Friday, June 24, 2005


More BpB stuff

Tonight we'll be seeing a familiar foe in Jon Lieber. Remember the standing ovation Johnny Damon got from the dugout after a 16-pitch at bat, even though it ended in an out? That was against this guy. In game 2 of the ALCS last year, not only could our boys not get a hit off him, he was getting them out in 2-3 pitches. He was 4/24 in that game, or .167. Here's the chart for the games he's pitched this year.

Tossing for us tonight will be the great Timmy Wakefield, so may the weather be fair for the knuckleball tonight.

I will soon be putting together a general "BpB explained". I'm also working on getting all this data I have hosted. Actually I have that part done, just can't get to it for some reason. And I have to do some real job stuff, so you might be waiting on that for awhile. Here I describe what I count as a base awarded. Evan has prompted a discussion of BpB over at MVN, and I have addressed some questions over there in the comment section. Also, I have been thinking about doing the numbers for some league leaders to give us some perspective. I haven't gotten very far on that, but I've done the numbers (no chart yet) on AL Wins leader Jon Garland, and I have to say I'm pretty impressed. Dude does not give up bullshit bases hardly AT ALL. His total BpB this year has been 161/399 or .404. His worst game was on 15-Jun: 18/27 (gave up 3 HRs and they still won, by the way) or .667. His best came on 1-May: 4/31 or .129. So, I'll have more on that later.

In the meantime, let me know what you think of this stuff.

I'm hoping for great knuckleball weather, because the Sox really seem to have a problem with strike-throwing machines like Lieber...
BpB seems cool. One thing that might be interesting to do is to evaluate BpB in terms of its usefulness--what I mean is that OPS is considered a more useful stat than batting average, and while I don't know what the basis of saying that is, I imagine ERA and BpB could be compared in a similar way, and it would be interesting if BpB was better. I have a feeling it would be--ERA is a lot like RBI IMHO, in that it misses a lot of important events.
Very good point, Adam. I have never been pleased with the traditional ways of rating pitchers. ERA & W-L records are significantly affected by luck. As a fan, BpB helps me come to terms with how good/bad & lucky/unlucky a pitcher actually is, as what we remember most is usually the bad stuff. That's what prompted me to develop this stat. I would think this would be a more useful evaluation tool from the management perspective, as I believe it gives us a more comprehensive way of comparing very different types of pitchers. Also I think the charts are more useful in evaluating starting pitchers than their actual average.
It's weird that I even had to develop this stat, just to get the analysis I'm comfortable with. Weird as in why is it not already available? Maybe it is; maybe it's considered "property of the Boston Red Sox" as so much other good research is these days.
How man field goals did he score last season? I'm not good at keeping up to date on sports and stuff.

Why do you include errors in your total bases awarded? That seems to make it very dependent on factors outside the pitcher's control, which seems to me to be adding in some elements of luck you're trying to eliminate. ERA and WHIP don't include the effects of errors, so don't have that problem. (On the other hand OPSA *does* include errors.)

Nice game last night, huh?
That's an excellent question, Earl. I in fact only count the errors specifically charged to the pitcher. Maybe ALL errors are a factor of luck, but I think it's more likely that some pitchers are better at fielding (and therefore make fewer errors) than others. So it's just another small factor specific to that pitcher that gets added into the equation, and counts only as much as it affects the game.
I guess I feel if it's the pitcher's fault, it really is NOT outside the realm of his control, and therefore ought to be counted in his overall evaluation.
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