Wednesday, April 30, 2008

High and Dry - Flipside

Earlier this month we took a look at pitchers who have strand rates below their career norms. We will revisit their progress in a few weeks. Today we are taking a look at some pitchers who have stranded an inordinately high number of runners this season. These pitchers are due for a regression, and as such their ERAs will likely rise as their strand rates fall.

The statistics next to each pitcher are their 2008 LOB%, their career LOB%, and their 2008 ERAs.

Zack Greinke 91.4% 71.58% 1.25
Tim Lincecum 88.7% 69.11% 1.73
Scott Olsen 84.9% 61.45% 2.06
Jake Westbrook 84.5% 68.28% 2.73
Carlos Zambrano 83.7% 74.79% 2.21

Zack Greinke and Tim Lincecum have pitched brilliantly since the start of the year but they have also been the recipient of some good luck. Their current strand rates are roughly 20 percentage points higher than their career averages and their HR/F rate are a paltry 4.9% and 3.7% respectively (league average is usually 11%). Those signs point to ERAs that are destined to rise above the 2.00 threshold over the next month or so.

Many owners are wondering if this is the season in which Scott Olsen puts it all together. It very well may be, but I doubt that he maintains a 2.06 ERA for too much longer. His current strand rate is over 23 percentage points higher than his career average. Even if his strand rate regresses only to the league average (roughly 71%) it should negatively affect his ERA. I would consider dealing Olsen in mixed leagues right now.

Jake Westbrook is an interesting case. His strand rate suggests that he has been lucky but his HR/F rate of 17.9% suggests that he’s been unlucky. Digging a bit further into the numbers, his FIP ERA is 4.36. Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) is a way to measure a pitcher’s performance independent of his defense. That is a differential of 1.63 in the wrong direction. I’d expect a severe ERA correction in the coming months. Sell while you can.

Carlos Zambrano has pitched above his ADP so far this season. His strand rate differential suggests he is due to take a hit in ERA, but the rest of his statistics generally support his current performance level, or at least support a level that is reasonably close to his current plane. His ERA will certainly creep towards 3.00 over the next few months but it looks like he will prove to be a draft day value.

You can find the above statistics at The Hardball Times. The career strand rates were calculated using data found at

No comments: