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Monday, August 19, 2002

Win Values:  A New Method to Evaluate Starting Pitchers - Part 9

Yearly Results for 1978-2001

Part   1: Introduction
  Part   2: Conceptual Framework
  Part 3: High-Level Results

  Part   4: Formulas
  Part   5: Empirical Data for AL 2000
  Part   6: Example: David Wells in AL 2000
  Part   7: Yearly Results for 1978-2001
  Part   8: Top Stars
  Part 9: Concluding Remarks

Concluding Remarks

In this article I have presented a new stat called Win Values that I developed   to evaluate the contribution a starting pitcher makes to his team over the   course of a season.? Win values are calculated on a game-by-game basis and   take into account not only the number of runs the pitcher allows but also   the number of runs his own team scores.? Only by considering the context given   by the game?s score can we properly evaluate the contribution each starting   pitcher made in the game relative to the contribution the team could have   expected from a league average pitcher.

We have seen that win values identify the   very best seasons of the past 25 years, such as Dwight Gooden?s 1985, Greg   Maddux in 1995, Roger Clemens in 1990 and 1997, Pedro Martinez in 1997, 1999,   and 2000, and Ron Guidry in 1978.? In addition, we have seen how win values   integrate run prevention information with W-L information to give an accurate   evaluation of a pitcher?s contribution to his team winning.

By looking at the league leaders in win values   from 1978-2001, we identified several instances in which the Cy Young award   was given to a pitcher who contributed much less than other pitchers in the   league.

In the final section, I presented the seasonal   win value totals for 23 top starting pitchers in the 1978-2001 period.? We   saw that there were a few pitchers for whom their career win value total is   significantly different than their WAA figure.? Ron Guidry, Orel Hershiser,   Jack Morris, Dwight Gooden, Bob Welch, and Dave Stewart all contributed more   to their teams than is reflected in their ERA?s.? Dave Stieb, on the other   hand, seems to have contributed significantly less to his teams than is reflected   in his ERA.

Traditional sabermetric stats such as Wins   Above Average are designed to give a fairly good estimate of how much each   pitcher contributed, looking backwards, and to be good predictors of what   the pitcher is likely to do in the future.? In contrast, win values were designed   solely to be the best estimate of what the pitcher actually contributed to   his team?s actual winning of ballgames.? It is a descriptive stat, meaning   that it looks backwards at what happened and attempts to ascribe credit (or   blame) to the starting pitcher of each game.?

Since win values takes into account a pitcher?s   run support, it is apt to be an inferior predictor of a pitcher?s future performance.?   This is a downside that I am willing to live with in light of the improved   accuracy of our evaluation looking backwards.? When I look in a Baseball Encyclopedia   and see that Sandy Koufax is deemed to have contributed 6.0 wins to the 1966   Dodgers, I want that figure to be the best possible estimate.? I believe Win   Values is the best possible estimate that I have seen.

I encourage readers to provide feedback on the Win Values system to my email   address listed below.? Finally, I would be happy to send the file containing   the seasonal win values for every pitcher from 1978-2001 to anyone who is   interested.

Rob Wood is a management consultant living in Mountain View, California.?   Feedback on the article is encouraged.? He can be reached at


Rob Wood Posted: August 19, 2002 at 06:00 AM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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