Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Why everybody should vote Andy Pettitte into the Hall of Fame

To be clear: There’s a good case for Pettitte that doesn’t involve the decade in which he was born. Pettitte’s WAR—60 at Baseball-Reference, 68 at FanGraphs and 61 at Baseball Prospectus—is around the lower tier of inducted Hall of Famers and near the very top of the non-HOF tier, which makes his case the very definition of arguable. His FanGraphs WAR is higher than Tom Glavine’s or Roy Halladay’s (to compare him to contemporaries), and his Baseball-Reference WAR is about level with Juan Marichal and Don Drysdale (to compare him to his ancestors).

If his WAR gives us a reason not to discard him as a no, his postseason performance gives us the reason to elevate him to a yes. His postseason win probability added is sixth all time. Cooperstonian Jack Morris’ postseason résumé was (rightfully) a big part of his Hall of Fame case. Pettitte threw three times as many postseason innings as Morris, with a comparable ERA and three times as many wins. Pettitte’s record 19 postseason wins are undeniably the benefit of playing in an era of expanded playoffs, but it’s also a record that’ll probably never be broken, at least until the definition of the win is changed. (Nobody else has more than 15, and starters today don’t regularly pitch deep into postseason games the way Pettitte did. This year’s starters went six or more innings in 26% of postseason games, while Pettitte did so in 80% of his. He went a full seven innings 19 times. No starting pitcher did that twice this fall.)

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 09:39 AM | 67 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: andy pettitte, hall of fame

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Rough Carrigan Posted: November 25, 2020 at 10:07 AM (#5991070)
Because he took HGH for his team not just selfishly like the bad guys?
   2. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 10:48 AM (#5991075)
Neat. He's better than Jack Morris.

How does he stack up against Kevin Brown, Luis Tiant, David Cone, and Tommy John?
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 25, 2020 at 10:50 AM (#5991077)
How does he stack up against Kevin Brown, Luis Tiant, David Cone, and Tommy John?
Well, he's taller than all of them.
   4. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 10:55 AM (#5991080)
Not if they stand on each other's shoulders in a trenchcoat. Although John is 77 and El Tiante is 80 - they should maybe avoid doing this.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 10:56 AM (#5991081)
How does he stack up against Kevin Brown, Luis Tiant, David Cone, and Tommy John?

Better than John, worse than Brown, about the same as Cone and Tiant. Brown is a terrible guy to use as a compe though, he's obviously not being excluded b/c of his sabermetric credentials.
   6. DL from MN Posted: November 25, 2020 at 10:58 AM (#5991082)
Anyone who votes for Pettitte should already be voting for Clemens and Schilling.
   7. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 10:58 AM (#5991083)
Brown is a terrible guy to use as a compe though, he's obviously not being excluded b/c of his sabermetric credentials.
Is it anything other than being a widely disliked person who juiced? Because to me, better pitcher/worse person on steroids isn't a step down from worse pitcher/better person on steroids.
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: November 25, 2020 at 10:59 AM (#5991084)
How does he stack up against Kevin Brown, Luis Tiant, David Cone, and Tommy John?


Not well, less not well, fine, fine.

Of course, not one of those guys is on the ballot. So unless you think that someone who isn't as good as the worst omission shouldn't make it, a pretty indefensible position, then their fates aren't that relevant to Pettitte's case.

He's a perfectly legit Hall of Famer, a borderliner by bWAR, a very solid choice by fWAR, his case dinged by a low peak but aided by postseason bulk. If you're a guy who think Tiant and Brown should be in, then a vote for Pettitte is a sound one.

Of course, claiming "everybody" should vote for Pettitte is ludicrous, but that may just be hyperbolic headline speak.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: November 25, 2020 at 11:01 AM (#5991085)
Is it anything other than being a widely disliked person who juiced? Because to me, better pitcher/worse person on steroids isn't a step down from worse pitcher/better person on steroids.


I think it's being a widely disliked person who juiced and whose excellence was largely overlooked at the time.

But, he's more qualified than Pettitte.
   10. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 11:05 AM (#5991086)
So unless you think that someone who isn't as good as the worst omission shouldn't make it, a pretty indefensible position, then their fates aren't that relevant to Pettitte's case.
I've got Pettitte as somewhere between the third and fifth best pitcher on the ballot; obviously worse than Clemens and Schilling, about in line with Hudson and Buehrle.

If PEDs aren't an issue - and if someone is making a case that Pettitte should be in, clearly they aren't - then I have Pettitte behind Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, Rolen, Manny, Andruw, Sheffield, and Sosa, and about even with Hudson, Buehrle, Helton, Abreu, and Kent.

I guess what I'd say is that there are worse things a voter can do than vote for Pettitte*, but I wouldn't do so.

(* - I love me some Omar Vizquel, but he's not a Hall of Famer.)
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: November 25, 2020 at 11:10 AM (#5991088)
I've got Pettitte as somewhere between the third and fifth best pitcher on the ballot; obviously worse than Clemens and Schilling, about in line with Hudson and Buehrle.


That's fair. It just doesn't have much to do with Brown, Tiant, John and Cone.

   12. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 11:16 AM (#5991089)
Yeah, I guess my point was that these people have been considered and rejected, and are about like Pettitte. I can't get from there to "you should absolutely vote for Pettitte".
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: November 25, 2020 at 11:18 AM (#5991090)
I can't get from there to "you should absolutely vote for Pettitte".


