Brian Kenny recently joined Twitter, and instantly became a loud and unbending voice for the statistical side of baseball commentary. Much like on MLB Now on the MLB Network, he brings an array of facts, statistics, and logic to bear on the traditional hive mind that is baseball commentary and then opens fire.
Kenny’s primary crusade on Twitter is the inanity of the pitcher win stat (#killthewin). He’s been posting previous-day summaries of strong pitching performances that result in a pitcher not getting that cherished tally in his W-L record. I wanted to take that one step further, so I bent the Baseball-Reference Play Index to my will and came up with this:
In 2013, there have been 44 games where the pitcher went 8 IP or more and allowed 2 R or less. I think we can agree that this is a “win-worthy” start. Combined, here’s that stat line:
IP: 354 1/3 (BF: 1282)
R: 61 (55 ER, 1.40 ERA)
K: 292 (K%: 22.8%)
BB: 47 (BB%: 3.67%)
That’s almost 2 full seasons of pitching (if you expand to 3 R, you could end up w/ 2 full seasons)! Remove the 0-14, and split it in half you have a back-to-back Cy Young Award winning pitcher about to sign a $200m, 8-year contract. AND HE WAS 0-14!
Print this out and use it to clown anyone crowing about a pitcher’s W-L record.
P.S.: Watch the talking heads try to work the mental gymnastics needed to defend Chris Sale as a great pitcher as he goes 0-5 in the month of June, and then heap praise on Max Scherzer for being 13-0. How do they manage stay upright while keeping the opposing thoughts “Run support is a key factor in a pitcher’s W-L record they have no control over” and “W-L record is the way to tell if a pitcher is good” in their head at the same time?
In June, there were a total of 134 non-pitcher, non-squeeze sacrifice bunts (~30/wk).
– 9 had a WPA/RE24 > 0 (all were due to fielding errors), 125 had a WPA/RE24 <= 0
That means that not quite 95% of those sacrifice bunts HURT the team, or did nothing to help the team win while giving up an out.
- 26 (19%) were in the first 3 innings of the game (19 in inn. 4-6).
- 59 (44%) were by the batter in the 1st or 2nd spot in the batting order.\
- 67 (50%) were 1- -/0 ; 3 were 1- -/1 (*)
- 7 (5.2%) came with the bunting team behind (1) or ahead (6) by 2 or more runs. This is a substantial 'improvement' over last month, at least.
(*) – The 3 1- -/1 bunts were more likely bunt for hit attempts, but we and the Play Index aren’t perfect.
- The Yankees (of course) led the month with 10, the Rockies followed with 9. The Yanks tired of being told they hit too many homers.
- Every team had at least 2 sac bunts. Surprising to us, the Padres only had 2. Bud learning?
- #smrtbaseball #bunttowin favorites Bruce Bochy and Dusty Baker called for 5 saccys each.
- If your defense of a sac bunt includes the point "But the defense might make an error!", you're right. If a 6.7% chance is a big part of your defense, you're probably in the wrong.
SMRT-est bunt of the week: 6/20, As at Rangers. Elvis Andrus, 1-2 (B6) | 1- -/0. -.22 RE24. The astonishing thing is that Andrus had the crown for April and May, too. In May, it was the 3rd inning, and in April it was bunting in the first inning. Ron Washington makes over $1 million per year. That’s the way baseball go, indeed.
Okay, that's a smidge unfair. There were 9 saccys with a RE24 of -.22, we just chose Elvis's because he'd been the man in April and May. If we were being totally fair, we'd give it to Eric Young Jr. On consecutive days (6/8 and 6/9), he bunted as the 2nd man the Rockies sent to the plate. Two days. In a row. In the 1st inning. At home. In Coors Field. There is not enough *facepalm* in the world...