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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Martin: Kris Medlen for Cy Young? Not So Fast

The Case of the Medlen Medium (I’ll get right on it Perry!).

In addition to taking advantage of poor hitting teams, Medlen has also experienced some luck since becoming a starter. He has a .255 BABIP (batting average of balls in play) as a starter, which is very low for starting pitchers (by contrast Dickey- .278, Gonzalez- .271, and Cueto- .300) and suggest that Medlen is due for a significant regression to the mean, with .300 being a typical major league average). His career BABIP of .295 has come in a reasonable sized sample of 120 games, and is a better indicator of his true ability.

Regardless of luck or opponent, Medlen has gotten the job done spectacularly since becoming a starter, but his Cy Young push has accumulated narrative like a rolling stone gathers moss. A key reason cited why he deserves consideration for the award is the 23 game winning streak the Braves have run off with him starting. However, the streak is not confined to just this year and is actually spread out over three seasons. He simply hasn’t put together a large enough body of work to be considered a serious Cy Young contender in 2012.

Finding alternative explanations for Medlen’s incredible stint as a starter is not to take away from his ability or performance in any way, but rather serves to frame his results in more realistic terms. In baseball 12 games is a small sample size and can’t be extrapolated across an entire season. Even adding Medlen’s stint as an above average reliever earlier in the year can’t push him over the top for such an award. Medlen has likely been the best pitcher in baseball since the start of August, but that is indicative of a hot streak and not the best pitcher over 162 games. It’s great to give such a great young pitcher his dues, but once it’s time to determine who will win the Cy Young, voters will hopefully look past the hyperbole and evaluate his numbers with a realistic eye.

Repoz Posted: October 02, 2012 at 05:52 AM | 52 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves

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   1. Rants Mulliniks Posted: October 02, 2012 at 09:40 AM (#4250810)
If he'd only allowed one or zero ER instead of three in that last start against the Marlins, I'd put him at the top of my ballot. Finicky? Maybe. Things as they are, my vote would be:

1. Dickey
2. Medlen
3. Cueto
4. Kershaw
5. Kimbrel

I hate to put Kimbrel on the ballot ahead of Gio or Zimmerman, but neither pitched 200 innings or had an astounding ERA. Kimbrel not only had the K's, but he's also improved his control dramatically, dropping his BB/9 from 7.0 --> 3.7 --> 2.0 the last three years. His WHIP is 0.65 for the love of God.
   2. bobm Posted: October 02, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4250820)
Regardless of luck or opponent, Medlen has gotten the job done spectacularly since becoming a starter, but his Cy Young push has accumulated narrative like a rolling stone gathers moss.

Huh?
   3. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: October 02, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4250825)
He would have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for that Medlen kid.
   4. Rants Mulliniks Posted: October 02, 2012 at 09:46 AM (#4250827)
Maybe its a maglev stone, hence no friction.
   5. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 02, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4250838)
Dickey.
   6. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 02, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4250841)
I'm a Braves fan, and I can barely keep Medlen and Peter Moylan straight. One of those brainlock things.
   7. xdog Posted: October 02, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4250860)
One's a big tatted Aussie, the other isn't?
   8. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 02, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4250905)
Yep, that's Moylan. I listen to more games on the radio than I catch on TV, and both have served mostly as setup men.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 02, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4250934)
I thought this would end with Lee Corso putting a mascot-sized R.A. Dickey head on.
   10. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 02, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4250999)
One's a big tatted Aussie, the other isn't?


Moylan = big tatted up Aussie
Medlen = 12 year old looking guy that doesn't curve the brim of his hat
   11. thetailor Posted: October 02, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4251021)
I hate when people hold a great BABIP against a pitcher when it comes to the Cy Young award. BABIP is a predictive stat. I could care less whether a pitcher was dominant all season due to a good BABIP or a good K-rate or a good strand rate. What happened on the field happened on the field.

If Medlen had pitched lucky all year, and posted a 2.00 ERA with only 6 Ks per 9 or something like that, he would still be a better Cy Young candidate to someone with better peripherals who pitched to a 3.00 ERA.
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: October 02, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4251022)
my vote would be:

1. Dickey
2. Medlen
3. Cueto
4. Kershaw
5. Kimbrel


I know Cardinal bias and all, but no way does Medlen get my vote. Kimbrel is even more insane.

