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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Yankees Now Have a Second Ace | FanGraphs Baseball

He’s has ace stuff but can a guy who can’t be counted on to throw even 160 innings really be an ace?

Jim Furtado Posted: November 21, 2018 at 05:49 AM | 70 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: james paxton, yankees

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   1. Blastin Posted: November 21, 2018 at 08:36 AM (#5789922)
Yes, because he's one of the 20-30 best starting pitchers in MLB. That's it.

This nonsense about BULLDOG 330 INNING MAN is dumb. Be smarter.

We can say what we want about the game, but starters don't throw a ton of innings anymore.


   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 09:16 AM (#5789929)
Yes, because he's one of the 20-30 best starting pitchers in MLB. That's it.

This nonsense about BULLDOG 330 INNING MAN is dumb. Be smarter.

We can say what we want about the game, but starters don't throw a ton of innings anymore.


Agree 100%.

The problem is that people want an ace to match the standards of the past, and the present. They want a guy to throw 250 IP, but also K >10/9 IP, and walk <2/9 IP.

If a guy was putting up "ace" seasons from the 70's and 80's, with 250 IP, 6 K/9, 3 BB/9, and 9 H/9, they'd say he wasn't an ace b/c of his peripherals.
   3. Rally Posted: November 21, 2018 at 09:32 AM (#5789933)
This nonsense about BULLDOG 330 INNING MAN is dumb. Be smarter.


Buzzie Bavasi was mocked in Anaheim when he let Nolan Ryan leave for the Astros. He said something like "I can replace him with 2 pitchers who go 8-7."

I guess he was just a man ahead of his time.

They want a guy to throw 250 IP, but also K >10/9 IP, and walk <2/9 IP.


Out of curiosity, I put those stats into the play index to see who (if anyone) qualifies. 2 pitchers, 3 seasons.

Koufax in 1965, Schilling in 2001-02.
   4. Blastin Posted: November 21, 2018 at 09:40 AM (#5789936)
If a guy was putting up "ace" seasons from the 70's and 80's, with 250 IP, 6 K/9, 3 BB/9, and 9 H/9, they'd say he wasn't an ace b/c of his peripherals.


I bet some of these guys could do that, they'd just have 4.3 ERAs because people would hit the ball HARD.

I mean, James Shields still throws a lot of innings (he threw 204 this past year). They're not good innings. But they are plentiful.
   5. JL72 Posted: November 21, 2018 at 09:53 AM (#5789942)
The problem is that people want an ace to match the standards of the past, and the present. They want a guy to throw 250 IP, but also K >10/9 IP, and walk <2/9 IP.


No one (who is reasonable) expects that stat line. But questioning whether a guy is an ace when his top IP in a season is 160.1, his top ERA+ is 140 (in a season with 136 IP) and his top WAR is 3.8 does not seem unreasonable.

He seems talented and may be able to turn into one, but nothing he has done so far screams that he is an ace, let alone an unquestioned one.
   6. Blastin Posted: November 21, 2018 at 09:58 AM (#5789943)
So what is an ace?

By OTHER metrics (ie peripherals incl FIP, xFIP, K-BB%, etc), he's in the 95th to 97th percentile among starting pitchers.

None of this is a guarantee of future immortality, but the point of peripherals is they're more predictive than ERA-based stats.

   7. jmurph Posted: November 21, 2018 at 09:58 AM (#5789944)
I think you guys (Blastin, snapper) are largely right, but he was tied for 61st in innings this year, 94th last year, 117th the year before. A. you're acting like no one throws more than 160 anymore and B. Paxton, specifically, is no one's idea of a horse. I don't think it's unfair to point that out.
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: November 21, 2018 at 09:58 AM (#5789947)
He seems talented and may be able to turn into one, but nothing he has done so far screams that he is an ace, let alone an unquestioned one.


That's how I see it. Then again, I probably have a stricter definition of ace than some. I think you can say there are 30 No. 1 starters in the game at a given time, but that doesn't mean there are necessarily 30 aces.

   9. Blastin Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:00 AM (#5789948)
He is absolutely not a workhorse, fully agreed on that aspect.
   10. jmurph Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:02 AM (#5789949)
That's how I see it. Then again, I probably have a stricter definition of ace than some. I think you can say there are 30 No. 1 starters in the game at a given time, but that doesn't mean there are necessarily 30 aces.

