 26th, 2011 at 3:54 AM ^

I actually played baseball in high school, and am a huge baseball fan.  You can call me a nerd if you'd like, there are a lot of us on this blog, since many of us actually went to Michigan.  It seems like you're scared of stats, that they may make baseball less "real," and more like a computer simulation.  Really, statistics (especiallly sabermetric statistics) help us make sense of what is real.  This is true in every area where statistics are used, but especially in baseball.  Without statistics, we have to rely soley on human perception, and human perception is the worst thing to go off of to evaluate a player, as we often distort things to fit what we want to have seen rather than what actually happened.

Stats do actually cover more relevant considerations than we can even think of.  A statistic called leverage actually measures how important each at bat is in a game.  Other statistics can give probabilities as to how many runs a team is likely to score based on their scenario.  No, this number will never be exactly correct, but it gives an average, and a fair approximation for a manger to make decisions off of.  Even though the game is really all about players performing, statistics lie behind every rational decision in baseball.

skunk bear

June 26th, 2011 at 10:51 AM ^

If you really did play baseball then you must know yhat there is more to baseball than just statistics.

You also have to know that many statistics are attempts to find some more definitive measure. You have to buy in fo believe that that they actually measure what you think they do.

Why buy in?  Well, actually many statistics including "advanced"
statistics do offer insight.

Why not buy in? Well, the statistics exist for the purpose of helping you make insightful decisions in your pursuit of winning. Winning is what is important, not some esoteric statistic. Winning is the goal of playing.

There is no "perfect" statistic. All give at least some insight. None are definitive. They do not explain or predict or measure everything. They are best used as tools. Tools to gain insight from.

An example would be that statistics suggest that Felix Hernandez pitched better than his W-L record would suggest.

Fine. But to say  that Hernandez was a more successful pitcher than someone with a better W-L record is to define "success" by how well someone performs by these statistical measures.

This loses sight of the fact that winning  is the goal of playing. It substitutes having good statistics for winning.

I used the example of Steve Carlton. Carlton actually "won" 27 games out the Phillies' 59 games won . Hernandez won 15 of Seattle's 61. Are you afraid of that statistic?

Maize and Blue in OH

June 25th, 2011 at 11:41 PM ^

New York is not Seattle.  No guarantee that Felix Hernandez could handle the pressure of pitching for the Yankees.  Also, as a number 1 starter, Hernandez would often be matched up against the other team's best starter and that starter might shut down the Yankee offense and he will again lose the close low scoring game.


June 26th, 2011 at 12:27 AM ^

smartass comment. I guess that is what somebody has to resort to when their argument is nonsense. I was simply pointing that the instances of a Felix's offense being shutdown and  him having to pitch in low scoring games would have been signficantly lessened by playing on a better offensive team.

skunk bear

June 26th, 2011 at 12:46 AM ^

My argument isn't nonsense. I may not have articulated it very well, but I wasn't planning on getting into a debate.

I would concede that Felix probably would have won more games with better run support.

For the sake of this argument, I don't see how that matters.

Yes, winning requires help from your teammates. Yes, pitchers on otherwise good teams win more. So?

The SABR argument requires that there is nothing a pitcher can do to help himself (and his team) win. The pitcher is going to give up "x" number of runs based on how good a pitcher he is and then it is all up to his teammates.

I call BS. A pitcher's competitiveness and skill (often bred of experience) in dealing with tough situations can make all the difference in the world.

Section 1

June 25th, 2011 at 10:14 PM ^

The guy who held Morris' Hall of Fame vote to just around 53% last year?  Are you going to keep him out next winter?

Look at the Verlander and Jack Morris numbers.  Or the Lolich numbers.  Verlander is great.  And he would have to be thrilled with Morris/Lolich numbers.  We're talking about three of the best pitchers in modern franchise history.  But you'd probably like to fight about that.



