Monday, July 11, 2011

2011 Home Run Derby

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Balls will be flying out of Chase Field tonight during the Home Run Derby.
PHOENIX -- The Home Run Derby has become a staple of the All-Star experience, a exhibition of raw power unlike anything else you'll see all season.

There's a bit of a new wrinkle to this year's event: One captain was chosen from each league (David Ortiz and Prince Fielder) and they were allowed to select three competitors apiece to join them in the Derby.

Ortiz chose three other players from the AL East: Red Sox teammate Adrian Gonzalez, the Yankees' Robinson Cano and the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista. Fielder took one of his teammates from the Brewers, Rickie Weeks, along with the Dodgers' Matt Kemp and the Cardinals' Matt Holliday.

I'll try to provide a few updates during the course of the Derby, but I'm also still working on my main All-Star piece about Tyler Clippard, Joel Hanrahan, Manny Acta and the circumstances that allowed them all to overcome adversity in 2009 with the Nationals to reach their first midsummer classic. Be sure to check the homepage later for that, and also be sure to tune into Comcast SportsNet at 6 p.m. Eastern to see my live report from outside Chase Field...

Where: Chase Field
Gametime: 8 p.m.
Radio: ESPN-980 AM, XM 176
Weather: Dome (Outside: Partly cloudy, 97 degrees)
Prince Fielder (Mil)
Matt Kemp (LAD)
Rickie Weeks (Mil)
Matt Holliday (StL)

David Ortiz (Bos)
Jose Bautista (Tor)
Adrian Gonzalez (Bos)
Robinson Cano (NYY)
8:20 p.m. -- And the Derby is underway, with Adrian Gonzalez at the plate and ... Manny Acta(?!) pitching to him.

8:25 p.m. -- Wow, nice opening round from Gonzalez. Nine home runs, setting a high bar for the rest of the competitors. He even dropped one into the pool in right-center field.

8:35 p.m. -- Matt Holliday made the unconventional decision to have Cardinals teammate (and fellow All-Star) Yadier Molina throw for him. It might have been a costly decision, because Molina didn't seem totally comfortable throwing BP. Holliday wound up with five homers, though one of them was a bomb onto the overhang in deep left-center, about 30 feet above the 413-foot sign.

8:49 p.m. -- Man, did Robinson Cano just put on a show. It wasn't so much the number of homers (eight). It was the majesty of nearly all of them. Just some towering blasts, including a 472-foot moonshot that reached the Diamond Club three levels up in right-center.

9:09 p.m. -- Rickie Weeks stepped to the plate to a chorus of boos from the Chase Field crowd. Why? Because folks around here were upset Prince Fielder selected his Milwaukee teammate instead of the Diamondbacks' Justin Upton. Well, those boos only intensified as Weeks struggled big-time to hit the ball out of the park. He wound up with only three homers, worst among the competitors so far. By the end of the round, the crowd was chanting: "We want Upton!" Jose Bautista, meanwhile, put four balls over the stands during his first round. Not quite as dominant as his usual performances in the regular season.

9:18 p.m. -- Hmm, another weak showing from one of Fielder's picks. Matt Kemp nearly was shut out. Down to his last out, he stepped out of the box for a moment and took a deep breath. AL catcher Russell Martin (a former teammate in Los Angeles) walked out there with a Gatorade bottle for Kemp. And what did he do on his next swing? Homered at last. So Martin brought him another Gatorade bottle. And he homered again. Sadly, that was the end of the streak. Kemp finishes with only two homers.

9:27 p.m. -- Well, Big Papi just opened the door back up for the NL squad. A disappointing five-homer round for David Ortiz. If Prince Fielder can top that, he'll automatically qualify for the next round (along with Gonzalez and Cano) and leave Papi in a tiebreaker with Holliday.

9:38 p.m. -- And Fielder finishes with five homers himself. So now we've got three guys tied for the two remaining spots in the semifinals. Ortiz, Holliday and Fielder each get five swings in this tiebreaker.

9:43 p.m. -- The captains deliver big-time in the Swing-Off. Papi blasts four homers in five swings. Prince does him one better, connecting all five times. Holliday is eliminated after hitting only two out. So we'll have four left-handed semifinalists: Fielder, Ortiz, Gonzalez and Cano. Tough luck for anyone who bought seats in the left-field bleachers.

