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Monday, April 08, 2013

Sunday wasn’t a good day to be one of baseball’s best pitchers

I can almost kiss my “Those Nasty Coelom Diploblasters” fantasy team goodbye…

Sunday wasn’t a good day to be an ace pitcher in Major League Baseball — with a few exceptions, like C.C. Sabathia, who led his New York Yankees to a 7-0 win over Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers. Verlander didn’t look as bad as the score indicates either, giving up three earned runs in 7 1/3 innings. Some of Verlander’s fellow frontline starters can’t say the same.

Let’s check the scorecard:

• David Price: Eight earned runs in five innings, as the Cleveland Indians beat the Rays 13-0.

• Cole Hamels: Eight earned in five 1/3 innings in the Philadelphia Phillies 9-8 loss to the Kansas City Royals.

• R.A. Dickey: As we’ve already documented, he got abused by the Boston Red Sox, for seven earned runs in four and 2/3 innings. The Toronto Blue Jays lost 13-0.

• Matt Cain: Gave up nine earned runs — all in the fourth inning — as the St. Louis Cardinals spoiled the day the San Francisco Giants put on their World Series rings. The final score was 14-3.

Even Stephen Strasburg, who looked impeccable in his first start of the season for the Washington Nationals, gave up six earned runs against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. That wasn’t as much as some of the others above, but it was a career-high for Strasburg.

Johnny Cueto, the Reds ace, was another who found immunity on Beat-Up-an-Ace Day. He surrendered only three runs in the Reds’ 6-3 win.

Repoz Posted: April 08, 2013 at 06:03 AM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: fred talbots

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   1. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller Posted: April 08, 2013 at 08:38 AM (#4407274)
I don't know...Chris Sale had a pretty acceptable game
   2. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: April 08, 2013 at 09:41 AM (#4407311)
Tim Hudson did fine. Maybe the author should reset his style/substance meter.
   3. cardsfanboy Posted: April 08, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4407322)
Adam Wainwright says "hi"....Or is he not considered an ace?
   4. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: April 08, 2013 at 10:18 AM (#4407329)
Yeah. And of course, there was Aaron Laffey...oh, wait...
   5. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 08, 2013 at 10:38 AM (#4407348)
Strasburg didn't get much help from his defense. his second baseman made some misplays, his first baseman dropped a ball, Zimmerman stopped a hot shot but then couldn't make a throw.

sure he gave up some real hits and also walked some guys but with a bit better hands out there Strasburg gives up fewer runs yesterday.
   6. The Ghost is getting a Woody Posted: April 08, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4407386)
Thank goodness Felix The King pitched Saturday. Oh, but he lost, too. Never mind.
   7. dr. scott Posted: April 08, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4407416)
Thing is just about everyone's ace pitched yesterday. Half of hem had to lose, so they might as well lose spectacularly.
   8. Mayor Blomberg Posted: April 08, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4407425)
I guess since CC's lost his fastball and is no longer elite his 7 shutout innings doesn't enter the discussion.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: April 08, 2013 at 11:46 AM (#4407432)
I guess since CC's lost his fastball and is no longer elite his 7 shutout innings doesn't enter the discussion.


He's in the lede.

I think some of you guys are making a little too much of this. It's a rundown of major league action, noting that a half-dozen or so aces got roughed up yesterday. It's not predicting anything or noting any large-scale trends.
   10. DA Baracus Posted: April 08, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4407435)
There was an awesome slate of pitching matchups yesterday, then half the league scored 5 runs or more That's worth an article on a content blog.
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: April 08, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4407453)
There was an awesome slate of pitching matchups yesterday, then half the league scored 5 runs or more That's worth an article on a content blog.


The average team scored more than 5.25 runs yesterday... By my count there were close to a dozen ace level pitchers pitching (Sabathia, Verlander, Wainwright, Cain, Cueto, Dickey, Lester, Strasburg, Hamels, Weaver, Sale ...with arguments for Darvish, Anderson, and Chacin to be included...apologies to Tim Hudson, Iwakuma) it was a notable day and it didn't go according to book for a few of those matchups.

   12. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: April 08, 2013 at 12:30 PM (#4407477)
I'm starting to feel really bad for the Astros and their fans. They're now 1-5, are scoring less than 3 runs a game, and giving up 6.
   13. silhouetted by the sea Posted: April 08, 2013 at 12:45 PM (#4407491)
I'm starting to feel really bad for the Astros and their fans. They're now 1-5, are scoring less than 3 runs a game, and giving up 6.

The Mets fans I know are getting very nervous about the Astros.
   14. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: April 08, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4407498)
Tim hudson is #8 among active players in career era+. 122 last year, and his last year below 100 was in 2006.
   15. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller Posted: April 08, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4407499)
There was an awesome slate of pitching matchups yesterday, then half the league scored 5 runs or more That's worth an article on a content blog.


I just wish he would have mentioned my team's "one of the best pitchers in baseball" rather than just not mention him whatsoever. Even if Sale is a potential fluke, he's no more of one than RA Dickey.
   16. cardsfanboy Posted: April 08, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4407549)
Tim hudson is #8 among active players in career era+. 122 last year, and his last year below 100 was in 2006.