This is where I am, too. And this has nothing to do with Paxton, I genuinely have never looked at his numbers prior to today! And either way, he seems like a great pickup for the Yankees.
   11. JL72 Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:05 AM (#5789951)
None of this is a guarantee of future immortality, but the point of peripherals is they're more predictive than ERA-based stats.


That is all well and good, but if he isn't pitching, those peripherals are meaningless. And when a guy who at 29 has a max of 160.1 IP (which is his highest by 24 IP) and a max of 28 starts, I don't think questioning whether he is an ace is unreasonable.

He definitely has talent, and may turn into one, but I don't see it now.
   12. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:06 AM (#5789952)
A lot hinges on what you want to call "ace." I'm in the camp that says there aren't 30 Aces at any one time. I also think saying with any certainty that Paxton is one of the 20-30 best pitchers in baseball is a bit of a reach. He could be but I don't think he's definitively above the line on that one.

None of which is to say this is a bad move for the Yankees. He's a good pitcher and adding him helps them.
   13. BrianBrianson Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:08 AM (#5789954)
The guy lead the majors in complete games and shutouts last year, and you're criticising him for not being a durable ace?!
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:09 AM (#5789955)
He is absolutely not a workhorse, fully agreed on that aspect.

Concur.

That is all well and good, but if he isn't pitching, those peripherals are meaningless. And when a guy who at 29 has a max of 160.1 IP (which is his highest by 24 IP) and a max of 28 starts, I don't think questioning whether he is an ace is unreasonable.

As long as he's pitching the first week in October, the Yankees probably don't care much whether he throws 130 IP or 180 IP.

That's how I see it. Then again, I probably have a stricter definition of ace than some. I think you can say there are 30 No. 1 starters in the game at a given time, but that doesn't mean there are necessarily 30 aces.

That's reasonable, but you'd have to set the bar at ~10-15 aces in all of MLB to exclude Paxton.

My personal test is, how do you feel if "X" is starting G1 of a playoff series for you. If you feel really, really good about it, he's an ace.
   15. jmurph Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:23 AM (#5789961)
That's reasonable, but you'd have to set the bar at ~10-15 aces in all of MLB to exclude Paxton.

Huh? When has he been this good?
   16. Blastin Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5789963)
As long as he's pitching the first week in October, the Yankees probably don't care much whether he throws 130 IP or 180 IP.

Yep.
   17. Nasty Nate Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:32 AM (#5789966)
For what it's worth, the Bill James SP rankings have him at exactly #30 right now.
   18. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:33 AM (#5789967)
As long as he's pitching the first week in October, the Yankees probably don't care much whether he throws 130 IP or 180 IP.

The more important points are

---How much eventual strain does having quick-departing starters place on the bullpen?

---How deep a bullpen do you need to acquire in order to replace those missing starter innings with consistently high quality mid-inning performances?

---And how many non-pitcher roster spots do you have to give up in order to provide a deep enough bullpen?

It's an unacknowledged whack-a-mole problem that having a staff of 5-inning starters contributes to mightily, often leaving the bench bereft of necessary strategic replacements in the late innings of a game.
   19. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:34 AM (#5789968)
The guy lead the majors in complete games and shutouts last year, and you're criticising him for not being a durable ace?!


LOL.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:39 AM (#5789970)
The more important points are

---How much eventual strain does having quick-departing starters place on the bullpen?

---How deep a bullpen do you need to acquire in order to replace those missing starter innings with consistently high quality mid-inning performances?

---And how many non-pitcher roster spots do you have to give up in order to provide a deep enough bullpen?

It's an unacknowledged whack-a-mole problem that having a staff of 5-inning starters contributes to mightily, often leaving the bench bereft of necessary strategic replacements in the late innings of a game.


That's the reality for every team in MLB. It's not a problem, it's modern baseball. There are only about 15 pitchers in MLB that teams even want pitching past the 6th inning in close games.
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:43 AM (#5789974)
Huh? When has he been this good?

The last 2 years Paxton has been 13th in total fWar and 24th in bWar.

Per the article, he ranks in the 80th of better percentile for all the important peripherals. He's in the 90th percentile or better for velocity, K%, FIP-, xFIP-, K%-BB%, and xwOBA.

He's really, really good.
   22. jmurph Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:48 AM (#5789979)
So probably not 10-15, then? The other guys in the top 10 in xFIP this year all threw a minimum of 30 more innings than he did.
   23. Avoid Running At All Times- S. Paige Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:57 AM (#5789983)
As long as he's pitching the first week in October, the Yankees probably don't care much whether he throws 130 IP or 180 IP.


