Monday, September 03, 2012

Justin Verlander Second to Felix Hernandez According to Half WAR

Yesterday, I considered some alternatives to the FanGraphs WAR statistic for Tigers pitchers.  Today, I'll look at the entire American League.  This is done based on five statistics found at FanGraphs which are discussed here:

RA9-Wins = Wins for a pitcher based on total runs scored while he is pitching
WAR (or FIP Wins) = Wins for a pitcher based on FIP stats (SO, BB, HBP, HR)
FDP-Wins = RA9-Wins minus WAR = Wins not accounted for by SO, BB, HBP, HR
BIP-Wins = Wins contributed by outcomes of balls in play
LOB-Wins = Wins contributed by sequencing of events or runners left on base.

In Table 1 below, pitchers are listed according to RA9-Wins. Mariners ace Felix Hernandez is the clear leader there at 7.1 Wins Above Replacement.  Tigers horse Justin Verlander ranks third at 5.8.  

Table 1: American League RA9 Wins Leaders



Pitcher
TEAM
RA9 Wins
Felix Hernandez
Mariners
7.1
David Price
Rays
6.0
Justin Verlander
Tigers
5.8
Chris Sale
White Sox
5.5
Hiroki Kuroda
Yankees
5.5
Matt Harrison
Rangers
5.0
Jake Peavy
White Sox
4.7
Jered Weaver
Angels
4.7
Bartolo Colon
Athletics
3.3
Jason Vargas
Mariners
3.2
Data source: FanGraphs.com

When pitchers are ranked according to the Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) statistics (Table 2),  Hernandez's lead is less commanding with just a fraction of a win more than Verlander (5.8 versus 5.6). 

Table 2: American League FIP Wins Leaders



Pitcher
TEAM
FIP Wins
Felix Hernandez
Mariners
5.8
Justin Verlander
Tigers
5.6
Chris Sale
White Sox
4.1
David Price
Rays
4.0
CC Sabathia
Yankees
3.9
Jake Peavy
White Sox
3.8
Max Scherzer
Tigers
3.6
Hiroki Kuroda
Yankees
3.4
Yu Darvish
Rangers
3.4
Matt Harrison
Rangers
3.2

Data source: FanGraphs.com

Verlander has better results on balls in play than King Felix, so adding balls in play to the FIP statistics (Table 3) puts Verlander in the lead 6.6 to 6.2.


Table 3: American League FIP+BIP Wins Leaders



Pitcher
TEAM
FIP Wins
BIP_WINS
FIP + BIP
Justin Verlander
Tigers
5.6
1.0
6.6
Felix Hernandez
Mariners
5.8
0.4
6.2
Jered Weaver
Angels
3.0
2.0
5.0
Chris Sale
White Sox
4.1
0.5
4.6
Hiroki Kuroda
Yankees
3.4
1.1
4.5
David Price
Rays
4.0
0.4
4.4
Jake Peavy
White Sox
3.8
0.4
4.2
CC Sabathia
Yankees
3.9
-0.3
3.6
Matt Harrison
Rangers
3.2
0.3
3.5
Wei-Yin Chen
Orioles
2.3
0.8
3.1

Data source: FanGraphs.com

On the other hand, Verlander has not been successful preventing base runners from scoring (LOB Wins).  Thus, if we add runners stranded to the FIP statistics (Table 4), he falls to fifth while Hernandez takes the top spot.  Tigers teammates Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello are sixth and ninth respectively on that measure.   

Table 4: American League FIP+LOB Wins Leaders



Pitcher
TEAM
FIP Wins
LOB Wins
FIP + LOB
Felix Hernandez
Mariners
5.8
0.9
6.7
David Price
Rays
4.0
1.7
5.7
Chris Sale
White Sox
4.1
0.9
5.0
Matt Harrison
Rangers
3.2
1.5
4.7
Justin Verlander
Tigers
5.6
-0.9
4.7
Max Scherzer
Tigers
3.6
1.0
4.6
Hiroki Kuroda
Yankees
3.4
1.0
4.4
Jake Peavy
White Sox
3.8
0.4
4.2
Rick Porcello
Tigers
2.9
0.8
3.7
CC Sabathia
Yankees
3.9
-0.7
3.2

Data source: FanGraphs.com

Another alternaive would be give pitchers half credit for both balls in play and runners left on base:
FIP Wins + .5*BIP Wins + .5*LOB Wins.  For now, I will call that Half WAR (Table 5).  Hernandez is the Half WAR leader at 6.5 followed by Verlander at 5.7. 


Table 5: American League Half WAR Leaders



Pitcher
TEAM
FIP Wins
BIP Wins
LOB Wins
Half  WAR
Felix Hernandez
Mariners
5.8
0.4
0.9
6.5
Justin Verlander
Tigers
5.6
1.0
-0.9
5.7
David Price
Rays
4.0
0.4
1.7
5.1
Chris Sale
White Sox
4.1
0.5
0.9
4.8
Hiroki Kuroda
Yankees
3.4
1.1
1.0
4.5
Jake Peavy
White Sox
3.8
0.4
0.4
4.2
Matt Harrison
Rangers
3.2
0.3
1.5
4.1
Jered Weaver
Angels
3.0
2.0
-0.3
3.9
CC Sabathia
Yankees
3.9
-0.3
-0.7
3.4
Max Scherzer
Tigers
3.6
-1.6
1.0
3.3

Data source: FanGraphs.com

Would I use Half WAR to determine the Cy Young winner.  No, I would never base an award on any single statistic, especially an untested creation.  I always encourage people to look at all the information available and not fall back on one number.  I do think though that Half WAR is a happy medium between two extremes - relying solely on FIP statistics and just looking at actual runs allowed. 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Sabermetrics Book

Sabermetrics Book
One of Baseball America's top ten books of 2010

Blog Archive

Subscribe

501 Baseball Books

501 Baseball Books
Recommended by Tiger Tales

Stat Counter

Site Meter