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Monday, August 19, 2002

Win Values:  A New Method to Evaluate Starting Pitchers - Part 3

High-Level Results


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

High-Level Results

In this section, I will present some high level Win Value results.? Hopefully,   these results will give the reader a comfort level that my new system does   make sense.? In addition, the reader will be able to see how Win Values integrate   run prevention and W-L information.

Table 1 presents the top Win Value seasons in 1978-2001, the seasons for   which the required detailed data are available.[1]

Table 1: Top Win Values in 1978-2001

         























 

Year

W-L

ERA+

WAA

Win Value

Dwight Gooden

1985

24-4

227

7.7

8.63

Greg Maddux

1995

19-2

262

7.0

8.43

Roger Clemens

1997

21-7

225

8.2

8.22

Pedro Martinez

2000

18-6

292

8.0

8.02

Roger Clemens

1990

21-6

212

6.4

7.38

Pedro Martinez

1999

23-4

241

7.2

7.22

Pedro Martinez

1997

17-8

221

7.2

7.01

Ron Guidry

1978

25-3

208

7.3

6.83

Greg Maddux

1997

19-4

191

5.9

6.57

Randy Johnson

1995

18-2

191

5.9

6.34

Greg Maddux

1994

16-6

272

7.0

6.34

Curt Schilling

2001

22-6

154

4.8

6.25

Randy Johnson

1999

17-9

184

6.5

6.19

Orel Hershiser

1988

23-8

148

4.3

6.08

Randy Johnson

2001

21-6

184

6.2

6.06

Roger Clemens

1998

20-6

176

5.5

5.94

Kevin Appier

1993

18-8

179

5.7

5.91

Kevin Brown

1996

17-11

215

6.7

5.88

Steve Carlton

1980

24-9

162

6.0

5.85

Bret Saberhagen

1989

23-6

178

6.0

5.81

Roger Clemens

1986

24-4

168

5.5

5.75

Randy Johnson

1997

20-4

197

5.8

5.66

The table presents the 22 seasons in which a pitcher has a Win Values of   more than 5.50.? You can see that the pitchers with the highest Win Values   are indeed the pitchers who are generally considered to have had the best   seasons in the past 25 years.? Gooden in 1985, Maddux in 1995, Clemens in   1990 and 1997, Pedro in 1997, 1999 and 2000, Guidry in 1978, etc.? The foursome   of Maddux (3), Clemens (4), Martinez (3), and Randy Johnson (4) have 14 of the best 22 seasons since 1977.

Now that we have seen that the Win Value system is able to identify the   best seasons, let?s see how Win Values handles some tougher calls.? Remember   that Win Values integrate run prevention information (e.g., ERA+[2]) with W-L information.?   The results of this integration can be reviewed in the next two tables of   pitchers with contrasting information.? Table 2 presents a sampling of notable   recent pitching seasons with very good W-L records and mediocre ERA, especially   when compared to the W-L record.

Table 2: Win Values of Notable Good W-L/Mediocre ERA in 1978-2001

         








































 

