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Monday, September 03, 2012

Grochowski: Time to address Chris Sale’s FIP code

Who’s prepared to pass Price
Love for Sale

Several researchers since have worked on defense-independent pitching stats. One, called FIP for “fielding independent pitching,” was developed by Tom Tango, co-author of Playing the Percentages in Baseball who maintains the Tango on Baseball site Tangotiger.net. Tango’s formula adds 13 times home runs to three times walks, then subtracts twice times strikeouts. The result is then divided by innings pitched.

FanGraphs.com does a couple of tweaks, first including hit batters in the walk element, then adding a constant. The constant has hovered around 3.1 in recent years and is based on subtracting league average FIP from league average ERA. It doesn’t change the order of rankings. It’s just there to give the final number a familiar ERA-like look.

...Let’s apply the formula to young White Sox ace Chris Sale: 13 times 17 home runs is 221. To that add three times (43 walks plus five HBP), or 144, for a total of 365. Subtract two times his 162 strikeouts, or 324, to leave 41. Then divide that 41 by 163 innings, and his raw FIP is 0.25. Adding the constant for results so far in 2012 leaves the 3.36 FIP listed on FanGraphs.

Is that good? Yes, very. Sale ranks fifth in the AL among pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title. He trails Hernandez (2.80), Justin Verlander (2.96), Price (3.21) and Sabathia (3.30). Jake Peavy also ranks high, eighth at 3.61.

Repoz Posted: September 03, 2012 at 11:09 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics, white sox

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Bob Evans Posted: September 04, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4226195)
Ah, BTF. Red Sox suck: 30 posts. White Sox have a good pitcher: 0 posts.
   2. BDC Posted: September 04, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4226220)
I think people are avoiding the thread because there really is no such physical territory as a FIP Code.
   3. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 04, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4226229)
The fact that Chris Sale has a good FIP is something I think we all know. This blog post appears to be saying absolutely nothing beyond, "Chris Sale has a good FIP." It's notable that Bob Evans didn't have anything to say in response to the actual article, either.
   4. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: September 04, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4226232)
Ehh, it's all about ratings. There's what, something like six (White) Sox fans who post here? We're a small, not-particularly-vocal and somewhat grouchy (me especially) group.
   5. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: September 04, 2012 at 05:52 PM (#4226582)
No, I'll post a dumb comment on almost any article, regardless of what team it's about. Matt's right. TFE is literally just walking you through a FIP calculation. It's boring.

I guess it's worth saying that, at least based on the url, this is coming from a major MSM outlet, and it's cool that FIP is in there. But beyond that... There's just nothing here.
   6. rlc Posted: September 04, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4226605)
Is Sale hitting the wall? His last eight starts are looking merely human.

Blue Jay announcers were marvelling over the precociousness of the 2010 draft - I wonder what the record for most WAR produced by a draft class as of draft year + 2 is?
   7. Cowboy Popup Posted: September 04, 2012 at 06:55 PM (#4226619)
The fact that Chris Sale has a good FIP is something I think we all know. This blog post appears to be saying absolutely nothing beyond, "Chris Sale has a good FIP." It's notable that Bob Evans didn't have anything to say in response to the actual article, either.

Fair enough, but Sale's transition from pretty good reliever to amazing starter is still notable in itself. That happens...infrequently. Can anyone think of a good comp?

His K/BB ratio has gone up as a starter! I can't imagine that happens, like ever.

He's also given up exactly 1 unearned run this year which is also notable, and may be something to consider in the AL Cy Young race (to which I have paid no attention).

There are plenty of interesting things to talk about when it comes to Sale, who is the ace on a surprising division leader. I don't think the post needs to be especially provocative to start a long or interesting thread.

I think this article was pretty interesting. Apparently Sale has taken a formely meh slider and turned it into a dominant pitch. Cooper deserves a lot of credit, but so does Sale obviously.
   8. JJ1986 Posted: September 04, 2012 at 07:00 PM (#4226623)
Can anyone think of a good comp?


CJ Wilson was much older, but he did it.
   9. Cowboy Popup Posted: September 04, 2012 at 07:12 PM (#4226626)
CJ Wilson was much older, but he did it.

Wilson is a good comp. The notable difference is that he's a lefty and I thought of him as something of a different pitcher than Sale. Which of course leads me to wonder how organizations identify these guys and if there are any common threads between them.

In the Fangraphs article I linked in 7 they also mention Lance Lynn and Jeff Samardzija. They all (Wilson, Lynn, Sale and Samardzija) throw sliders and changes (If you count Samardzija's splitter as a change of sorts). I guess that's a pitch combo that lets you attack hitters on both sides of the plate three times through the lineup.
   10. Sweatpants Posted: September 04, 2012 at 07:18 PM (#4226630)
The notable difference is that he's a lefty
Sale is, too.
   11. Cowboy Popup Posted: September 04, 2012 at 07:22 PM (#4226634)
Sale is, too.

So he is. I've watched him pitch a couple times, I'm not really sure why, or how, I got that mixed up.
   12. JJ1986 Posted: September 04, 2012 at 07:23 PM (#4226635)
I didn't realize how badly Lynn was doing since late July. An ERA over 7.50 and he's lost his rotation spot.


   13. Squash Posted: September 04, 2012 at 08:46 PM (#4226668)
Fair enough, but Sale's transition from pretty good reliever to amazing starter is still notable in itself. That happens...infrequently.

Well, Sale was only relieving because he's young and the White Sox didn't want to put too much stress on his arm. He was always going to start eventually. Wilson is a better example of this as an older guy who was established as a reliever and nothing but (and not a particularly great one), who then transitioned to a very good starter.
   14. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 04, 2012 at 09:11 PM (#4226684)
Another phenom who was a reliever in the minors, a (bad) reliever in the majors at age 22-23, and a good starter in the majors at age 24-28 would be the 1001st best pitcher of all time, Dustin Hermanson. He was a right-hander with mostly fastballs and sliders at the time.

I have to say the Padres did a horrible job with that particular player development data point. #3 overall pick, out of college, in 1994. In May 1995 he's already in the big-league bullpen. He goes up and down between AAA and San Diego for the rest of 1995. In AAA bullpen for all of 1996, then brought up in August. Gives up 15 runs in 8 relief appearances (13.2 innings).

Then in November 1996 the Padres give up on him and trade him for Quilvio Veras. Quilvio Veras was obviously a very promising player at the time, but come on, San Diego, this guy was the NUMBER THREE OVERALL PICK.

Then the Marlins flip him for Cliff Floyd, a good trade for both teams. April 22, 1997 he makes his first start for the Expos and he spends the next four years in their rotation.
   15. chisoxcollector Posted: September 04, 2012 at 09:35 PM (#4226697)
The highlight of this season so far was watching the Dodgers/White Sox game when Chris Sale pitched, with Vin Scully calling the game. Scully referred to him as "Bones".

The nickname that seems to be gaining traction is Condor.
   16. tshipman Posted: September 04, 2012 at 10:47 PM (#4226747)
This blog post appears to be saying absolutely nothing beyond, "Chris Sale has a good FIP."


That's not what a FIP Code is.

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