1. Dickey
2. Cueto
3. Lohse
4. Kershaw
5. A Washington National pitcher.

   13. Barnaby Jones Posted: October 02, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4251024)
Medlen = 12 year old looking guy that doesn't curve the brim of his hat


I believe you mean the 12 year old boy who looks like a 35 year old lesbian.
   14. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 02, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4251027)
I believe you mean the 12 year old boy who looks like a 35 year old lesbian.


God. This is ####### fantastic! Thank you.
   15. Barnaby Jones Posted: October 02, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4251057)
A .255 BABIP means his performance isn't his "true ability," eh?

What if I told you that there was a man in the 90s who had a .255 BABIP... over a four year period. And that his BABIP indicated not that he was a magical luck wizard, but rather that he was awesome. And further, that in the 1000+ IP he had pitched before those 4 years, his BABIP had been .287, a number higher than the league average. Should we have knocked that man's Cy Young credentials each year, because there was no way he could possibly keep it up?

Medlen has pitched fantastically; I don't need BABIP to tell me that he won't do so forever. People who aren't actually Prime Greg Maddux tend to pitch less than their best from time to time, so Medlen will eventually falter. That's a terrible reason to knock what he's actually done, however.
   16. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 02, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4251103)
the 12 year old boy who looks like a 35 year old lesbian


The great BBTF handle candidates just keep on rolling in ...

... though of course it's too long.
   17. musial6 Posted: October 02, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4251115)
12

Kyle Lohse should not even be in the Cy Young conversation and I die a bit inside every time a local STL media hack tries to lump him in there.

He's had a nice season, and Boras will get him a nice contract this offseason, but the fact as a starting pitcher that he went an entire season without once finishing the 8th inning disqualifies him from Cy Young consideration.

Dickey was the best pitcher in the NL. He had the most dominant peak. He pitched the most innings. He's at or near the top in just about every counting and rate statistic. He's the Cy Young.

Gonzalez, Kershaw, and Cueto are the other primary contenders, but all are pretty clearly a half notch below Dickey in some way. Medlen and Kimbrel have interesting cases and either one could be given runner up consideration, but neither has the resume to win the award outright.
   18. Greg Schuler Posted: October 02, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4251131)
I'm a Braves fan, and I can barely keep Medlen and Peter Moylan straight. One of those brainlock things.


One likes to make fun of Nickelback on Twitter. The other one spent time in Danville.
   19. Rants Mulliniks Posted: October 02, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4251142)
CFB, how low would Medlen's ERA have to be in his 138 IP to get on your ballot? Sub 1.00? His ERA+ is 257. Or is it all about innings for you, such that a starter with a 3.80 ERA in 350 IP would take top spot? I can't say I agree with that logic.
   20. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: October 02, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4251163)
He has 138 innings folks. He's not winning anything. Sure it's not his fault that the Braves management is so stupid that it took them so long to give him a chance, but quantity matters.
   21. cardsfanboy Posted: October 02, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4251171)
Kyle Lohse should not even be in the Cy Young conversation and I die a bit inside every time a local STL media hack tries to lump him in there.


Why not, by war, wpa, and era+ with an innings pitched component he belongs in any listing of top five pitcher in the NL.

CFB, how low would Medlen's ERA have to be in his 138 IP to get on your ballot?


To get on my hypothetical CY Young ballot with 138 innings pitched, it would have to have 10+ complete games and 5+ shutouts. His ERA+ would be fine if that was the case. But when I see obscenely high era+'s like his, it's clear to me that he isn't pitching deep into the games and getting lit up when he is tired(I call it the Pedro effect)

He's had a nice season, and Boras will get him a nice contract this offseason, but the fact as a starting pitcher that he went an entire season without once finishing the 8th inning disqualifies him from Cy Young consideration.


Didn't hurt Roger Clemens in 2004. (technically Clemens did finish the 8th inning once that year, but he only made it to the 8th inning three times)
   22. PreservedFish Posted: October 02, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4251174)
Sure it's not his fault that the Braves management is so stupid that it took them so long to give him a chance, but quantity matters.


