Monday, November 24, 2008

Rox Talk - Pitcher Per Runs

This is an update to a post that I did back in July.  The Rox at the time had played 108 games. This post updates through 162 games with both our offensive and pitching...

A couple of weeks ago (June or July 2008) I was listening to the Rockies radio broadcast team, Jeff and Jack, and Jack Corigan made the statement that basically said that as your (i.e. the pitcher) pitch count increases in the inning the more likely a run is going to be scored. From the sound of this it made me go hmmm.  Two questions immediately popped up...1) is this true (logically you would think yes) and 2) what is on average the amount of pitches thrown in an inning that would allow a single run?

Well off to baseball reference where on their box score page they show the amount of pitches thrown in an inning along with the number of runs. By taking this data and plotting the number of pitches per inning, the runs scored for that number of pitches, and annotating in a running log how often this number of pitches occur in an inning, I was able to come up with the number of pitches thrown in 2008 by Rockies pitchers and what is the average number of pitches thrown to allow for one run in an inning (i.e., a 12 pitch inning occurred 127 times and a total of 18 runs were scored for a rate of 0.14 runs).  Conversely the Rox offensive saw 12 pitches only 90 times and scored 10 runs over the season for a rate of 0.11 runs.

Graphically all this data looks like this:
This first plot shows the number of pitches versus the total runs. The size of the circle indicates how often this number of pitches were thrown. The next plot shows the distribution which indicates that 12 and 13 pitches were thrown in an inning approximately 249 times or accounting for about 17.2% of the total innings pitched.  Conversely the Rox offensive saw 12 and 13 pitchers approximately 172 times for only about 11.9% of the total innings pitched to them.  

The final plot shows the rate at which runs are scored. So for instance 26 pitches in an inning occurred 26 times and a total of 45 runs were scored. Thus giving a rate of 1.73 runs scored when 26 pitches are thrown. If you plot this rate you get this...

A relatively nice curve that has a Rsquare of about 0.8189 (versus 0.6766 for our offensive).  If you throw out the outliers you can get a better curve fit.  After about 30 pitches in an inning the number of times a team scores runs tends to mess up the rate  (i.e. 31 pitches in an inning occurred 14 times with 34 runs scored while 32 pitches happened 6 times with only 11 runs scored).  If you take the equation and solve for 1, you get approximately 20.5 pitches for the Rox pitching and 20.6 for the Rox offensive.  Pretty consistent.

So there you have does appear as you throw more pitches in an inning, the likely of runs being scored increases. 

Follow on questions would be could you establish pitcher effectiveness based on this (i.e., Cook threw 3,068 pitches this year, divided by 20.5 would indicate he should have given up 150 runs (but actually only 102)).  Actually a more representative way to look at this would be average pitches per inning that Cook threw (14.5) which would represent approximately 0.53 runs per inning or 113 runs over his 211 innings pitched.  And of course you can turn this around and say that Tulowitzki saw 1,536 pitches and if you divide by 20.6 then he should have scored about 75 runs instead of the 48 that he did.  But if you look how many pitches he saw per plate appearance (3.6) and multiplying the rate (0.10) by plate appearances then he should have scored only 41 runs.  Lowest pitches per inning average was by Buchholz at 13.4 and the most pitches seen was by Podsednik at 4.5 pitches per plate appearance.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Collecting Baseball

Okay I love baseball and when MLB sends me their Holiday (Holliday not for us anymore!) Catalog I am always interested in perusing the offerings.   Couple of thoughts...

- I have to admit people who put their own names on jerseys is kind of silly.  Although I lucked out this year and got an Aaron Cook All Star practice jersey because my wife's maiden name was Cook (and to think his number is the day my wife was born on...)  I think I scored some points for that one...

- I love ball caps but come on how many different types can companies possibly make?  I am a sucker for old school caps (by the way the greatest team store of all time is the Red Sox store)  Just to see the hat row is a thing of beauty...

- Has Alysso Milano tapped some great unknown clothes market to outfit women for their team?  Two questions for women and baseball...why is it that at a ballgame a guy always brings his date (I assume) and her friend?  Second why do women come out in bunches for opening day and are never seen again?  Come on June/July is great time for baseball, not so much in April.

-  Does someone really have a Red Sox pool table for $2,300?  

