Hello FSBB readers! I’m new writer/author/contributor Dylan Cain and this is my first article for the site. I’m very excited to get started. Baseball is a big part of who I am and I’m glad to share my thoughts and opinions with the baseball world.
I’m an avid creator of fake baseball statistics and I often examine how numbers can teach us things that would be difficult to perceive with just the standards like ERA and W-L record. The stat I am introducing today is called Starting Pitching Valuation (SPv). The inspiration for this stat was Passer Rating in the NFL. It is a grading scale which judges a quarterback’s performance. There are downsides to this stat, as the scale of Passer Rating is 0-158.3. This has always perplexed me. If I get a test back from English class, I don’t say, “I want a 158.3 on this test!”. I would obviously like to receive a 100%. This got my creative, statistical mind going and I feel I successfully created a statistic to give starting pitchers a “quarterbacks score” of 0-100. I discovered this new statistic would work perfectly for starting pitchers (preferably with multiple games started) in big league baseball . Here’s an explanation of my statistic, SPv.
Firstly, there are a couple of things you should know before we continue:
1) This stat (at the moment) is not meant for relief pitchers.
2) SPv is actually a combination of three stats. One is a formula which determines how well a pitcher can get his team the win. The next stat is a chart which rates the number of batters he strikes out to how few he walks. The final stat is a chart that compares the amount of base runners he allows to the number of earned runs he allows (the charts I’m talking about are similar to multiplication tables, except they’re using various rates to give the pitchers a score between 0 and 100).
So I will give you an example. How about Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants? He has struggled and lost his Cy Young Award winning form (until recently). Let’s compare how he performed in 2009 to how he’s performed in 2012.
“The Freak” had an ERA of 2.48 and a WHIP of 1.047 in 2009. His score on the “base runners/earned runs” chart is a 76. This year, so far, he’s had an ERA of 5.72 and a WHIP of 1.487. That scores only a 42.
The next part of the stat required to solve is the “results-based” portion. There’s a specific formula for this one.
[(Wins (100)) + (No Decisions (50))] / GS
Using this formula, we can determine that Lincecum scored a 62.5 in 2009 but has scored just a 35 this year. This year’s score is nowhere near “Freakish”.
One more stat left to calculate before we can examine how much Lincecum has changed since his award winning days.
In this portion, we examine how many batters a pitcher strikes out to how many batters he walks. We know Timmy is a king when it comes to strikeouts, so this should be the section of SPv where he dominates. In 2009, Lincecum struck out 10.4 batters per 9 (innings pitched) and walked only 2.7 batters per 9. This performance gave him a score of 90.833. This season, he’s obviously done worse in both of these categories, compiling a score of 83.35. Now that we have crunched all the numbers necessary, let’s put them all together and see what SPv tells us.
In order to take all of these little stats and put them together, I’ve created a “mixture” of sorts. This is all based on what I believe is most important for a pitcher to possess. The blend goes as follows:
45% – “Number of base runners/number of earned runs” chart score
33.33%- “Batters struck out/batters walked” chart score
21.67%- “W-L-ND” formula
All of these portions are out of 100%, so when we calculate SPv using weighted percentages we can learn things about a starting pitcher. We can learn if a pitcher is overrated because of his win total or we can learn what is hurting a pitcher. For example, if a pitcher has a problem with allowing base runners, it will show in the “base runners/earned run” portion of SPv.
Now back to our example. Tim Lincecum’s SPv has declined dramatically compared to his 2009 season. Here are the results (drum roll please):
- Perfect Pitcher’s SPv (100%)
- Tim Lincecum in 2009 (78.02%)
- Tim Lincecum in 2012 (54.26%)
Still not convinced Lincecum is struggling? The numbers don’t lie.
So there you have it! That’s your introduction to SPv and I hope you all enjoyed it. Check back soon because I ‘ll be posting a weekly leaderboard. This will definitely come in handy for Fantasy Baseball folks, as you can easily see whose “stock” is on the rise or decline compared to prior seasons.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this new, sabermetricly-inspired statistic. Feel free to use the comments section below and follow me on Twitter at @pitchingstats to continue the conversation about the usefulness of SPv, Starting Pitching Valuation.