Posts Tagged ‘MLB 2010’

After getting shelled by the Texas Rangers on June 2nd, 2010 (2.2 IP, 6 earned) Gavin Floyd’s ERA weighed in at a rotund 6.64, to the uninitiated it would appear that he was having a terrible season, but what is the truth?  During Floyd’s early season struggles it was pretty clear that luck was not on his side as his BABIP in April was 369 and in May slightly better but still high at 343, while his strand rates during those months were 55.8% and 66.8 un-respectively.  Floyd is throwing harder (FB velocity 2009-91.8, 2010-92.4), missing just as many bats (2009 contact%-77.8, 2010-77.0) and even getting hitters to chase his pitches more often (2009 o-swing%-27.6, 2010-28.3).

Someone in my fantasy league made a comment regarding Floyd’s terrible season and I commented “outside of a brutal BABIP and low strand rate, Gavin Floyd has essentially been the same pitcher” to which I was basically ridiculed.  But as we can see from this chart, Gavin Floyd was and is the same pitcher and therein lays the beauty of advanced pitching metrics like FIP or xFIP and the use of the peripherals that help gather these stats (BABIP, strand rate, HR/FB etc).

Apr 7.8 4.1 369 55.8 301 6.49 4.09
May 7.0 2.2 343 66.8 296 5.63 4.12
Jun 8.0 2.3 281 72.5 217 2.58 3.30
Jul 6.4 2.3 290 80.0 234 1.01 3.35
2010 7.4 2.7 320 67.9 261 3.87 3.69
2009 7.6 2.7 292 69.7 246 4.06 3.69


When we look at K/9, BB/9 and xFIP from April all the way through this year and even from last season’s totals we see what xFIP is attempting to do for us, take out all of the noise and some of the factors pitchers cannot control (such as what happens after the ball is put in play) and give us a real idea of how said pitcher is performing, relatively speaking.

Look at how steady the xFIP column is in particular, even when Floyd had a month in which his ERA was 6.49, his xFIP remained calm and cool at 4.09.  But just as important look at his unbelievable Bob Gibson-like 1.01 ERA from July, again his xFIP tempers this and brings us all back to planet earth as it checks in at 3.35.

This is simply breaking down who Gavin Floyd is as a pitcher and this is also a simple way to explain and show the value and usage of xFIP.  I think it also helps show how useless ERA really is when evaluating a pitchers overall value and performance. 

For those curious, since that June 2nd shellacking Floyd has gone on a hellacious run – 62.1 IPs, 45 hits, 14 BB – 52 K’s, good for a 1.74 ERA and 0.95 WHIP.  All things considered Floyd is having a career year, who would’ve guessed?

This piece was recently posted on Fangraphs Community.  Check it out!

FIP: Fielding Independent Pitching, a measure of all those things for which a pitcher is specifically responsible. The formula is (HR*13+ (BB+HBP)*3-K*2)/IP, plus a league-specific factor (usually around 3.2) to round out the number to an equivalent ERA number. FIP helps you understand how well a pitcher pitched, regardless of how well his fielders fielded. FIP was invented by Tangotiger.

xFIP: Expected Fielding Independent Pitching. This adjusts FIP and “normalizes” the home run component. Research has shown that home runs allowed are pretty much a function of fly balls allowed and Home Park, so xFIP is based on the average number of home runs allowed per outfield fly.

BallHype: hype it up!

Brett Gardner gets down and dirty.

What if I told you a man existed who could single-handedly unite two sides that we have been told since birth are un-unite-able, one stolen base/triple/infield single at a time? Ok, with the hyperbole firmly in place I give you the one player that both scouts and sabermetricians can appreciate and claim as their own, that man is none other than Brett Gardner.  Currently sporting a 307/399/411 slash line, 40 BBs and 50 Ks, and successful on 25 of 31 stolen base attempts.  Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2005 amateur draft, he has slowly progressed into a solid everyday ballplayer.

Forget the fact that his jersey is dirty before the first pitch and that he takes the extra base when possible and more importantly steals bases (always big with the scouting/skills crowd) and looks great running down the first base line trying to chug out another infield single – Brett Gardner just looks like a ballplayer no? Even the lame Joe Morgan couldn’t disagree Gardner has been a revelation for the Yankees this season, playing solid defence (he should be starting in CF, but we will leave that for another time), giving the Yankees a spark at the bottom of the order with his all-out hustle and blazing speed – the guy can flat out fly.

However he is also extremely “saber-friendly” for a player of his ilk and style. He rarely swings at a bad pitch (18.5% o-swing) or really at all (31.2% swing rate) and when he does swing he makes contact (91.9% contact rate). Gardner currently sports a .374 wOBA mostly due to his patience at the plate (399 OBP – 12.2% BB) and despite a small hiccup in terms of his relatively neutral UZR rating this season he has already produced a 2.4 WAR in only half a season worth of games. Not bad for a guy who was barely an afterthought in the off-season and viewed more as a depth/bench player. The left-handed hitter is not a total liability versus lefties (261/371/375 – 340 wOBA) and has really earned his keep versus righties (328/412/427 – 375 wOBA) while mostly batting 8th or 9th for the Bronx Bombers this season.

While discussing Gardner’s season with my buddy Harry (also a New York native and Yankee fan – street cred enough? His last name even sounds Italian) he had made the comment that he wished the Yanks did not pull the trigger on their trade for Curtis Granderson in the off-season. He would go on to explain it had nothing to do with any particular dislike for Granderson, or that he was absolutely sold on Austin Jackson or Phil Coke, but more so the fact he felt they had the CF answer already in-house with Brett Gardner.

Not to say Gardner is a bonafide superstar, he hits more singles than rock stars and has been slightly propped by a .357 BABIP – though not outlandish given Gardner’s propensity to hit groundballs coupled with the fact he might be the fastest player in the majors. However to say he hasn’t been the Yankees biggest surprise this season would be a lie, Gardner has performed like Ichiro with more patience, he is here to stay.