Yes, the headline is ridiculous (whether that's consistent with the FA I don't recall, and I'm not going back to look).

   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 11:52 AM (#5991092)

He's a perfectly legit Hall of Famer, a borderliner by bWAR, a very solid choice by fWAR, his case dinged by a low peak but aided by postseason bulk. If you're a guy who think Tiant and Brown should be in, then a vote for Pettitte is a sound one.


Right, Pettitte is a perfectly cromulent HoF. Borderline BBWAA pick, strong VC selection. Not a huge omission if he's out, but he fits just fine. The Hall has been too hard on SP of late.
   15. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 12:07 PM (#5991097)
Pettitte is definitely more qualified than Omar Vizquel, but I still wouldn't vote for him.
   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 12:14 PM (#5991099)

Anyone who votes for Pettitte should already be voting for Clemens and Schilling.


This ballot is a triiiiiiiip.
   17. Booey Posted: November 25, 2020 at 12:25 PM (#5991101)
#16 - Love the Manny but not Bonds/Clemens selection. That makes no sense from either side of the steroid debate.
   18. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: November 25, 2020 at 12:38 PM (#5991103)
#16 - Love the Manny but not Bonds/Clemens selection. That makes no sense from either side of the steroid debate.


I think there is an argument that Manny was punished by MLB so doesn't need to be punished again while Clemens/Bonds have not been punished by MLB. Not sure how that explains Pettitte of course.
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: November 25, 2020 at 12:41 PM (#5991105)

I think there is an argument that Manny was punished by MLB so doesn't need to be punished again while Clemens/Bonds have not been punished by MLB.


Doesn't it seem kind of farfetched to think Manny wasn't also juicing pre-testing?
   20. Barnaby Jones Posted: November 25, 2020 at 12:59 PM (#5991107)
That Pettite's fWAR is higher than Tom Glavine is probably the best example of why that stat is garbage when looking at career value due to its dependence on FIP instead of looking at actual team defense.
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 01:05 PM (#5991108)
That Pettite's fWAR is higher than Tom Glavine is probably the best example of why that stat is garbage when looking at career value due to its dependence on FIP instead of looking at actual team defense.

????
Pettite's teams were generally poor defensively.
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: November 25, 2020 at 01:21 PM (#5991114)
Pettite's teams were generally poor defensively.


I'll tell you one way Pettitte's Hall case looks better than it might otherwise.

Look at the ERA+ numbers of the Hall-caliber starting pitchers who tossed for the Yanks during Pettitte's run.

Pitcher Career ERA+ Yankee ERA+

Big Unit 135 - 100
Mussina - 123 - 114
Clemens - 143 - 114

And yes, these guys were older when the pitched for the Yanks, but Unit followed up his mediocre two years with the Yanks with seasons of 125 and 118 with the Diamondbacks and Giants, and Clemens sandwiched three years of 180 ERA+ with the Stros between his Yankee seasons. And, obviously, Mussina's Yankee year represent half his career.

Along those lines, Pettitte's three seasons in Houston resulted in an ERA+ of 129, much better than he did in the Bronx.

It's easy to think that having a middle of the defense of Posada, Soriano, Jeter and Williams for much of that time period didn't exactly help their run-prevention efforts.
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 01:39 PM (#5991116)
It's easy to think that having a middle of the defense of Posada, Soriano, Jeter and Williams for much of that time period didn't exactly help their run-prevention efforts.

Not that the corner guys were much better either. At least Pettitte missed the Gary Sheffield experience.
   24. Barnaby Jones Posted: November 25, 2020 at 01:42 PM (#5991119)
Pettite's teams were generally poor defensively.


I'm criticizing the model. bWAR gives Pettite a boost for the crappy D he had and docks Glavine for the good defense behind him, but the latter is still 13 WAR better. Fangraphs just goes "hurr durr FIP is all of pitching" and pretends everything is else is defense regardless of the actual record on the field.
   25. Adam Starblind Posted: November 25, 2020 at 01:48 PM (#5991120)
[24] I'm not sure if I agree with you, but I am going to add points for "hurr durr FIP is all of pitching."
   26. Walt Davis Posted: November 25, 2020 at 02:49 PM (#5991124)
Yeah ... I might be willing to believe Pettitte and Glavine had the same WAA but the notion that Glavine's extra 1100 innings were effectively at replacement level?

Per b-r, Pettitte's defense wasn't THAT bad -- -0.07 R/9 for his career, on the order of about 25 runs. His defenses in Hou were excellent it seems. And c'mon, Soriano held down 2B for the Yanks for only 3 years. Not that Knoblauch was doing him any favors either. Interestingly Pettitte may have adjusted his pitching at times to that -- a GB pitcher relative to era, his lowest G/F ratios (2000-2, 2010, 2013) line up with some pretty awful defenses. Hard to say, that could just be random, I've never really looked at pitcher G/F ratio variation before.