Year

W-L

ERA+

WAA

Win Value

Steve Stone

1980

25-7

123

2.4

3.42

Tommy John

1980

22-9

115

1.7

3.16

Jim Bibby

1980

19-6

110

1.1

2.26

Pete Vuckovich

1982

18-6

114

1.3

1.64

Steve Carlton

1982

23-11

118

2.4

4.09

Geoff Zahn

1982

18-8

109

1.0

1.79

Phil Niekro

1982

17-4

104

0.5

0.50

Ron Guidry

1983

21-9

114

1.5

3.21

LaMarr Hoyt

1983

24-10

115

1.6

2.43

Dan Petry

1983

19-11

100

-0.2

-0.01

Mario Soto

1984

18-7

107

0.7

2.70

Dave Stewart

1989

21-9

111

1.2

2.39

Bob Welch

1990

27-6

126

2.4

3.00

Dwight Gooden

1990

19-7

98

-0.3

-0.12

John Smiley

1991

20-8

116

1.4

1.66

Bill Gullickson

1991

20-9

107

0.7

1.21

Chris Bosio

1992

16-6

106

0.6

0.94

Jack Morris

1992

21-6

101

0.1

1.75

Kevin Brown

1992

21-11

115

1.6

1.89

John Burkett

1993

22-7

107

0.6

2.43

Tommy Greene

1993

16-4

116

1.4

0.84

Pat Hentgen

1993

19-9

112

1.2

1.78

Curt Schilling

1993

16-7

99

-0.1

1.68

Ramon Martinez

1995

17-7

104

0.3

1.62

Charles Nagy

1995

16-6

103

0.0

0.84

Mike Mussina

1996

19-11

102

0.2

0.82

Jamie Moyer

1997

17-5

117

1.4

1.35

Kevin Tapani

1998

19-9

91

-1.3

0.55

Shane Reynolds

1998

19-8

115

1.6

1.42

Rick Helling

1998

20-7

109

1.0

2.23

Kent Bottenfield

1999

18-7

115

1.3

1.79

Aaron Sele

1999

18-9

106

0.4

1.27

Scott Elarton

2000

17-7

102

0.1

0.59

Tim Hudson

2000

20-6

115

1.2

2.25

Roger Clemens

2001

20-3

128

2.5

2.83

C.C. Sabathia

2001

17-5

103

0.2

1.93

Paul Abbott

2001

17-4

99

-0.2

0.97

           

Average

 

19-7

109

0.9

1.76

You will note that, in general, Win Values for these ?lucky? pitchers are   higher than their WAA figures.? Win Value gives some reward for keeping the   game close, for keeping the team in the game, etc.? A pitcher with a mediocre   ERA+, and therefore a mediocre WAA, can have a fairly decent Win Value total   if he managed to maximize his contributions.?

A pitcher with a league average ERA could well have helped a team significantly.?   Consider this hypothetical pitcher?s game scores (runs scored-runs allowed):   4-3, 1-7, 3-2, 2-9, 6-4, 2-1, and 13-5.? In his seven starts, the pitcher?s   team scored 31 runs and he allowed 31 runs.? However, due to the fact that   he often gave up few runs when his team scored few runs, and pitched poorly   when his team scored a lot of runs (or sometimes when they scored few runs),   he managed to go 5-2 despite a league average ERA and league average run support.

This is another case of where backwards Bayesian reasoning may provide insights.?   We know that a pitcher who regularly keeps his team in the game can make a   significant contribution to his team, since he gives his team a chance to   win many of his starts.? We can turn around that inference and infer that   a pitcher?s W-L record may be a reflection of how well he managed to allocate   his runs allowed throughout his starts vis a vis his team?s run support in   those games.? That is, a pitcher with a better W-L record than his ERA may   well have done a good job of runs management and therefore really might have   contributed more to his team winning than his ERA reflects.?

Table 3 presents the other side, recent pitchers who had very good ERA?s   but were unable to convert their good pitching into stellar W-L records.?   These ?unlucky? guys may well have done a poor job of runs management.

Table 3: Win Values of Notable Good ERA/Mediocre W-L in 1978-2001

         




































 

