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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Dave Stieb

Eligible in 1998.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2007 at 02:17 AM | 151 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 17, 2007 at 02:25 AM (#2336722)
Nice, nice peak.

No, Mr. Morris, you can not move in front of him.
   2. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: April 17, 2007 at 04:12 AM (#2336782)
For all the Dave Stieb fans out there (there seem to be more than a few) I am ready to be convinced. My initial analysis has him right around Billy Pierce. That would place him anywhere from 10th to 25th on my ballot.
   3. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: April 17, 2007 at 04:23 AM (#2336785)
What happened to Stieb in 1986? He had a fantastic career progression through that point:

21: 129.3 innings, 101 ERA+
22: 242.6 innings, 117 ERA+
23: 183.6 innings, 124 ERA+
24: 288.3 innings, 138 ERA+
25: 278.0 innings, 142 ERA+
26: 267.0 innings, 145 ERA+
27: 265.0 innings, 171 ERA+

That's incredibly impressive. I imagine most people thought he would be elected to the Hall of Fame by that point. And then:

28: 205.0 innings, 89 ERA+

He did bounce back fairly well, but he wasn't the beast he had been beforehand:

29: 105.0 innings, 111 ERA+
30: 207.3 innings, 130 ERA+
31: 206.6 innings, 113 ERA+
32: 208.6 innings, 135 ERA+

Then, from the looks of it, he got injured big-time and became a replacement-level pitcher. But even before that something happened to derail his career pretty significantly.
   4. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: April 17, 2007 at 05:25 AM (#2336801)
But even before that something happened to derail his career pretty significantly.

Maybe it was the 1100 innings he threw in his age 24-27 seasons.
   5. vortex of dissipation Posted: April 17, 2007 at 06:43 AM (#2336819)
Steib in 1986 got off to a horrendous start - on May 27, he was 0-6, 6.83 ERA. Bill James, in the 1987 Baseball Abstract, theorizes that he had lost just enough of his stuff to form a crisis of confidence, and that he was trying to make too many perfect pitches, and was unable to make them. Left-handed hitters hit .332 off him 1986. He did get it turned to some extent (although he was still below average for the year), but early in the season, James says he was a perfectionist who suddenly found himself unable to do what he was used to doing, and was unable to adapt quickly.
   6. RobertMachemer Posted: April 17, 2007 at 07:21 AM (#2336827)
What happened to Stieb in 1986?


Quick answer: he got significantly worse. Why? No idea, but his momentary decline was across the board...

1984: 7.25 h/9IP, 0.64 hr/9IP, 2.93 uibb/9IP, 6.67 k/9IP, 0.37 hbp/9IP
1985: 7.00 h/9IP, 0.75 hr/9IP, 3.16 uibb/9IP, 5.67 k/9IP, 0.31 hbp/9IP
1986: 10.50 h/9IP, 1.27 hr/9IP, 3.78 uibb/9IP, 5.58 k/9IP, 0.66 hbp/9IP
1987: 7.98 h/9IP, 0.78 hr/9IP, 4.04 uibb/9IP, 5.59 k/9IP, 0.34 hbp/9IP
1988: 6.82 h/9IP, 0.65 hr/9IP, 3.43 uibb/9IP, 6.38 k/9IP, 0.56 hbp/9IP

So, within a 5 year period, his worst h/9IP, hr/9IP, k/9IP, and hbp/9IP were all in 1986, as well as his second-worst uibb/9IP. Dunno what happened, but without looking at his monthly splits, I might guess that he got hit hard in the beginning, lost confidence in his ability to get outs, then nibbled for the rest of the year. (Looking at his monthly splits, I don't think it's as easy as that, though he did get hit very hard in April, then walked a ton of hitters in May, for whatever that's worth).
   7. Squash Posted: April 17, 2007 at 07:39 AM (#2336830)
Indeed, I don't think most people understood how good Stieb was when he was around ... this young A's fan remembers him as one of Dave Stewart's big rivals back when Stewart was winning 20 games a year. Back then if you won 20 a year you were good - if you won 17-18 (Stieb-land) you were pretty good. Stieb, of course, was much better than Dave Stewart. No one thought of him as a potential HOFer though in retrospect he certainly was (one of) the best pitchers of his era and should have been considered as such.

Funny Dave Stieb story: coming back from a business trip my mother sat next to a man who had a bunch of receipts and was filling out reimbursement forms for meals, taxis, etc. They got to talking and it was, of course, Dave Stieb, on his way back from the All-Star game. Looking at BBRef this would be 1988, with Stieb returning from the AS break, flying into Oakland to play the A's. Wow, this is a trip down memory lane. I remember us seeing him pitch just after with him losing ... this would be July 16, 1988, when he lost to Storm Davis 4-1 in a Saturday 1:05 game. Davis was on his way to his two lucky seasons with the A's ... Canseco was on his way to 40/40 ... Eckersley was kicking off his own HOF run. Kirk Gibson was playing his last full season which was going to end with me running off to my room to cry. We had weekend season tickets. We sat above first base. I had just turned 10 years old.

I thought it was extremely cool that there was a guy out there pitching who Mom had actually met, and that I had a publicity photo on my shelf he had autographed for me, even though I couldn't read his cursive and thought for years it said "Idea the best", which I figured was advice I didn't understand. Then I grew up a little and realized it said "All the best" ... though we were A's fans, my mother and I were Dave Stieb fans after that. Then the injury and then he was gone, and I haven't thought about this little story one whit until now.

jeebus.
   8. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: April 17, 2007 at 07:57 AM (#2336834)
Dave Stieb's five one-hitters.

He did end up with one no-hitter; if just one or two of those one-hitters (he lost this one with two outs in the ninth, and this one), how would that affect the popular view of him? Obviously, two hits here and there don't mean anything in assessing his overall value, but I do wonder about that perception. In his day, he was renown for these close calls, but this is something I suspect will be forgotten by future generations.
   9. Paul Wendt Posted: April 17, 2007 at 08:25 AM (#2336839)
Jim Maloney?

I agree with the other respondents. Steib was under the radar. Anointng Dave Steib was one of those crazy things Bill James was doing with numbers. Wins were very big: Steve Stone, Storm Davis, Bob Welch, even Dave Stewart was overrated from a higher base. The Blue Jays were a very good team that accomplished very little. 1985, with Steib at his best, was the worst. With a different twist of fate there, who knows? Mike Boddicker was better known (and known as a star?) than Dave Steib thanks to October 1983.
   10. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 17, 2007 at 01:03 PM (#2336879)
Take Stieb's seasons and rearrange this way to get a really normal-looking career:

21: 129.3 innings, 101 ERA+
22: 242.6 innings, 117 ERA+
23: 183.6 innings, 124 ERA+
24: 288.3 innings, 138 ERA+
25: 278.0 innings, 142 ERA+
26: 267.0 innings, 145 ERA+
27: 265.0 innings, 171 ERA+
32: 208.6 innings, 135 ERA+
30: 207.3 innings, 130 ERA+
29: 105.0 innings, 111 ERA+
31: 206.6 innings, 113 ERA+
28: 205.0 innings, 89 ERA+

or just rearrange ONLY the 89 ERA+ and you get

21: 129.3 innings, 101 ERA+
22: 242.6 innings, 117 ERA+
23: 183.6 innings, 124 ERA+
24: 288.3 innings, 138 ERA+
25: 278.0 innings, 142 ERA+
26: 267.0 innings, 145 ERA+
27: 265.0 innings, 171 ERA+
29: 105.0 innings, 111 ERA+
30: 207.3 innings, 130 ERA+
31: 206.6 innings, 113 ERA+
32: 208.6 innings, 135 ERA+
28: 205.0 innings, 89 ERA+

Also very normal looking by comparison. Would our sense of him be different then?

Walters is our leading returning pitcher and also a peak/prime pitcher like Stieb. Let's compare them head to head. *= strike or war years, and I've included all years where they pitched around enough to qualify for hte ERA title:

Stieb   171 145 142  138 135 130 124117 113 111  89
Walters 168 152 146
140131 127 123 109 107  9391 89 


Now let's say that you think that David Gassko is right, and that during the war (43-45) the quality of play was down about 5%, so you're going to deduct 5% off of Walters' wartime ERA+. Now you get:

Stieb   171 145 142  138  135 130 124117 113 111 89
Walters 168 152 139
133131 127 123  109 107  91 89 88


They are very similar pitchers, but Stieb's performance compared to his league is better, and on top of that, it is not heavily dependent on years in leagues of obviously inferior quality.
   11. TomH Posted: April 17, 2007 at 01:14 PM (#2336883)
need to compare: Stieb vs Tiant. Big Dave against Loo-iee smackdown ahead.
   12. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 17, 2007 at 01:21 PM (#2336886)
An obvious question for Stieb is, How dominant was he?