9:59 p.m. -- Ortiz is up first in the semifinal round, and he adds four more homers to his first-round total of five. Since everything is cumulative now, that means he's got nine through two rounds. Gonzalez already had nine in the first round. Cano had eight. It will take a miracle for Papi to advance to the finals.

10:11 p.m. -- Fantastic performance from Cano in round two. Twelve more homers, which combined with his eight previous homers, gives him an even 20 for the entire competition.

10:27 p.m. -- And Gonzalez matches Cano with 20 total homers. He hit seven in a row at one point during his 11-homer round, including two opposite-field shots. So unless Prince Fielder clubs at least 15 homers here, it's going to be Cano and Gonzalez in the finals. Yankees vs. Red Sox. Great, just what everyone wanted.

10:33 p.m. -- No dice for Prince. He adds four homers to his first-round total of five. That gives him nine in total, not nearly enough. So it's Cano and Gonzalez in the finals. Yankees-Red Sox. Given the way contests between those two teams usually go, this should only take about four more hours to complete.

10:48 p.m. -- OK, Gonzalez sets the bar with 11 homers. That ties the record for most homers in the championship round. So for Cano to win this thing, he'll have to establish a new record.

11:03 p.m. -- And Cano does it! Twelve home runs in the final round to beat Gonzalez. The Evil Empire triumphs again. Robinson Cano is your 2011 Home Run Derby champion.


Doc said...

Some guys have all of the fun!

Enjoy it MarkMeister!

FS said...

I wish DC would host ASG soon so I can attend.

BTW I was watching HR Derby Press Conference and reporter made a comment about how this HR Derby was "Gringos vs Latinos". As much as I dislike Ortiz for taking PEDs and all, he must be an awesome personality in the ball club because he kept those four guys smiling and happy, unlike Fielder and co who barely said anything.

And yes, I am killing ASB by watching baseball press conferences. It has already come to that.

natsfan1a said...

Sounds like a great piece, Mark. Will look forward to it.

FS, I taped the presser and started watching it, but then I realized what I'd been reduced to and deleted it. Two words. Bo-ring. That said, I'm not judging as I *will* be watching the All-Star Game Red Carpet show. We each have our own choices to make in order to get through the week. :-)

(Thank the baseball gods I have two unwatched TWIB episodes in the can.)

carolync said...

Guess I'm simple-minded, because I love the home run derby. How I wanted Mike Morse to be in it!

My favorite was several years ago when former Expo Vladimir Guerrero put on quite a show. I also remember our Pudge being in one a while back.

Have an art class tomorrow night but hope to get home in time to watch Clip.

Hope our boys are relaxing and watching the home run derby for inspiration.

Go, Nats!

MicheleS said...

I have the Stasmas game on DVR.. That is what I will watch to make it thru the ASB....

Mark Enjoy.. I love the ASG.. I was able to go to the one in TX.. HOTTER THAN HADES!

Luqman said...

I perdict that the Fielder Team wins the Home Run Derby. I watched SportsScience and Chase Field has a high altitude that exepcts the ball to go real DEEP!

Steve M. said...

FS said...
Steve M, any reason you prefer Marquis over Livan? I am looking at their numbers at fangraphs and I don't see any reason to think that Marquis is a better pitcher than Livan. I am a fan of Livan even if he was not pitching as good as he has past two season.

My rotation of 2012 still needs an ace (left-hander preferably) ahead of Strasburg and Zimmermann, with Livo and Gorzelanny/Lannan rounding off the rotation.

WS home field advantage should be decided with a coin toss. There is nothing more balanced than that.

July 11, 2011 3:26 PM

FS and all the Livo fans - It starts and ends with wins. That's how you get to the post-season and get the World Series winner's ring from WINNING!

A few reasons I like Marquis and it starts and ends with 1st half WINS. I don't know why its the case, but this team plays its best for Jason Marquis. Who knows why, Marquis officially is 7-4 at the All Star break but the team is an amazing 12-6 in the games Marquis starts vs. Livan where the Nats are 6-13 in the games Livan starts. Now also keep this in mind that the Nats are 10-8 in games Jordan Zimmermann starts and JZim gets the league's 3rd lowest run support at 2.98 but has a 2.66 ERA so that is why the team wins in JZim's games.