And Glavine's wasn't THAT good ... 0.12 R/9. It's a sizable gap for sure, about 75 runs over 3330 common innings. Move Pettitte to Glavine's context and his ERA+ goes up to about 123. Conveniently enough, Glavine's ERA+ through his first 3345 innings (thru 2002) is 123. Then he added 1070 innings of 105 ERA+ which is worth something no matter how you slice it. Fangraphs still gives Glavine credit for 11 WAR in those extra innings (4 less than bWAR) but that means they give Pettitte 11 wins more in the main period (bWAR puts them about equal) and I simply don't see it.

Not a knock on Pettitte, Glavine's not the HoF border. We will probably never really figure out how Glavine did what Glavine did but fangraphs WAR treatment of Glavine is a reminder that for about 10 straight years, BPro (and I and others) kept predicting Glavine's peripherals were going to catch up to him and finally in year 11 we were right. We do know that throughout his career that he pitched differently (got different results) with men on base. He might have been the rare example of a pitcher who really did know who to walk and when, avoiding XBH. Somebody's probably done it but I suspect we'd find that Glavine had far fewer 2+, 3+ run innings than expected given his peripherals. I wonder what his G/F ratio looked like in those situations.
   27. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 25, 2020 at 03:03 PM (#5991126)
for about 10 straight years, BPro (and I and others) kept predicting Glavine's peripherals were going to catch up to him and finally in year 11 we were right.
”See?? I told ya so!”
   28. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: November 25, 2020 at 03:20 PM (#5991127)
I think there is an argument that Manny was punished by MLB so doesn't need to be punished again while Clemens/Bonds have not been punished by MLB.


Doesn't it seem kind of farfetched to think Manny wasn't also juicing pre-testing?


I didn't say it was a good argument.

Snark aside, Manny wasn't mentioned in the Mitchell Report so the only "evidence" against him is the failed tests so he has already been punished for what we "know" whereas Roger and Barry were not punished since their usage pre-dated testing.

Like I said, it's not necessarily a good argument but I can see someone using that. Similarly I can see someone saying "hey, Roger and Barry were before it was really against the rules so they don't deserve to be punished but Manny does." The problem there is how do you leave off Roger and Barry but include Pettitte who was also mentioned in the Mitchell Report? That makes no sense to me and has long been my biggest frustration with this stuff. The hypocrisy is all over the place on this stuff.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: November 25, 2020 at 03:25 PM (#5991128)
Snark aside, Manny wasn't mentioned in the Mitchell Report so the only "evidence" against him is the failed tests so he has already been punished for what we "know" whereas Roger and Barry were not punished since their usage pre-dated testing.



The problem with that argument is if Roger signed with a club in 2008, failed a test and got suspended, he would then become a better candidate to the purveyor of that line of thinking than he previously was.
   30. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: November 25, 2020 at 03:41 PM (#5991131)
SoSH - Yeah, I'm not disagreeing with you. Just trying to follow the "logic."
   31. Walt Davis Posted: November 25, 2020 at 03:43 PM (#5991133)
We've still got (I suspect) 10 years of ARod HoF weirdness coming, starting next year. Maybe that's what the voters are waiting for -- with an even bigger goat on the ballot, they'll put B/C in on their 10th ballot. :-)
   32. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 25, 2020 at 04:05 PM (#5991142)
an even bigger goat
Do we have to go over this again? They’re completely different phyla.
   33. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 25, 2020 at 04:14 PM (#5991149)
Pettitte is a perfectly cromulent HoF. Borderline BBWAA pick, strong VC selection.
And the point of the article is that if you look more closely at the context of his times, he moves from borderline to an easier vote, for many even if not everyone. Given this year’s relatively uncrowded ballot, we should get an idea how persuasive the argument is.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 04:20 PM (#5991153)
And the point of the article is that if you look more closely at the context of his times, he moves from borderline to an easier vote, for many even if not everyone.

Nah, he's still borderline. I'd like to see him in, but there are guys with similar records who got little support. That's the definition of borderline.
   35. Dog on the sidewalk has an ugly bracelet Posted: November 25, 2020 at 04:28 PM (#5991156)

I'm criticizing the model. bWAR gives Pettite a boost for the crappy D he had and docks Glavine for the good defense behind him, but the latter is still 13 WAR better. Fangraphs just goes "hurr durr FIP is all of pitching" and pretends everything is else is defense regardless of the actual record on the field.

OTOH, bWAR basically goes "hurr durr RA9 + defensive adjustment" and then you get things like 2018 Aaron Nola getting a ton of extra credit for pitching in front of a terrible defense, despite the fact that he allowed a .250 BABIP.

Both stats have their limitations. Seems misguided to use the most extreme example of the problems with fWAR as an excuse to dismiss it altogether.
   36. John Northey Posted: November 25, 2020 at 04:28 PM (#5991157)
Without drugs he'd be borderline, but in eventually. With I don't see him getting voted in. Especially with how hard it has been for Clemens (weaker drug case against than Pettitte has) and Bonds (clear HOF'er before drugs started) who both have a far, far, far stronger case than Pettitte.
   37. Barnaby Jones Posted: November 25, 2020 at 05:08 PM (#5991174)
OTOH, bWAR basically goes "hurr durr RA9 + defensive adjustment" and then you get things like 2018 Aaron Nola getting a ton of extra credit for pitching in front of a terrible defense, despite the fact that he allowed a .250 BABIP.