In his prime 1980-1985 seasons, among SP with 600 IP he's in the top ten in the following categories

ERA
1 Stieb

GS
2 Stieb

H/9
2 Stieb

INN
2 Stieb

RSAA
1 Stieb

SHO
1 Stieb

K
4 Stieb

K/9
10 Stieb

K/BB
8 Stieb

W
4 Stieb

That's a really outstanding standing against ones league mates. Without knowing exact numbers, he's very likely the league's ERA+ leader as well. And even though he declined thereafter (including an awful 1986, of course), he's got two other excellent years to offer and two other 110 ERA+ years to offer, plus his rookie year as an average pitcher in about 125 innings.
   13. Guapo Posted: April 17, 2007 at 01:35 PM (#2336895)
I before E, except after C!
   14. Suff Posted: April 17, 2007 at 02:29 PM (#2336943)
Started two consecutive All-Star Games. Seemed like more. I guess when you're 7, two years in a row seems like "every year."
   15. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 17, 2007 at 02:48 PM (#2336961)
I before E, except after C!

Since he's pronounced STEEB, i've always assumed it was ie in the German spelling. I'll have to change my inner-voice pronunciation to STIBE so I can remember the correct order of his vowels....
   16. Loren F. Posted: April 17, 2007 at 03:35 PM (#2336990)
From 1980-85, Stieb was the MLB leader in starters' ERA+, posting a 139 for that timeframe. Second to him was Carlton, with a 1980-85 ERA+ of 125. If you include relievers, Quisenberry reigns with an ERA+ of 165 for 1980-85. A good peak for Stieb in a time when there weren't many consistently dominating pitchers. It's too bad his career tailed off so quickly.
   17. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 17, 2007 at 03:50 PM (#2337003)
I don't think he's a HOFer, but he's a very undderrated pitcher. I can't believe some think Jack Morris was that much better than Stieb.

Like LA Waterlook of Black Hawk, I'll remember Stieb most for all the near no-hitters he had.
   18. Loren F. Posted: April 17, 2007 at 04:17 PM (#2337019)
Close games cost Stieb the 1985 Cy Young. That year, Stieb got the win in 6 games decided by either one or two runs. But the Blue Jays lost 15 games that he started by one or two runs. Stieb took the loss in 8 one-run games, losing 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 1-2, 3-4, 3-4, 5-6, and 1-2 -- and all in games where he gave up three or fewer runs (earned or unearned). Had he been just a little luckier, he could've won 20 and won the Cy. He still wouldn't have been a HoFer, but he would probably have had a bigger rep than he wound up with.
   19. JPWF13 Posted: April 17, 2007 at 04:19 PM (#2337021)
I don't think so. Maybe they should have, but this was when I first became a fan, and I don't remember anyone talking about him as a HOFer at the time, nor do I remember anyone saying he had blown his chance for the HOF a few years later. I guess it was probably the relative lack of Wins.


The wins, wins, wins

Stieb had an unusully high number of NDs in his career, and his run support in his earlier years was poor- in his best seasons he suffered from both factors and lost wins as a result- ironically in 88-90 he had his best 3 year win sequence despite pitching 70ip a year less than he had in 82-85 and he was somewhat less effective in 88-90 too.

Stieb was aware of his lack of support (also for some reason a lot of errors were made when he pitched early in his career)- and was vocal about it. If there was ever a case where a team may have rolled down on their own pitcher it very well may have been Stieb.
   20. JPWF13 Posted: April 17, 2007 at 04:24 PM (#2337025)
I don't think he's a HOFer, but he's a very undderrated pitcher. I can't believe some think Jack Morris was that much better than Stieb.


About two years ago I had a running argument with a Tigers' fan who said that Morris was "the dominant pitcher of the 80s". His argument started and ended with wins [my response to that was to ask if he thought Mark Grace was the dominant hitter of the 90s].

It was actually an ninteresting conversation, because when I went year by year he admitted for every year that some other pitcher (or two or three) were better, but he still insisted that Morris was the most "dominant"- for the decade

never could figure out what his definition of dominance was...
   21. Suff Posted: April 17, 2007 at 05:08 PM (#2337057)
never could figure out what his definition of dominance was...

<U>dominance</U> - "A word that wins the argument for me without having to provide actual facts."
   22. Chris Cobb Posted: April 17, 2007 at 05:41 PM (#2337084)
I did a little study, once, in which I defined a dominant pitcher based on the likelihood of his both pitching and winning games _for his team_, given the realities of his run support and fielding support. I was looking for pitchers who were 100 wins or more above .500 over a period of 10 seasons.

Stieb was not, by this definition, a particularly dominant pitcher, but this definition is not particularly relevant to Stieb's merits.

The 1990s was an era with an unusually large number of dominant pitchers, according to this standard.
   23. Guapo Posted: April 17, 2007 at 06:08 PM (#2337112)
It's somewhat odd that he's up for election even though he's due to pitch in 19 games "this year" (1998)
   24. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 17, 2007 at 06:36 PM (#2337123)
Re: #24, Pedro Martinez doesn't meet your criteria (being 100 games over .500 within a 10-year span). If he doesn't, I can't imagine anyone since the end of the dead ball era (except may Grove) would meet that standard. I think you've set the bar a little high on that one.
   25. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 17, 2007 at 06:37 PM (#2337124)
...and Whitey Ford
   26. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 17, 2007 at 06:47 PM (#2337134)
I guess you were talking about ideal run support, etc., but it's still pretty high. Are there any other pitchers since 1920 who met this in actuality other than Ford and Martinez? Seaver, Palmer, and Feller don't make it.
   27. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 17, 2007 at 08:12 PM (#2337201)
I wrote up something for Steib a couple years ago. Looking back at it, I extracted this information:

"From 1981 to 1985, he was the best pitcher in the AL, leading it Win Shares twice, and finishing in the top five the other three years. He was the ace of Toronto’s staff throughout the 1980s, leading Toronto starters in Win Shares every season from 1980–1990 but three. In fact, Stieb led every Major League pitcher in Win Shares from 1980 to 1989, outpacing his nearest competitor by 21—he is the pitcher of the eighties. And longer. He’s the best pitcher by Win Shares from 1979–1991. And his 122 career ERA+ equals that of Marichal, Feller, and Plank, and is superior to around half the Hall of Fame’s pitchers, and not just anyone: Drysdale, McGinnity, Lemon, Niekro, Perry, Carlton, Spahn, Rixey, Faber, Lyons, Grimes, Roberts, Bunning, Ruffing, Jenkins, Wynn, and on and on."

Additionally, as you all know, I have a little way of thinking about dominance. I break things down into three-year blocs, the shortest period I can see during which a player can claim to be dominant in his league. I take the pitcher's WS and divide them into the best pitcher's WS. For SP during Steib's career, he is the best SP in the league from 1980-1982 through 1983-1985. In 1986, despite the bad year, he's still within 10% of the best SP, which tells you how good he was in the previous two seasons. He falls away from the list after the rise of Roger. But four three-bloc seasons as the best pitcher in the league is impressive. What pitchers in history through 1998 have been that dominant over their leagueas often or more so?
Matty 9
W Johnson 9
R Clemens 9
L Grove 8
Cy Young 7
G Maddux 7
W Spahn 7
K Nichols 6
C Hubbell 6
J Clarkson 5
P Alexander 5
D Steib 4
H Newhouser 4
B Lemon 4
E Walsh 4
J Bunning 4
B Walters 4
W Cooper 4
S Carlton 4
R Roberts 4

Now this is not iron-clad evidence that Steib's a HOMer, and I think we all understand that he's not an upper-echelon type. But this info is very compelling in certain helpful ways. Many voters do seek dominance, and Steib's got a great multi-bloc stretch of dominance as the best SP in the league. He's a peak/prime pitcher whose stretch of dominance compares very well to those of several HOMers with four-year stretches: Newhouser, Lemon, Walsh, and Bunning. In addition, the highest backlog pitcher of the type is tied with him...and there may be contextual reasons to prefer Steib to Walters. In addition, of these 20 pitchers, 18 are HOMers, 1 is close, the other is Wilbur Cooper who ain't exactly John Candelaria (oops, I'm not on the Blyleven thread!).