Maybe I'm being obtuse here but the fact that he's pitched a max of 160 innings suggests he's less likely to pitch in October?
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:59 AM (#5789985)
So probably not 10-15, then? The other guys in the top 10 in xFIP this year all threw a minimum of 30 more innings than he did.

Probably not top-10, but probably 13-17.

Steamer projects him as #11 in fWar and #12 in RA-9 War for 2019.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 11:01 AM (#5789986)
Maybe I'm being obtuse here but the fact that he's pitched a max of 160 innings suggests he's less likely to pitch in October?

To some degree, sure. But they can manage to that by resting him in season. Paxton's injuries have been somewhat random, and mostly not arm related. A couple of them were getting hit by liners.
   26. bbmck Posted: November 21, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5789991)
7+ IP and 0-2 ER in 2018, teams went 556-183, pitchers went 479-81 and 179 ND. Max Scherzer and Dylan Bundy each had a 9IP, 3ER Win, Chris Sale had a 9IP, 3ER ND and team loss. 2 of those aren't starts because of Rays reliever shenanigans as well as 1 relief appearance when Eddie Butler pitches the 10th-17th for the Cubs. If you want to go the bulldog route for Ace, 7IP is about the highest benchmark you can set.

18 of 32 Jacob deGrom
15 of 33 Max Scherzer
14 of 33 Corey Kluber
13 of 33 Aaron Nola

12 of 33 German Marquez
12 of 32 Jose Berrios
11 of 32 Reynaldo Lopez
11 of 32 Miles Mikolas
11 of 30 Carlos Carrasco

10 of 34 Justin Verlander
10 of 33 Kyle Hendricks
10 of 29 Zack Wheeler

9 of 32 Jameson Taillon
9 of 31 Jon Gray
9 of 31 Mike Leake
9 of 30 Tanner Roark
9 of 27 Trevor Bauer
9 of 27 Sean Manaea
9 of 27 Chris Sale

8 of 34 Dallas Keuchel
8 of 33 Kyle Freeland
8 of 32 Kyle Gibson
8 of 32 Luis Severino
8 of 31 Jake Arrieta
8 of 30 David Price
8 of 28 James Paxton
8 of 26 Clayton Kershaw

AL is higher scoring, NL means you need to get past your lineup spot, various homefields, various bullpens, is it better to do this more frequently or have more starts to be considered an Ace, unbalanced schedules and whatever other factors but that's fundamentally what you want out of your Ace. Those are all decent or better candidates if you want to set the bar at an average of one Ace per team.

Without additionally checking for 9IP and 3ER deGrom is the most since:

20 of 32 Zack Greinke 2015 Cy-2
23 of 34 Felix Hernandez 2014 Cy-2
24 of 35 Randy Johnson 2002 Cy-1
25 of 35 Randy Johnson 1999 Cy-1
26 of 40 Andy Messersmith 1975 Cy-5
26 of 38 Jim Palmer 1975 Cy-1
27 of 36 Tom Seaver 1973 Cy-1
28 of 49 Wilbur Wood 1972 Cy-2
28 of 40 Gaylord Perry 1972 Cy-1
30 of 41 Sandy Koufax 1966 Cy-1
35 of 45 Pete Alexander 1916

Recent Hall of Fame inductee Jack Morris topped out at 17 games of 7+ IP and 0-2 ER partly because he would most likely pitch the 8th in that situation (37 of those 51 are CG) and partly because he would give up a 3rd run. While all 27 pitchers combined for 18 CG in those 7+ IP and 0-2 ER starts in 2018.
   27. DCA Posted: November 21, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5790005)
Toward the end of the last Paxton thread I proposed an ace definition "if this guy is going for your team, he's usually clearly better than any pitcher that your opponent could start against him" and an exercise to identify the best SP on every team, rank them, determine the #16 and then list all the SP who are clearly better than him. Those are the aces. Today I did that.

Picking each team's best pitcher based on end of 2018 rosters (subjective, usually very easy, occasionally a close call), I could identify a clear top 11, bottom 12, and middle 7.

The top 11, in no particular order: Sale, Severino, Snell, Kluber, Verlander, Scherzer, Nola, DeGrom, Kershaw, Greinke, Bumgarner.

The middle 7, my ordering: Freeland, Hendricks, Taillon, Foltynewicz, Berrios, Carlos Martinez, Paxton. I guess that makes Berrios #16.