-  Okay I think baseball cards are great.  The advent of all the sets and inserts really destroyed a great concept.  I mean come on, one product for one season.  Anyway Upper Deck which probably blew the card house down, has come out with a product that is the ultimate in what I would call "mutant card sets".  Anyway the product called Upper Deck Documentary is a 4,980 card set that includes 166 cards per team and details every game.  Checklist.  That is insane! crazy (OK I confess I want the 166 Rockies cards...)

-  Finally because we haven't tapped every market there is a market to dress your dog in your team's colors!  I think my Greyhound would bite me if I decided he needed dressing up in a Taveras Jersey...

Only 135 days to Opening Day

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rox Talk - Pitching HOKE

This week the pitching HOKE are in.  See below...note pitching is a bit more complicated in the formula:

Total Bases (1B, 2B, 3B, HR) + RBI (minus HR) * RBI base factor (see last week's post) + Hit By Pitch + Walk + Balk + Stolen Base + Wild Pitch - Pick Off - Caught Stealing - Double Plays - Offensive HOKE = HOKE

Note: that I take the pitcher's offensive HOKE and subtract it from their pitching HOKE because a pitcher's goal is to have fewer bases allowed and since they bat and can add bases to their count (granted very few) this gets subtracted.  So for instance Cook had 474 HOKE and faced 886 batter's (he also batted 78 times himself) and so had 3,232 possible HOKE which gave him a percentage of 14.7% or 101 HOKE+ (note the MLB average was 14.9%) . See the chart below for this year's pitching prowess (compared to last year's). HOKE, followed by HOKE (or base) per plate appearance, HOKE divided 4 for runs, HOKE+ (based on MLB average), RC or Runs Created, WPA, and WS or Win Shares (a win is worth 3 win shares).

Obviously the team did a bit better in 2007.  Interesting to note that while Cook's HOKE+ wasn't that much greater in 2008 then 2007 he had a much better season in the eyes of many fans. Hopefully Corpas can come back to form and Buchholz continue his bullpen prowess.  If Street in facts stays in the mix that makes us have a pretty good pen for next year.  Also if Francis can gain back his form from 2007 that makes a pretty potent 1-2-3 (assuming Jimenez continues to improve).  De la Rosa is a decent 4th man which leads us to find a fifth between Hirsh, Reynolds, Morales, and Smith.

Now that I have the HOKE complete for both offense and pitching, I have to wonder if it really means anything?  Does Holliday's 135 versus Buchholz's 129 mean much?  Holliday had 23 win shares to Buchholz's 9 (7.5 wins to 3 wins).  Buchholz's average of bases per plate appearance was 11.5% versus Hollidays 20.1% (MLB average 14.9%) but Buchholz only played in 59 games versus Holliday's 139.  So although it is interesting that bases are the one thing that can be compared to pitcher's and batters the final number probably still doesn't allow you to compare a player's real value to his team (and versus his teammates).  Perhaps next week I will take a look at the MLB in general and find what the top player's HOKE are...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Box Score Haiku - The Book

I have a sister site called box score haiku in which I wrote a haiku for every 2008 Colorado Rockies game. For posterity, I compiled a version of the box score haiku into a paperback book. The cover is below...

You can buy it here....

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rox Talk - Holliday and Offensive HOKE

Holliday Gone...
In a trade with the Oakland A's, the Roxs finally part ways with Holliday and in return get 23 year old outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, 24 year old left hand pitcher Greg Smith, and 25 right hand reliever Huston Street. After last week, it became apparent that Holliday had no desire to re-sign with the Roxs and due to the fighting words between management and Holliday any sort of leverage the Roxs might have kind of faded away. I think this was a better trade for what the Cardinals were offering but youth is always tricky and you have to think why Mr Moneyball gave away these players. The key to this trade had to be Street has a back up to Corpas and set up man. Smith becomes another log jam pitcher for the 4th and 5th spot in the rotation. Gonzalez is a young star that is probably iffy. I for one am not disappointed by Holliday's departure...see post here.

I think Holliday is one of those players simply out for the contract. And that is ok. I can't begrudge a person with the ability to hit a little ball who wants to go for the gusto. That is part of baseball but in this case I would say be careful what you wish for because you aren't always guaranteed the might get traded to a team with no more upside then the team you are leaving. With the Angels in the AL West, I just don't see Holliday going to anymore playoffs then hanging out with the Roxs. The interesting question is what did Mr Moneyball see in this deal? Certainly he doesn't have the long-term cash...but perhaps he see Holliday as a 2009 trade deadline bonaza to a team like the Yankees who want to win now and will give up the moon and stars to get another bat (?). Have fun in Oakland Matt and thanks for the "Slide" will always be a Rox Star in Denver.