So from a WS point of view there's lots of serious dominance here over a sustained period (1980-1985 en toto), plus there's still good stuff after that before the final come down. In addition, after his peak, there's enough in the tank that he's got more WS than any pitcher from 1979-1991. True, these are selective endpoints, but it's also 13 years, which when it comes to evaluating pitching peaks and primes is reasonably long. If his peak were soft, Roger would overtake him much sooner thanks to the Rocket's own outstanding peak.

The combination of a nice, sustained period of dominance, plus enough other good years to keep him among the league's best pitchers well after he was its best is a good sign for his merit. I have him as being a few slots over the in/out line. He's going to compete with the backlog and the guy he needs to be currently compared to is Bucky Walters. With Walters having the advantage of having batting chances and being a good batter (Steib IIRC became a pitcher in the minors and was actually a decent hitter himself), I may have Bucky ahead; then again the war may push Bucky backward a bit. Then again, again, info from Dan R could persuade me that the SD action in Bucky's time was significantly higher than Steib's day, which could push Steib back ahead.

He's a wicked interesting candidate.
   28. jimd Posted: April 17, 2007 at 08:16 PM (#2337207)
It's somewhat odd that he's up for election even though he's due to pitch in 19 games "this year" (1998)

Yes. But the 1998 election actually happens during the 1997-1998 offseason. So we don't know yet that his comeback attempt will last beyond spring training. (We also don't know about those last 2 WS or .8 WARP1 or last career W, as if those will make a big difference in the final assessment.)
   29. Chris Cobb Posted: April 17, 2007 at 08:40 PM (#2337237)
Example: Greg Maddux, from 1993-2002, was 101 wins above .500, 178-77.
Example: Randy Johnson, from 1993-2002, was 117 wins above .500, 175-58.
Counter-Example: Pedro Martinez, from 1996-2005, was 99 wins above .500, 162-63.

It's a very rare thing: I was trying to find the most dominant stretches of pitching ever, so it was a very high bar. I think I got interested in the question when I happened to notice that Maddux had done it, and I wanted to see what other pitchers had.

It's not a way to make an argument about who was really the best pitcher, but as a way of describing a pitcher who was looked on as a sure thing whenever he took the mound, this is an interesting indicator. I ended up making a list of the totals for a fairly large number of top pitchers, not just the 100-club. I'll see if I can find that data. It's just a curiosity, but it does help one appreciate just how extraordinary Maddux, Johnson, and Pedro were during their primes. There have been few pitchers in baseball history, and none prior to this trio for many years, who were, year in, year out, so consistently outmatching their opponents. They all enjoyed the benefit of pitching for good offensive teams for most of their primes, of course, so "dominance" is really a "pitcher + team" thing, but it's an awesome thing to have had a chance to watch.
   30. RobertMachemer Posted: April 17, 2007 at 08:44 PM (#2337242)
Erik, I like the idea of your definition, but I'm not sure it doesn't have problems. Your definition of dominance would tend to favor a guy like Stieb who had, say, 5 years in a row of being the best pitcher in the league, but would hurt someone with a more dactyllic career. A pitcher who was better than Stieb in 1980-81, injured in 82, and then better for the rest of his career (while overshadowed by Clemens from 1986 on), might have only one three-year run of dominance. Should a five-year run of being the best pitcher (measured over three-year spans) be considered better/more dominant than a pitcher who was better 4 out of 5 of those years and then better ever after?
   31. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 17, 2007 at 09:25 PM (#2337286)
Robert,

I chose three years because I wanted the smallest unit of time within which a player could make a claim of dominance. 1 year's too short, could be a fluke year. 2nd year is the do-it-again year. Once you do it three times, you're being talked about as certified elite. Also, I wanted the smallest possible unit I was comfortable with because if you go too much longer, then every season is going to be Bonds, Babe, Clemens, etc (because even if they are missing big chunks of a year, they may be so dominant it doesn't matter over a longer span). I'm not looking to document the most dominant players ever by how long they actually dominated, but rather to see which players have periods in which they have legitimate claims of being dominant. Or to put it another way, this definition is designed so that I don't overlook the Steibs and the Walterses among the Madduxes and the Groves.

Should a five-year run of being the best pitcher (measured over three-year spans) be considered better/more dominant than a pitcher who was better 4 out of 5 of those years and then better ever after?

Depends on your tastes and what you're after. There's no way to totally avoid every issue in every system. The fix for one becomes a new issue. I'd need to do a lot more research than I have time for to assess whether certain lengths of time are superior to others, or whether a blend is better. I actually started doing longer periods at the inception of my process, and it turned out that it was Ruth leads to Gehrig leads to Foxx leads to DiMaggio leads to .... All big stars all the time. That didn't tell me anything that I didn't know. I settled on this one because it made sense for what I was trying to do. I have like 7 categories I assess pitchers on precisely because no one of them is perfect.
   32. sunnyday2 Posted: April 17, 2007 at 09:50 PM (#2337302)
Dactyllic?

Pteradactyllic, I've heard of.
   33. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: April 17, 2007 at 10:45 PM (#2337340)
So, if we don't elect Steib this year, is he ineligible for the next five elections? Or did we look at baseball history, realize this applies to Steib and Jose Rijo, and say "forget about it".
   34. Roger Cedeno's Spleen Posted: April 18, 2007 at 04:05 AM (#2337866)
Stieb should film a PSA for potential homicidal maniacs... "If I could avoid going on a psycho sniper rampage after losing two no-hitters with two outs in the ninth... IN CONSECUTIVE STARTS!!! GODDAMNIT! ####! ####!! ARRRGGHHHH!!!1! *cough* ...then you can damn well cowboy up and get your ass to the psychiatrist's office for a stronger prescription..."
   35. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: April 18, 2007 at 03:13 PM (#2338026)
My system loves Stieb, no time right now to post the numbers, but I've got him a hair behind Billy Pierce who we did elect. He'll be high on my ballot.
   36. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 18, 2007 at 05:01 PM (#2338116)
My system loves Stieb, no time right now to post the numbers, but I've got him a hair behind Billy Pierce who we did elect. He'll be high on my ballot.

Joe! We finally agree on a non-NB pitcher!!!!

[clouds part; sun shines down from heavens; all is peaceful, clear, and well.]
   37. Paul Wendt Posted: April 18, 2007 at 06:24 PM (#2338185)
17. Eric Chalek (Dr. Chaleeko) Posted: April 17, 2007 at 10:48 AM (#2336961)
Since he's pronounced STEEB, i've always assumed it was ie in the German spelling. I'll have to change my inner-voice pronunciation to STIBE so I can remember the correct order of his vowels....

Don't bother.
The Secretary General has ruled for Stieb.

--
I thought of Jimmy Key as the ace (thanks partly to the prominent 1987 pennant race). But Key did not close the decade so well as Stieb did, I see at baseball-reference. What happened to to the middle of Jimmy Key?
   38. RJ in TO Posted: April 18, 2007 at 06:48 PM (#2338200)
For most of the late 80s, Key suffered from a wide variety of elbow and shoulder problems which damped his effectiveness without ever putting him out of the rotation for an extended period.

He was also one of those guys who also seemed to have a knack for getting hurt in interesting and innovative ways. While I can't remember the exact details, I seem to recall him starting spring training late one year because he broke his ankle while changing a light bulb, or something similar.
   39. Mike Green Posted: April 18, 2007 at 07:26 PM (#2338219)
As a group, you have got Stieb pegged very well. W-L was "an issue" for Stieb, as it was for Blyleven. His 1985 record is pretty strange- 14-13 in 265 innings with a 171 ERA+ on a club that won 99 games. It's an extreme version of Randy Johnson's 2004 season- Johnson threw fewer innings, and ended up 16-14 for a team that won 51.
   40. TomH Posted: April 18, 2007 at 07:53 PM (#2338244)
Rob Wood, didn't your 'win value' study circa 2002 show Steib was one guy who didn't get the wins ('pitch to the score') like he "should" have?
   41. Johnny Tuttle Posted: April 18, 2007 at 07:59 PM (#2338250)
but early in the season, James says he was a perfectionist who suddenly found himself unable to do what he was used to doing, and was unable to adapt quickly.


That's a reasonable assessment. Steib was competitive to a fault; he was chewing out/showing up his own defenders on the field and such. This prickliness didn't lend itself well to the writers either.