The bottom 12, for completeness, again in no particular order: Fulmer, Rey Lopez, Duffy, Heaney, Urena, Chase Anderson, Stroman, Cobb, Manaea, Minor, Luis Castillo, Lucchesi.

Additional guys clearly better than Folty/Berrios/Martinez (but not the best on their team), in no particular order: Bauer, Carrasco, Cole, maybe Keuchel, Thor, maybe Corbin, maybe Strasburg, maybe Price. Buehler and Ohtani flashed ability but I think its too soon. Darvish and Cueto would be, if not for injury, and might be again.

So here are my aces: Sale, Severino, Snell, Kluber, Verlander, Scherzer, Nola, DeGrom, Kershaw, Greinke, Bumgarner, Bauer, Carrasco, Cole, Thor. That's 15.

And here are guys that I wouldn't call aces at the moment but I wouldn't complain if you did: Freeland, Hendricks, Taillon, Keuchel, Corbin, Strasburg, Price, Buehler, Ohtani, Darvish, Cueto. That's another 11 guys.
   28. Greg Pope Posted: November 21, 2018 at 11:27 AM (#5790008)
Cross posting from the other Paxton thread.

I don't see "ace" as being top 30. An Ace is a guy you would be fine starting game 1 of the World Series. That's a fan's definition. Probably pretty similar to DCA's definition, but not really tied to a number. I'd guess there are usually 10-15 aces in MLB at any given time. With the fact that some teams have more than one, that means that more than half of MLB doesn't have an Ace. Which I'm fine with.
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 11:33 AM (#5790011)
I don't see "ace" as being top 30. An Ace is a guy you would be fine starting game 1 of the World Series. That's a fan's definition.

I'm fine with that definition. That makes Paxton an ace in my book.

So here are my aces: Sale, Severino, Snell, Kluber, Verlander, Scherzer, Nola, DeGrom, Kershaw, Greinke, Bumgarner, Bauer, Carrasco, Cole, Thor. That's 15.

Snell has one good year. Syndergaard has been more injury prone than Paxton. I don't see how they make the cut and Paxton doesn't.

Freeland, Hendricks, Taillon, Keuchel, Corbin, Strasburg, Price, Buehler, Ohtani, Darvish, Cueto.

You're not even including Paxton here?

Ohtani and Darvish may not even pitch next year?
   30. DCA Posted: November 21, 2018 at 11:46 AM (#5790020)
Snell has one good year.

One great year. Better than anything Paxton has done. And more innings. Snell has started 31 games each of the last 3 years across MLB/minors, Paxton did that once ever, in 2016.

Syndergaard has been more injury prone than Paxton.

Syndergaard has 3 of 4 years in the majors with at least 150 IP (Paxton last year was the first time). Thor isn't particularly durable but he's only missed major time once. And he's been much better than Paxton when he takes the mound.

You're not even including Paxton here?

Ohtani and Darvish may not even pitch next year?


And Cueto certainly won't. But all have proven dominance in their track record that Paxton doesn't. They only have to return to health at established level of performance (granted, that may not happen).
   31. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 21, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5790024)
Potential Ace - he has to do it in pinstripes to be remembered as an actual one.
   32. Blastin Posted: November 21, 2018 at 11:53 AM (#5790026)
a staff of 5-inning starters contributes to mightily


Who are these teams that have many starters that last 7 innings?

You're not wrong, but it's a "problem" if it is relative to other (good) teams.
   33. Blastin Posted: November 21, 2018 at 11:58 AM (#5790029)
Freeland, Hendricks, Taillon, Keuchel, Corbin, Strasburg, Price, Buehler, Ohtani, Darvish, Cueto.


My lord, no. I would take..... maybe Hendricks and Strasburg definitively over Paxton for 2019. I'd put Buehler alongside him.

Ohtani is better, sure, but, 2019 is not going to feature any pitching from him.
   34. Avoid Running At All Times- S. Paige Posted: November 21, 2018 at 12:05 PM (#5790034)
maybe Hendricks and Strasburg definitively over Paxton for 2019


Hendricks? I have to look at the stats but my instinct is I'd be pissed if the Yanks had traded that prospect package for him and I'm totally fine with it for Paxton. Maybe I'm underrating Hendricks but the eyeball test makes me think of him a solid 2/3 type.
   35. Blastin Posted: November 21, 2018 at 12:06 PM (#5790035)
Hendricks has a few strong years. But I wouldn't have wanted to trade for him either.
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 12:06 PM (#5790036)
Potential Ace - he has to do it in pinstripes to be remembered as an actual one.