No idea why you think that's a problem. It's harder to have a .250 BABIP in front of a bad defense.
   38. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 25, 2020 at 05:15 PM (#5991177)
No idea why you think that's a problem. It's harder to have a .250 BABIP in front of a bad defense.

Because the defense obviously wasn't bad when Nola was pitching.
   39. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 25, 2020 at 05:27 PM (#5991179)
BTW, why isn’t Thibs’ Hall of Fame Tracker pinned to the top of the Newsblog Page yet? He’s got 7 votes posted already.
   40. The Honorable Ardo Posted: November 25, 2020 at 09:23 PM (#5991211)
I have Pettitte right on the in/out line of the Hall of Merit. He got terrible defensive support, but, of course, great offensive support. He doesn't have a strong peak - only two top-5 BB-Ref WAR seasons (1997 AL, 2005 NL). His comps include clear Hall of Merit members (Mussina, Brown, Hubbell), people who pitched for good teams, got a lot of run support, and don't meet Hall of Merit standards (Colon, Morris, Welch, Wells), and his exact contemporaries (Hudson, Buehrle, Sabathia).

I'd rank that last group:

Sabathia (clearly in)
- gap -
Pettite-Hudson-Buehrle in that order, but with hardly any daylight in between.

Top 5 league in pitching WAR:

Sabathia: 2, 3, 3, and 5th/MLB in 2008, his half season with Milwaukee [this is a "typical" profile for a Hall of Merit starting pitcher]
Pettite: 2, 5
Hudson: 3, 4 (both in Oakland; his highest finish as a Brave was 6th)
Buehrle: 3, 4
   41. Barnaby Jones Posted: November 25, 2020 at 11:53 PM (#5991227)
Because the defense obviously wasn't bad when Nola was pitching.


This is just pure question begging. Nola didn't get a new set of defenders during his innings. BABIP ≠ defense.
   42. Jaack Posted: November 26, 2020 at 12:24 AM (#5991231)
Nola didn't get a new set of defenders during his innings. BABIP ≠ defense.


To be fair, pitchers on the same teams often get varying amounts of run support from the same offensive players. I don't see why defense is necessarily any different - defense isn't a consisent force and just as suceptible to streaks and slumps. bWAR just assumes that it's distributed equally.

It's a shame fangraphs buries their RA-WAR at the bottom of their player pages - in combination with the standard fWAR it gives a more interesting portrait of a pitcher. In the case of 2018 Aaron Nola, FIP-WAR thinks he had a solid year at 5.4 while RA-WAR thinks he had a quite impressive year at 7.8. I'd guess his true value is somewhere in that range, and not the 10.2 that bWAR gives him.
   43. Barnaby Jones Posted: November 26, 2020 at 02:54 PM (#5991266)
To be fair, pitchers on the same teams often get varying amounts of run support from the same offensive players. I don't see why defense is necessarily any different - defense isn't a consisent force and just as suceptible to streaks and slumps. bWAR just assumes that it's distributed equally.


I agree, this is a valid criticism of how bWAR tries to incorporate defense on the whole; however, it is again just question begging to assume BABIP is measuring this (not saying you, Jaack, are doing this). For all we know, the Phillies actually played worse behind Nola and his BABIP would have been even lower if not for that. Is that likely? No, because more extreme BABIPs are themselves less likely, but it's possible. But there is no a priori reason to conclude the Phillies D was actually better on Nola days merely because his BABIP is low.

I just think some folks are coming at this from an odd direction. If Pitcher A has a .250 BABIP in front of the (generally) worst defense in baseball and Pitcher B has a .250 BABIP in front of the (generally) best defense team in baseball, my instinct is not that both defenses played amazing D on the days those pitchers pitched, but that Pitcher A probably pitched better than Pitcher B.
   44. Dog on the sidewalk has an ugly bracelet Posted: November 27, 2020 at 02:57 AM (#5991290)
I don't disagree with any of that, but...

For all we know, the Phillies actually played worse behind Nola and his BABIP would have been even lower if not for that. Is that likely? No, because more extreme BABIPs are themselves less likely

That's more or less the point of my first post. Nola's '18 BABIP is as low as any starting pitcher has been able to maintain for any sustained period of time during the Wild Card Era (and everyone even close had much more extreme flyball tendencies than Nola), and outside of that one season, Nola's BABIP history is normal. Given those facts and understanding the general volatility of BABIP, I'm not sure why one would think that the likelier truth is that Nola was actually better than he looked on the surface, rather than worse.

There's a reason people are still having this conversation about Tom Glavine, despite the fact that he's been retired for 12 years. It's because for the overwhelming majority of pitchers who aren't Tom Glavine, FIP and its kin work pretty well.
   45. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 27, 2020 at 10:37 AM (#5991308)
Worth noting that Glavine continued to have ERAs better than his FIP even when pitching in front of poor defenses with the Mets.
   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 27, 2020 at 10:47 AM (#5991309)
That's more or less the point of my first post. Nola's '18 BABIP is as low as any starting pitcher has been able to maintain for any sustained period of time during the Wild Card Era (and everyone even close had much more extreme flyball tendencies than Nola), and outside of that one season, Nola's BABIP history is normal. Given those facts and understanding the general volatility of BABIP, I'm not sure why one would think that the likelier truth is that Nola was actually better than he looked on the surface, rather than worse.


Yes. Occam's razor is on point here.
   47. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: November 27, 2020 at 12:30 PM (#5991313)
We know that inducing weak contact isn't something that's predictable from year to year. But is it something that pitchers can do at all? I'd assumed that the answer is "yes". And, since some balls are hit weakly, you'd think that the answer has to be "yes".

Absent some explanation for why it would have happened, it doesn't make sense to think that the D is playing better in front of one pitcher rather than another. So, again, absent such an explanation, you'd think that the thing to do would be to take the team BABIP, compare it to league average, and call that the effect of the defense. Adjust the individual pitchers' BABIP by that amount, and call whatever the remaining difference between his BABIP and the league figure happens to be the result of him allowing harder- or softer-than-usual contact this year. (And then don't expect it to repeat next year.)
   48. BDC Posted: November 27, 2020 at 12:41 PM (#5991315)
I know I've asked this before, but forgotten the answer: does anybody calculate SABIP? In other words, are there pitchers who give up significantly fewer 2Bs and 3Bs as a component of their BABIP? I think the general wisdom may be that it doesn't matter and nobody cares …
   49. Dog on the sidewalk has an ugly bracelet Posted: November 27, 2020 at 01:48 PM (#5991322)
47: Yes, pitchers have some control over their BABIP (though for ~99% of them, once adjusting for their GB/FB profile, the control they have is so minimal as to be drowned out by the surrounding noise). And no, I don't think Nola's .250 necessarily means the Phillies defense must've gone from atrocious to outstanding when he was pitching. I just know that almost no pitcher ever has a "true" BABIP that low. So, whether he achieved that number through good defense, weak contact allowed, or simple good fortune with BIP distribution (or likely some combination of the 3), I'm very very skeptical when a stat tells me to treat what is already an unrepeatable outlier of a number as though it is actually under-representing how good he was.

Whichever method of WAR you prefer, you're dealing with assumptions. They tend to correlate pretty well, because both underlying assumptions are generally reasonable. But each is going to get it wrong from time to time, and all we can do is decide on a case-to-case basis whether the numbers pass the smell test.
   50. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: November 27, 2020 at 02:00 PM (#5991325)
Absent some explanation for why it would have happened, it doesn't make sense to think that the D is playing better in front of one pitcher rather than another

Absent some explanation for why it would have happened, it doesn't make sense to think that the lineup would hit better behind one pitcher rather than another, and yet it happens all the time just through randomness.

There probably is some impact from the pitcher (although as noted, it likely isn't predictable). But it could also be any number of other things - a ground ball pitcher in front of a team with a good infield defense but a bad outfield defense, a pitcher with a personal catcher who's better or worse than the starter, the manager doing a better job positioning his fielders some days than others, etc. Or just randomness.

2018 Nola probably qualifies as ground ball pitcher in front of a bad outfield defense; -30 of the Phillies' -51 runs of TotalZone came from the corner outfield spots (although DRS thinks the badness was more evenly spread), and Nola's GB/FB ratio that year was 1.05, compared to a team average (with Nola included) of 0.85 and a league average of 0.80. But Jake Arrieta had a similar GB/FB ratio on the same team (1.06) and still had a BABIP 35 points higher (but still .289, better than both the league average of .295 and the team average of .306).

I know I've asked this before, but forgotten the answer: does anybody calculate SABIP? In other words, are there pitchers who give up significantly fewer 2Bs and 3Bs as a component of their BABIP? I think the general wisdom may be that it doesn't matter and nobody cares …

I would assume ground ball pitchers do better on XBH than fly ball pitchers.
   51. Darren Posted: November 27, 2020 at 02:52 PM (#5991332)
Don't let the title turn you off--even as a Red Sox fan, this is a compelling argument for Pettitte as a HOFer (and to a lesser degree, Hudson and Buehrle). During this period, pitching changed dramatically and we should recognize that. Reading it, just imagine that the title is something more like, "Why Andy Pettitte is a Legit Hall of Famer."

   52. Srul Itza At Home Posted: November 27, 2020 at 07:23 PM (#5991354)
We know that inducing weak contact isn't something that's predictable from year to year. But is it something that pitchers can do at all? I'd assumed that the answer is "yes". And, since some balls are hit weakly, you'd think that the answer has to be "yes".


I may be misremembering, but I think it has been shown that certain types of pitchers who are notable for "late movement" tend to induce weaker contact. Knuckleballers for one. Mariano Rivera may have been another.
   53. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: November 27, 2020 at 07:29 PM (#5991355)
I may be misremembering, but I think it has been shown that certain types of pitchers who are notable for "late movement" tend to induce weaker contact. Knuckleballers for one. Mariano Rivera may have been another.


Yes, for those guys their performance can even be extrapolated into future years. There are some players who actually have a skill in producing weak contact.

My point was that if normal pitchers can do it at all (even if doing it in the past is not predictive of doing it in the future), then once you've adjusted Nola's BABIP by whatever figure you would use to adjust all of the Phillies' pitchers BABIP numbers, whatever is left over is likely him inducing weak contact. (Even if the fact that he did it that year doesn't indicate that he'll ever do it again. It was, in the parlance popular around here, just luck.)
   54. Howie Menckel Posted: November 27, 2020 at 07:43 PM (#5991357)
Steve Carlton went 27-10 on the 1972 Phillies while the rest of the pitchers went 32-87 (!).

