Starting Pitcher Stats
Well, it's just not spring unless the Ol' Gandhi comes up with a new fangled way of looking at things and this is spring is no different, although I am a bit late with this. Last year, I introduced Projectable Dominance to help identify pitching value in 5x5 fantasy leagues. I also showed how high spring strikeout totals have a good chance of revealing potential pitching breakouts.
While I don't have any new fangled ways of predicting success, I do have what I think is a pretty neat database available: it's a database of the starting stats of every pitcher who started more than 3 games last year. It's unpolluted by relief appearances, so you can see exactly how good a guy was when he started games.
Included are K/9, K/BB, WHIP, average number of batters faced per start (BF/S), average number of pitches per start (P/GS), pitches per inning (P/IP), pitches per batter faced (P/BF), the Projectable Dominance score pro-rated to 200 innings (PD/200), the average Game Score (AGS) and the groundball-to-flyball ratio (G/F) for every starter. I also included the average run support for as many pitchers as I could find the numbers. There are also two new metrics that I'm testing to see if they have any predictive value.
The first is one is something I first saw on a very useful website called the Inside Pitch. The stat is called ILE and it's the average number of innings a pitcher goes per start minus the number of earned runs he gives up per start. Essentially, it's a general measure of how well a starter stays in games. ILE ratings can help identify which pitchers are most likely to get decisions; the longer a starter stays in the game, the less likely his win will be vultured by a middle reliever who blows the lead, but gets saved by the offense. It will also help identify which team's bullpens are likely to be the most rested, thus less prone to blowing leads.
The second one is balls per batter faced (B/BF). It shows, through an inverse relationship, how often each pitcher throws strikes. I could have used strikes per batter faced but that statistic includes foul balls and hits, which could get confusing when it turns out that some pitchers average more than 3 strikes per batter. This stat is useful in showing which pitchers have confidence - in either their stuff, their defense or both - and are willing to risk hits for outs. It should also show which pitchers are likely to improve if their defense improves behind them, either by getting new players or by switching teams.
The PD score is useful for ranking pitchers based on talent, rather than opportunity. Injuries to pitchers happen all the time so it's always nice to get a clearer view of who might be successful as a replacement.
Here is a sample line from the database:
The database includes these numbers for 248 starting pitchers from last season. Only their starting stats are used, and unlike commercial stat databases like ESPN's, it includes all starters, not just the ones who qualified for the ERA title (pitched more than 162 innings). And no where else will you find ILEs or B/BFs for every starter. This file simply takes up too much space on my web host for me to post here. So if you'd like a copy, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will email it to you in Excel format. Thanks.