BS. Can we please drop the faux-exceptionalism? It's a bad look.
   37. Blastin Posted: November 21, 2018 at 12:12 PM (#5790040)
Yeah, it's dumb.
   38. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 21, 2018 at 12:28 PM (#5790050)
BS. Can we please drop the faux-exceptionalism? It's a bad look.

It's not a matter of Paxton being Ace-like for the Yankees specifically, but doing it at this stage of his career. As the differing opinions in this thread show, Paxton had some good but not overwhelming years in Seattle, with not that many innings. If he doesn't do well now, he will remembered as a guy who had a few pretty good years, but no ace.
   39. BrianBrianson Posted: November 21, 2018 at 12:40 PM (#5790052)
An Ace is a guy you would be fine starting game 1 of the World Series. That's a fan's definition.


Again, Paxton lead all of the majors in complete games and shutouts last year. Who wouldn't be fine with him starting game one of the World Series?
   40. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 12:46 PM (#5790056)
It's not a matter of Paxton being Ace-like for the Yankees specifically, but doing it at this stage of his career. As the differing opinions in this thread show, Paxton had some good but not overwhelming years in Seattle, with not that many innings. If he doesn't do well now, he will remembered as a guy who had a few pretty good years, but no ace.

He could flop in NY, get traded, and pitch great elsewhere. Pitchers emerging in their 30's is nothing new.
   41. Nasty Nate Posted: November 21, 2018 at 12:48 PM (#5790057)
COUNT THE PINSTRIPEZ!
   42. Hysterical & Useless Posted: November 21, 2018 at 12:52 PM (#5790060)
Who wouldn't be fine with him starting game one of the World Series?


Everybody who's not a Yankee fan.
   43. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 12:56 PM (#5790061)
Everybody who's not a Yankee fan.

Plus two Yankee fans (me and Blastin).
   44. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: November 21, 2018 at 12:57 PM (#5790062)

Hendricks? I have to look at the stats but my instinct is I'd be pissed if the Yanks had traded that prospect package for him and I'm totally fine with it for Paxton. Maybe I'm underrating Hendricks but the eyeball test makes me think of him a solid 2/3 type.


Yeah you're underratingg Hendricks here. The last three years;

2016 - 190 IP, 196 ERA+/Paxton 121/107
2017 - 139.2 IP, 145 ERA+/ Paxton 136/140
2018 - 199 IP, 125 ERA+/Paxton 160.1/108

And Hendricks is two years younger.
   45. SoSH U at work Posted: November 21, 2018 at 12:59 PM (#5790064)
Plus two Yankee fans (me and Blastin).


You misunderstood.

And for the record Clapper, I interpreted your original comment to mean that he needed to pitch like an ace now to be considered one, rather than anything Yankee specific.
   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 01:00 PM (#5790067)
Everybody who's not a Yankee fan.

Plus two Yankee fans (me and Blastin).

You misunderstood.

I'm confused. That reply was to Hysterical, not you.
   47. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 21, 2018 at 01:02 PM (#5790069)
He could flop in NY, get traded, and pitch great elsewhere. Pitchers emerging in their 30's is nothing new.

That would make Paxton, at best, an eventual late-blooming ace. He's still just a potential ace now. One season with barely over 160 innings & a 3.76 ERA is a bit less than ace-like, IMHO, although his 24-start 2017 season is a bit better. There's certainly a chance that he's more consistent & durable going forward, but at age-30, he doesn't have that much time left to assume the ace mantle. There's a lot of potential upside to the trade, but right now Paxton is more like a pitcher who has had some great games than a true ace. Being a #1 quality starter on a playoff contender would do a lot to change that perception, which was the point in #31.
   48. SoSH U at work Posted: November 21, 2018 at 01:04 PM (#5790071)
I'm confused. That reply was to Hysterical, not you.


I know. He said non-Yankee fans wouldn't be happy with Paxton starting Game 1 World Series (presumably because that would mean the Yankees were in the World Series).

You and Blastin, in contrast, would be quite comfortable with that (both the fact that it was him starting, and obviously that the Pinstripers were there).
   49. Belfry Bob Posted: November 21, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5790076)
Doesn't matter whether or not he's an 'ace' if he's not a True Yankee.
   50. Khrushin it bro Posted: November 21, 2018 at 01:38 PM (#5790081)
It will be interesting to see his high flyball tendencies in NYS. He's got the stuff and K rate to be good but needs to stay healthy all year. He had a high HR/9 last year but not the two years before. Could be a big trade for both organizations over the next few years. Sheffield has some control issues but is a good prospect.