Year

W-L

ERA+

WAA

Win Value

Phil Niekro

1978

19-18

141

5.1

2.76

Mario Soto

1982

14-13

133

3.3

2.61

Atlee Hammaker

1983

10-9

158

3.2

2.75

Dave Stieb

1985

14-13

170

5.9

3.42

Nolan Ryan

1987

8-16

142

3.2

2.41

Joe Magrane

1988

5-9

160

3.1

1.39

John Tudor

1988

10-8

148

2.5

3.20

Orel Hershiser

1989

15-15

148

4.1

2.56

Mark Langston

1989

16-14

138

3.3

3.64

Zane Smith

1990

12-9

143

2.5

3.22

Dennis Martinez

1991

14-11

151

3.8

3.79

Jose DeLeon

1991

5-9

137

2.3

0.63

Tim Belcher

1991

10-9

137

2.9

2.94

Tom Candiotti

1991

13-13

158

4.7

4.47

Jim Abbott

1992

7-15

144

3.4

2.07

Frank Viola

1993

11-8

148

3.3

2.76

Chuck Finley

1993

16-14

143

4.2

2.76

Andy Ashby

1995

12-10

137

2.8

1.98

Kevin Brown

1995

10-9

132

2.5

2.30

Greg Maddux

1996

15-11

162

5.0

4.79

Juan Guzman

1996

11-8

171

4.8

4.26

Roger Clemens

1996

10-13

140

4.0

3.07

Ismael Valdes

1997

10-11

145

3.1

3.68

Omar Daal

1998

8-12

146

2.9

2.31

Chuck Finley

1998

11-9

139

3.4

2.52

John Smoltz

1999

11-8

141

2.6

2.88

David Cone

1999

12-9

138

2.3

2.13

Brad Radke

1999

12-14

136

3.1

3.60

Jose Rosado

1999

10-14

130

2.4

2.17

Mike Hampton

2000

15-10

141

3.2

2.90

Mike Sirotka

2000

15-10

131

2.9

1.57

Joe Mays

2001

17-13

143

3.8

3.76

John Burkett

2001

12-12

145

3.6

2.93

           

Average

 

12-11

145

3.4

2.85

Generally speaking, the Win Values for these ?unlucky? pitchers are less   than their WAA totals.? The reasoning is similar to that above.? These pitchers   generally did a poor job of runs management, such as pitching well when their   team scored a lot of runs or pitching poorly when their team scored an average   number of runs.? Ultimately, then, by looking at the game-by-game performances,   Win Values is able to reflect these pitchers? ?failure? whereas WAA may well   be unduly impressed with their seasonal ERA?s.

An ?unlucky? pitcher with a league average ERA may well have contributed   significantly less than his ERA would suggest if he does a poor job of matching   runs allowed to his run support.? As a parallel to the illustrative ?lucky?   pitcher above, consider a pitcher whose team plays the following seven games:   4-5, 1-2, 3-1, 2-4, 6-7, 2-9, 13-3.? Here the team goes 2-5 rather than 5-2,   despite the fact that the team scored and allowed exactly the same number   of runs on a game-by-game basis, only the runs scored and runs allowed pairs   were intermixed.

In this section we have seen the high-level Win Value results.? We saw that   the best seasons over the past 25 years according to Win Values were indeed   the best seasons, such as Gooden in 1985, Maddux in 1995, Clemens in 1990   and 1997, Pedro in 1997, 1999 and 2000, Guidry in 1978, etc.

We also saw that Win Values integrate run prevention information with W-L   information to evaluate a pitcher?s performance.? Generally speaking, when   there is a conflict between a pitcher?s W-L and ERA, Win Values takes the   middle ground.? We saw that pitchers with good W-L records but mediocre ERA?s   often have larger Win Values than WAA; conversely, pitchers with mediocre   W-L records but good ERA?s often have smaller Win Values than WAA.? The explanation   is that Win Values is able to recognize the pitcher?s runs management, rewarding   those who contribute the most to their team while penalizing those who contribute   the least to their team.




[1]?   The 1978-1990 and 1999-2001 data used here was obtained free of charge from   and is copyrighted by Retrosheet.? Interested parties may contact Retrosheet   at 20 Sunset Rd., Newark, DE 19711.? I want to thank the efforts and support   provided by the Retrosheet organization, especially Dave Smith, Tom Ruane,   and Ray Kerby who were all very helpful to me.? I also want to thank STATS,   Inc. of Morton Grove, IL who provided me with the 1991-1998 data.? The WAA   data was graciously provided by Justin Kubatko to whom I am also very grateful.


[2]?   All ERA+ data used in the article are from Total Baseball-VII, with the exception   that the 2001 ERA+ figures are from Baseball-Reference.com.

 

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