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Identifying SP improvements using BABIP abnormalities

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Postby Niffoc4 » Thu Mar 15, 2007 6:09 am

The whole point is that over most pitchers career their BABIP will be around .300 because a pitcher has little control over balls that are in play. Small sample sizes will have lucky or unlucky runs which will effect a players overall line.
Home runs don't apply because they (for the most part) are not in play, they are over the fence. That is the same for strikeouts, the ball isn't in play, so what happens in that situation is based more on the pitcher than blind luck. Most pitchers who have low BAA it is because of a high strikeout rate...but some pitchers get a low BAA in a single season because of a lucky BABIP, basically when the hitters made contact it went within reach of the fielders.
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Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Thu Mar 15, 2007 8:26 am

wrveres wrote:I just went and read Buser's piece on BABIP, and I still can't see how this stat tells you anything at all. Its batting average repainted.

. One of the most interesting things about it is that it's widely acknowledged that luck plays a part in each player's BABIP


I think you need to read Gassko's and Bradbury's articles to get the point.

Basically, they have used batted ball data (GB%, FB%, etc.) and linked that to results data (singles per ground ball, doubles per ground ball, etc.) and then looked at who controls what. The work clearly shows that both hitters and pitchers have significant control over whether the result is a GB or FB, with batters having slightly more impact on this. Pitchers have little control over LD%, while batters have more so. On outcomes (single,double, etc.) per type of batted ball (FB, GB, LD), hitters have more control, though neither hitters nor pitchers have a great deal of control. FB pitchers will have a lower BABIP, so when you regress for them you regress to a lower BABIP than you do for GB pitchers.

BABIP removes not only HRs, but Ks from the equation. Thus, it focuses on those things where hitting, pitching, and fielding come together.

With respect to fantasy, most of the prediction systems already factor these things into account in making predictions. If you really want to do it on your own, you should consider the following:

Regress BABIP towards .290 for FB pitchers and .310 for GB pitchers.

Consider any defensive changes a team has made in the off-season and what effect that will have on BABIP.

As for demonstrating its effectiveness, the fact is we are talking about something that might impact 1 or 2 of the 6-8 SP you have on your roster. It would take something like 200 of us doing this to see if it works.

What I can tell you is that projections that rely on these adjustments are more accurate than looking at something like Marcels or last year's performance.
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Postby francois » Fri Mar 16, 2007 2:56 am

I'd definitely trade Chris Young if you had him on your team. (I did.)

Unless he walks less batters and strikes out more batters, then his value is at an all time high. Is he going to be an awful pitcher? No, but a lot of teams in your league will overvalue him.

Just checking stats from players who had a BABIP below .245 in the last few seasons, and seeing if they're ERA rose.

2002
Damian Moss (.234) - ERA went from 3.42 to 5.16. (+1.74)
Derek Lowe (.238) - (+1.89)
Tim Wakefield (.245) - (+1.28)

2003
no one below .245 (I'll do the top three though.)
Barry Zito (.248) - (+1.18)
Ryan Franklin (.249) - (+1.33)
Garrett Stephenson (he was next but he never pitched again.)
Hideo Nomo (.256) - (+5.16)

2004
again, no one below .245. I'll just do top three again. I should've picked a better number.
Al Leiter (.247) - (+2.92)
Kaz Ishii (.258) - (+.43)
Johan Santana (.259) - (+.26)

2005
Barry Zito (.252) - (-0.03)
Roger Clemens (.254) - (+.47)
Joe Blanton (.255) - (+1.29)

2006
Chris Young (.237)
Carlos Zambrano (.265)
Kenny Rogers (.265)

So, only Zito in 2005 was able to lower his ERA, and everyone else but Clemens, Santana, and Ishii added at least a run to their previous ERA. (Ishii's ERA had a 4.71 ERA in 2004, so his low BABIP didn't help him at all.)

Also, BABIP is not the only issue affecting ERA. There's K/9, BB/9, HR rate, etc. So, definitely don't use BABIP as your only source, but I think it's a great tool, and if I had time I'd do a more thorough investigation.
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Postby davidmarver » Fri Mar 16, 2007 4:17 am

One thing to note about Chris Young; while he should have a tough time replicating last year's numbers, he is entering his prime, and should be maturing on the mound. So while I would typically regress his numbers next season, since he is a FB pitcher, entering his prime, while having a low amount of innings on his arm to date, I think his regression is going to be a lot smaller than most pitchers with low BABIP in past seasons.
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Postby bellybrother » Fri Mar 16, 2007 1:46 pm

davidmarver wrote:One thing to note about Chris Young; while he should have a tough time replicating last year's numbers, he is entering his prime, and should be maturing on the mound. So while I would typically regress his numbers next season, since he is a FB pitcher, entering his prime, while having a low amount of innings on his arm to date, I think his regression is going to be a lot smaller than most pitchers with low BABIP in past seasons.


I wasn't gonna make this argument because I didn't want to argue with anyone who felt differently. It's just too hard to express quantitatively until after it's already happened. But since you did....I agree.
I expect his regression to the mean to be less dramatic than some seem to think. I wasn't surprised when he wasn't kept in my NL only league for the $22 it would've taken, although I was surprised last year when he went for that much, and I hope to be able to get him for around that $20 mark this year.
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Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Fri Mar 16, 2007 2:23 pm

davidmarver wrote:One thing to note about Chris Young; while he should have a tough time replicating last year's numbers, he is entering his prime, and should be maturing on the mound. So while I would typically regress his numbers next season, since he is a FB pitcher, entering his prime, while having a low amount of innings on his arm to date, I think his regression is going to be a lot smaller than most pitchers with low BABIP in past seasons.


Good point.

What is your sense of how he'll be affected by defensive changes in SD? Sledge is quite a step down, isn't he? Giles is looking slower every day, too.
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Postby davidmarver » Fri Mar 16, 2007 3:50 pm

GotowarMissAgnes wrote:
davidmarver wrote:One thing to note about Chris Young; while he should have a tough time replicating last year's numbers, he is entering his prime, and should be maturing on the mound. So while I would typically regress his numbers next season, since he is a FB pitcher, entering his prime, while having a low amount of innings on his arm to date, I think his regression is going to be a lot smaller than most pitchers with low BABIP in past seasons.


Good point.

What is your sense of how he'll be affected by defensive changes in SD? Sledge is quite a step down, isn't he? Giles is looking slower every day, too.

Actually, I don't think Sledge is that much of a step down. Roberts had a good range factor, which isn't surprising since he was a center-fielder just a year before that, but I think a lot of that has to do with the staff we had, rather than Roberts playing exceptional in left. I feel the difference there is muted by the fact that Sledge has a much better arm; Roberts didn't have a single outfield assist last season. I think our defense got slightly worse, as a whole, with Kouzmanoff and Giles instead of Castilla/Blum and Barfield, but Bard instead of Piazza behind the plate makes it almost a negligable difference. Kouzmanoff apparently looks good at third in spring, though, so that's promising.
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