I think potential ace is a good description. Having him and Severino at the top of the rotation is pretty strong.
   51. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 01:41 PM (#5790088)
It will be interesting to see his high flyball tendencies in NYS.

Being a LHP is going to help a bunch. If he was righty, I'd be very worried.
   52. Khrushin it bro Posted: November 21, 2018 at 01:47 PM (#5790091)
According to this site Yankee stadium is a better place to hit as a right handed batter. The HR factor is lower at 1.22 for RH batters and 1.33 for LH batters. I don't think he's doomed or anything but that stadium is tougher to pitch in than Seattle for sure.
   53. Blastin Posted: November 21, 2018 at 02:04 PM (#5790100)
I am okay with potential ace, I suppose, at the least, though to me it would be more "he's an ace if he's healthy" more than a quality issue.
   54. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 02:05 PM (#5790105)
According to this site Yankee stadium is a better place to hit as a right handed batter. The HR factor is lower at 1.22 for RH batters and 1.33 for LH batters. I don't think he's doomed or anything but that stadium is tougher to pitch in than Seattle for sure.

That site is blocked by my work firewall, but it's not what ESPN has.

For 2013-17 they have HR LHB 1.326, HR RHB 1.288
   55. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 02:06 PM (#5790107)
though to me it would be more "he's an ace if he's healthy" more than a quality issue.

That's it exactly. Which can be said about most "aces".
   56. Khrushin it bro Posted: November 21, 2018 at 02:07 PM (#5790110)
Not sure how to tell if it is correct but here are the factors for RHB vs LHB at Yankee Stadium. The column on the left is RHB and the column on the right is lefties.

1.22 HR 1.33
0.77 Triples 0.65
0.90 Doubles 0.87
1.06 Singles 0.94
1.04 AVG 0.98
1.03 OBP 1.01
1.07 SLG 1.04
1.05 wOBA 1.03
1.10 R 1.05
   57. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 02:10 PM (#5790115)
Not sure how to tell if it is correct but here are the factors for RHB vs LHB at Yankee Stadium. The column on the left is RHB and the column on the right is lefties.

1.22 HR 1.33
0.77 Triples 0.65
0.90 Doubles 0.87
1.06 Singles 0.94
1.04 AVG 0.98
1.03 OBP 1.01
1.07 SLG 1.04
1.05 wOBA 1.03
1.10 R 1.05


I can check DMB when I get home, but I'm pretty sure DNYS has the highest LHB HR factor of any park in baseball, and is higher than the RHB PF.
   58. Blastin Posted: November 21, 2018 at 02:23 PM (#5790127)
Which can be said about most "aces".


NO! Chris Sale will literally never have a shoulder injury that renders him less durable and effective, causing them to mostly rely on people whom no one would call aces (or aces in October) and therefore they have no chance.

Get good players.
   59. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 02:39 PM (#5790134)
Get good players.

That's basically it, as long as you assemble the roster correctly, i.e. cover all the major spots, and don't over invest in duplication. The Yankees acquiring or a starting catcher a really good OF would not be a good use of resources right now.
   60. Blastin Posted: November 21, 2018 at 02:45 PM (#5790136)
What about Harper to 1B? Not saying we should but that it's being "discussed" (by Boras).
   61. Walt Davis Posted: November 21, 2018 at 03:28 PM (#5790171)
Steamer projects him as #11 in fWar and #12 in RA-9 War for 2019.

Steamer also "projects" him to a career-high 172 innings which is, generally speaking, not something a projection system should be doing. (I assume it is not a PT projection system.) But sure, by fWAR, he's been a 4-WAR pitcher despite the limited innings.

Steamer is down on Hendricks for no obvious reason. fWAR puts him as a 3-3.5 WAR pitcher over the last 3-4 years, a simple Marcel projects him to 3.2 fWAR, he just had 3.2 WAR ... Steamer projects 2.6. It projects him to the highest HR/9 of his career, a full 0.26 HR/9 over his career rate and .13/9 over last year. It projects him to his highest BABIP, 23 points over his career. It projects his 2nd worst LOB%, 5% worse than his career. His FIP has been high the last couple of years, Steamer projects a career worst by .13 R/9 (.23 R/9 worse than last year, .49 worse than career). He's turning 29, not 41.
   62. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2018 at 03:32 PM (#5790174)
What about Harper to 1B? Not saying we should but that it's being "discussed" (by Boras).