Actually I believe that his transition from reliever to starter was planned in March, and that it was done slowly on purpose to save his arm from accumulating too many innings. Basically he's on a more creative version of the Strasburg plan, and it's tough to argue with the results right now.
   23. Rants Mulliniks Posted: October 02, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4251175)
Can anyone do a PI search to see what the best ERA+ was in as many IP as Medlen has? I'd be surprised if its ever been bested.
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4251192)
Can anyone do a PI search to see what the best ERA+ was in as many IP as Medlen has? I'd be surprised if its ever been bested.


Yes, Medlen's has been bested.
Rk              Player ERA+    IP Year  Tm  G GS CG SHO GF  W  L SV   H   R  ER BB  SO  ERA
                                                                                           
1       Pedro Martinez  291 217.0 2000 BOS 29 29  7   4  0 18  6  0 128  44  42 32 284 1.74
2          John Hiller  283 125.1 1973 DET 65  0  0   0 60 10  5 38  89  21  20 39 124 1.44
3        Dutch Leonard  279 224.2 1914 BOS 36 25 17   7  8 19  5  3 139  34  24 60 176 0.96
4        Ferdie Schupp  272 140.1 1916 NYG 30 11  8   4 17  9  3  1  79  22  14 37  86 0.90
5          Greg Maddux  271 202.0 1994 ATL 25 25 10   3  0 16  6  0 150  44  35 31 156 1.56
6           Red Munger  268 121.0 1944 STL 21 12  7   2  8 11  3  2  92  23  18 41  55 1.34
7             Jim Kern  264 143.0 1979 TEX 71  0  0   0 57 13  5 29  99  35  25 62 136 1.57
8          Greg Maddux  260 209.2 1995 ATL 28 28 10   3  0 19  2  0 147  39  38 23 181 1.63
9       Walter Johnson  259 346.0 1913 WSH 48 36 29  11 10 36  7  2 232  56  44 38 243 1.14
10          Bob Gibson  258 304.2 1968 STL 34 34 28  13  0 22  9  0 198  49  38 62 268 1.12
11         Kris Medlen  257 138.0 2012 ATL 50 12  2   1  7 10  1  1 103  26  24 23 120 1.57
12      Mordecai Brown  253 277.1 1906 CHC 36 32 27   9  4 26  6  3 198  56  32 61 144 1.04
13       Mark Eichhorn  246 157.0 1986 TOR 69  0  0   0 38 14  6 10 105  32  30 45 166 1.72
14        Steve Rogers  245 134.0 1973 MON 17 17  7   3  0 10  5  0  93  28  23 49  64 1.54
15        Rich Gossage  244 133.0 1977 PIT 72  0  0   0 55 11  9 26  78  27  24 49 151 1.62
16      Pedro Martinez  243 213.1 1999 BOS 31 29  5   1  1 23  4  0 160  56  49 37 313 2.07
17      Walter Johnson  240 369.0 1912 WSH 50 37 34   7 13 33 12  2 259  89  57 76 303 1.39
18          Babe Adams  232 130.0 1909 PIT 25 12  7   3 11 12  3  2  88  25  16 23  65 1.11
19   Christy Mathewson  230 338.2 1905 NYG 43 37 32   8  6 31  9  3 252  85  48 64 206 1.28
20       Dwight Gooden  229 276.2 1985 NYM 35 35 16   8  0 24  4  0 198  51  47 69 268 1.53
21        Bruce Sutter  227 122.2 1984 STL 71  0  0   0 63  5  7 45 109  26  21 23  77 1.54
22       Roger Clemens  226 211.1 2005 HOU 32 32  1   0  0 13  8  0 151  51  44 62 185 1.87
23      Pete Alexander  225 376.1 1915 PHI 49 42 36  12  7 31 10  3 253  86  51 64 241 1.22
24   Christy Mathewson  222 275.1 1909 NYG 37 33 26   8  4 25  6  2 192  57  35 36 149 1.14