Years ago (nearly 20), I had a series of well reasoned arguments for his superiority over Morris. I was sorely disappointed that the first 20 game winner for the Blue Jays turned out as it did.
   42. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 18, 2007 at 08:07 PM (#2338252)
The Secretary General has ruled for Stieb.


Secretary-General? You must have mistaken me for Ban Ki-murphy. ;-)
   43. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 18, 2007 at 09:03 PM (#2338322)
Not Boutros Boutros-Murphy?

Or Murph Thant?

Dag Grannmarskjöld?
   44. JPWF13 Posted: April 18, 2007 at 09:05 PM (#2338327)
As a group, you have got Stieb pegged very well. W-L was "an issue" for Stieb, as it was for Blyleven. His 1985 record is pretty strange- 14-13 in 265 innings with a 171 ERA+ on a club that won 99 games. I


In 1985 the Bluejays averaged 4.7 r/g overall and 4.4 r/g in Stieb's stars.
Stieb's RA was 3.02 so his pythag was .684 in 265ip he "should" have gone 20-9 (20.5-9.5) given his run support.

The distribution of his run support was skewed though:
0 runs: once
1 run: 4 times
2 runs: 4 times
3 runs: 7 times
4 runs: 5 times
5 runs: 4 times
6 runs: 3 times
7 runs: 2 times
8 runs: once
9 runs: 3 times
10 runs: 2 times

Doyle Alexander recieved r/g of 4.25, but the distribution was very different:
1 run: 5 times
2 runs: 6 times
3 runs: never
4 runs: 6 times
5 runs: 8 times
6 runs: 6 times
7 runs: 4 times
8 runs: 1 time

0-3 run support Stieb had 15 starts, Alexander 11,
4-6 run support Stieb had 12 starts, Alexander 20
7+ runs, Stieb had 7 starts, Alexander 5.

It's pretty clear that Al;exander had betetr run support even though slightly mroe runs were scored for Stieb- mcuh of Stieb's "advantage" is tied up in a pair of 10 run game s(won 10-1 and 10-0) he got a ND in a seven run game he left after giving up 2 runs because the pen imploded
one game won 9-8 by the Jays, Stieb left in the third and received a ND (Jays scored only 1 ru while Stieb was in the game)

I'm not sure how many were blown saves- but in 10 of his NDs and losses Stieb gave up LESS runs than what the Jays eventually scored.
   45. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 18, 2007 at 10:28 PM (#2338409)
Not Boutros Boutros-Murphy?

Or Murph Thant?

Dag Grannmarskjöld?


Thank you for not mentioning Murph Waldheim. ;-)
   46. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 19, 2007 at 01:00 AM (#2338714)
Thank you for not mentioning Murph Waldheim. ;-)

Not even I am that tasteless....
   47. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 19, 2007 at 01:39 AM (#2338818)
What always fascinated me about Stieb is that the slider absolutely DESTROYED left-handed hitters. Check out his splits in his heyday. The slugging percentages by left-handed hitters are laughable. .336 in 1982. .307 in 1981. .296 in 1985. .296!

The early 80's had a trio of guys who threw a ton of innings, shut down opposing batters, and whose W-L records didn't begin to reflect the quality of their work: Stieb, Steve Rogers, and Mario Soto. Rogers came a tad earlier than the other two but otherwise these gents were interchangeable. And man, could they pitch.

But for varying reasons they are now pretty much forgotten except by folks like us or their local fans. And in Rogers case that means Canucks over the age of 40.

They were all pretty d*mn good. And Stieb was the best of the lot. Best of a lot of lots if you know what I mean.
   48. Chris Cobb Posted: April 19, 2007 at 01:53 AM (#2338835)
Given the peculiar distribution of Stieb's run support in 1985, how should expectations for his record based on run support be altered?

He has an RSI (run support index) of 95 for that year, so his run support was a little below average, but not much.

Anyone have any idea how to adjust his RSI to account for run distribution issues?
   49. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: April 19, 2007 at 02:22 AM (#2338866)
Are there any HoM voters who actually use won-lost record? Why do we care about his run support?
   50. Rob_Wood Posted: April 19, 2007 at 02:23 AM (#2338869)
I am lukewarm on Stieb. My analysis of his contribution to winning games over his career relative to a league average pitcher shows that he contributed only 23 wins (his win value) as compared to the 27 wins his ERA+ would suggest (wins above average = WAA).

Here are his ERA+, WAA and win value for each season of his career:

Year ERA+ WAA Win Value
1979 101 0.0 -0.2
1980 116 1.8 1.9
1981 124 1.9 2.3
1982 138 4.3 4.0*
1983 142 4.4 2.0
1984 145 4.4 4.9*
1985 170 5.9 3.4
1986 89 -1.5 -2.3
1987 110 0.8 0.3
1988 130 2.4 2.1
1989 113 1.1 2.2
1990 135 2.7 3.8
1991 133 0.8 0.9
1992 81 -1.2 -1.3
1993 69 -0.5 -0.7
.
.
.
1998 97 -0.1 -0.5
TOTAL 122 27.2 22.8

* denotes league leader.

So in the one area that Stieb does best in, he is worse than first meets the eye.
I doubt he'll ever be on my ballot, though I am a devoted career value voter.
   51. Chris Cobb Posted: April 19, 2007 at 02:55 AM (#2338906)
Are there any HoM voters who actually use won-lost record? Why do we care about his run support?

I would expect there are a number of voters who look at such things, yes. Many voters conclude that pitchers' component stats do not tell the full story of their influence on the outcome of games, and that it is, therefore, worthwhile to consult their actual wins in comparison to the number of wins that would be expected on the basis of their run (and fielding) support.

It appears that Stieb won rather less often than we would expect (as did Blyleven) based on their component stats and their overall run support. To what should the difference be attributed? Odd run distribution? Bad luck? a breakdown of mechanics in high pressure situations? The answer may vary from pitcher to pitcher, but the subject is worth investigating, and Chris J.'s Run Support Index stat provides a useful (though not perfect) tool for doing so.

Much of the discussion of run support and the use of run support in pitcher analysis took place during the years when you were absent from the project, I think, but it was the subject of a lot of discussion.

Myself, I look at pitchers' value above average in two ways: 1) his actual wins compared to the expected wins of an average pitcher with the same run support (aside from the effect of the pitcher's own hitting) and fielding support; 2) his value as assessed by WARP's DERA.

I _think_ that Rob Wood, in comparing WAA and win value is looking at this very issue, though I'm not sure exactly what he means by each term or how he derives it.

Stieb as a perfectionist pitcher subject to meltdowns certainly fits the profile of a pitcher who might be less effective than his component stats indicate he would have been, but some of the discrepancy may be attributable to run-support distributions that make his average support look better than his actual support.

I have Stieb as a borderline case, partly because I see the same thing that Rob does: he's not adding as many wins as we would expect, given his stats. If it were demonstrated that run distribution is clear cause of that, it would boost Stieb's value in my system.
   52. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 19, 2007 at 03:01 AM (#2338919)
Just for kicks here are some Dave Stieb starts from 1985:

Opening Day: 6 2/3 innings. 5 hits. 2 runs. Lost a 1-0 lead when with a runner on and two out he hit a batter and then gave up a 2-run double to Willie Wilson. Lost 2-1 to Bud Black.

2 weeks later Stieb faced the Royals again and again lost a close game. 9 innings pitched. 5 hits. Gave up solo homers to Steve Balboni and Daryl Motley. Lost 2-0 to Liebrandt.

2 weeks after that against the Angels Stieb lost 3-2. 8 1/3 innings pitched. 5 hits. Gave up the tying run before Jim Acker gave up the game-winner to Beniquez.

And that's just the first month. Good grief.....
   53. Rob_Wood Posted: April 19, 2007 at 04:26 AM (#2338997)
In short, many of us believe that a pitcher who gives up 2 runs in a 3-2 win contributed more to his team winning the game than another pitcher who gives up 2 runs in a 15-2 win or than another pitcher who gives up 2 runs in a 2-1 loss.
   54. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2007 at 12:34 PM (#2339120)
Stieb as a perfectionist pitcher subject to meltdowns certainly fits the profile of a pitcher who might be less effective than his component stats indicate he would have been, but some of the discrepancy may be attributable to run-support distributions that make his average support look better than his actual support.


...or maybe he needed to be pulled out of some of his games a little bit earlier due to tiredness. I'm not saying that's the case, but maybe an area that needs to be explored (the same goes for Blyleven).
   55. Chris Cobb Posted: April 19, 2007 at 12:43 PM (#2339123)
Good point, John.