Strongly in favor.
   63. TVerik. Old Java Rodney. Posted: November 21, 2018 at 10:33 PM (#5790290)
I'm having "Is Josh Beckett an Ace?" war flashbacks.
   64. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 22, 2018 at 04:37 AM (#5790308)
I think you can say there are 30 No. 1 starters in the game at a given time, but that doesn't mean there are necessarily 30 aces.
This was definitively settled when Scott Feldman made his second Opening Day start. It’s now called the Feldman Rule.
   65. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: November 22, 2018 at 05:05 AM (#5790309)
I'm having "Is Josh Beckett an Ace?" war flashbacks.

Well a big chunk of those debates revolved around Beckett's performance in the postseason. And especially the 16.1IP, 2R world series against the 114OPS+ Yankees.

Fun fact, Beckett had 0.93 WPA in that series. The Marlins combined had a total of 1.00. (Other fun fact: Next highest Marlin was Carl Pavano 0.40 WPA (lots of negatives obviously. Super bonus fun fact as a bitter Red Sox fan: Worst player in the series by WPA, Cluthy McClutch Aaron Boone with -0.70))).

Also, I know, slightly different eras and all. But through their age 29 seasons, Paxton and Beckett actually have an equal 117 ERA+. The difference:
IP Paxton 582.1. Beckett 1401.0.
WAR: Paxton 10.9. Beckett 28.3.

And yes, Beckett also started earlier. But even if you start him the same age as Paxton's first season, he has about twice the innings and twice the WAR.
   66. bbmck Posted: November 22, 2018 at 06:02 AM (#5790311)
Chris Codiroli, Eli Grba and Jim Bullinger are probably the 3 worst careers for players with 2+ opening day starts in the expansion era. Bill Dietrich only had 1 season of 2+ pitching WAR (2.1) but started 4 season openers (200 qualifying pitchers since 1908) and relieved in 2 others. 182 pitchers debuted in the expansion era and started on at least 3 opening days (the Feldman standard) and Feldman is the only one with only 1 season of 2+ pitching WAR (3.8) while Glenn Abbott (2.3, 2.3), Bobby Jones (2.4, 2.4, 2.1) and Dock Ellis (2.9, 2.5, 2.5 and 2.0) never reached 3 pitching WAR.

By the definition of the source material an Ace is the top 1/13 of starting pitchers or 2/27 if Bartolo Colon is a Joker, 343 starting pitchers in 2018 would be 26 Aces. Averaging 7+ IP per start with 30+ starts the last 5 seasons:

2018, 2017 - none
2016: Sale 32/226.2 Cy-5
2015: Kershaw 33/232.2 Cy-3, Keuchel 33/232 Cy-1
2014: Price 34/238.1 Cy-6, Cueto 34/243.2 Cy-2, Wainwright 32/227 Cy-3

Career seasons of 30+ starts and 7+ IP per start and pitched in 2018, total 22:

4 - Felix
3 - Kershaw, CC
2 - Wainwright, Sale, Verlander, Colon
1 - Keuchel, Price, Cueto, Shields

Career seasons of 30+ starts and 7+ IP per start and pitched for the 1998 Jays, total 27:

10 - Roger Clemens
7 - Roy Halladay
5 - Dave Stieb
2 - Pat Hentgen
2 - Erik Hanson
1 - Chris Carpenter
   67. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: November 22, 2018 at 06:15 AM (#5790312)
By the definition of the source material an Ace is the top 1/13 of starting pitchers or 2/27 if Bartolo Colon is a Joker, 343 starting pitchers in 2018 would be 26 Aces

The first part of that sentence is how I usually define it. But 343 is far too many. You can't count every emergency starter, or TB opener who pitched 3 innings as a starter.
30 teams, 5 rotation spots. 150. That is your deck. Switching out a 2 of diamonds because it is scuffed up, with a different 2 of diamonds doesn't make the deck any bigger.

