Pittsburgh Pirates Photo Day
Paul Maholm - Marc Serota/Getty Images

It is time to look at the final component of the 2009 vs. 2010 series: the pitching. Thus far, we have seen an improvement in the offense, but a defensive decline. For the pitching element, I am using Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP). This removes defense from the equation, looking only at strikeouts, walks and home runs. We already examined the defense, so there is no reason to account for it twice by using ERA. By plugging innings pitched and FIP into the following formula, we can find pitching runs above or below average. The average FIP in 2009 was 4.32.

[(IP * 4.32)/9] – [(IP * FIP)/9]

Here are the 2009 Pirates pitchers.

 

Name IP FIP Runs
Zach Duke 213.0 4.24 1.9
Paul Maholm 194.2 3.83 10.6
Ross Ohlendorf 176.2 4.72 -7.8
Jeff Karstens 108.0 4.88 -6.7
Charlie Morton 97.0 4.15 1.8
Ian Snell 80.2 4.61 -2.6
Jesse Chavez 67.1 4.85 -4.0
Matt Capps 54.1 4.90 -3.5
Kevin Hart 53.1 5.16 -5.0
John Grabow 47.1 4.36 -0.2
Evan Meek 47.0 3.71 3.2
Virgil Vasquez 44.2 4.96 -3.1
Steven Jackson 43.0 4.26 0.3
Daniel McCutchen 36.1 5.19 -3.5
Sean Burnett 32.1 4.55 -0.8
Joel Hanrahan 31.1 2.75 5.4
Donnie Veal 16.1 6.77 -4.4
Chris Bootcheck 14.2 4.26 0.1
Denny Bautista 13.2 3.61 1.0
Phil Dumatrait 13.0 8.56 -6.1
Tyler Yates 12.0 5.76 -1.9
Tom Gorzelanny 8.2 2.87 1.3
Craig Hansen 6.1 5.94 -1.1
Eric Hacker 3.0 4.43 0.0
Jose Ascanio 2.2 2.72 0.4
Anthony Claggett 1.0 16.10 -1.3
OVERALL 1418.1 4.48 -26.0

 

Overall, Pirates hurlers came in at about 26 runs below average. Below are the 2010 pitchers. Included are each pitcher’s CHONE-projected FIP, plus an expected inning total. Inning counts are based on the CHONE projections, plus some adjustments that I made to make everything fit correctly. I divided this batch of pitchers into starters and relievers (average FIP: starter – 4.44, reliever – 4.1). You may notice that I have Kevin Hart in both sections, as I expect him to get some work both in the rotation and out of the bullpen this year.

 

Starters IP FIP Runs
Paul Maholm 191 4.07 7.8
Zach Duke 173 4.34 1.8
Ross Ohlendorf 156 4.67 -4.1
Charlie Morton 155 4.16 4.8
Daniel McCutchen 130 4.65 -3.1
Brad Lincoln 95 4.69 -2.7
Kevin Hart 60 4.19 1.6
TOTAL 960 4.38 6.2

 

Relievers IP FIP Runs
D.J. Carraso 59 4.08 0.6
Evan Meek 57 4.13 0.2
Joel Hanrahan 56 3.89 1.7
Octavio Dotel 53 3.72 2.6
Chris Jakubauskas 50 4.93 -4.2
Javier Lopez 48 4.43 -1.4
Jack Taschner 45 4.50 -1.7
Brendan Donnelly 33 4.13 0.1
Kevin Hart 27 4.19 -0.1
Jose Ascanio 25 3.82 1.0
Tyler Yates 17 4.21 -0.1
Donald Veal 10 5.40 -1.4
TOTAL 480 4.22 -2.5

 

OVERALL 1440 4.30 3.7

 

The Bucs are projected to be slightly above average this season, with the starting rotation providing the bulk of that strength. The team should see an improvement of about three wins due to the pitching. Paul Maholm projects to throw the most innings and post the best FIP among starters. Charlie Morton should also have a solid season, with Zach Duke and Kevin Hart turning in productive campaigns. Ross Ohlendorf will be the big disappointment on the mound this year. In the bullpen, Octavio Dotel and Joel Hanrahan should be the top relievers. This is an unspectacular group, but there should not be any huge holes.

We have one more installment remaining in the 2009 vs. 2010 series. Check back in the near future, as I tie everything together for an overall 2010 team expectation.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Cool stuff, Matt.

    Quick question, if this year’s pitching staff is projected to be 3.7 Runs above average as opposed to last year’s -26, can we safely say the Bucs RA will improve by about 30, taking it from 768 to 738? I would think the decline in defense would have something to say about the final RA…

    I just ask because WHYGAVS says that with CHONE projections plugged into the new lineup would produce 733 runs. I could live with a projection of 738 RF and 733 RA. Although the defense may make everything I’m saying completely rubbish.

    • Going by my numbers, the defense will be about 30 runs worse than in 2009. So yes, that would essentially cancel out the expected 30-run pitching improvement.

      Also, keep in mind that the lineup simulator assumes that only nine players receive at-bats. It does not account for at-bats taken by reserve players.

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