It's Stieb where the need for figuring out the reasons for his apparent win underperformance are most pressing, since he is around the borderline. With Blyleven, even if he underperformed because he was flaking out, his performance was so impressive that it's irrelevant to the question of his election. It is relevant to the question of whether he was better, as good as, or worse than Steve Carlton, Gaylord Perry, and Phil Niekro, but fortunately we're not on the hook for that question :-) .
   56. sunnyday2 Posted: April 19, 2007 at 12:46 PM (#2339127)
Boy, that sounds like a can of worms. I mean, did pitchers of previous eras (Rube Waddell, Bucky Walters, etc. etc.) give up a disproportionate number of runs in the 7-8-9th inning? If we give Stieb or Bert dispensation on runs after the Xth IP, why not everybody?
   57. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 19, 2007 at 12:53 PM (#2339132)
And of course, pitchers 7-8-9 innings often look very good by comparison to other innings because of self-selection: if a pitcher is pitching well, he goes longer in a game.
   58. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 19, 2007 at 12:55 PM (#2339134)
Boy, that sounds like a can of worms. I mean, did pitchers of previous eras (Rube Waddell, Bucky Walters, etc. etc.) give up a disproportionate number of runs in the 7-8-9th inning? If we give Stieb or Bert dispensation on runs after the Xth IP, why not everybody?


I didn't say we should give him a dispensation. My point was that maybe we should explore this area because this might be the reason why he was losing more games than he should have (instead of some personal failing or lack of clutchness). Personally, I'd rather stick with DERA or ERA+.
   59. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 19, 2007 at 01:05 PM (#2339140)
sunny:

One of the elements of the game that needs to be considered is that when the games were played prior to night baseball being commonplace is that the seventh inning on took place in difficult hitting conditions between the shadows and dusk approaching. So that factor could offset a pitchers loss of effectiveness.

Is there proof? No. But certainly the anecdotal information suggests this was a factor as repeated references are made by players in various histories. And as Retrosheet continues to be fleshed out coupled with other data sources we can determine whether this perception was indeed a reality.
   60. Chris Cobb Posted: April 19, 2007 at 01:06 PM (#2339142)
Boy, that sounds like a can of worms. I mean, did pitchers of previous eras (Rube Waddell, Bucky Walters, etc. etc.) give up a disproportionate number of runs in the 7-8-9th inning? If we give Stieb or Bert dispensation on runs after the Xth IP, why not everybody?

If we are going to care about wins rather than run prevention, we need to assess the reasons for pitcher outcomes as accurately as we can. Using ERA+ and IP to evaluate pitchers avoids the whole issue of wins, and that's one approach. I agree with Rob Wood that a pitcher's contribution to actual wins is important and isn't fully captured by his aggregate run prevention.

As an HoM voter, I frankly don't care about the reasons for Blyleven's underperformance on wins. Doesn't matter, because he's clearly in regardless. For Stieb, it's relevant to his case, so I'm going to find out. I'm also going to take a look at the issue of win underperformance, as best I can, for the other borderline pitchers as I reevaluate them, to see if it has relevance to their cases.

"Dispensation," by the way, is a loaded word. It implies that of course the pitcher is totally responsible for his performance, and that we are trying to find a way to give some guys a free pass for their own mistakes. Well, no, that's not what I'm trying to do. A more neutral phrasing of the issue would be: is there evidence that manager's usage patterns with the pitcher led to an unusually high number of late-game runs being given up by the pitcher, depressing both the pitcher's and the team's wins? Or does the evidence point to the pitcher making mistakes in tense situations in close games, regardless of issues of fatigue? How much of the pitcher's performance patterns are the responsibility of the manager, and how much the responsibility of the pitcher?
   61. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 19, 2007 at 03:13 PM (#2339239)
If you guys are interested -- Sean Forman added a new wrinkle to the player splits at b-ref. He included sOPS+ (or opponents sOPS+ in the case of Stieb). It gives you the OPS+ performance based on that split. In other words, you want to see how hitters did against Stieb in the 9th inning compared to how they normally do, well, no need to theorize.

The one key thing to keep in mind is that relievers as a whole have better ERAs than starters and closers tend to be the best relievers, so an OPS+ a little below 100 means Stieb is actually pitching pretty well at the end.

I checked on this earlier today and from memory, Stieb began with sub-100 late innings sOPS+, but when his CG were at their height, he had terrific sOPS+ in the late innings. By the mid/late '80s, his late innings sOPS+ fell down noticably. I didn't check his entire career.

This stuff's now up at b-ref if you want to factor it into account.
   62. jimd Posted: April 19, 2007 at 10:04 PM (#2339814)
Delta-W

The number of wins, more or less, that a pitcher won, compared to estimated wins. Estimated wins are derived from the pitcher's actual runs allowed and team average run scoring. Here, a positive number is "good luck," negative is "bad luck."


This is Davenport's statistic that attempts to measure the concept.

Here is a list of HOM pitchers sorted by "Delta-W"

17 Ferrell
 11 Griffith
  7 Marichal
  6 Seaver
  5 Koufax Ford
  4 Galvin Lemon Wynn
  3 Mathewson McGinnity
  2 Caruthers Alexander Lyons
  1 Feller Carlton
 
-1 Clarkson Brown Palmer Niekro
 
-3 Sutton
 
-4 Radbourn Grove
 
-6 Spalding Faber Vance Roberts Bunning
 
-8 Rixey Drysdale Gibson
 
-9 Plank Newhouser
-10 Walsh Jenkins 
-11 Rusie Waddell
-13 Young Hubbell Perry
-15 Coveleski
-16 Nichols Spahn
-18 Pierce
-22 Keefe
-23 Ruffing
-25 Wilhelm
-26 Johnson 


They range from Ferrell (who won way more than he should have, though his own offense may have played a significant role in that), to Keefe and Ruffing and the Big Train (who may have been the Bert Blyleven's of their day, though Walter was too good for anyone to care).

Here is a similar list for all candidates who received a vote last year, plus Blyleven and Stieb:

16 Grimes
  8 John
  6 Walters
  4 Welch Mays Newcombe
  3 Leever
  1 Cooper Kaat
 
-1 Dean Shocker Trucks
 
-3 Mullane
 
-4 Stieb Tiant
 
-5 Reuschel
 
-6 Joss Quinn
 
-7 Cicotte
 
-8 Bridges
-11 Willis
-13 Sutter
-14 Gomez
-18 Trout
-23 Blyleven
-29 Fingers 


Grimes is a rival for Ferrell. Blyleven is way down there tied with Ruffing.

Note that Stieb is in the middle at -4. IMO, the cluster around 0 is probably just random scatter, meaningless, not statistically significant. Now maybe other measures show Stieb as having a problem, but this measure shows Stieb as having about as many games as he should have over his career (though he does appear to have had "bad luck" in 1985, when he was -5 in this stat).

Note: I don't know how BP works this stat for relievers, but the few that I checked are all highly negative. In addition to Wilhelm (-25) and Fingers (-29) above, both Gossage and Rivera are -20.
   63. jimd Posted: April 19, 2007 at 10:06 PM (#2339816)
this measure shows Stieb as having about as many WINS as he should have over his career

Flunked Proof-Reading 101, again.
   64. Paul Wendt Posted: April 19, 2007 at 10:45 PM (#2339838)
58. sunnyday2 Posted: April 19, 2007 at 08:46 AM (#2339127)
Boy, that sounds like a can of worms. I mean, did pitchers of previous eras (Rube Waddell, Bucky Walters, etc. etc.) give up a disproportionate number of runs in the 7-8-9th inning?


I have the line scores for 1900. That is one Rube season. Retrosheet format: character string "100 000 00x" and that ilk. I may be able to send it by email this weekend. (By the way, that is not a large file, but I do have a lot of data that I need to get out of my recently semiretired home computer. CD writer kaput, low-speed modem, and USB1 port does not recognize the first flash drive that I tried. pwendt@fas.harvard.edu welcomes advice, not for general baseball use.)
   65. Cblau Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:08 AM (#2340091)
I don't understand why it matters when he gave up the runs. Say a pitcher gives up 3 runs in the first, then shutouts the other team the rest of the way, losing 3-2. Is that better or worse than if his team scored 2 runs in the first and he allowed 3 runs in the ninth? It makes a difference if you are measuring win probability throughout the game, but from our perspective, I think it is irrelevant.
   66. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:19 AM (#2340102)
They range from Ferrell (who won way more than he should have, though his own offense may have played a significant role in that),

Shouldn't that take his own bat into account? If it doesn't, what does that say about Red Ruffing, nearly as good a hitter and way over at the othere end of the list.
   67. Howie Menckel Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:25 AM (#2340107)
ERA+s, must pitch 154/162 IP, and at least 100 ERA+ that year

BWalters 168 52 46 40 27 23 07
DavStieb 171 45 43 38 35 30 24 17 13 11
LuiTiant 184 69 32 28 25 20 19 05 02 02 00
BuGrimes 153 44 38 36 31 23 08 08 08 03

BWalters top 10 in IP: 1 1 1 4 6 6 8 8
DavStieb top 10 in IP: 1 1 2 3 5
BuGrimes top 10 in IP: 1 1 1 3 3 4 7 9 9 9
LuisTiant top 10 in IP: 6 7 8

Tiant's 169 ERA+ was in 179 IP. I think the rest listed all were in the top 10. Walters' 146 and 140 ERA+s came in 1944-45.

I like Stieb better than Tiant.
Walters could hit a little bit, but Stieb had a better pitching tail. I think I take Stieb.

And I think Redding may remain atop my pitching ballot. If he was a great pitcher for 2 years and a very good one for 3-4 more, and has anything else at all, at this pt in the process, that's all he needs.
Redding used to need a lot more, and people dismissed him. I think he might have been THIS good, anyway.
   68. Howie Menckel Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:30 AM (#2340111)
Oh, and Grimes is SUCH an IP-aholic that it can be a factor for some.
There's a difference between a 108 ERA+ in so-so IP, and in being one of the league workhorses. The latter just has a lot more impact on helping your team win - i.e., avoiding that dreaded crappy extra SP several extra times, and replacing it with slightly above-average pitching. Grimes remains in my consideration set.
   69. Paul Wendt Posted: April 20, 2007 at 02:59 AM (#2340134)
67. Cblau Posted: April 19, 2007 at 10:08 PM (#2340091)
I don't understand why it matters when he gave up the runs. Say a pitcher gives up 3 runs in the first, then shutouts the other team the rest of the way, losing 3-2. Is that better or worse than if his team scored 2 runs in the first and he allowed 3 runs in the ninth? It makes a difference if you are measuring win probability throughout the game, but from our perspective, I think it is irrelevant.


The timing is appealing because two runs in the ninth suggests that the manager should have taken him out of the game. The appeal is a lot greater, and appealing to me, if we are talking about two pitchers on the short end of 5-4 scores, one with line score 320 000 000 and the other 000 100 022. You (well, I) can't help feeling that the first one took his team out of the game and the second one deserved better.

There was a game, I recall, Jim Palmer yielded two solo home runs in the 8th and two more in the 9th, losing to Boston 5-4. When I read about it in the morning paper I grumbled "Come on, Earl, that's too much of a good thing" (well, that's the idea).

When I learned of the Quality Start, probably in a Peter Gammons notes column 20-odd years ago, I thought that it referred to the pitcher's start: complete seven innings yielding only three runs and you have a quality start. When I learned that 000 100 022 is not a quality start, I was surprised. I couldn't understand why anyone would count it this way. Not to mention 010 101 010, a not quite typical but nonetheless instructive Steve Carlton or Mike Flanagan 1979 complete game.
   70. Paul Wendt Posted: April 20, 2007 at 03:20 AM (#2340144)
Howie M:
And I think Redding may remain atop my pitching ballot. If he was a great pitcher for 2 years and a very good one for 3-4 more, and has anything else at all, at this pt in the process, that's all he needs.

Maybe all he needs to be atop the "pitching ballot" but no one is required to put that on the HOM ballot (top 15); Blyleven #2 Redding #20 is permitted.

As the pitchers have "emigrated" to the Hall or to the netherworld, my hypothetical ballot looks a lot like Chris Cobb's, I noticed today. Except for Fingers, who is in another pitching conversation, his top eight are all in my top nine. . . .
(After 100 years I have a hypothetical ballot that has finally reached double digits in length.)
   71. OCF Posted: April 20, 2007 at 05:29 AM (#2340176)
RA+ Pythpat results: I have him at an equivalent 190-131. (187-128 if you don't count 1998.) There's a sharply concentrated peak in there, a 4-year consecutive stretch in which he was 20-12, 20-11, 20-9, 20-9. He had no years outside those four in which he came anywhere close to that quality, although he remained a good pitcher (net 110-90 outside those years.)

He has 9.24 IP per decision, which is quite high. (In other words, he has a low number of decisions for the amount he pitched. The highest I've seen, at least since Sal Maglie, was John Tudor's 9.51 IP/decision.)

Some others in the same general neighborhood: Bridges 190-124, but with less peak. Shocker 181-117. Ferrell, offense included, 177-115 but with more peak. Walters, offense adjusted, 197-148 with a little more peak. Tiant 224-164 with a similar "big years score" but a less-concentrated peak.

Stieb is going to force me to reevaluate this whole group. I don't know which way it will fall.
   72. Howie Menckel Posted: April 20, 2007 at 12:18 PM (#2340202)
Oops, I meant "starting pitcher holdover" ballot.
Fingers was No. 1 for me last year and figures to slot in at 3rd this year, behind Carter/Blyleven or Blyleven/Carter. Even if Redding wins that other derby, I imagine he could be as low as 7th to 9th.
   73. Mike Emeigh Posted: April 20, 2007 at 12:33 PM (#2340207)
Say a pitcher gives up 3 runs in the first, then shutouts the other team the rest of the way, losing 3-2. Is that better or worse than if his team scored 2 runs in the first and he allowed 3 runs in the ninth?


I personally think it is worse for a pitcher to give up runs early rather than blowing a lead late, just because it's harder to play from behind.

-- MWE
   74. RobertMachemer Posted: April 20, 2007 at 04:34 PM (#2340381)
it's harder to play from behind
What makes you say that?
   75. Paul Wendt Posted: April 20, 2007 at 06:10 PM (#2340492)
easier to play from behind
on the other hand,
mightn't a team leading 3-0 through six play for one run and regret it later, while a team losing 0-3 correctly judges ("knows") that it needs runs?
   76. Paul Wendt Posted: April 20, 2007 at 06:11 PM (#2340493)
Oops, the quotation is "harder to play from behind"
   77. Mike Emeigh Posted: April 20, 2007 at 07:49 PM (#2340575)
What makes you say that?


In 2006, there were 2429 games played. In 1321 of those games (54.4%), the team that scored the first run not only won the game, but never once trailed in the game. In 2005, the rate was 53.2% (1290/2430); in 2004 it was 52.8% (1281/2428). In about another 10-12% of those games, the team that scored the first run relinquished the lead at one point or another but still wouns up winning. That suggests very strongly to me that it IS more difficult to play from behind.

-- MWE
   78. sunnyday2 Posted: April 20, 2007 at 08:15 PM (#2340603)
Well, it's more difficult to win, that's for sure. Whether it is "harder to play"--harder to hit the ball, harder to catch the ball, harder to run the bases, harder to throw in the field, harder to pitch, as the phrase suggests (at least to me)--I wonder? I suppose some guys tighten up....
   79. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 20, 2007 at 08:19 PM (#2340611)
That suggests very strongly to me that it IS more difficult to play from behind.

And if you're behind, you see the best of the bullpen one inning at a time. That can't be helpful to rallying.
   80. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: April 20, 2007 at 08:25 PM (#2340623)
Assuming completely random run scoring, what would the chances of winning despite allowing the first run be? I woudl imagine that it would be pretty close to the 45-48% that your numbers show.

