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### Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#### The R.A. Dickey Effect - 2013 Edition

It is widely talked about by announcers and baseball fans alike, that knuckleball pitchers can throw hitters off their game and leave them in funks for days… I decided to analyze to determine if
there really is an effect and what its value is…

Most people that try to analyze this [R.A.] Dickey effect tend to group all the pitchers that follow in to one grouping with one ERA and compare to the total ERA of the bullpen or rotation. This is a simplistic and non-descriptive way of analyzing the effect and does not look at the how often the pitchers are pitching not after Dickey…

I summed the stats for following Dickey and weighted each pitcher based on the batters he faced over the total batters faced after Dickey. I then calculated the rate stats from the total. This weight was then applied to the not after Dickey stats. So for example if [Casey] Janssen faced 19.11% of batters after Dickey, it was adjusted so that he also faced 19.11% of the batters not after Dickey…

Starters see an approximate 18.9% decrease in their FIP when they follow Dickey over the past 4 years. So assuming 130 IP are pitched after Dickey by a league average set of pitchers (~4.00 FIP), this would decrease their FIP to around 3.25. 130 IP was selected assuming ⅔ of starter innings (200) against the same team. Over 130 IP this would be a 10.8 run difference or around 1.1 WAR! This is amazingly significant and appears to be coming mainly from a reduction in HR%. If we regress the HR% down to -10% (seems more than fair), this would reduce the FIP reduction down to around 7%. A 7% reduction would reduce a 4.00 FIP down to 3.72, and save 4.0 runs or 0.4 WAR…

Relievers[’]... FIP was reduced 10.3%. Assuming 65 IP (in between 2012 and 2013) innings after Dickey of an average bullpen (or slightly above average, since Dickey will likely have setup men and closers after him) with a 3.75 FIP, FIP would get reduced to 3.36 and save 3 runs or 0.3 WAR.

Combining the un-regressed results, by having pitchers pitch after him, Dickey would contribute around 1.4 WAR over a full season. If you assume the effect is just 10% reduction in FIP for both groups, this number comes down to around 0.9 WAR, which is not crazy to think at all based off the results. I can say with great confidence, that if Dickey pitches over 200 innings again next year, he will contribute above 1.0 WAR just from baffling hitters for the next guys.

And The Dickey Effect Part II—Wakefield:

Similar to Dickey, pitchers saw a positive effect almost across the board. The main difference with [Tim] Wakefield is that walks also went up, but not by much. A career 8% reduction in FIP is significant, and with the sample size, probably fairly accurate.

h/t Roberto

The District Attorney Posted: November 26, 2013 at 09:00 PM | 6 comment(s)
Beats: blue jays, knuckleballers, r.a. dickey, sabermetrics, tim wakefield

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