June 25th, 2011 at 10:20 PM ^

Let's look at the numbers.  Here are the stats of Morris and Verlander side-by-side:



Jack Morris had a career k/9 of 5.83 and a career bb/9 of 3.27.  He had a career ERA of 3.9 and a career FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching, controls for luck/defense/ballpack, and is a better measure than ERA) of 3.94.  Career Wins Above Replacement of about 57 in 16 full seasons (about 3.5 per season, which is good but not great).  

Justin Verlander has a career k/9 of 8.16 and a career bb/9 of 2.88.  He has a career ERA of 3.68 and a career FIP of 3.55.  He has been worth 28 wins in 5 and a half full seasons, good for about 5 wins per season, which is Hall of Fame worthy.  I know Verlander hasn't hit his decline phase yet, but his 5.5 seasons up to this point are so far above any 5 year period Jack Morris ever had that it's not even funny.

The only stat Morris does well in is pitcher wins, which is one of the worst stats in baseball (gives the pitcher credit for how good his lineup and defense are).  

Section 1

June 25th, 2011 at 10:52 PM ^

I'm so sorry now, that I said that this is historically great stuff by Verlander, and that I compared him to Jack Morris.

I meant to compare him to Walter Johnson.  Sorry.  My bad.


Mitch Cumstein

June 26th, 2011 at 10:41 AM ^

First, I think it is a mistake to use advanced stats to compare a pitcher in an era of advanced stats and a pitcher that may not have even been aware of them. 

Second, Verlander hasn't hit his decline phase.  For all we know Verlander will pull a Favre and absolutely kill his career stats when he is way past his prime

Third,  Morris is known as a "personality".   I think its naive to think he didn't have any effect on the performance of the rest of the team.


June 25th, 2011 at 9:52 PM ^

I agree that he never looks tired but you don't want him overdoing it out there because it's a looonnggg season.  I think this is the year he finally gets to 20 wins and gets that Cy Young! He's more than a fireballer now, he's a legitimate ace and top 5 pitcher in baseball.  


June 25th, 2011 at 10:11 PM ^

I don't believe that he was a top 5 pitcher before this season.  He was definitely top 10 though.  The only thing holding him from the top 5 was his ERA which is directly related to him finally realizing that he can't always blow the heat by every batter.  


June 25th, 2011 at 9:47 PM ^

amazing is the way that he can throw 99-100 mph fastballs with regularity 110+ pitches into a start. I think it is safe to say that he has taken it to another level this season.  He is the best starter in the AL at the moment and should be the Cy Young frontrunner at this point.


June 25th, 2011 at 10:03 PM ^

Feliz Hernandez no. Verlander has better numbers across the board than Felix at the moment. I forgot about James Shields as somebody else pointed out. Verlander, Weaver, and Shields would be the top 3 at the moment.  Now that I look at the numbers it is very close between those three guys.


June 25th, 2011 at 10:06 PM ^

for the AL pitchers.

King Felix has a better Fielding Independent Pitching (which controls for things like luck and defense) and k/9 numbers than Verlander does, but is walking almost a batter more per 9.  Wins Above Replacement are almost exactly equal.  They're pretty damn close at the moment.


June 25th, 2011 at 10:20 PM ^

guy, not that big on some of those stats to be honest. Not to mention the fact that Felix plays in a more pitcher friendly park  and still has a higher ERA than Verlander. Safeco field is arguably the best pitchers park in the league, along with the A's stadium in Oakland.

And as far as defense behind the two pitchers goes, Seatle as a team has a higher team fielding percentage and has commited less errors, so Felix arguably has better defense behind him than Verlander does.



June 25th, 2011 at 11:08 PM ^

5 starts is around 0.86. To top it off he's on cruise control right now. His first pitch strikes come in around 80mph high and inside, they swing at 97 for an 0-2, and he finishes guys off with a curveball. Batters just go to the plate and watch him half the time. They have no idea how to hit off of him anymore. We'll set aside him leading all of baseball in strikeouts. Apparrently War and Fip matter more to you even though strikeouts happen at Safeco the same as the ones in Comerica.