25       Roger Clemens  222 264.0 1997 TOR 34 34  9   3  0 21  7  0 204  65  60 68 292 2.05
Rk              Player ERA
+    IP Year  Tm  G GS CG SHO GF  W  L SV   H   R  ER BB  SO  ERA
26        Doug Corbett  221 136.1 1980 MIN 73  0  0   0 63  8  6 23 102  31  30 42  89 1.98
27      Pedro Martinez  219 241.1 1997 MON 31 31 13   4  0 17  8  0 158  65  51 67 305 1.90
28             Bob Lee  219 137.0 1964 LAA 64  5  0   0 39  6  5 19  87  31  23 58 111 1.51
29            Cy Young  219 371.1 1901 BOS 43 41 38   5  2 33 10  0 324 112  67 37 158 1.62
30      Denny Driscoll  218 201.0 1882 PIT 23 23 23   0  0 13  9  0 162  73  27 12  59 1.21
31         Lefty Grove  217 288.2 1931 PHA 41 30 27   4 10 31  4  5 249  84  66 62 175 2.06
32       Jack Pfiester  216 195.0 1907 CHC 30 22 13   3  5 14  9  0 143  61  25 48  90 1.15
33      Walter Johnson  215 290.1 1919 WSH 39 29 27   7 10 20 14  2 235  73  48 51 147 1.49
34         Kevin Brown  215 233.0 1996 FLA 32 32  5   3  0 17 11  0 187  60  49 33 159 1.89
35      Walter Johnson  214 326.0 1918 WSH 39 29 29   8 10 23 13  3 241  71  46 70 162 1.27
36       Carl Lundgren  213 207.0 1907 CHC 28 25 21   7  3 18  7  0 130  42  27 92  84 1.17
37        Rich Gossage  212 141.2 1975 CHW 62  0  0   0 49  9  8 26  99  32  29 70 130 1.84
38       Roger Clemens  211 228.1 1990 BOS 31 31  7   4  0 21  6  0 193  59  49 54 209 1.93
39      Pedro Martinez  211 186.2 2003 BOS 29 29  3   0  0 14  4  0 147  52  46 47 206 2.22
40     Dan Quisenberry  210 139.0 1983 KCR 69  0  0   0 62  5  3 45 118  35  30 11  48 1.94
41         Rich Harden  210 148.0 2008 TOT 25 25  0   0  0 10  2  0  96  38  34 61 181 2.07
42         Ed Reulbach  209 291.2 1905 CHC 34 29 28   5  5 18 14  1 208  71  46 73 152 1.42
43          Ron Guidry  208 273.2 1978 NYY 35 35 16   9  0 25  3  0 187  61  53 72 248 1.74
44   Francisco Liriano  208 121.0 2006 MIN 28 16  0   0  2 12  3  1  89  31  29 32 144 2.16
45         Jack Taylor  206 333.2 1902 CHC 37 34 34   8  3 23 11  1 273  86  48 45  88 1.29
46   Old Hoss Radbourn  205 678.2 1884 PRO 75 73 73  11  2 59 12  2 528 216 104 98 441 1.38
47         Roger Craig  205 152.2 1959 LAD 29 17  7   4  3 11  5  0 122  49  35 45  76 2.06
48        Zack Greinke  205 229.1 2009 KCR 33 33  6   3  0 16  8  0 195  64  55 51 242 2.16
49    Willie Hernandez  204 140.1 1984 DET 80  0  0   0 68  9  3 32  96  30  30 36 112 1.92
50          Addie Joss  204 325.0 1908 CLE 42 35 29   9  6 24 11  2 232  77  42 30 130 1.16
Rk              Player ERA
+    IP Year  Tm  G GS CG SHO GF  W  L SV   H   R  ER BB  SO  ERA
51      Pedro Martinez  202 199.1 2002 BOS 30 30  2   0  0 20  4  0 144  62  50 40 239 2.26
52          Dolf Luque  201 322.0 1923 CIN 41 37 28   6  4 27  8  2 279  90  69 88 151 1.93
53         Dean Chance  200 278.1 1964 LAA 46 35 15  11  7 20  9  4 194  56  51 86 207 1.65
Seasons
/Careers found53. 


This is pitchers with over 120 innings pitched and 200 era+
   25. Greg K Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4251199)
Can anyone do a PI search to see what the best ERA+ was in as many IP as Medlen has? I'd be surprised if its ever been bested.

Best ERA+ for someone throwing between 120 and 140 IP in a season in 283. Medlen's 257 is 3rd on the list. Sadly I'm cheap and don't subscribe so I don't know who the 283 is. Any guesses?

EDIT: Ah I see it was John Hiller.
   26. T.J. Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4251200)
PJ, Maddux, Big Train, and Gibson immediately leapt to mind as soon as I saw #23.
   27. T.J. Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4251204)
I'm gonna say John Hiller! :)
   28. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4251207)
Can anyone do a PI search to see what the best ERA+ was in as many IP as Medlen has? I'd be surprised if its ever been bested.


Top 10 ERA+, >130 IP

Medlen finishes 9th.

Edit: Large, illegal-in-NYC beverage to cardsfanboy
   29. flournoy Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4251208)
But when I see obscenely high era+'s like his, it's clear to me that he isn't pitching deep into the games and getting lit up when he is tired(I call it the Pedro effect)


Since this is completely wrong and easily verifiable, why would you even bother making this post?
   30. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4251214)
Looking at the lists from PI, it reminds me how ####### insanely awesome Pedro 1999/2000 and Maddux 1994/1995 really were.
   31. Rants Mulliniks Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4251217)
Why not, by war, wpa, and era+ with an innings pitched component he belongs in any listing of top five pitcher in the NL.


Funny you cite WPA for Lohse, as Kimbrel and Medlen at 1 and 2 in WPA.
   32. jmurph Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4251224)
Since this is completely wrong and easily verifiable, why would you even bother making this post?


He's completely in the clouds on the subject of Pedro.
   33. cardsfanboy Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4251237)
Funny you cite WPA for Lohse, as Kimbrel and Medlen at 1 and 2 in WPA.


To be honest I hadn't looked at any of the "clutch" stats in a month or so. I would never honestly use those stats for something like Cy Young, but remembered looking at it in the recent past.



   34. T.J. Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4251238)
But when I see obscenely high era+'s like his, it's clear to me that he isn't pitching deep into the games and getting lit up when he is tired(I call it the Pedro effect)

Since this is completely wrong and easily verifiable, why would you even bother making this post?


Incredibly wrong.

1. Pedro pitched 186 IP or more for every season but one from 1995-2005. That's a pretty good run of durability, actually.

2. From July 31-present, when the Braves finally put him in the rotation, Medlen has pitched 83.2 IP in 12 starts, 1/3 IP short of 7 IP per start.

3. If he were "getting lit up when he is tired," wouldn't that be reflected in his ERA? Anyway, in his 12 starts he's given up more than 1 R just twice (2 ER and 3 ER).

EDIT:

4. If he were "getting lit up when he is tired," I would think you'd see that he was being lifted in the middle of innings. He's pitched whole innings in every one of his starts but starts #2 and #3 (unless he's been lifted in the middle of an inning having retired no one; I'm not willing to look at every one of his starts to rule this out).
   35. Rants Mulliniks Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4251254)
FWIW, Medlen has completed a higher percentage of his starts this year than any pitcher not named Verlander.
   36. JJ1986 Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4251263)
But when I see obscenely high era+'s like his, it's clear to me that he isn't pitching deep into the games and getting lit up when he is tired(I call it the Pedro effect)


This is the most puzzling post I've ever read on this site. How does a high ERA+ mean a player is sometimes getting lit up?
   37. flournoy Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4251279)
This is a rather fun split:

                      AVG  OBP  SLG
1st PA in G as SP    .237 .263 .351
2nd PA in G as SP    .152 .184 .172
3rd PA in G as SP    .192 .213 .288
4th+ PA in G as SP   .083 .083 .083


As you can see, Medlen gets lit up as he gets tired.
   38. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: October 02, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4251305)
Medlen has had a great ERA in 138 innings, but does that make a Cy Young Award winner? For that to be valid you have to believe that ERA is a best measure of pitching quality and that guys like Dickey, Gonzalez and even Cliff Lee who've pitched 50% more innings with really good peripherals weren't as good just because their ERA was higher. If you only care about results and not peripherals, I don't see why ERA is a better measure than WPA and Cueto and Lohse become candidates. Medlen is a valid candidate, but just using ERA+ doesn't seem like conclusive proof that he's the right choice.
   39. musial6 Posted: October 02, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4251321)

Why not, by war, wpa, and era+ with an innings pitched component he belongs in any listing of top five pitcher in the NL.