If those stats don't do it for you, I can't help you then but for me, it is clear that there is some intangible for the guy who starts.

Secondly, I have said before that using the 2 year Elias Sports stats average, it would make sense to keep Marquis for one more year to make him more valuable in the 2013 Free Agent market. You may get him to a Type A free agent. Then again, that isn't guaranteed but if Marquis walks on the Nats this season as a Free Agent they probably get no compensation using the Elias formula.

Steve M. said...

I am taking Michael Morse in the HR Derby....oh yah, that's right Bochy SNUBBED him. Ok, give me Jose Bautista

I hope Morse and Espinosa and JZim all remember the snubs when the Nats face the Giants in this years post-season.

Gonat said...

Give me Prince Fielder.

Gonat said...

Steve M. said...It starts and ends with wins. That's how you get to the post-season and get the World Series winner's ring from WINNING!

A few reasons I like Marquis and it starts and ends with 1st half WINS. I don't know why its the case, but this team plays its best for Jason Marquis. Who knows why, Marquis officially is 7-4 at the All Star break but the team is an amazing 12-6 in the games Marquis starts vs. Livan where the Nats are 6-13 in the games Livan starts. Now also keep this in mind that the Nats are 10-8 in games Jordan Zimmermann starts and JZim gets the league's 3rd lowest run support at 2.98 but has a 2.66 ERA so that is why the team wins in JZim's games.

If those stats don't do it for you, I can't help you then but for me, it is clear that there is some intangible for the guy who starts.


SteveM, you are the stat king! I had no idea the great disparity on the numbers. I was reading FS's insight on Livo/Marquis stats and you are right, the difference in wins is astonishing.

Marquis gets run support, Livo not so much except for Jordan Z. gets even less run support and the team still wins for him.

You still don't want to sign Marquis longer than the point where you get burned. If the Nats can keep him for 1 more year as a stop-gap, it makes sense I think.

Knoxville Nat said...

Jose can you seeee...give me Bautista!

Mark'd said...

I want Nyjer's teammate, not Braun, the Fielders guy.

Mark'd said...

SteveM, it will probably take $8 to $10 million to extend Jason Marquis vs $1 million for Livo.

If money isn't an issue, SteveM has the Charlie Sheen Stats WINNING

Steve M. said...

Mark'd, I made some other points on the other thread about still keeping Livo as he is valuable as the long man in the 'pen and spot starter.

I like Livo but I saw a guy who was given an 8 run lead in that Cubs game and he just gave it up. A .316 winning percentage in games he starts is awful. That would give you a 51-111 record over a full season.

Anonymous said...

So what was the point of those Home Run Derby votes (pick 3 of 8 for AL and NL) on the punch card All Star ballots? Did those votes not count for anything?

Les in NC said...

The NL team has zero chance to win this one folks. I hate to put it out there like that, but Bautista, Cano, Big Pappi and A Gonz? And "we" got the Ricki Weeks?

...yeah, zero chance.

FS said...

natsfan1a, I did not even know they had a red carpet show before the game. LOL, unbelievable.

Steve M, you have a nice argument in favor of Marquis, but I fail to see how that is Livo's fault that he does not get run support or team does not win when he is pitching. I am going to check starters Livan has faced against Marquis has faced over last two seasons. That might give us a better picture of this run support.

meanwhile, Mark'd brings a good point money-wise. I am of the opinion that if we are going to spend money on starting pitching in the off-season, we should go all the way and look for an ace (like we did with Werth (un)fortunately). Also I am not sure I agree with your argument of Type A/B FA status of Marquis. We trade him at this year's deadline to get anything and be done. Relying on him to perform and achieve Type B status is a looooong route. Then we draft the guy and wait for him to pan out. What's the guarantee that the draft class of 2014 will be that deep?

Oh and Bochy did not snub Morse for Derby. Fielder selected the other three players. Also on Bochy selecting his players, I liked Chipper's take that as a NL manager if you want to stretch any players, you would rather stretch your own than any other players. There is probably not any truth to it but I am ready to believe it. And we can start winning WS and then have all starting nine Nationals participate in these events. :D

Gonat said...

FS said...

