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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Baer: According to one St. Louis writer, Sabermetrics hate Lance Lynn

Strauss auto pilot…

“The church of advanced metrics” actually has good things to say about Lynn. Though, unfortunately, they don’t quite put him in the same echelon as Wainwright and Kershaw. According to xFIP, an ERA retrodictor that uses the league average home run rate, Lynn has finished at 3.60 and 3.66 in 2012 and ’13, respectively. Both marks fell below his ERA, 3.78 and 3.97, respectively.

FanGraphs puts Lynn at six WAR over the past two seasons, an average of three per season. Baseball Reference puts him at four WAR over the past two seasons, an average of two per season. An average pitcher comes in at exactly two WAR. So, depending on which version you use, Lynn is somewhere between average and above-average — hardly denigrating as Strauss would have you believe.

The biggest knocks against Lynn include his walk rate and his batting average on balls in play. Lynn has walked between eight and nine percent of batters over the last two seasons, slightly above the National League average of 7.4 percent. Lynn’s BABIP has finished at .321 and .314. As Strauss points out, Lynn strikes out a lot of batters — 23 to 24 percent — but should that ability ever waver, his propensity to allow hits on balls in play at a higher rate and his propensity to issue walks will become more of an issue. That, however, has not been the case in his two full seasons thus far. As a result, neither ZiPS nor PECOTA project Lynn to struggle in 2014. ZiPS pegs him at a 3.52 ERA while PECOTA puts him at 3.90.

This “Sabermetrics hate Lynn” angle Strauss is pushing isn’t backed up by the actual stats. He’s no Wainwright or Kershaw, but he is certainly a pitcher who can be expected to be a productive member of the Cardinals.

Repoz Posted: February 23, 2014 at 04:22 PM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cards, sabermetrics

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   1. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: February 23, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4661130)
Though, unfortunately, they don’t quite put him in the same echelon as Wainwright and Kershaw

Well no, no they don't. Is there anyone comparing Lynn to Kershaw? Longevity and consistency are now the only things to be determined as to whether Kershaw will have "just" an awesome peak or will be one of the greatest pitchers ever. His standard is ridiculously high so we know Pedroesque seasons are possible. Can he stay healthy and consistent for 10+ years, this is only question. As for Lynn, he's not even in the same conversation.

   2. Monty Posted: February 23, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4661135)
According to xFIP, an ERA retrodictor that uses the league average home run rate

I'm not crazy about the word "retrodictor." If you're explaining concepts, you should use words that your audience has heard before.
   3. greenback wears sandals on his head Posted: February 23, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4661137)
If you want to be trolled, then follow Joe Strauss on Twitter.
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: February 23, 2014 at 06:32 PM (#4661162)
Well no, no they don't. Is there anyone comparing Lynn to Kershaw?

The original Straus story compared them and was arguing that there was something wrong with Wainwright and Kershaw getting Cy Young votes while Lynn has been shut out each of the past two seasons even though he has the most wins over those two years. It wasn't really about sabermetrics, but a defense of the win stat. Add in that Lynn is likely the 4th or 5th starter and before the Garcia injury, had a possibility as not even making the rotation.
   5. BDC Posted: February 23, 2014 at 06:40 PM (#4661166)
I'm not crazy about the word "retrodictor"

But what else am I supposed to call the hands-free prostate-exam device I just invented?
   6. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: February 23, 2014 at 06:44 PM (#4661170)
#4, I sheepishly admit I didn't RTFA. However since you've explained that it was a defense of the win stat, then that makes it ok to say that Lynn can be compared to the bizarro world of comparisons.
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: February 23, 2014 at 08:12 PM (#4661189)
It was still a horrible article. He wasn't really trying to bad mouth stats in the traditional way...I'm not really sure what his goal was other than as a Lynn spotlight piece. Lynn is fighting for a spot on the rotation regardless that he has put up pretty decent numbers over the past two seasons, and I think his entire point was that he's not getting any recognition for his performance(except an all star game appearance).

But on a team with Wainwright, Miller, Wacha, Garcia(before his current injury) and Martinez, Lynn was looking to be the odd man out. (Even though he leads the league in wins over the past two seasons) which is really all the article was trying to say.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: February 23, 2014 at 09:28 PM (#4661229)
Still ... as the excerpt notes, the saber stats like him better than the trad stats ... except wins I guess.

But I do have to remember that a 2.77 K/BB ain't what it used to be given 2013 NL average was 2.52.
   9. Dr. Vaux Posted: February 23, 2014 at 10:47 PM (#4661251)
cfb, I don't think Lynn was going to be out of the rotation in favor of Martinez after having so many "wins" and Martinez pitching effectively out of the bullpen. That's still just not how baseball works.
   10. cardsfanboy Posted: February 23, 2014 at 11:02 PM (#4661256)
Only person on the team guaranteed a job coming into this spring training was Wainwright. Cardinals were going to take the next four best pitchers in the spring up north. They absolutely know that they will have plenty of chances to rotate guys in. Last year the plan was to pitch Shelby to about 150 or so innings and to bring Kelly and Wacha up as needed. They knew that all of those guys were going to get some innings in.

Originally the competition for those 4 spots was going to be Wacha, Kelly, Martinez, Garcia, Miller and Lynn with Gast and maybe Lyons as dark horse candidates. They managed to convince Rosenthal to stay a closer although he had planned to compete. Why would you assume Lynn is the sure thing in that group. Miller was third in rookie of the year last year, Wacha is the phenom, Garcia was more an incumbent than Lynn, Martinez is a fantastic high end prospect, while Lynn was a relatively low regarded prospect that kept exceeding expectations. And Joe Kelly had a much better rate season last year than Lynn.

I fully expect the opening day rotation to be Wainwright, Wacha, Miller.... those are probably the closest three to locks on the team. (there was always a strong possibility that Garcia wasn't going to be ready) after that Martinez has a much higher upside than either Lynn or Kelly and if he shows anything in spring training, he could get the job(although realistically they might want to give him another month in the major league bullpen) I think Lynn was likely to be the fifth starter but it wasn't a lock. Garcia going down does pretty much guarantee him a spot.
   11. Dr. Vaux Posted: February 23, 2014 at 11:08 PM (#4661258)
Why would you assume Lynn is the sure thing in that group.

Sadly, because of the wins. But I hope you're right about this and I'm wrong. You're right that it probably doesn't matter now, though. (I guess it should have been clear all along that there would be no Garcia.)
   12. greenback wears sandals on his head Posted: February 23, 2014 at 11:42 PM (#4661273)
I guess it should have been clear all along that there would be no Garcia.

Yes, that was going to take care of whatever excess might have been discussed in February. I think they were hoping Garcia would make it through April so they could keep Martinez's innings down.

Lynn is basically a one-and-a-half-pitch pitcher. He has a slurve, but he lives and dies on the variations of his fastball. That's traditionally the guy who is thought to benefit the most from a shift to the pen.

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