Which is precisely why you shouldn't rely on those metrics exclusively when measuring pitching performance.

Pitchers who pitch deeper into games are more valuable.
   40. cardsfanboy Posted: October 02, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4251343)
Which is precisely why you shouldn't rely on those metrics exclusively when measuring pitching performance.

Pitchers who pitch deeper into games are more valuable.


I absolutely 100% agree, but it's not like Lohse is competing against Koufax, Gibson or even Maddux or Randy for that distinction.

Dickey made it to the 8th inning 12 times, Kershaw 11, Cueto 7, Lohse 5, Medlen 4, Gonzalez 3, Zimmerman 0. That criteria helps Kershaw, but it doesn't hurt Lohse in comparison to the other competitors.

I'm a fan of the quality start, Lohse is tied for third(Kershaw and Zimmermann) in the nl with 24 (Behind Dickey 26, and Gallardo 25)
   41. cardsfanboy Posted: October 02, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4251362)


This is the most puzzling post I've ever read on this site. How does a high ERA+ mean a player is sometimes getting lit up?


Yep, my fault was quickly putting out a comment while playing with my nephew and didn't word it remotely correct.

When I see those high era+, it seems that in the post 80's era, that it's indicative of a pitcher who doesn't frequently pitch in the 8th and 9th inning, avoiding the opportunities to get lit up that plague other pitchers. The most obvious example of this is Roger Clemens 2004/2005. I call it unfairly the Pedro effect due to Pedro not being as good as the other elite pitchers at getting into the eighth inning, but he's better than any other pitcher in his era at getting to the eighth inning.
   42. Sweatpants Posted: October 02, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4251405)
This article/post provides a great counterpoint to an argument I haven't heard anyone make.
In addition to taking advantage of poor hitting teams, Medlen has also experienced some luck since becoming a starter. He has a .255 BABIP (batting average of balls in play) as a starter, which is very low for starting pitchers (by contrast Dickey- .278, Gonzalez- .271, and Cueto- .300) and suggest that Medlen is due for a significant regression to the mean, with .300 being a typical major league average). His career BABIP of .295 has come in a reasonable sized sample of 120 games, and is a better indicator of his true ability.
Since 1980, there have been ten seasons in which a pitcher has qualified for the ERA title with an ERA under 2.00. Roger Clemens in 1990 was able to pull it off in 1990 with a BABIP of .292. Of the other nine, none had a BABIP over .263. An ERA under two pretty much ALWAYS means there's some luck involved.

But look at who the pitchers who did it were - Nolan Ryan, Dwight Gooden, John Tudor, Clemens twice, Maddux twice, Pedro Martinez twice, and Kevin Brown. The worst pitcher on the list is John Tudor, who had a really good career. Dwight Gooden is generally considered a guy who lost a Hall of Fame career because of substance issues and misuse. Everyone else is a HoF-caliber player. None of these guys was a true-talent 1.99-ERA pitcher, but there haven't been any of those since the deadball era. There isn't really any point in saying that a guy's performance is unsustainable when he has an ERA under two.

Medlen's issue isn't that his peripherals are masking a mediocre or merely good performance; his FIP would lead the league if he were qualified (are there qualifications for the FIP title?). It's the "if he were qualified" part that drops him behind the other candidates. The author does make a good point about who Medlen's opponents have been, but I don't think that citing Medlen's BABIP provides any useful information about how he's pitched this season.
   43. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 02, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4251417)
This is the most puzzling post I've ever read on this site.


Where have you gone, battlefob? BTF turns its lonely eyes to you.
   44. flournoy Posted: October 02, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4251421)
When I see those high era+, it seems that in the post 80's era, that it's indicative of a pitcher who doesn't frequently pitch in the 8th and 9th inning, avoiding the opportunities to get lit up that plague other pitchers.