Steve M, you have a nice argument in favor of Marquis, but I fail to see how that is Livo's fault that he does not get run support or team does not win when he is pitching. I am going to check starters Livan has faced against Marquis has faced over last two seasons. That might give us a better picture of this run support.


Run support on the same team isn't anyone's fault except to see a pattern.

The obvious answer is run support is why 2 similar pitchers have a large disparity on W/L except you look at Jordan Zimmerman who gets .20 runs less than Livan and because of Jordan's low ERA it certainly helps. You also have to consider what happens after the pitcher leaves the game.

So like SteveM said, it is an intangible why the same team rallies for Marquis but doesn't for Livan.

It is a compelling arguement in a large enough sample size to maybe decide you extend Marquis.

The Nats are such a run deprived team and score big for Marquis. What is the reason?

TimDz said...

I don't mind a red carpet show as long as Joan Rivers doesn't show...

FS said...

Gonat, am I understand this right? You are saying since Marquis on the mound gets more production from our lineup for some reason, we should consider extending him before we extend Livo?

The reason I was looking for opposing pitchers because maybe Livo gets tough competition most of the time in comparison to Marquis? I remember last season Livo pitched two good games against Colorado allowing 2 and 3 runs respectively, only for Ubaldo to do a better job. I can barely remember a time in a year and half where Marquis pitched well and opposing pitcher of caliber defeated him.

I admit that I might be harder to understand, but I will see Livo in this clubhouse than Marquis, statistically or non-statistically. There is no way Livo accepts a reliever role unless he badly wants to stay with us.

Wait, how many total home runs have been hit? I predicted 74 thinking hitters park and all.
And WOW is AL crushing NL or what?

FS said...

"Great, just what everyone wanted."
LOL, I guess we should be happy these two teams can't meet in WS.

Dave said...

I don't love the win stat, because it depends on what other people do.

Livan has a better WHIP than Marquis (1.368 to 1.453) and a better K to walk ratio (2.33 to 1.76).

These numbers don't explain everything, but to me, they explain better why I should think Livo is a better pitcher this year than Jason. I'd like to see the offense support Livo more. Then you'd see a significant difference in those win numbers.

FS said...

Looks like Cano wins it. 7 more outs and 7 more HR needed. Should be piece of cake for him, the way he is hitting.

FS said...

Very disappointed with Fielder's selections. Come on, there is no one better in NL to compete. What about Pena, Berkman, or WM Pena?

Gonat said...

Dave said...
I don't love the win stat, because it depends on what other people do.

Livan has a better WHIP than Marquis (1.368 to 1.453) and a better K to walk ratio (2.33 to 1.76).

Dave, this win stat is the most important team stat. Hard to ignore a 6-13 record in Livan starts. You either win or lose the game and this team plays horrible in Livan games. It is all about actual winning and even WAR stat can't explain it. Incredible isn't it? The disparity when you then overlay to Wins and Losses is mind-boggling. If you were comparing different teams you can understand but this is the same team and same lineups essentially.

If I were comparing which pitcher goes to the All Star game or gets a Cy Young like Jordan Zimmermann for All Star or Felix Hernandez for Cy Young, I throw out Win/Loss stats because the effect of a lousy offensive team.

Someone wrote before that the more firey Jason Marquis vs the more nonchalant Livan Hernandez causes a mindset that carries into the game. That is a possible factor but the tremendous difference in Wins/Losses between the 2 is staggering. Some bad luck, sure.

natsfan1a said...

Only saw a little bit of the derby, when I clicked over during commercials. But a Yankees-Sox battle. Dang. Soooo sorry I missed that one. Not.

Truth be told, my fave part of the derby is seeing the players' kids interact with them on the field, as well as the players interacting with each other. As for the long ball. Meh. Like I said before, give me a good old-fashioned country inside-the-parker derby any time. ;-) That said, the Josh Hamilton first round at Yankee Stadium was pretty cool, but the back story factored into it there.

In other news, was watching MLB Network and they were promoting trade deadline coverage. I noticed that both Pudge and Marquis were shown in the video montage. I didn't know whether to be happy that the Nats were getting some big-stage recognition or upset that it was assumed we'd be trading. How about showing some O's players there, guys? Wait, maybe they did and I just didn't know who they were. ;-)

Confidential to Drew re. the Red Carpet show. Good news, no Joan Rivers that I'm aware of. Bad news, no evening downs. Maybe that's good news, though, 'cause I'm not sure that Prince could pull that one off.

natsfan1a said...

