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2nd Year Pitcher Slumps: Round 2

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2nd Year Pitcher Slumps: Round 2

Postby NZF » Thu Jan 13, 2005 6:16 pm

I've updated a study I started about this time last season and posted on the Cafe forums. In this study, I looked at the probability of a SP slumping in their second season in the majors. The qualification I used to determine a "first season" was for the pitcher, to have thrown around 50 -60 innings (10 games) as a starting pitcher. Then to have pitched again the following season as either a starter or a reliever. My findings, initially showed over 70% of these guys actually regress in their second seasons.

For those that didn't, it proved to be a fantsatic source to identify future stud pitchers or at least great sleeper picks for the next season.

This time last year, my findings identified the following pitchers who fell into the later category from 2000-2002.

Johan Santana
Ben Sheets
Jake Peavy
Carlos Zambrano
Mark Prior
Mark Mulder
Brad Penny
Eric Gagne
Josh Beckett
TedLilly
Kip Wells
Jon Garland
Chris Reitsma

It also highlighted two potential red flag pitchers, in their second seasons, not to value too highly, Brandon Webb and Dontrelle Willis.

To keep things simple, I had based this study solely on ERA, BAA and WHIP. 59 Starting Pitchers were looked at, which I know is not a large sample size but it served useful as a starting point. They also had to have started in the bigs since 2000 (I needed a cut off point).

This year, I've enlarged that sample size to almost 80, and the results are now closer to an 80% regression. Two guys it has identified this season as potential future studs are Jeremy Bonderman and Rich Harden.

Now you may very well be saying, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to identify that Bonderman and Harden were potential studs anyway.
Also true is the fact that many on the list that regressed, are no longer pitching in the majors.

All I'm trying to do here is create some discussion around my findings that a huge % of pitchers regress in their second seasons and beyond. No doubt that the reason for this is familiarity. What this also shows me, is the guys that do improve or at least show little difference in their numbers from the 1st to the 2nd years, are generally the real deal.

For those that are interested, the full list that regressed from 2000-2002 follows.

Roy Oswalt and Oliver Perez and then,

Barry Zito
Joel Pineiro
Mike Maroth
Mark Beuhrle
Jason Jennings
John Patterson
John Lackey
Jason Marquis
Jason Simontacchi
Aaron Cook
Damian Moss
Casey Fossum
Dan Wright
Chris George
Victor Zambrano
Brandon Duckworth
Josh Fogg
Rodrigo Lopez
Rob Bell
Rick Ankiel
Aaron Harang
Nelson Figueroa
Jorge Sosa
Bud Smith
Chad Durbin
Tomo Ohka
Dave Coggin
Bruce Chen
Dave Williams
Gary Glover
Travis Driskill
Ryan Rupe
Shawn Chacon
Josh Towers
Juan Cruz
Joe Roa
Aaron Myette
Brett Myers


The 2003 list besides Bonderman and Harden, make interesting reading. I'll post it shortly.
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Postby RynMan » Thu Jan 13, 2005 6:21 pm

This is sensational. Great idea, great findings. Something to keep in mind on draft day. Keep me posted on your findings, am very interested.
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Postby LBJackal » Thu Jan 20, 2005 6:18 pm

The problem with a study like this is that you're looking at pitchers who presumably had success in their first year. It seems likely that the reason they met the minimum IP is because they better than the average pitcher who is in his rookie seaosn. So naturally the % that regress to the mean will be higher. To expand on what I mean... bad pitchers who do well will meet the minimum IP. Good pitchers who do well will meet the minimum IP. A very large portion of those bad SP's who did well will regress down to a much lower level, and a maybe normal amount of the good SP's who met the IP minimum will regress. The combination of those two leads you to believe that MOST pitchers regress almost regardles of skill in their second season, which I don't know if it's the case. Maybe different criteria instead of a minimum IP would be better to sample. What else to use, I'm not sure of though :*)

And as an aside, when you guys see Dan Wright's name, do you think of "A Few Good Men" when Cruise says "Did you order that code red?!?!" and Nicholson yells back "YOU'RE GOD DAMN RIGHT I DID". Well I do.... you're God Dan Wright I do.
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Postby RyanK » Thu Jan 20, 2005 11:18 pm

LBJackal wrote:And as an aside, when you guys see Dan Wright's name, do you think of "A Few Good Men" when Cruise says "Did you order that code red?!?!" and Nicholson yells back "YOU'RE GOD DAMN RIGHT I DID". Well I do.... you're God Dan Wright I do.


good pun.. made me laugh
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Postby Bloody Nipples » Thu Jan 20, 2005 11:33 pm

I am not exactly sure what you did in your study, though it looks like a great idea. ( ;-D )

What I dont get is how you took some first-year pitchers and said they would be studs. Wouldnt they have to have a second year also?

Maybe I'm just an idiot, but could you explain your process a little further for me a Rico.
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Postby Bloody Nipples » Fri Jan 21, 2005 5:08 pm

bump
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Postby NZF » Wed Jan 26, 2005 3:17 pm

LBJackal wrote:The problem with a study like this is that you're looking at pitchers who presumably had success in their first year. It seems likely that the reason they met the minimum IP is because they better than the average pitcher who is in his rookie seaosn. So naturally the % that regress to the mean will be higher.



I think you're trying to complicate something that is actually pretty simple.

All the study is attempting to show, is the large % of SP that appear to regress in their second seasons. Second seasons for the purpose of this study, are determined by having pitched at least 50 innings as a SP in the preceding season for the first time in a career. The player may well have pitched before that as a reliever or had only for example 30 IP previously as a starter. Therefore they don't qualify. As I said earlier, there needs to be a starting point.

Obviously most would assume familiarity plays a part in a SP having continued success in the major leagues. Although at this stage I've only gathered a relatively small sample size, it is very evident to me that familiarity plays a much larger part in the future success of a SP than most would appreciate or expect.
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Postby NZF » Wed Jan 26, 2005 3:26 pm

Bloody Nipples wrote:

What I dont get is how you took some first-year pitchers and said they would be studs. Wouldnt they have to have a second year also?



No, what I did was to suggest it would not be wise to over value the likes of Brandon Webb in 2004 as the majority of SP regress in their second seasons.

Also, I never said anyone would be a stud, just that here is a list of SP that did not regress in their second seasons despite the majority doing so. It just happens that most on that list have proven they are something special.
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