150/13 is roughly 11.5. Round it up gives you 12. Call it 13 because some teams do sometimes extend their rotation to 6 men, and it gives it a nice symmetry with the deck of cards. And baseball is nothing if not about symmetry. So there is your answer, there are 13 aces.
   68. bbmck Posted: November 22, 2018 at 07:04 AM (#5790314)
There are 183 pitchers with 10+ starts in 2018 so some of those are unranked by a ~12 per tier standard. Going with 25 or so per tier you can then even rank Erik Swanson as a ~4, he does only have 20 career stats above A level but since he's 25 he's more valuable than the bottom tier of pitchers who have 20+ MLB starts. If the Padres called the Mariners and offered Clayton Richard (27 starts in 2018, 35 years old, career best 1.1 WAR in 2016, owed $3mil for 2019) for Swanson I'm pretty sure the Mariners say no.

Lack of ambiguity is easy to accomplish, even if it's hard to squeeze into a headline. Paxton will be on his way to New York, where he’ll share a rotation with another Top 30 starter Luis Severino. And the 2nd paragraph does include: For a variety of reasons, Paxton has flown somewhat under the radar, but he’s a No. 1 starter, added to a team with a No. 1 starter. But even that has the Feldman ambiguity, are there 30 #1 starters or only 30 pitchers who will pitch opening day.
   69. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 22, 2018 at 12:41 PM (#5790340)
I am okay with potential ace, I suppose, at the least, though to me it would be more "he's an ace if he's healthy" more than a quality issue.

After reading a bit more than on where Paxton ranks on some of the rate stats, I'm more inclined to agree with that. But it does seem that his track record suggests there is reasn to doubt he'll suddenly become a workhorse. Keeping him healthy will obviously be a priority, but teams have mixed results with pitchers in that area despite their best efforts.
   70. Walt Davis Posted: November 22, 2018 at 03:08 PM (#5790356)
Volume matters. Paxton the last three years is a close match for Rich Hill. In his cases (and most cases these days), it's less about IP/start than number of starts. Making 28 starts in 2018 wasn't bad but for a career high it's not impressive. For example, he may have been near the top in K% - BB% but he wasn't particularly near the top in K - BB (though still impressive for just 160 IP). And even on IP/start, he didn't even average 6 in this career high durability year -- maybe there aren't many starters we would want to average 6+ ... but the ones we do are the "aces."

Anyway, Paxton vs. Hill 2016-18

IP 417 379
ERA+ 117 130
FIP 2.90 3.42
K/9 10.4 10.6
BB/9 2.2 2.9
HR/9 0.9 1.0
BABIP 316 271 (career 302 281)
bWAR 7.8 8.0
fWAR 11.9 8.3

So the big difference is FIP. That is party BABIP correction, partly Hill's higher walk rate. In these 3 years, Paxton did have on terrible BABIP year of 347 with the other two at his career average. Hill was a bit better than his career average but that is still well below league average. fWAR will always underestimate a guy like Hill when it regresses him to league-average BABIP. His curveball is pretty much unhittable -- batters mainly hope it floats outside of the zone -- and he throws it a lot. What it costs him in walks, it (give or take) makes up for in BABIP. Over this time, Hill allowed .041 fewer runners per 9, some of which is Paxton's (probably) unluckily high BABIP. (Note Paxton's BABIP his first couple of years was much more Hill-like, then the terrible year then two career/league-average years.)

Which is not to say that fangraphs might not be more predictive -- it probably is in most cases. In this particular case -- well, if Hill and Paxton were the same age, I'd probably be arguing that Paxton probably doesn't project better, at least not by much. But Hill will be 39 and no projection is reliable for whether he'll be healthy or effective.

Which is where we get weird with Steamer again ... it projects Paxton to a 293 BABIP. It also projects him to a FIP a full half-run higher than his FIP of the last 3 years; also a big jump in HR/9 (which was reasonably high last year). Anyway, 172 innings, 10.4/2.6 K/BB, 4 fWAR projection for Paxton; 159 innings, 9.9/2.9 K/BB, 2.8 WAR for Hill on a 285 BABIP.

Looking at those projections, it's hard to see where the WAR difference is coming from. Same HR/9 rates (Hill a smidgen better), Hill the higher BB rate but slightly lower BABIP to compensate a bit -- that's about 5-6 extra walks vs 3 fewer hits or something. Somehow that puts the FIPs a quarter of a run apart but, even so, over so few innings that's only about a 7 run difference. Maybe Paxton's already been updated for Yankee Stadium and there's a park effect hidden in there somewhere ... or league differences ... both fair enough, a 3.5 FIP in NYY should be worth more than a 3.5 FIP in LAD, I'm just not sure which bits are cooked into Steamer projections.

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