And I was very much tempted to make him my dark horse pick for Cy Young this year... but he is closer to what I would call a number two as of right now, instead of an ace. It might be splitting hairs, I know, which is why I issued the apology. I wouldn't have a problem with someone calling him an ace, just not sure I think of him as one right now.
   17. zonk Posted: April 08, 2013 at 01:46 PM (#4407556)
...and Jeff Samardzija - struck out 13, but gave up 4 BBs and 4 runs in just 5 2/3.
   18. jdennis Posted: April 08, 2013 at 02:46 PM (#4407636)
they were all awesome opening day, they all sucked the second game. except Hudson, who was the opposite. and yu darvish, who's the 2.

huddy about to get #200! will he beat halladay?
   19. Walt Davis Posted: April 08, 2013 at 06:07 PM (#4407871)
As good a time as any to have another "ace" discussion.

Over the last 3 seasons, Hudson has 622 IP and a 122 ERA+. On the one hand, that's only #21 among pitchers with 300+ IP from 2010-12. On the other hand, Cain got an ace shoutout and he's just at 664, 123. Hudson is 37 now and possibly trending the wrong way and, on the third hand, nobody below Hudson is being called out as an "ace".

There aren't any obvious breakpoints. The difference between #13 (Dickey, 129 ERA+) and #23 (Kuroda 120) is basically the same as the gap between #23 and #33 (Lester 112). Possibly you start to see more clustering once you're below 130 ... 2 at 126, 2 at 124, 2 at 123, 2 at 122 ... which suggests less differentiation (and therefore less "specialness").

That's quality of outcome. b-r still doesn't have any FIP-type measure (at least in P-I) so I tried game score for grins. This does look very ace-ish: Kerhsaw and Verlander tied at the top (62.4) followed by Lee, Weaver, Halladay, Felix, Hamels, Cain and Price all at 59 and above. I'm pretty sure most of us would name those in our top 12 or so. There is clear clustering as you move down ... there are 10 pitchers between 55.1 and 56 (#17). This suggests a GS cutoff around 57 for an ace which would give s 15 of them with Dickey, Gio and Latos being on the bottom of the ace list. Josh Johnson, Wainwright and CC round out the top 15. Guys like Cueto, Bumgarner, Hellickson and, yes, Hudson are the top of the non-ace list.

All of that ignores quantity. WAR leads to much the same conclusion. Wainwright drops out due to injury although amazingly Josh Johnson does not (13 WAR in 435 IP?). The "obvious" cutoff seems to be between 12 and 13 but that seems too high ... it leaves us with 12 aces with Dickey and Gio in and Cain out. But the guys just below Cain in WAR are Kuroda, Cueto and Buehrle. There is a sizable gap between Buehrle (11.4 WAR) and Lester (10.3) so 11 is another possible cutpoint if you can live with Kuroda and Buehrle as "aces."

As always, the list of guys who give you quantity and outstanding quality are few and far between.
   20. cardsfanboy Posted: April 08, 2013 at 06:21 PM (#4407892)
Over the last 3 seasons, Hudson has 622 IP and a 122 ERA+. On the one hand, that's only #21 among pitchers with 300+ IP from 2010-12. On the other hand, Cain got an ace shoutout and he's just at 664, 123. Hudson is 37 now and possibly trending the wrong way and, on the third hand, nobody below Hudson is being called out as an "ace".


His age and his last season are the only reason I didn't list him as an ace. His last three years of era+ in order has been 138/119/109... that looks like a trend. Again if you want to call him an ace, I'm not really objecting, just giving the reasons why I didn't list him as 'ace' in my original comment.

Heck I had to be convinced a few weeks ago to consider Wainwright an ace. I just do not feel comfortable calling someone who last season posted an era+ of 97 last season as an ace, but since he is a Cardinal and non-Cardinal fans bothered to convince me that I should consider him an ace, I do. I wouldn't have a problem with removing him from the ace list either.



There aren't any obvious breakpoints. The difference between #13 (Dickey, 129 ERA+) and #23 (Kuroda 120) is basically the same as the gap between #23 and #33 (Lester 112). Possibly you start to see more clustering once you're below 130 ... 2 at 126, 2 at 124, 2 at 123, 2 at 122 ... which suggests less differentiation (and therefore less "specialness").


I probably would consider everyone (including) above Kuroda to be an ace. Roughly speaking I look at top 20 era+ with over 500 ip in the previous three seasons as a basic benchmark for ace. I think of an ace as a top 30 pitcher, and try to leave a gap for guys like Strasburg who wouldn't make the initial listing, but who obviously belong. Ultimately I try to think of ace as the 30 most likely best pitchers in the upcoming season(based upon ip, games started, and era+ ----games started because I think of an ace as a guy who doesn't miss a turn in the rotation, so I look for guys who will get 29+ starts a season)


As always, the list of guys who give you quantity and outstanding quality are few and far between.


Agree, and the definition of good is a lot lower than the average fan thinks.
   21. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: April 08, 2013 at 06:34 PM (#4407906)
Doesn't game score inflate the records of strikeout pitchers though? So wouldn't it overlook the dominance of someone like hudson, who is a huge groundball out pitcher?

For instance, jeff smardziajajajaja had a game score of 70 yesterday, in a medicocre effort, and hudson, who gave up 1 run over 6.2, only had a game score of 75.

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