Carlton had a 1.97 ERA and a 182 ERA+ while starting 41 games, completing 30, and tossing 346 IP with 8 shutouts. the rest of the staff had 13 CG in 119 tries, and they managed to dip the team ERA+ way down to 98. the hitters had a dreadful 82 OPS+, as the only regular to reach 110 OPS+ was 21-year-old LF Greg Luzinski at 120.

the much improved offense in the games Carlton pitched has been well-documented - and it seems plausible that by Memorial Day or sooner, the whole team knew they were doomed on his 3 off-days between starts.

this thread makes me wonder if a more enthused and engaged team was sharper defensively as well.

worth noting that veteran southpaw Woodie Fryman was 4-10 with 1972 PHI on an 83 ERA+ before he was claimed on waivers by DET on Aug. 2 - where in two months, he went 10-3 in 14 starts with a 154 ERA+ to help propel the Tigers (average age of 31.0) to the AL East title.

I mean, maybe the Tigers had a great pitching coach or something, but....

(I was just a kid at the time, but it's cool to recall how much influence a starting pitcher like 1972 Carlton could have on a team.)

   55. BDC Posted: November 27, 2020 at 08:20 PM (#5991360)
the much improved offense in the games Carlton pitched has been well-documented - and it seems plausible that by Memorial Day or sooner, the whole team knew they were doomed on his 3 off-days between starts

The only problem with that theory is that in 1973, having established that Carlton was their meal ticket, the Phillies scored 3.6 runs per game for him – against 4.0 overall, including 5.2 for the track-recordless Ken Brett (granted, a bit of that was Brett himself driving in 16 runs that year). Of course Carlton himself had a distinct off-year in '73, but that would entail the team somehow knowing this early on and collectively intuiting that it was useless to score runs for him ... seems hard to distinguish from a just-so story. He would have done better than 13-20 in 1973 given Brett's run support.

Carlton certainly won more games in '72 because the Phillies scored more runs for him, but all that really means is that he won more games and the Phillies scored more runs for him. The underlying reason why they scored more runs for him might not be there.
   56. Howie Menckel Posted: November 27, 2020 at 08:28 PM (#5991361)
fair rebuttal
   57. Booey Posted: November 28, 2020 at 12:04 AM (#5991370)
#51 - While I've personally never thought about grouping players by birth decade (I generally do it by debut decade or "peak" decades), the overall point the author makes is the same and a good one; once you get past the modern Golden Age of players who were born in the mid-late 60's and who debuted in the late 80's and early 90's, there really is a significant drop off in the number of HOF worthy candidates (those born in the mid 70's to the mid 80's), so the voters are going to be seeing a lot of pretty lean ballots in the coming years. Every era has it's burnouts and injury cases of course, but it seems like a disproportionate amount of the biggest names from, oh, 2005-2015 or so dropped off a cliff before they reached traditional HOF standards; Johan Santana, Brandon Webb, Tim Lincecum, Felix Hernandez, Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Braun, Ryan Howard, David Wright, Dustin Pedroia, Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Josh Hamilton, Prince Fielder. Joe Mauer, Joey Votto, Chase Utley, and Buster Posey MIGHT have done enough to still get elected eventually, but they cliff dived right when they were on the verge of locking it up, too.

Obviously 55 WAR isn't a perfect measure because some players with less WAR will get in (catchers and relievers, mainly), and some players with more will be left out, but the players at this threshold are at least usually in the conversation. Let's start with the 1960's since that's basically when the league started to resemble "modern" baseball (both leagues finally fully integrated, expansion, no more truncated careers due to military service, etc).

55 WAR players, debuted in:

1960's - 29
1970's - 24
1980's - 29
1990's - 27
2000's - 16

And that already low number from the 2000's includes several who don't look or "feel" very HOF-ey and don't appear likely to get a ton of support (Buehrle, Hamels, Kinsler, Longoria), plus at least one otherwise no brainer who's going to get PED snubbed (Cano). That 16 could rise of course since there's still lots of players who debuted in the 2000-2009 decade that are still playing, but there really aren't any near locks to join them. A few pitchers could possibly keep going effectively until they're 40 or beyond and get there - Jon Lester has 44.6 WAR at age 36, David Price is at 39.4 at age 35, and Madison Bumgarner has 36.5 and is somehow still only 31 - but it seems pretty likely that the players who debuted in the 2000's will just end up as a historically weak crop.

   58. sunday silence (again) Posted: November 28, 2020 at 03:41 AM (#5991373)

2018 Nola probably qualifies as ground ball pitcher in front of a bad outfield defense; -30 of the Phillies' -51 runs of TotalZone came from the corner outfield spots (although DRS thinks the badness was more evenly spread)



Some of these use different methodologies. Im pretty sure when we were discussing stat cast they compare outfielders to the average outfielder, NOT RF to RF or CF to CF. Since you usually place your worst defensive OF in LF and typically the RF has a bit less range than the CFer then the numbers you cite above might just be normally what you'd expect for corner OFr's. Although it does seem a bit high. I cant recall if TZ did it this way, much of their method is black box if I recall.