So who are the pitchers who have pitched more frequently than Medlen to the eighth inning or beyond since Medlen joined the rotation?
   45. PreservedFish Posted: October 02, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4251431)
It seems like cardsfanboy is taking a little tidbit about Pedro vs Clemens or Randy Johnson and extrapolating it into a league-wide trend.
   46. flournoy Posted: October 02, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4251440)
Or perhaps he dreads Medlen starting the Wild Card Game and is inventing reasons why Medlen hasn't been quite that good.
   47. cardsfanboy Posted: October 02, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4251446)
So who are the pitchers who have pitched more frequently than Medlen to the eighth inning or beyond since Medlen joined the rotation?


None really, my knock against Medlen is nothing that is his fault. He just doesn't have enough innings. Yes he had a couple of games where he was pulled without allowing a run, but for the most part once he established himself as a starter, he has been used well.


   48. GuyM Posted: October 02, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4251447)
Since 1980, there have been ten seasons in which a pitcher has qualified for the ERA title with an ERA under 2.00. Roger Clemens in 1990 was able to pull it off in 1990 with a BABIP of .292. Of the other nine, none had a BABIP over .263. An ERA under two pretty much ALWAYS means there's some luck involved. But look at who the pitchers who did it were - Nolan Ryan, Dwight Gooden, John Tudor, Clemens twice, Maddux twice, Pedro Martinez twice, and Kevin Brown.

You're seeing two different factors in these results. One is that, even with a low BABIP, you need good "FIP skills" to break 2.00 -- so mostly it's good K/BB/HR pitchers who make the list. But it's also true that pitchers do vary to a non-trivial degree in their BABIP skill. Tudor, Clemens, Maddux and Pedro were all above average in preventing hits on BIP (I don't remember the #s for Gooden and Brown), and that skill was a significant part of what made them great pitchers. When these guys posted very low BABIPs, they were getting a bit lucky that year -- but they were already starting from a low level.
   49. cardsfanboy Posted: October 02, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4251453)
Or perhaps he dreads Medlen starting the Wild Card Game and is inventing reasons why Medlen hasn't been quite that good.


Nope, Medlen has been that good, although I usually prefer to not even begin evaluating a young starting pitcher until their 14th game started in a season, but in Medlen's case he didn't have the hiccup that seems to often happen to a young pitcher after their 6th-11th start so he's probably a definite exception that that general rule (that I have)

Or perhaps he dreads Medlen starting the Wild Card Game and is inventing reasons why Medlen hasn't been quite that good.


I never, ever care about the pitcher that the Cardinals is facing in the playoffs. I have seen enough to know that it really doesn't matter how good or bad they are, randomness is accentuated in the post season and anything can happen, fretting or predicting based upon the quality of one player is utterly ridiculous.
   50. vivaelpujols Posted: October 02, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4251495)
A .255 BABIP isn't very out of the ordinary for a really good pitcher in the middle of a hot streak. I wouldn't hold that against Medlen.

But for those willing to dismiss BABIP and DIPS completely in Cy Young voting, do you think Kyle Lohse is as strong a candidate as Cole Hamels? Lohse actually has a lower ERA.
   51. Sweatpants Posted: October 02, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4251538)
Tudor, Clemens, Maddux and Pedro were all above average in preventing hits on BIP (I don't remember the #s for Gooden and Brown), and that skill was a significant part of what made them great pitchers. When these guys posted very low BABIPs, they were getting a bit lucky that year -- but they were already starting from a low level.
Huh - I didn't know that about Pedro or Clemens. I mean, I knew there were guys who could consistently keep BABIP low, but I wasn't aware that either of those guys was among them.
   52. Barnaby Jones Posted: October 02, 2012 at 10:40 PM (#4251903)
But for those willing to dismiss BABIP and DIPS completely in Cy Young voting, do you think Kyle Lohse is as strong a candidate as Cole Hamels? Lohse actually has a lower ERA.


I don't dismiss it completely; for instance, I feel very confident that Jorge Sosa circa 2005 was succeeding through voodoo rather than skill.

That said, the CY case for those two pitchers is pretty similar (and basically non-existent for either, mind you). Even the FIP-based fWAR has them at less than 1 WAR apart, and their FIP delta is ~.20. This seems like a pretty bad example to plant a FIP flag on.

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