Comments on: The Pitching Staff is Good, But Not This Good Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:06:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: michael Wed, 13 Jul 2011 06:09:00 +0000 I appreciate the comment and the research and all; but am not a buyer of the theories: “his past stats have been ‘this’, so his future stats will be ‘this’ ” ; or even worse: ” based on past stats, he getting lucky; and is due to regress”.  If this is true, then Bautista is hitting .256 with 9 HRs right now.  Players will ALWAYS either improve, stay the same, or regress; and no stats will predict it.  My predictions are more based on watching them pitch; their mental approach; their ability to maintain velocity & “stuff” 7 IPs and beyond, and yes, gut feel:
Correia: he’ll continue to keep the Bucs in a game through 5-7 innings; won’t be dominant; but OK (2nd half : 5-4)
Maholm:  He’ll continue to eat innings, with a few more K’s/9; maybe 1 really bad start, but overall pretty good (2nd half:  6-3)
Karstens:  He’ll maintain the solid , inexplicable start;  mixing speeds and location; and will start to get national press.  Bucs press won’t give him credit until Sept.  (2nd half: 7-3)
Morton:  He’ll regress quite a bit, as the changes he made in the off season have faded a bit.  He’s really not releasing the ball the same as then.  (2nd half : 3-8)
McDonald:  the toughest to call; at times he looks dominant; and then a mental struggle.  It’ll be a mixed bag the rest of the season (2nd half: 5-5)
  I do think the Bucs will need another solid starter from somewhere to step up at some point; either Ohllie; Lincoln; G Olson; or someone by trade.
Whatever happens; the starting pitching is going to determine if the Buccos are in the race at the end or not.  Hope so !

By: Anonymous Tue, 12 Jul 2011 01:27:00 +0000 Not even then would your HR idea totally indicate luck because some guys have more pitches/movement than others. A guy with 5 different pitches the hitter has to worry about is much more likely to get away with a down the middle FB than a reliever with a 90% fastball arsenal. Of course that is an extreme example but yeah..

By: Anonymous Tue, 12 Jul 2011 01:22:00 +0000 Tim, you yourself sayeveryone is a 3.70-4.20 guy. It’s definitely possible to go a full season on the low end of your projection as a player. It’s also possible that if you put a good defense (which we have) behind a pitch to contact pitcher (which we have) that that could shave a couple tenths off your ERA. Offense is also down throughout the majors this year.

All leads to our 3.58 SP ERA to be completely legit as a group and although individuals might fluctuate, no need for any “regression” whatsoever.

By: Chris M Mon, 11 Jul 2011 04:48:00 +0000 I don’t really like some of these statistics like HR/FB because it really oversimplifies things to assume all fly balls have an equal chance of being home runs.  I’d be more interested in a stat that said what percent of his hanging curveballs/fastballs left over the middle of the plate are home runs.  That would be more indicative of luck.  A lot of fly balls are not struck very well, and that can often be due to the quality and location of the pitch by the pitcher.  It can be argued that it isn’t just blind luck that is preventing Maholm from giving up more home runs.  

A similar argument can be made for BABIP.  Maholm and Karstens don’t have overwhelming stuff like McDonald and Morton have shown, but maybe they are both better students of the game than the rest of the rotation.  There was just a bit on Inside Pirates Baseball about how Karstens is one of the best at making on-the-fly adjustments based on what he discerns from the hitters swing.  He’s gonna let hitters put the ball in play but if he locates the ball well they will not hit the ball with authority and get on base.  

All these pitchers are relatively young and still making adjustments and learning.  Maholm apparently changed his approach quite a bit after Hurdle told him the scouting report the Rangers had on him.  I’d be more willing to believe he would “regress to the mean” if he didn’t have 120 ip with a 2.96 ERA.  That isn’t that small of a sample size, he has really only had 2 BAD starts out 19.

By: Lee Young Sat, 09 Jul 2011 14:03:00 +0000 I’m just gonna enjoy it while it is happening. Why ruin it by (showing stats)  and waiting for it to end?

By: Tim Williams Sat, 09 Jul 2011 04:04:00 +0000 You are correct that there’s no guarantee the starters will regress this year.  The big issues I see:

BABIP – Maholm (.253), Karstens (.240)
Strand – Karstens (88%), McDonald (83.8% since May)
HR/FB – Maholm (6.3), Morton (5.5)

The HR/FB can’t really be controlled, as the pitcher has little control over whether a ball stays in the park on a fly ball.

As for the other numbers, I’d give credit to an outside factor (Hurdle? Defense?), except an outside factor would impact the whole team.  You have to ask, why is it just Maholm and Karstens with low BABIPs?  Why is it just Karstens and McDonald with ridiculously high strand rates?

All five pitchers play on the same team.  The fact that only 1-2 are getting lucky numbers in each category indicates luck, rather than an outside factor.  That also means an eventual regression.  Like you said, that might not happen this year.  And for the record, a regression doesn’t mean they’ll be horrible from here on out.  It just means they probably won’t be good every single night, which is what we’ve been seeing since April ended.

By: Nate Sat, 09 Jul 2011 03:54:00 +0000 Salempriate makes some good points.  I would also point out that the while the odds of regressing may be high, I’m not sure if there is any evidence to suggest that this regression will happen THIS season.  Using a pitchers career numbers has little impact on the year-to-year variation.  Sure, having all five of your starting pitchers perform better than their career averages, or what their performances should be based on peripheral stats (BABIP, strand, HR/FB), may SEEM unlikely, or may SEEM like a rare occurrence, but our fan-based intuition doesn’t make it impossible.

Also, if the standard metrics aren’t “explaining” the performance – perhaps there are other variables missing from the equation?  In the Pirates case, the error term may be larger than we’re assuming.  What’s all that noise?  What other variables can act as determinants?  Can we quantify a new manager?  Do metrics like xFIP tell a completely different story that we’re seeing in standard stats?  Not from what I can tell.

By: Anonymous Fri, 08 Jul 2011 20:35:00 +0000 The Pirates have a much higher percentage of QS this season. The fact that they’re not allowing 4,5,6 runs in the first or 2nd innings allows the defense to play better, knowing that they’re not out of a game sometimes before getting their first AB. The Bucs pitching and defense also have benefited from being among the leaders in 1st inning runs scored.

The 6+ innings starters have given Hurdle have also kept the pen fresh. And having one of the game’s top closers to hand their leads over to and has been great.