Uh, "gowns" not "downs." Another cup of coffee? Why, yes, thank you. Don't mind if I do.

Anonymous said...

I heard an interview with John Kruk yesterday, he was asked if he could do whatever he wanted to the HR Derby what would it be. His answer was add Bryce Harper. I bet he would have crushed it.

N. Cognito said...

A seriously mindless argument going on in this thread.
In 1987, Nolan Ryan led the NL with a 2.76 ERA, but only won 8 games for the low scoring Astros. He must have really sucked that year.

Dave said...

Thanks, N. Cognito. I really think pitcher wins is a nearly meaningless statistic.

Steve M. said...

Dave, N. Cognito's statement is true and has nothing to do with comparing 2 similar pitchers on the same staff.

ok, so a team that wins 92 games and wins their division and the team that wins 86 and goes home doesn't make a difference?

Are you kidding me?

N. Cognito said...

I guess I should admit that Marquis pitched much better than Livo the first half of the season because tha Nats have scored more runs during Marquis' starts.
My bad!

TEAMS win games. Pitchers get credited with wins based upon the performance of the entire TEAM, and that includes the offense.
To suggest I believe there's no difference between a TEAM winning 92 games and a TEAM winning 86 games is moronic!

NatHat said...

Some statistics are more accurate than others. For instance, look at Ramos WAR and Pudge's. We all know management wants Ramos to face most LHP's because of his potential for power. Pudge has good numbers against most LHP's, but Ramos is the future. Pudge has been facing most of the toughest RHP's if the schedule allows, not to mention only playing every 3rd or 4th game. Just like CS%, a strong throwing Catcher is a plus but the Pitcher has to try and hold the runner on 1B. So many variables.

Steve M. said...

N. Cognito, not calling you a moron as I never said that just saying that in a good sample size that this TEAM doesn't win much when Livo starts (only 6 of 19 games this year) a game and the opposite is true for Marquis.

I didn't make this up. Its an ugly fact. You can take it and pretend it doesn't exist if you want to but if you are to be a playoff team where WINS count, there is a pattern here.

I was asked the question 2 days ago on why I would keep Marquis over Livo and that is how I looked at it. This team wins games for Marquis.

Marquis is back to his old form of helping teams he plays for make a push for the playoffs. Unfortunately for Marquis as I also pointed out, his Aug/Sept stats are in the .400's for Win percentage but still over his career he is over .500 and his team win more than lose after he leaves the game.

The stat that backs it up is that this team scores a lot of runs in Marquis starts and not as much for Livan. Throw in Jordan Zimmermann who gets even less runs in support than Livan and the team has a 10-8 record in games Jordan's starts. JZim also has the best ERA on the team so it isn't really apples to apples in that comparison but still, this team rallies around Marquis and to a lesser extent Jordan Zimmermann.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

To be fair, SteveM's point (cmiiw) is the hypothesis that there is an otherwise-unmeasured but real effect that seems to manifest as a team repeatedly playing better behind some pitchers, and not others, hence the disparate W/L numbers.

I don't agree, and in this case I think 1/2 a year is too small a sample, but it's not nuts.

Mark'd said...

I wanted to jump back in here based on Sec3. Here is a full year analysis. This isnt a stat you sweep away. You have to wonder why the run support is so poor in Jordan Zimmermann and Livan starts.

In 2010, Livan had a great first half using the same stats at 11-7 and in the 2nd half went 6-9 so for the last year 12 months the team is 12-22 or a .353 win percentage in games Livo starts.

My guess is Rizzo is on top of those stats and no longer needs an "innings eater" with that type of record going forward.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

There's too many variables unaccounted for. I think FS suggested you aren't adjusting for competition. Is it not the players at all, but the manager consistently messing up in his games? More than a season, at least, I would guess, before it says anything.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Posted before I saw Markd's, btw...

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

But before I go back to work: how much difference should we expect between pitchers? One data point doesn't tell us anything.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Maybe they just leave Livo in too long, cuz he's Livo.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

In other words, just showing Livo vs. Marquis is not much data to show an effect.

