Sunday, June 01, 2014

Masahiro Tanaka Leads AL in Run Prevention

Yankees right hander Masahiro Tanaka is good at preventing runs by any measure
(Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski, Getty Images)

With the month of May now complete and the season about a third of the way done, it's a good time to update the Tiger Tales sabermetric pitching Leaders. 

There is no surefire way to determine the best pitchers in the league, but a pitcher's job is to prevent runs.  So, it's useful to estimate how many runs pitchers saved their teams compared to an average pitcher.  In the past, I have explored four different ways to do this:    
  • Pitching Runs -  Runs Saved Above Average based on innings and runs allowed. 
  • Base Runs -  Runs Saved Above Average based on batters faced and hits, walks, total bases and home runs allowed.
  • FIP Runs - Runs Saved Above Average based on innings, bases on balls, hit batsmen and home runs allowed and strikeouts.
These measured are discussed in more detail in an earlier post.  After computing each measure, I then take the average of the four.

The current American League leaders are listed in Table 1 below.  Yankees rookie right hander Masahiro Tanaka leads the league with 17 pitching runs, and 20 adjusted pitching runs, and is third with 13 Base Runs and 16 FIP Runs.  That gives him an average of 17 runs prevented compared to an average pitcher.

The leading Tiger is ace Max Scherzer with an average of 10, good for ninth in the league.  He is fifth in Adjusted Pitching Runs, but only 16th in Base Runs.  Other Tigers in the top 20 are Anibal Sanchez (8 runs prevented) and Rick Porcello (4).  Drew Smyly and Justin Verlander are exactly league average , that is, 0 runs prevented.  

Table 1: AL Run Prevention Leaders as of May 31, 2014
Pitcher
Team
IP
Pitching Runs
Adjusted Pitching Runs
Base Runs
FIP Runs
Average
Masahiro Tanaka
NYY
78.2
17
20
13
16
17
Dallas Keuchel*
HOU
76.2
13
15
13
14
14
Yu Darvish
TEX
61.1
13
17
9
14
13
Felix Hernandez
SEA
84.0
9
7
16
18
13
Scott Kazmir*
OAK
68.2
14
12
14
9
12
Sonny Gray
OAK
74.0
15
13
11
7
11
Mark Buehrle*
TOR
73.1
13
15
7
10
11
Corey Kluber
CLE
80.0
9
12
6
18
11
Max Scherzer
DET
72.0
11
13
5
10
10
C.J. Wilson*
LAA
76.2
10
9
11
5
9
Collin McHugh
HOU
45.0
7
8
9
9
8
Anibal Sanchez
DET
43.1
5
6
10
10
8
Garrett Richards
LAA
66.2
5
4
10
11
8
Phil Hughes
MIN
61.1
6
9
4
11
8
Jered Weaver
LAA
72.1
10
9
10
1
7
John Lackey
BOS
71.2
6
9
2
11
7
Jose Quintana*
CHW
67.1
2
6
5
11
6
Jesse Chavez
OAK
68.0
7
5
5
5
6
Jon Lester*
BOS
73.0
0
3
4
14
5
Hisashi Iwakuma
SEA
43.2
6
4
6
1
4
Rick Porcello
DET
63.2
3
6
2
3
4
Chris Archer
TBR
63.0
2
3
2
7
4
Data source: Baseball-Reference.com

8 comments:

  1. Gotta give credit where credit is due. The Yankees went out and made one heck of an offer to get him and they got one heck of a pitcher in return, this guy looks fantastic. The fans are going to enjoy watching him pitch for a very long time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow...I wonder when was the last time that Justin Verlander was absent from this list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well gee what do you expect from the guy that is our offensive leader on the basis of statistical averages!

      He'll get back into the pitching stat charts, the upside of being off the chart now is that every pitcher has a blank chart starting today looking through to the future, and those charts concerning only unseen performances aren't written yet and they could look like anything, so it's back to a fair race for all starting now!

      And in case anybody wondered, the * means a LHP. Baseball-reference does that but doesn't denote on their stat pages what an * represents, you are just left on your own to pick up on that.

      Delete
  3. Baseball-Ref should have a footnote, but * traditionally means left handed and # switch hitter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would make the data that Baseball Reference references easier to reference.

      Delete
  4. AnonymousJune 10, 2014

    I wonder how the pitchers would have ranked right after the fist sweep of Red Sox? It seems like two different pitching staff before and after the start of the following Cleveland series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's just the nature of baseball, is that a player doesn't really ever perform at their average stat numbers on a given day. It's either typically a 0 or close to it or a through the roof performance, and the average is really just a melding of the specific actual performances that are naturally somewhat random rather than fitting a specific predictable pattern.

      Delete
    2. Here's one example since it has to do with the guy in the photo here. Tanaka's ERA is almost 2 even, and he's pitched in 12 games, but only 2 times did he have a per-game ERA that was remotely close to 2. You have to do the math, but you can see only the 2 games where he pitched 6 innings and gave up 1 was close to a 2 ERA for a specific game:

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=tanakma01&t=p&year=

      Delete

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