That said, Doc does have a point about the bullpen. But that might be slightly overrated.
   81. Mike Green Posted: April 20, 2007 at 09:20 PM (#2340696)
Speaking of bullpens, the other issue with Stieb is that the Jay bullpen prior to the arrival of Henke in mid-85 was pretty bad. I'd imagine that his "blown lead percentage" would be higher than average.
   82. jay1205 Posted: April 21, 2007 at 12:51 PM (#2341337)
Dave Stieb was a good pitcher, although not hall worthy. He did not have the longevity of either Jack Morris or Bert Blyleven. Dave Stieb was basically washed up by age of 33. At the same time that Stieb was pitching all those innings, Morris was doing the same as did as Blyleven. The bottom line is with Stieb you have a guy who's career average was 13-10 for 16 seasons. Jack Morris was 16-11 for 18 seasons. Bert Blyleven was 14-12 for 22 seasons. I would say the both Jack Morris and Dave Stieb played on teams that were generally considered much better than the teams that Blyleven did. Look at all the meat and potato facts wins, losses, complete games, innings pitched, strikeouts, Dave Stieb does not compare to Jack Morris. Maybe Morris had the good fortune of playing on better offensive teams, but,IMHO those Toronto teams that Stieb played on were the equal if not better than the teams that Morris played on.
   83. Chris Cobb Posted: April 21, 2007 at 01:46 PM (#2341347)
I doubt there are more than a handful of HoM voters who will fall for arguments that Morris was better than Stieb, but on the team issue:

Dave Stieb's career run support, relative to league average -- 94.6%
Jack Morris's career run support, relative to league average -- 107.1%

An average pitcher with Dave Stieb's run support would have a .472 career winning percentage
An average pitcher with Jack Morri's run support would have a .532 career winning percentage

In Dave Stieb's decisions, an average pitcher with his run support would have a record of 148-165, versus Stieb's actual 176-137.
In Jack Morris's decisions, an average pitcher with his run support would have a record of 234-205, versus Morris's actual 254-186.

Stieb was 28 wins above average
Morris was 20 wins above average.

Both pitchers received good defensive support in their careers, but their offensive support was by no means similar.

Their support from their teams, for their career, was not equal. Toronto was not a good team during the early part of Stieb's career. Morris's teams were almost always good. Even though Stieb underperformed his projected wins based on RA+ a little bit and Morris overperformed his fairly substantially, Stieb still brought his teams significantly more wins than an average pitcher than Morris did.
   84. Rob_Wood Posted: April 21, 2007 at 06:34 PM (#2341502)
The gap between Stieb and Morris closes significantly if you view things from a replacement level perspective rather than a league average perspective.
   85. RobertMachemer Posted: April 21, 2007 at 07:33 PM (#2341555)
In 2006, there were 2429 games played. In 1321 of those games (54.4%), the team that scored the first run not only won the game, but never once trailed in the game. In 2005, the rate was 53.2% (1290/2430); in 2004 it was 52.8% (1281/2428). In about another 10-12% of those games, the team that scored the first run relinquished the lead at one point or another but still wouns up winning. That suggests very strongly to me that it IS more difficult to play from behind.
What I see is that, all things being equal, you'd rather have the lead, and I certainly don't disagree with that. But after a team has given up X runs to go behind, do they get outscored for the rest of the game? I'd imagine yes -- because a bad pitcher/team that gives up runs first may be likely to give up more -- but I'd also imagine it'd be fairly close.

How would one go about answering the question of whether or not it's "harder to play from behind?" I'm not sure.
   86. sunnyday2 Posted: April 21, 2007 at 07:42 PM (#2341567)
>How would one go about answering the question of whether or not it's "harder to play from behind?" I'm not sure.

Would you run splits for all of the (half) innings after the half inning in which the first run(s) was/were scored?

Of does the question pertain more to all half innings that one enters behind?

Or even just the half innings in which one enters and remains behind? If so, then do you delete all PAs from that point at which the team in question is no longer behind?

The same questions would pertain (i.e. what half innings would you include in your sample) if you only wanted to count the runs scored. But that would get even more convoluted. I think you'd want to run splits on PAs when behind vs. ahead vs. tied. But then, as has been suggested, would it be just raw splits or would you want vs. expected (i.e. somehow accounting for the differentials in the quality of pitching that you face when you're ahead vs. behind).

Would be an interesting study. I'm not gonna do it.
   87. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 23, 2007 at 03:20 PM (#2343109)
Dave Stieb was a good pitcher, although not hall worthy.

I don't want to be mean spiritied, but I found the paragraph that followed contained a lot stuff that's worth talking out.

He did not have the longevity of either Jack Morris or Bert Blyleven.

This has not been a reason for discarding pitchers in the HOM's history. We have many peak/prime type pitchers, just as we have many career type pitchers. Steib shouldn't be compared to Morris in this way, he should be compared to Vance, Coveleski, Ferrell, Waddell, Drysdale, Lemon, Pierce, Walters, et al. That he was washed up at 33 is not significant in and of itself, just as Vance's pre-age 30 stats are not significant to his case.

At the same time that Stieb was pitching all those innings, Morris was doing the same as did Blyleven.

In Morris's case, Steib was pitching those innings AND was more effective in doing so. In Blyleven's case, he totally missed 1982 but did return to pitch as many or more innings as Steib but with a little less effectiveness than Steib. But the trick here is that Blyleven is a significantly better pitcher than Morris and so is Steib. Morris and Bly are really only comparable in their durability.

The bottom line is with Stieb you have a guy who's career average was 13-10 for 16 seasons. Jack Morris was 16-11 for 18 seasons. Bert Blyleven was 14-12 for 22 seasons.

Chris hit that one above.

I would say the both Jack Morris and Dave Stieb played on teams that were generally considered much better than the teams that Blyleven did.

I don't have BBref open, so off the top of my head, Blyleven played for the Indians and the Twins and the Angels in this period. The Indians were bad, the Twins were so-so to bad until about 1987 and were hovering around .500 after that. The Angels were OK during Bert's time. As Chris notes above, Morris's teams were on the whole almost 50 points of win% better than Steib's.

Look at all the meat and potato facts wins, losses, complete games, innings pitched, strikeouts, Dave Stieb does not compare to Jack Morris.

Of course, this is literally correct. Steib did not have as long a career and so cannot compare. But issues like run support, defensive support, bullpen support, usage (read managerial usage pattern), and other factors all lean toward Morris anyway. But beyond that, what simple effectiveness? Does Morris have any 10 year period that comes close to matching Steib's in ERA+? Steib has a 15-20 point advantage in ERA+. That's huge. But beyond even this, we're back to the quesiton of whether Morris and Steib are comparable candidates. They are not. Morris needs to be compared to Ruffing, Lyons, Rixey, Wynn, Lolich, Powell, Blyleven, et al before Steib. If he does well there, then let's talk. But there's another angle worth looking at.

Dave Steib was managed by Bobby Cox for several years. Here are Cox's teams' finishes in CG:

1978 7th
1979 5th
1980 5th
1981 6th
1982 3rd*
1983 3rd*
1984 6th*
1985 13th*
1990 7th
1991 1st
1992 2nd
1993 2nd
1994 1st
1995 1st
1996 1st
1997 2nd
1998 1st
1999 6th
2000 2nd
2001 9th
2002 12th
2003 9th
2004 7th
2005 3rd
2006 5th
* = managed Steib

And Jimy Williams
1986 12th*
1987 11th*
1988 12th*
1989 N/A (fired early)*
1997 10th
1998 13th
1999 6th
2000 6th
2001 13th (fired 2/3s of the way)
2002 12th
2003 16th
2004 16th (fired halfway)
* = managed steib

Here's Sparky Anderson
1970 9th
1971 12th
1972 12th
1973 6th
1974 8th
1975 12th
1976 7th
1977 3rd
1978 12th
1979 14th*
1980 4th*
1981 2nd*
1982 1st*
1983 4th*
1984 10th*
1985 5th*
1986 3rd*
1987 4th*
1988 3rd*
1989 4th*
1990 8th*
1991 4th
1992 12th
1993 8th
1994 2nd
1995 14th
* = managed Jack Morris

So Steib's managers were a combo of quick and moderate-quick hooks. Williams has always hooked quickly, but Cox appears to let his guys pitch when he has the horses. I'd imagine that under Cox Steib pitched as long and as hard as he could, but that under Williams he probably left games somewhat earlier than he was accustomed. A mixed bag here.

Anderson, on the other hand, went from the league's quickest hook to nearly its slowest (maybe its actual slowest?) in about 10 years. By the time Morris arrived, Anderson's hook was rather slower than the AL's. Given Morris's famous durability, he was coupled with a manager who would let him work longer than others would. I'd guess this had some effect on the number of decisions he got and on his Win%. It had an obvious effect on his innings totals and his CG totals.

