Monday, March 29, 2010

Rox Talk - Pitching Rotations Part II

Pitching Rotation - Part II

In Part I, I tried to determine if the number one starter had somewhat of a disadvantage because the possibility that he consistently faced a majority of number one starters. As the data shows Jimenez faced an average of 3.3, Marquis a 3.5, de la Rosa a 3.0, Hammel a 2.7, and Cook a 3.7. The data would suggest that over a long season the matchups rarely remain and that there are long stretches where our number one gets to face some fours and fives. The second question therefore was whether it might make sense to have your number one start somewhere else in the order so that perhaps your number one might face more advantageous matchups?

Again looking at WAR data, I calculated the result of each matchup. The data showed that when a Rox starting pitcher faced a pitcher with a lower WAR, the Rox went 58 - 32 and had 36 no decisions. When the Rox starting pitcher was below the opposing pitcher's WAR, then the team went 10 - 17, with 7 no decisions. In the rare case when the WAR's were equal, the Rox were 1 - 1. One thing to note, last year's pitching staff was light's out. By far the greatest staff in Rox history the data I think is a bit unusual but the Rox staff did win 58% of the time overall and when the Rox WAR was greater than their opponents this percentage increased to 64%. So if the Rox starter's won 69 times then if their was someway to optimize your starters so that they faced a pitcher with a less WAR then potentially the starter's might have won 74 times or about 5 wins. Five wins is a nice number and a big difference between 92 wins and 97 wins!

As mentioned, last year was a bit unusual because the Rox starting staff was incredibly dominant. In fact, there were only 11 times when the Rox faced a pitcher with a WAR greater than Jimenez's 5.7. This included facing Wainwright twice, Haren five times, Vasquez twice, and Lincecum three times. Jimenez faced these pitchers six times and finished 3 - 3. In the other five starts the team was 1 - 3 - 1. So what this tells me is that maybe you do want your number one starting against the other team's number one and thus neutralize the other team's big starter. Yeah you might get an additional five wins if your number one didn't face the big dogs but then your other starter's would probably lose 3 - 4 of those games.

Bottom line...just throw your pitcher's into the mix. The randomness of the season would suggest that when all is said and done a good pitcher will help your team to win more often than not but offense helps and a little luck (whatever might that be!)

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