Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tigers Starters Getting Hit Hard

In previous posts, we saw how well Justin Verlander ranks among American League starters on various statistics - Weighted On Base Average Against (wOBAA), Base Runs Above Average (RAA) and Weighted Component ERA (WERC).  Unfortunately, the rest of the staff has not fared well at all.

Table 1 shows that all Tigers starters not named Verlander have wOBAA's above .330.  How bad is that? Consider that the average wOBAA for AL starters with 50 or more innings is .316. 

Table 1: wOBAA for Tigers Starters (as of July 10)

Player
Team
IP
wOBAA
Justin Verlander
DET
151.0
.242
Phil Coke*
DET
79.1
.331
Rick Porcello
DET
96.0
.342
Brad Penny
DET
110.0
.345
Max Scherzer
DET
111.1
.354

Table 2 illuatrates that all Tigers starters other than Verlander are below average in Base Runs Above Average (RAA).  Max Scherzer has been particularly bad based on this measure with 12 runs below average.  This means that he has cost the Tigers an estimated 12 runs compared to the average starter with 111 innings.  He ranks 67th among 73 starters with 50 or more innings pitched. Rick Porcello and Brad Penny rank almost as low as they are tied for 58th in the league at -6 RAA

Table 2: Base Runs Above Average for Tigers Starters(as of July 10)

Player
Team
IP
Base Runs
RAA
Justin Verlander
DET
151.0
39
33
Phil Coke*
DET
79.1
39
-1
Brad Penny
DET
110.0
58
-6
Rick Porcello
DET
96.0
52
-6
Max Scherzer
DET
111.1
64
-12

Finally, Table 3 tells us that the Tigers #2 through #5 starters are all above 4.00 on WERC. The league average for starters with 50 or more innings pitched is 3.73.  For what it's worth, Charlie Furbush has a 5.05 WERC in 29 innings. 

Table 3: WERC for Tigers Starters (as of July 10)

Player
Team
IP
Base Runs/9 IP
WERC
Justin Verlander
DET
151.0
2.32
2.16
Phil Coke*
DET
79.1
4.41
4.11
Brad Penny
DET
110.0
4.76
4.42
Rick Porcello
DET
96.0
4.85
4.51
Max Scherzer
DET
111.1
5.21
4.85

Are the Tigers starters really this bad?  Scherzer and Porcello are probably not as awful as their aggregate statistics suggest.  A look at Scherzer's game log shows that he has allowed two runs or fewer in 10 of his 19 starts.  The problem is that when he's bad, he's really bad.  He has allowed five or more runs seven times. Porcello's season has been similar - 9 games of 2 or fewer runs and  six of five or more runs.  So, they have at least given the Tigers a good chance to win in more than half their starts.  However, they have been hit hard too often and they need to reduce the beatings in the second half.

The raw data used to create the statistics in this post was extracted from Baseball-Reference.

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