June 25th, 2011 at 9:50 PM ^

I was thinking about starting a thread and then hopped on and saw this.

Absolutely insane.

He's won 6 straight starts going 49.2 innings and striking out 51 while allowing 4 earned runs and 26 hits, walking six.  That's completely nuts!

Easily the best stretch of his on-the-way-to-the-Hall-someday career.


June 25th, 2011 at 10:29 PM ^

I just don't think those are the right stats (outside of the strikeouts).

Pitcher wins gives a pitcher credit for a lot of things the pitcher has no control over (how many runs his team scores, how good his defense is, how good his buillpen is, sheer random chance).  ERA has some of the same problems (guys with great defenses and huge ballparks will have better ERAs even if they're not pitching better).  WHIP treats a single the same as a home run. 

I prefer stats like FIP, xFIP, and WAR, because I think they do a better job of giving the pitcher credit only for the things he has control over (strikeouts, walks, home runs, and groundball/fly ball rate).  At the moment, Weaver's numbers are slightly better than Verlander's, although I'm guessing tonight's start is going to move the needle quite a bit.  It's just really close.  

Eat Your Wheatlies

June 25th, 2011 at 10:15 PM ^

Verlander has also progressively gotten better all season. The freak has given up 4 earned runs since 5/29, FOUR! Over that span he has struck out 51 batters while walking just 6. If anyone were to watch the 2 of them pitch, it would be obvious who the better pitcher is. Give me Verlander every day and twice on Sunday.


June 25th, 2011 at 9:55 PM ^

It was absolutely the right move to limit him to 8 tonight. I don't want my ace throwing close to 130 pitches in June in a 6-0 game. That's silly. If it's September, it's a completely different conversation.

3rd straight game we've scored 6+ runs. 1st one that the starter could make it hold up past the 5th inning. Now watch, now that I'm going tomorrow, we'll get beat 7-2.


June 25th, 2011 at 10:06 PM ^

Verlander is not right right now in a good way, but if the Tigers don't get some help for him they are gonna waste it.  He has been holding down the fort right now.  Max has been good, but with an ERA that high its a little deceptive.  I mean Coke at 1-7?  Seriously we are a decent pitcher away from winning the division and a stud pitcher away from challenging in the playoffs.  I just hate to see Justin work that hard and not even make the playoffs.  


June 25th, 2011 at 11:02 PM ^

He's gonna need some help cause going 1-4 or 2-3 every 5 games isn't gonna get it done.  Hopefully though thats not the case though.  Hey if you wanna watch games online for free

I'm in South Korea and its the only way I can watch anything.

Better than paying out the ying yang for it.


June 27th, 2011 at 9:37 AM ^

Just over 1.00, per ESPN:

This Game 8.0 4 0 0 1 14 0.63 0.00
Last seven days 9.0 4 1 1 0 5 0.44 1.00
June 34.0 18 4 4 3 34 0.62 1.06

EDIT:  The above was incorrect. I thought the June line included Verlander's start on Saturday, but it didn't. Here are his updated stats for June (per ESPN), which show his June ERA below 1.00:

Last seven days 8.0 4 0 0 1 14 0.63 0.00
June 42.0 22 4 4 4 48 0.62 0.86

From same page, speaking of Denny McLain:

MLB - Verlander 10 K games

Justin Verlander has his 19th career 10-strikeout game, passing Denny McLain for the 4th-most by a Tigers pitcher in the Live Ball Era (since 1920).


June 25th, 2011 at 10:47 PM ^

Was there any better?  Remember when he went back to the Twins and beat Smoltz and the Braves In the World Series?  Side note the Tigers traded away Smoltz for...........cant remember, but Morris went 10 innings for the win at age............