In other words some portion of Morris' mystique is really the preferences of Sparky Anderson. Can we quantify it? Let's just say for giggles that during Morris' career Anderson was likely to work him .5 innings longer on average than another manager of the time. Morris pitched 2891 innings for Sparky in 402 starts and 423 games. Let's say he pitched 60 innings of relief in those 21 relief games and subtract from 2891, that's 2831 in 402 starts or 7.04 innings/start. If Sparky's .5 innings over the league, then Morris for another manager is around 6.54 innings/start. Multiplying by 402 it's 2630 innings or one season's worth of innings difference, or 7% fewer. That's not insignificant. I don't know if that's a realistic way to look at it, but it's a quick experiment to demonstrate that Sparky's maximized Morris' durability in a way that other teams wouldn't do.
   88. Daryn Posted: April 23, 2007 at 07:22 PM (#2343297)
IP H ER R BB SO HR
7 6 1 1 2 4 0
9 4 0 0 2 4 0
9 1 0 0 2 8 0
9 1 0 0 1 4 0
8 4 1 1 2 4 0
9 1 0 0 4 5 0

That was a nice stretch of six games. Gibson-esque, but with lower hit totals. As others have mentioned, if he had ended up with the five or six no hitters he could have had, he might have waltzed into the Hall.

Stieb is my all-time favourite player and my Stieb jersey is my only official baseball jersey, but I don't see the love for him. That said, I didn't vote for any of the other prime only candidates, and Koufax only made the back end of my ballot. I'll have to compare him to Tiant again to see if he can make the bottom of my ballot.
   89. Howie Menckel Posted: April 23, 2007 at 07:51 PM (#2343311)
Daryn,
From post 69 you see that Tiant might be the least workhorsiest pitcher we'd ever elect. And he's only got 2 huge ERA+s, and one is in modest innings.

Tiant's top 2 might be better, even accounting for usage, but it goes downhill quickly after that.
   90. Daryn Posted: April 24, 2007 at 12:25 AM (#2343589)
Yes, I saw that -- I might be overrating Tiant.
   91. Chris Cobb Posted: April 24, 2007 at 01:51 AM (#2343745)
Tommy Bridges has been compared to Stieb over on the ballot discussion thread (I think), so I thought I'd add him to Howie's charts:

ERA+s, must pitch 154/162 IP, and at least 100 ERA+ that year

BWalters 168 52 46 40 27 23 07
DavStieb 171 45 43 38 35 30 24 17 13 11
LuiTiant 184 69 32 28 25 20 19 05 02 02 00
BuGrimes 153 44 38 36 31 23 08 08 08 03

ToBridges 147 44 42 40 40 40 37 20 19 15 09

BWalters top 10 in IP: 1 1 1 4 6 6 8 8
DavStieb top 10 in IP: 1 1 2 3 5
BuGrimes top 10 in IP: 1 1 1 3 3 4 7 9 9 9
LuisTiant top 10 in IP: 6 7 8

ToBridges top 10 in IP: 2 2 5 8 10

Bridges has less ERA+ peak, but a longer run of high ERA+ seasons than any of the other pitchers. His top 10 in IP seasons are in consecutive years, so he had a good durability peak, though it was not nearly as high as those of Walters, Stieb, and Grimes.

I prefer Stieb, but Bridges was no slouch.
   92. Howie Menckel Posted: April 24, 2007 at 02:21 AM (#2343784)
For even more Stieb-Bridges chatter, see my Post 115 on the ballot discussion thread!
:)
   93. DL from MN Posted: April 26, 2007 at 04:21 PM (#2346371)
I use mainly PRAA and PRAR to rank the pitchers (with some credit for FRAA and BRAA). I remove zero value years in my spreadsheet. There are a few "types" of pitchers in there. I give the majority of the credit for PRAA because I don't trust replacement values but I recognize that bulk has value and factor it in with a discount. I see a few "types" of pitchers.

Pitcher PRAR PRAA
LuTiant 1067 237
TBridges 990 247 (includes credit)
Reuschel 996 221
ViTrucks 987 213 (includes credit)
JQuinn 932 205
DLeonard 933 218
DTrout 889 210
HiSmith 905 190

TomJohn 1175 132
Koosman 1042 149
Newsom 1043 136
Lolich 1029 126
JKaat 1048 19

Redding 858 242
VWillis 851 247
Shocker 803 243
DaStieb 804 226
Fingers 788 208 (adjusted)
Walters 823 175
BGrimes 859 146
Newcomb 871 101

McCormick 597 302
ToMullane 656 193
SmLeever 663 198 (3 years bonus credit)
McWelch 608 190

I'm clearly favoring the first "type". It looks like the electors prefer type '3' with Redding, Fingers and Walters in the top returnees. I haven't figured out why but my guess is consecutiveness of best years and no credit for eating innings. I don't understand why Shocker doesn't get as much credit as Walters - he had a good bat also. Stieb falls into this group. What I'm struggling with is he looks to be like a lot of pitchers in that group - about 1-2 average seasons short of making my ballot.

As for the last group of people voting for Mullane, Leever and Welch, why don't you guys believe that McCormick was better?
   94. DL from MN Posted: April 26, 2007 at 05:24 PM (#2346426)
Just for comparison here's the already retired upcoming pitchers (excluding Ryan)

Tanana 1139 134 (TJohn group)
CHough 968 60
JMorris 915 65

I think Tommy Bridges looks a little better than Dave Stieb, then you add the war credit and the gap grows.

One thing I'm struggling with is how many negative BRAR to give Stieb for playing in the AL. What was the typical rate for BRAR for NL pitchers per inning during this time? I've guessed -75 BRAR for his 2900 innings but Stieb was a converted position player and probably a decent hitter for a pitcher.
   95. sunnyday2 Posted: April 26, 2007 at 05:40 PM (#2346444)
>As for the last group of people voting for Mullane, Leever and Welch, why don't you guys believe that McCormick was better?

I do, I do.

Great analysis, BTW. My ballot is also awash (my new word for the day) in Type 3's, though I would add that Hilton Smith might be more of a Type 3 than a Type 1. I do have Tiant ahead of the Type 2's. Oh well, it all comes out in the awash.
   96. OCF Posted: April 26, 2007 at 06:39 PM (#2346494)
... but Stieb was a converted position player and probably a decent hitter for a pitcher.

Whoa! (Blows whistle.) Is that reasoning in bounds? Dave Stieb's actual major league offensive contributions consist of two regular-season plate appearances, five post-season PA, and two regular-season pinch-running appearances, in which he contributed nothing of value except that he did score both times he pinch-ran. No matter what his offensive abilities might have been, his offensive contribution was nothing - and equal to the offensive contributions of nearly all of the other AL pitchers of his generation. The offensive contributions of Walters, Lemon, Newcombe, et al. compared to other pitchers are real, and measurable, not hypothetical.
   97. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 26, 2007 at 06:54 PM (#2346506)
One thing I'm struggling with is how many negative BRAR to give Stieb for playing in the AL. What was the typical rate for BRAR for NL pitchers per inning during this time? I've guessed -75 BRAR for his 2900 innings but Stieb was a converted position player and probably a decent hitter for a pitcher.

The Cube doesn't show any minor league batting stats for him, though they don't seem to have complete numbers for his one, partial year of minor leagueness they list.

his offensive contribution was nothing - and equal to the offensive contributions of nearly all of the other AL pitchers of his generation. The offensive contributions of Walters, Lemon, Newcombe, et al. compared to other pitchers are real, and measurable, not hypothetical.

Here's where the DH rubber really meets the road....

Should DL be giving Steib negative BRAR? Steib neither earned any BRAR nor didn't earn them. Why should he be penalized for what he didn't do? Then again how he he be compared to previous generations?
   98. DL from MN Posted: April 26, 2007 at 06:58 PM (#2346510)
That's why I'm trying to estimate what an average pitcher of the 80s would produce in all those plate appearances - so I can compare him across eras. This is easier for pitchers who bounced back and forth between leagues or spent their whole career in the NL. If I give him zero credit I'm actually helping him because most pitchers are negative. It would be a lot simpler if I was using RCAP but I'm not because it isn't easy for me to access.
   99. Chris Cobb Posted: April 26, 2007 at 08:13 PM (#2346560)
It'd be relatively easy, wouldn't it, for someone with Sinins' encyclopedia to provide RCAP for all the pitchers DL listed in post 95 above, wouldn't it? I myself would be quite curious to see those data.

(I'd produce them myself, having just bought Sinins' work myself, but when it arrived I discovered I needed a PC to use it . . . I have an old PC laptop that I'm going to fire up for the purpose, but I haven't had time to get it in real working order yet.)
   100. DavidFoss Posted: April 26, 2007 at 09:02 PM (#2346592)
I like RCAA & RCAP as well as RSAA, but last time I checked there was nontrivial flaw in them in that they were not era-adjusted. Is that still the case?
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