Dave said...

One data point does indeed not tell anything. That's why I offered WHIP and K/BB ratio with a qualification.

But a team's winning has to do with their offense scoring more runs than the other team's offense. If a pitcher can keep the other team from scoring, he has done his job. But he hasn't caused his own team to win.

Sure, there may be seem unmeasurable effect of a team's playing good defense behind a more quickly-working pitcher or something like that. But it's not measurable (as far as I know).

My counter-argument to the value of the win statistic can be summed up in three words:

Blown save/win.

Steve M. said...

Mark'd, you threw in Jordan Zimmermann in your comparison. In games Jordan Zimmermann comes out of they score more runs so they are 4-1 in games after Jordan is pulled for an overall 10-8 record. Given his low ERA, he keeps himself in games while receiving the lowest run support on the staff.

Jordan Zimmermann has also faced the toughest opponent pitching followed by John Lannan.

Run support per 9 innings Jordan Zimmermann is at 2.70 vs. Livan at 3.9 vs Marquis at 5.1. That is runs scored while you are the pitcher of record so Marquis numbers are skewed as the team scored 6 runs in Baltimore after he was taken out of the game.

Dave said...

PS: Steve M., I'm not talking about a team's wins. I'm talking about the quality of the win stat for pitchers. I'm not sure I understand your comment at 12:51.

Steve M. said...

I didn't say that right, Marquis was still the pitcher of record but didn't come out for the 5th inning and didn't get credit for the win but the run support is in that number as he was still in the game technically.

Steve M. said...

Dave, this is beyond quality starts, it is about 12 months of the team not supporting the pitcher. Marquis and Livan are so close in ERA and WHIP that it is the disparity of "bad luck" if you want to call it that as the W/L recored overall as pitcher of record vs. overall for games started is a huge differential.

Take the 8 run lead in the Cubs game. Livan gives back 6 and the bullpen gives up 4 runs and the team loses the game. Is that "bad luck"?

I don't know what to call it but for the past 12 months as Mark'd gave it the team is 12-22 or a .353 win percentage in games Livo starts.

Dave said...

@Steve M., I didn't say anything about quality starts, either. I'm arguing one thing and one thing only: that the win stat is meaningless in describing the value if a pitcher.

Once again, blown save/win.

I'm not necessarily trying to argue that Livi is a better pitcher than Marquis. In fact, I don't really know whether he is measurably better this year. Those stats I cited were just two--a very limited way to describe them.

I'm just saying that you can't assert that one of them is better based on W/L record. The two stats I quoted were about what they do as pitchers. Actually, Marquis is a better hitter than Livo , so that may figure into this whole thing.

But as to their pitching performance, W/L just doesn't tell the story.

I'd be interested in even a wild-hypothesis explanation for the difference. But pitcher "wins" doesn't explain it. It just describes a result that might have much to do with luck.

Dave said...

"Value of a pitcher." "Livo."

Damn iPhone. (Once again, iPhone is invariably correct.)

Indeed, the iPhone effect may have led you to misinterpret my post a couple times ago. I was talking about the quality of a stat(istic), not of a start.

"Blown save/win" is screaming loudly in my mind. As is the phrase "hard-luck loss." Those really exist, too.

Steve M. said...

Dave, I didn't know the stat "quality wins". I know that both Livo and Marquis have had 11 quality starts this season.

Now I do have the Wins Lost stat which will also surprise you which is essentially a blown save when you leave the game with a lead and John Lannan has 5 of those, Marquis 4 and Livan 3.

I agree with much of what you said and luck could be a part of it like the Cubs loss. Still, you have a full season to ponder.

Again, this started with my reasoning of that I would take Marquis over Livan if salary wasn't an issue.

I have never liked W/L when comparing pitchers from 2 different teams which is why Felix Hernandez was the best pick for the AL Cy Young last year, but I think you can make comparisons on your own team to try to figure out some of the dynamics.

While we are discussing luck, Jordan Zimmermann gets the least run support, toughest opposition pitcher, and is tied with Livan and Marquis with 5 unearned runs cumulative this season although from memory I think JZim has received costly defensive mistakes like balls in the sun and bad paths to balls more than the others although I don't think there is a stat for that.