ACtually as I think about it, its quite possible that's what going on there (comparing all OF to all OF). Throwing out some rough guesses: if CF average 2.2 chances/game RF 2.0 and LF 1.8, then overall avg would be 2.0. The LF would then be 0.2/game below league average, and over 162 games, that's 32 runs. So its very possible that you are looking at a product of the method and that PHIL corner OFer's were no more crappier than the avg corner OF.

If so then there OF def. is probably not worse than the IF defense.

*****

I know this has been asked before: Can we explain again why Petitte's career WAR numbers differ by 8 among these methods? That seems huge to me and calls into question what sort of accuracy we can really expect from pitcher WAR. If its that different I dont have a lot of confidence in them. I know it has something to do with FIP and such but a little more explanation please?
   59. Ron J Posted: November 28, 2020 at 05:19 AM (#5991375)
#58 One of the things that annoys me is the implicit assumption of precision in these methods (This isn't meant to be a poke at you. I see it in these discussions all the time).

I'm confident that the standard error in long careers on the offensive side is in the range of 4-5 wins (which is why seeing somebody displayed as having a WAR of 55.3 always annoys me. At best it's 55ish) and I doubt it's any more precise for pitchers.

And with that general level of accuracy in two competing methods it's certain that you'll get cases where the differing assumptions produce very different results.

None of this is meant as a slam at the Significant Seans or anybody else involved in coming up with and publishing these methods. Hell, Rally will tell you that he thinks WAR is where the discussion starts, not where it ends.
   60. sunday silence (again) Posted: November 28, 2020 at 10:13 AM (#5991383)
Ron: Yeah I totally agree. Precision and confidence levels seem to underscore this entire discussion.

It seems that measures of batting and running are more agreed upon than pitching. Do you think WAR for offense is more precise?

Another can of worms is that for key defensive positions the current TZ DRS methods may not be picking up the entire value of stuff like relay throws, catcher framing, throwing to the right base. (there's also offensive value like primate Sakata's work on baserunning intelligence or whatever he calls it). I dont think its a lot but guess it could be another 4 or 5 runs for say an excellent SS who makes a lot of relay throws. This value has to come from somewhere and it would likely come from the value we currently assign to pitchers. Of course given the entire spectrum of defensive players in MLB this value should net zero (with sub par SS balancing out outstanding SS). But still on a good defensive team your favorite pitcher might not be as valuable as you think.

I dont know if this is a reason we are seeing such variance in Petitte's value but it might not be a coincidence we see large discrepancies and we have these identifiable issues.

I dont have a problem with providing WAR out to one decimal place. If that's the number you came up with then so be it. But yeah of course you have to understand the limitations.

A range of 12% measuring someone's pitching value seems very troubling.
   61. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 28, 2020 at 10:27 AM (#5991385)
A range of 12% measuring someone's pitching value seems very troubling.

+/- 10% seems pretty good to me, given all the unknowns. It's not even like "value" is a real thing out there that can be measured, and our tools are lacking. Value itself is a theoretical construct. Asking how much better pitcher X would have been than a hypothetical replacement pitcher on 600 days spread over 20 years, with dozens of variables effecting performance on each day, and then trying to convert that performance into team wins, is a highly complex estimate with lots of room for error.
   62. SoSH U at work Posted: November 28, 2020 at 10:41 AM (#5991387)
I dont know if this is a reason we are seeing such variance in Petitte's value


I don't think Pettitte is that unusual. A few guys mentioned in this thread:

Pitcher -- bWAR -- fWAR -- Diff
Pettitte--- 60.2 --- 68.2 --- +8.0
Brown --- 67.8 --- 76.5 --- +8.7
Glavine --- 80.7 --- 68.7 --- -12.0
Buehrle --- 59.1 --- 52.3 --- -6.8
Hudson --- 57.9 --- 48.9 --- -9.0
   63. Jaack Posted: November 28, 2020 at 12:55 PM (#5991407)
It's also worth noting that fangraphs and bbref have a different split between position players and pitchers - fangraphs uses a 57:43 ratio while bbref uses a 59:41 ratio. So on average fangraphs will end up being 5% higher than bbref on pitchers (while the reverse is true for position players).

I'm not sure why the two didn't unify that ratio back when they unified replacement level.
   64. Ron J Posted: November 28, 2020 at 01:00 PM (#5991408)
#60 Don't have a good feel for the pitching estimates. I'm confident of the standard error in the evaluation of offense. I'm reasonably confident of the range on the defensive side and I'm mostly inferring the error on the pitching side by comparing the estimates of two well thought out methods that weren't developed by people with agendas.
   65. sunday silence (again) Posted: November 29, 2020 at 06:49 AM (#5991464)
I'm reasonably confident of the range on the defensive side...


This is somewhat ambiguous. By defensive value we are talking about position players not pitchers? And "range" refers to fielding range or range of possible value?


+/- 10% seems pretty good to me, given all the unknowns.


Well I didnt say 10 I said 12. If you look at the values given in no. 62 all of those guys are at least 12% discrepancy and in the case of Glavine and Hudson its at least 16%. So how do you feel about 12% Snapper? How about 16% does that bother you or its fine?

If we all or most of us agree on the value of offensive production how hard can it be to figure the value of pitching? We all agree on the value of a double right? Its based on its ability to a) move runners along the diamond and b) keep the inning alive. I dont see what other value there can be. So like wise with singles, HRs and walks. Oh yes triples I guess people still hit triples ha ha.

