Thursday, November 03, 2005

Tiger Pitching Leaders

I was looking through The Bill James Handbook (BJHB) some more this evening and came across the leader board section. Most Tiger fans do not expect to see the names of too many Tiger pitchers on leader boards, at least not for something positive like ERA or WHIP. However, the BJHB has leader boards for so many different things that even the Tiger pitchers show up all over the place. Some examples can be found in the tables below.

Rank

Category

Pitcher

#

3

Pitches per batter

Johnson

3.38

4

Pitches per batter

Robertson

3.46

9

Strike outs per nine innings

Bonderman

6.9%

7

Reliever first batter OBP

Spurling

.232


Notes:

  • A lot of pitches per batter is not a good thing to have when you don’t get a lot of strike outs so Nate Robertson might need to get more efficient.

  • Jeremy Bonderman is still striking them out at a good clip as he did last year. That is one of the best indicators of future success for a young pitcher.

  • Chris Spurling gets the first batter out. His name seems to keep showing up in a positive light on every little list I make lately.

Rank

Category

Pitcher

#

2

Most runners caught stealing

Maroth

12

2

Lowest stolen base percentage

Maroth

25.0%

8

Lowest stolen base percentage

Bonderman

44.4%

1

Pickoffs

Maroth

10


  • Mike Maroth, with some help from Ivan Rodriguez, did a fantastic job holding base runners this year. His 10 pickoffs were off the charts. Nobody else in the league had more than 5.

Rank

Category

Pitcher

#

2

Ground ball/ fly ball ratio

Johnson

1.68

3

Ground ball/ fly ball ratio

Robertson

1.63

10

Ground ball/ fly ball ratio

Bonderman

1.43


  • They certainly had a ground ball starting staff this year. This is probably a good thing since their infield defense is better than their outfield defense.

Rank

Category

Pitcher

#

2

Fastest average fastball

Bonderman

93.2

3

Slowest average fastball

Maroth

85.2

2

Most pitches 100+ MPH

Farnsworth

14

6

Most pitches under 80 MPH

Maroth

907

4

Lowest % fastballs

Maroth

44.8%

10

Lowest % fastballs

Robertson

50.5%

4

Highest % curveballs

Johnson

21.6%

3

Highest % changeups

Robertson

24.0%

6

Highest % changeups

Maroth

23.4%

2

Highest % sliders

Bonderman

29.3%

6

Highest % sliders

Robertson

22.6%


This table confirms what many Tiger fans already know about their pitchers:

  • Jeremy Bonderman throws hard and throws a lot of sliders.

  • Mike Maroth is one of the slowest pitchers in the league and throws a lot of changeups.

  • Nate Robertson throws very few fastballs and lots of changeups and sliders

8 comments:

  1. my first thought after reading this was "boy, someone went to a lot of work to quantfy stuff i already know from having watched games." my second thought was "wait, they do this for other teams too, right?" suddenly, the usefulness of this data became vey clear...

    Lee-did you find any compelling data from other teams/idividual players? or am i going to have to buy the book to get that? =)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I haven't gotten into the other teams that much yet. I don't want to give out too much information especially since the book just came out but if I find something really interesting, I'll let you know. Also, if you have a specific question about some player, I'll see what I can find.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Once again, thank you for posting this. Getting information like this is difficult.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lee,

    one player i'd be curious to know more about would be kevin millwood. i have a feeling that if we were to make a splash in the FA market this offseason, he'd be the likely target. i know there have been some lingering concerns about his arm, so i'm curious to know where he ranks on avg fastball, % fastball/%curve/% slider to see if it has affected his velocity or willingness to throw strenious pitches. even better would be a comparison to '04 but that would be asking too much! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Zimm, they only have the top ten in each category but Millwood does show up there. He had the 8th highest avg fastball, was 6th highest in %fastballs and 9th highest in % sliders. He didn't have enough IP to show up on the 2004 lists.

    ReplyDelete
  6. good stuff Lee-thanks! looks to me like millwood is throwing more sliders now than earlier in his career (threw more curves.) i suppose that is a natural progression, as it seems to me that most pitchers have moved from curves to sliders as their primary breaking pitch over the last decade or so. it's so much easier on the elbow.

    the fastball velocity is encouraging. i'm actually a bit surpised to see him ranked that high!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Charles ListonNovember 05, 2005

    Good stuff...I'm surprised that 93 mph is the second-highest average fastball in the league, I would have thought that there would be a few 94's or 95's.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Charles, I was a little surprised by that too. It only included starting pitchers. Apparently very few pitchers are able to maintain their velocity for entire games.

    ReplyDelete

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