Steve M. said...

Found another stat, inherited runners to score on their ERA, and another surprise, Marquis leads the team with 8, Jordan Zimmermann 6, Lannan 5, Livo 4, Maya 4, Gorzo 1.

As good as the Nats bullpen has been, they are worse then the league average in Inherited runners as they have allowed Inherited Runners to score 34% of the time vs. the league average of 31%.

That is where the Slaten, Burnett, Broderick and Kimball failed.

Surprisingly, Chad Gaudin and Todd Coffey are the 2 best at 14%. Kind of surprising as Gaudin was horrible in full innings of relief but rather good as a stopper.

Dave said...

I give up.

I'm not talking about "quality wins" either. You've lost me.

If you can explain the difference between Livo and Marquis in any way at all other than luck, I would be interested. But you just keep telling me that something I didn't say is not true. I'm baffled.

Dave said...

While I was posting, you answered my last challenge. Thanks.

I'm not sure why you seem to think I'm defending Livo vs. Marquis. I'm not. I'm just talking about pitcher W/L statistics. That's all.

Steve M. said...

Dave said...
I'm talking about the quality of the win stat for pitchers.

July 12, 2011 2:35 PM

This is what confused me. Its not a problem either way. By all the stats I have jumped into just makes Jordan Zimmermann look like one of the top 5 pitchers in the entire NL and makes him look unlucky. It makes Jason Marquis look lucky and Livan Hernandez unlucky and John Lannan lucky.

I was always told you make your own luck so I still believe that there can't be that much good or bad luck as the pythagorean tells us so there has to be an intangible there as it all can't be chalked up to "luck".

Since it goes beyond stats when comparing pitchers on the same staff, I am baffled. Is it enough to make a decision of who you keep for next year?

Dave said...

I was going to leave this alone, but you pulled Jordan Zimmermann into this, so I feel I have to respond.

JZimm is widely considered throughout baseball to be the ace of the Nationals' staff. I would not say he's one of the top 5 pitchers in the NL, but he is certainly in the top 20-25%, easily.

Yet his W/L record is 6-7, while Marquis's is 7-4. Are you really suggesting that Marquis is an 18% better pitcher than JZimm?

I would like us to describe pitchers with statistics other than wins and losses assigned to a pitcher. That's all I'm saying now, and all I've ever been saying.

I realized I didn't use the words "for a pitcher" when talking about win stats above, but I thought it was somewhat self-evident, since we were talking about individual pitchers' performance.

Okay, I think I'm done now. I'll let somebody else chime in about this.

A DC Wonk said...

Dave, I'm with you. W-L record for a pitcher is a lousy way to measure them. Nolan Ryan is a great counter example. So is "blown save/win". So is Felix Hernandez.

Further, you pointed out that Livo has a better WHIP. Let me point out that (1.368 to 1.453) is a rather large difference. The former is a mediocre pitcher. The latter is sub-mediocre.

FWIW, I went to FanGraphs to compare WAR's. I found:

Livo: 2010: 3.0; 2011 thus far: 1.9
Marquis: 2010 -0.3; 2011 thus far 1.3

For this year -- I'd take Livo for sure. He's been a better pitcher this year than Marquis. He's certainly a whole lot cheaper, and gives the team more options elsewhere. And he's an innings eater.

OTOH, there is is age to worry about if you're talking about future years.

But -- back to where this post started -- wins is a very very crude measure. Run support over a small sample size (half a season) has too much variability in it. I.e., luck.

Unless someone is trying to argue that "run support" goes up with one pitcher more than another because of -- what? -- psychological issues or something? Has anybody measured the opponent pitcher? Didn't Livo start as the #1 pitcher, and wasn't he matched up with the #1 pitcher of the opponents a number of times in the beginning of the season?

Dave, I'm with you on this!

Gonat said...

Back to my computer and this thing has legs. I think on the surface given Livan's salary he is a bargain for what you got as a pitcher although the trendline of team production is alarming as at the end of the day the Manager is judged mostly by Wins/Losses.

A lot of bad luck or is there some conspiracy theory here? LOL

A DC Wonk said...

at the end of the day the Manager is judged mostly by Wins/Losses.

Of course the manager is. But that's different than how the pitcher is judged.

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