Sunday, September 02, 2012

Create Your Own WAR for Tigers Pitchers

Yesterday, I introduced some new FanGraphs pitching metrics which serve as complements to the famous WAR statistic.  Dave Cameron talked about them in more detail in a post at FanGraphs.  One of the great things about the new statistics is that they allow you to create your own WAR statistic which incorporates the parts of a pitchers performance which you think are most important. 

The simplest approach would be to make the pitcher responsible for all actual runs scored  (RA9 Wins).  The results for the Tigers in 2012 are shown in Table 1 below.  Justin Verlander is the leader at 5.8 Wins Above Replacement, followed by Max Scherzer (2.9) and Doug Fister (2.0).  Note that all numbers for Anibal Sanchez's in this  post are for Miami and Detroit combined.

Table 1: Tigers RA9 Wins Leaders, September 1, 2012


Pitcher
RA9 Wins
Justin Verlander
5.8
Max Scherzer
2.9
Doug Fister
2.0
Anibal Sanchez
1.6
Rick Porcello
1.2
Drew Smyly
1.0
Data source: FanGraphs.com

A more conservative approach would be to charge the pitcher with estimated runs scored based on things which he most controls, that is, the fielding independent pitching events (strikeouts, bases on balls, hit batsmen and home runs).  That is what FanGraphs uses for WAR.  Table 2 shows that Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Fister all do better on FIP Wins than RA9 Wins. 

Table 2: Tigers FIP Wins Leaders, September 1, 2012


Pitcher
FIP Wins
Justin Verlander
5.6
Max Scherzer
3.6
Rick Porcello
2.9
Doug Fister
2.6
Anibal Sanchez
2.6
Drew Smyly
1.4
  Data source: FanGraphs.com

Suppose that you do not to buy into the Defensive Independent Pitching theory and  want to make a pitcher fully accountable for balls in play in addition to the FIP events.  To get that, you simply add FIP Wins and BIP Wins as shown in Table 3.  Since Verlander has had positive results on balls in play, he fares well on FIP + BIP.  On the other hand, there are big drop offs for Scherzer, Sanchez and Porcello. 

Table 3: Tigers FIP+BIP Wins Leaders, September 1, 2012


Pitcher
FIP Wins
BIP_WINS
FIP + BIP
Justin Verlander
5.6
1.0
6.6
Doug Fister
2.6
-0.3
2.3
Max Scherzer
3.6
-1.6
2.0
Anibal Sanchez
2.6
-0.9
1.7
Drew Smyly
1.4
-0.2
1.2
Rick Porcello
2.9
-2.4
0.5
 Data source: FanGraphs.com


Now, suppose you are not comfortable charging hits solely to pitchers but you think a pitcher has total control over runners left on base.  In that case you could add FIP Wins to LOB Wins as illustrated in Table 4.  Since Verlander has not been good at stranding runners this year, he does not do as well on FIP + LOB.  Conversely, Scherzer and Porcello do quite well here.  In fact, Scherzer almost moves into a tie with Verlander. 

Table 4: Tigers FIP+LOB Wins Leaders, September 1, 2012


Pitcher
FIP Wins
LOB Wins
FIP + LOB
Justin Verlander
5.6
-0.9
4.7
Max Scherzer
3.6
1.0
4.6
Rick Porcello
2.9
0.8
3.7
Anibal Sanchez
2.6
-0.1
2.5
Doug Fister
2.6
-0.3
2.3
Drew Smyly
1.4
-0.2
1.2
Data source: FanGraphs.com

 It does not need to be all or nothing though.  You can give a pitcher partial credit for balls in play and runners left on base.  The easiest formula would involve making the pitcher 50% accountable for both balls in play and runners stranded, that is, FIP + .5*BIP + .5*LOB.  Table 3 lists the Tigers with Verlander on top at 5.7, then Scherzer (3.3) and Fister (2.1).

Table 5: Tigers FIP + .5*BIP + .5*LOB Wins Leaders, September 1, 2012



Pitcher
FIP Wins
BIP Wins
LOB Wins
FIP + .5*BIP + .5*LOB
Justin Verlander
5.6
1.0
-0.9
5.7
Max Scherzer
3.6
-1.6
1.0
3.3
Doug Fister
2.6
-0.3
-0.3
2.3
Rick Porcello
2.9
-2.4
0.8
2.1
Anibal Sanchez
2.6
-0.9
-0.1
2.1
Drew Smyly
1.4
-0.2
-0.2
1.2
Data source: FanGraphs.com


you don't need to employ a 50/50 split.  If you think a pitcher is more responsible for balls in play than stranding base runners, it might be 75% BIP and 25% LOB or any weights you want.

You don't like the WAR statistic?  Now you can make your own.  

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