2008 Offensive Hoke
In last week's post on the Rox, I went through a study to find the total bases that a player got when counting their RBIs. In earlier studies, I simply picked a number which I estimated to be around 2. In determining my "Hoke" I established the formula of:

Total Bases (1B, 2B, 3B, HR) + RBI (minus HR) * RBI base factor (see last week's post) + Hit By Pitch + Walk + Stolen Base - Caught Stealing - Double Plays - Field Errors = HOKE

Note: One thing the above formula doesn't take into account is bases that a player moves up but doesn't account for an RBI. Also although we add total bases for an RBI we are not taking bases away if the player doesn't get a hit when a runner is in scoring position.

An additional step was that I took the MLB Hoke and divided this number of possible HOKE (Total Plate Appearances x 4 bases). This percentage (15.1%) became 100 and then I scored each of the players to get a HOKE+ number which makes 100 average. So for instance Holliday had 501 HOKE and 623 plate appearances (or 2,492 possible HOKE) which gave him a percentage of 20.1% or 135 HOKE+. See the chart below for this year's offensive prowness (compared to last year's). HOKE, followed by HOKE (or base) per plate appearance, HOKE+, RC or Runs Created, WPA, and WS or Win Shares (a win is worth 3 win shares).

In regards to Matt's trade and Atkins impending trade it is going to be tough to lose 931 bases (or 36 win shares...that is 12 wins!).

Postscript: In googling Travis Hoke, I came across this article. Written by the man himself he does have an interesting thing to say about his counting of bases, "I had realized by then that it was not accurate to credit a hitter with one unit for each base, because all bases are not equally important. It is more than twice as valuable to the team, for instance, to hit a double than a single, because a man on second is in position to score on a following single. It is more valuable to hit safely with a man on second that with one on first, and there should be recognition of the difference, in the figures. So I had revised the system to fit. If a man singled with the bases empty he was credited with one—from home to first counted one base—but from first to second counted two bases, so that if he doubled he received credit for three, not two bases. A triple got him six bases, and so on. A home run with the bases empty meant ten out of a possible ten bases." So it would appear that Hoke had his doubts about the simplicity of the system. I think a base is a base. People with more bases tend to be better players so I'm sticking with it. As Hoke says this game is called baseball and thus the base in its singularity is the ultimate essence of what it means to play this game...the offensive tries to get them and the pitcher tries to prevent them! Doesn't it make sense to have a stat that compares apples to apples...not week I will throw up the Pitching HOKE....

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rox Talk - Total Hokes (?)

Back in June I was playing around with a stat I called Total Base Plus. See the below link for my early definition of such a stat.

Since then I read Alan Schwarz - The Numbers Game and realized my little exercise on total bases was put to use in 1915 by Travis Hoke, who rated players by counting the number of bases their hits accounted for, not just for themselves but the advancement of any base runner! So perhaps instead of calling it Total Base Plus perhaps I should call it Total Hoke's or TH. Either way in my efforts to determine total bases I realized there was no good way to determine advancement of a runner. Easiest stat to try and determine an estimate of this would be the RBI. Although RBI doesn't account for a batter getting a single and moving a batter into scoring position thus allowing the following batter the ability to hit a single and get this RBI. So with my early estimate I used a value of 2 bases per RBI. For 2008 I decided to calculate in actual
number for the Rockies this year. I used the following table. Obviously a runner on third and with an RBI obtained then the batter gets one base. Bases loaded home run would give the batter 6 total bases (note the HR gives an RBI to the batter but is already counted in the HR total so the four bases are not counted in the RBI).
So what does the 2008 Roxs look like:

So on average a RBI is worth 1.75 total bases. So Atkins who had 99 RBIs (78 actual ones) got a total of 146 total bases or an average of 1.87 bases per RBI. Not for sure what the rate really means. If you look on the low end it is mostly pitchers and single hitters. Anyway that is that. In addition to this you can also rate the pitchers the same way. One thing I don't do is give bases to pitchers who left a man on then was relieved for another pitcher. My way of thinking is that pitcher gave up the hit which allowed the RBI so the bases would go to the reliever.

Note that the RBI total should be 788 and sacrifice flies should be 47.  I am not going to go through 162 games to find the missing RBIs...I figure above is a decent estimate and I will catch up on it for 2009 (database, database!!!).  It is interesting to note that the base per RBI is about the same...