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Sunday, September 02, 2018

Fangraphs: Jeff Sullivan: The Particular Skill of Kyle Freeland

Kyle Freeland has been the Rockies’ best pitcher this season, currently with an ERA+ of 160 and a bWAR of 6.8.  That WAR total is the second best season in Rockies’ history. (Ubaldo Jimenez is #1 with 7.5 WAR in 2010.)

Freeland’s ERA (2.90) is far better than his FIP (3.80) and other peripherals-based stats would suggest.  Jeff Sullivan writes about Freeland’s strengths, comparing his location to Mariano Rivera and Tom Glavine:

I’ve mentioned Rivera and Glavine, and I’ve shown you their heat maps, because this is what you find when you look up Freeland’s performance, which has resulted in a lot of soft contact:

The visual parallels are evident. Freeland has attacked to the glove side, and Freeland has attacked to the arm side. There’s no easy way of checking for similar heat maps, but this kind of split is not very common. Somewhat frequently, you’ll find guys who live on one side or the other. Freeland lives on both sides; he doesn’t live down the middle. No starting pitcher in baseball this year has thrown a lower rate of pitches over the middle of the plate. Freeland is staying away from the barrels.

I brought up Freeland in a dugout earlier in the week, noting the ERA/peripherals disparity, and wondered how sustainable that is.  Tom brought up his high amount of double plays - twice as many as anyone else on the staff.  Freeland does have 20 DP’s, though his rate (15%) is not exceptional compared to other Rockies pitchers of the Bob Apodaca era who threw a lot of sinking stuff (Aaron Cook, Jason Marquis, even the 2010 Ubaldo Jimenez). Their ERA’s were in line with their FIP’s.

One thing that does look unsustainable is Freeland’s amazingly strong performance with runners on base.

Bases empty, his OPS against is .766, and he has allowed 41 BB’s in 400 PA (10.25% rate).

With men on, his OPS against is .526, his BB rate drops to 6.3%.

He’s allowed 15 HR this season: 14 solo shots and a lone HR with a runner on—a 2-run shot.

I get bearing down with runners on but I would imagine it’s rare to see an OPS against go down that much, with so many fewer HR’s, and then have fewer walks as well.  I wonder what the splits are on his GB/FB ratio.


That said, if he’s anything like a Tom Glavine (who’s career ERA is 0.41 better than his FIP), even if less durable because, Tom Glavine, I’m sure the Rockies would be pretty happy with that.

Freeland’s career 10 bWAR is already good for 9th on the club’s all time list.

puck Posted: September 02, 2018 at 08:07 AM | 1 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: fip, kyle freeland, rockies

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. DL from MN Posted: September 04, 2018 at 12:31 PM (#5738248)
It would be interesting to see if Jim Palmer had the same sort of heat maps.

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