Of course the actual value of moving runners up varies a lot; for one thing on how many outs there. Moving the guy from first to third is worth about 0.5 runs if there's no one out. But with two outs its maybe 0.15. Tango provides us a run expectancy table for base/out states here:

http://www.tangotiger.net/re24.html

it also depends somewhat on the speed of the baserunners, how bad the pitcher is etc. All of which goes to say that there are theoretical values to these events, that dont necessarily correspond to what was produced on the field. But they seem perfectly fine at predicting what will happen in the future and also estimating how well team A did with a bunch of .240 hitters slug .420. All of which responds to:

It's not even like "value" is a real thing out there that can be measured, and our tools are lacking. Value itself is a theoretical construct.


I dont think that's a real objection to any this. Theoretical values can be precise or at least more precise than what we got here. Agree? YOu're not objecting to the values we place on hitters are you? YOu dont have some wild theory that puts different values on Willie Mays or Mike Trout do you? So you're fine with the values we put on batters, right Snapper? And you can live with the actual production on the field vs theoretical/predictive value concept? so I dont get it. You dont think a theoretical value can be made more precise?

Anyhow this is very interesting:

fangraphs uses a 57:43 ratio while bbref uses a 59:41 ratio. So on average fangraphs will end up being 5% higher than bbref on pitchers


If I understand the idea correctly, this would suggest that fielding is what 16% of the value of position players? Taking avg of 43 and 41 is 42. Position players presumably make up half of every interaction so 42/50 is 84% thats the off. contribution of position players. I guess. Put another way. Pitching can only help defense. Defense has to be 50% of the game as its zero sum w/ respect to offense. Since pitching is only comprises 42% of def. value then fielding defense must be the other 8%.

Q 1: Defense makes up 15% of position player value. Agree or disagree?

Q 2. If by some miracle we could accurately measure defensive values to say X accuracy, would we be able to put together pitching values just as precise as our measure of defense?

   66. Ron J Posted: November 29, 2020 at 01:56 PM (#5991502)
#65 Said it often enough, but my confidence in defensive metrics -- the turning of balls in play into outs -- is very high at the team level and is much less so at the individual. I'm happiest with letter grades for individuals and the notion that they have first digit precision (the way they're generally presented) annoys me.

When it comes to the pitching side there's a lot going on. Not least in terms of the difference between their value in the current year an what that says about future value. As discussed, disparity between the defensive support a pitcher got and the rest of his teammates got is unlikely to continue in the long run but in the short run if it's luck, it's also important. And a pitcher can have impact on the no balls in paly stuff. They're very important to the running game and DP support is not random. Those are just a few things. Pitching well with RISP is likely luck, but it's luck with value.

I like that bWAR and fWAR occasionally produce very different results. gives me some sense as to where the likely bounds of "true" value lies.
   67. sgt23 Posted: December 08, 2020 at 03:27 PM (#5993150)
I'm so fken suck at my stomach with these voters leaving off Andrew Jones. He does to get in a lot more than many of these players on Thib's list.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
TedBerg
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogMASN cutting on-air talent, reportedly slashing pregame and postgame shows for Orioles and Nationals
(13 - 9:17am, Jan 25)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogNBA 2020 Season kick-off thread
(1020 - 9:16am, Jan 25)
Last: . . . . . .

NewsblogHall of Famer Henry "Hank" Aaron dies at 86.
(148 - 9:14am, Jan 25)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogNationals, Brad Hand agree to one-year, $10.5 million deal, per reports
(4 - 9:02am, Jan 25)
Last: Adam Starblind

NewsblogOT - Soccer Thread - Winter Is Here
(701 - 8:40am, Jan 25)
Last: spivey 2

NewsblogNY Mets GM acknowledges sending unsolicited, explicit images while working for Cubs
(184 - 7:14am, Jan 25)
Last: Lassus

NewsblogSources: New York Yankees acquire pitcher Jameson Taillon from Pittsburgh Pirates for four prospects
(23 - 6:54am, Jan 25)
Last: catomi01

NewsblogBraves re-sign Pablo Sandoval
(2 - 12:30am, Jan 25)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogAaron’s death prompts call to change name: Braves to Hammers
(41 - 10:40pm, Jan 24)
Last: Der-K's emotional investment is way up

NewsblogNationals' Ryan Zimmerman: Rejoining Nationals for 2021
(4 - 8:35pm, Jan 24)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogOT - 2020 NFL thread
(14 - 6:41pm, Jan 24)
Last: SoSH U at work

Newsblog2021 BBHOF Tracker Summary and Leaderboard – Baseball Hall of Fame Vote Tracker
(579 - 4:05pm, Jan 24)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogHall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton dies at 75
(59 - 3:55pm, Jan 24)
Last: yest

NewsblogSource: Jurickson Profar, San Diego Padres agree to 3-year, $21 million deal
(14 - 2:18pm, Jan 24)
Last: Tom Goes to the Ballpark

NewsblogGarrett Richards, Boston Red Sox reach 1-year, $10 million deal, sources say
(5 - 12:38pm, Jan 24)
Last: Howie Menckel

Page rendered in 0.6651 seconds
48 querie(s) executed