Comments on: First Pitch: Jeff Locke and the Defense of FIP Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Mon, 24 Nov 2014 05:42:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Joe Sweetnich Wed, 22 May 2013 23:09:49 +0000 Let’s see. Locke’s ERA is 2.7 or so and his FIP is 4.3+, therefore his ERA will be 5.9 or so in the future.

We should send him down now

By: leadoff Wed, 22 May 2013 18:26:28 +0000 I don’t understand your last sentence. Do you mean that most of the pitchers with an ERA significantly lower than their current FIP will see their ERA go up?______________________________________________________
What I meant was it is not uncommon for ERA’s to rise during the season.
We agree, he won’t maintain a sub 3 ERA.

By: mocasdad Wed, 22 May 2013 15:55:51 +0000 Couldn’t agree more, especially with your closing sentence. With young players, you have to hope for an upward performance arc as they gain experience.

Re: Glavine – I’ll absolutely concede he was a great pitcher, if others will concede he made a career getting strike calls on pitches off the plate. It takes skill to consistently hit that spot, and if umps were willing to give it to him, why not. One big reason he could make that work is he was fearless pitching inside. As long as Locke can keep doing that, while varying his pitches and location, he can succeed nicely.

By: Thom Kay Wed, 22 May 2013 15:38:14 +0000 I don’t think anyone is assuming Locke with have a 5.00 ERA by the end of the year. He just won’t maintain a sub 3.00 ERA if he continues to walk so many batters and allowing so many line drives, and not striking out many hitters. He can’t get away with that forever.

Glavine is still a bad comparison and you’ve made no logical argument to the contrary.

I don’t understand your last sentence. Do you mean that most of the pitchers with an ERA significantly lower than their current FIP will see their ERA go up?

By: emjayinTN Wed, 22 May 2013 15:26:54 +0000 LO: I think a #5 SP which is what Locke is supposed to be has a league average of about 5.00 ERA. Stats are nice, but they can tell you what the Law of Averages is – sort of like flipping coins, but none of it is an exact science. It cannot measure the Human aspect just like batting average cannot tell you who may or may not be a clutch hitter. I wonder what stats were available last year that said that the Pirates should nosedive after the All Star Break? What is an exact science? I thought Pedro was the best hitter on Sunday and changed to Travis Snider last night. I bet sports for a long time and I know that you can take all of the numbers and go broke in the process.

By: leadoff Wed, 22 May 2013 14:23:08 +0000 Lets take Locke for example: We now have established that he will be somewhere near a 5 ERA by the end of the year and we trade him away based on Sabre metrics alone, would you do it?
He would have to follow a script to end up with a 5 ERA. Pitchers that are in their 5th or 6th years of major league ball are pretty predictable, but one that has made changes and will continue to make changes throughout the year can’t be predicted unless someone gets lucky. That is why the Glavine example is actually a good one. Locke is no where near a finished product.
Also most pitchers in baseball over an entire season will see their ERA numbers regress and come closer to their FIP, all it takes is one bad game and practically every pitcher that ever lived ends up with a bad game somewhere along the way.

By: mjdouble Wed, 22 May 2013 14:06:59 +0000 “In small sample sizes a good scout is ALWAYS better than stats”

Whether or not you believe Locke’s May numbers or even that his year to date totals are a large enough sample to tell you anything is really up to how an individual wants to twist the numbers. I’ve seen research that says K rates stabilize at 150 batters faced and walk rates at 550 Batters faced. HR rates don’t even stabilize until you span multiple seasons. Others have concluded the rates stabilize sooner (at 70 and 170 batters faced). Regardless, the purpose of FIP was never intended as a predictor and it certainly wasn’t intended to do so in a season after 9 starts for a pitcher that has very little major league experience.

By: ianmonk Wed, 22 May 2013 13:45:39 +0000 If you are a Pirate fan, how are you not on this site? Another excellent article.

By: Lee Young Wed, 22 May 2013 13:08:01 +0000 DER SABR stuff is FIPing crazy. I worked 33 years for the Navy and I thought THEY had lots of acronyms. lol

Btw, don’t go there with Glavine. I tried THAT example yesterday….lol



By: rburgh Wed, 22 May 2013 12:50:55 +0000 The Bucs’ DER is .713, comfortably over the NL average of .697. So you would expect their pitchers’ actual ERA’s to exceed their FIP’s. After all, FIP tells us what a pitcher’s likely ERA would be if he played for an average defensive team. But DER tends not to regress to the mean over the course of a season – 40 games is a pretty good sample size since it covers well over 1000 BIP.

Also, there was once a young lefty who, in his first 9 starts, posted 9.8 H/9, 5.9 BB/9, and 3.6 K/9 on his way to a 2-4 record and a 5.54 ERA. In his next season, he went 7-17, 4.56 with 9.3 H/9, 2.9 BB/9, and 3.9 K/9.

He finished his career with 8.8 H/9, 3.1 BB/9, and 5.3 K/9. Sound promising? Had a brief career perhaps? No, he learned pretty well, finishing up 305-203, 3.54. His name was Tom Glavine. I’m not saying that Locke is going to to that, but I am saying that worrying about a young pitcher’s XFIP, FIP, or anything else in his first 9 starts is just driving yourself crazy unnecessarily.