What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
I'd like to hang out with Matt Harrison for a day. He seems really laid back and calm, but very confident. And that's what all this mess is about. There's one thing Sabermetric bullshit can't calculate and that's confidence. He isn't fazed by somebody getting on base, he's confident in his stuff that he can get the next guy out and the guy after that. Sometimes he gets lucky, sometimes he doesn't. In Seattle down 1-0 Harrison had gone 7.2 innings and just allowed a hit, Wash came out to talk to him and Harrison said "Oh hell no Wash, go sit your ass down, I'm going to put Smoak down." And he proceeded to do so. Go Harrison, continue dominating your critics.
For this team, this year, this is the pitcher. 207 innings at a 3.26 ERA is irreplaceable for the 2012 Rangers. The stats conversations are interesting, but this is a real team that plays this season once, and the team had to have this performance from Matt Harrison.
Eric, this is the part of the game where I say CHECKMATE. (Closing out Round 2 of my defeat of Boris Spassky)
1. Weeks ago you unwaveringly linked a pitcher's long-term success to his peripherals. But Wikipedia defines Peripheral ERA (PERA) as "a pitcher's expected ERA taking into account hits, walks, strikeouts, and home runs allowed." Let's repeat this: PERA by definition is designed to predict ERA.
2. Yet on Sept 27, 8:34 pm Eric Reining hereby refused to use PERA for the explicitly defined purpose of it's existence—yes, to predict ERA.
All in this body can now duly note Mr Reining's renunciation of PERA...that which he had declared as the foundation of all his arguments.
Your refusal to bet on these terms (ERA) hereby constitutes concession of your defeat.
Thanks for playing.
You are ridiculous. Take your ERA+ with you straight to hell.
"Including all the outings and including all the hits...Harry *does* look like Felix."
The debate isn't about Harry's past ERA. That's easy to look up. The debate is about what his ERA will be in the future.
When this thread started, Harry had roughly a 3.0 ERA on the season. I claimed that was a fluke and that his ERA going forward would be 3.8 to 4.1. You've argued vehemently that I'm wrong, that the stats on which I rely are flawed, and that Harry will sustain something much closer to a 3.0 ERA than I claim.
Since we made our predictions, Harry has made 6 starts and his ERA in those starts is 4.25. So the new data is consistent with my prediction and contradicts yours. Still, it's a small sample and not definitive. Time will tell if Harry will prove to be the FIP-defying marvel you claim. I'm confident he won't.
Eric I kept repeating to you the difference between predictive metrics and performance metrics. I warned you. But you wouldn't listen. Now you are mad because you stepped in it?
PERA's purpose is to predict ERA...it is not superior to ERA. It doesn't replace ERA. None of these do...and that's not even their goal!
Just check out the various definitions of the metrics and their stated goal!
Here is a definition of SIERA (quoting FanGraphs)"Skill-Interactive ERA (SIERA) is the newest in a long line of ERA estimators."
xFIP is really funny because it's a regressed calculation... trying to normalize FIP in order to better predict ERA!!!
When you derisively scorn ERA, you are showing you don't yet understand. All these tools exist to predict future ERA!!!
I know you probably have a higher IQ than I do, kid...but you haven't taken the time with this!"
You are down two games to nil...u still playing?
"bWAR sucks. How about fWAR?"
Eric, I generally agree that fWAR is better than bWAR, but with the following caveat.
You're probably aware that Fangraphs now has a stat called RA9 wins, which is basically WAR based on actual runs allowed. RA9 wins is basically equal to bWAR for pitchers (with some relatively minor differences). RA9 wins allows you to reconcile the difference b/w bWAR and fWAR. RA9 wins = fWAR + BIP wins (success on balls in play) + LOB wins (success in stranding runners).
Over large samples, the correlation b/w RA9 wins and fWAR is 0.96. So over large samples, for most pitchers RA9 wins (bWAR) = fWAR. This is b/c over large samples, for most pitchers, BIP wins and LOB wins zero out. But over small samples RA9 wins (bWAR) and fWAR can differ greatly. This is b/c over small samples, a pitcher may have large positive or negative BIP wins and/or LOB wins due to factors other than pitcher skill (mainly luck). So over small samples, fWAR generally is a better measure of pitcher skill than bWAR b/c fWAR factors out luck (i.e., short-term BIP wins or LOB wins).
Some pitchers however sustain large positive/negative BIP wins and/or LOB wins over large samples (e.g., Jered Weaver and Nolan Ryan). For these pitchers, arguably some or all of their BIP wins and LOB wins are attributable to pitcher skill or lack thereof. So for this group of pitchers, fWAR may not accurately reflect their skill.
What I've tried again and again to explain to ElvisMVP is that Matt Harrison doesn't fall within this latter group. Coming into this season, Harry had -0.4 career BIP wins and -0.2 career LOB wins. So he has no history of consistently outperforming his fWAR. In fact, he's underperformed it.
Yet this season, Harry has +1.9 LOB wins. That's huge. It explains almost the entire difference b/w Harry's 2012 RA9 wins (bWAR) and his fWAR.
So why has Harry had so much success stranding runners (2 full wins worth)? Is it b/c he's been "stepping up his game" with men on base? No. His peripherals, including his K/BB rate, are all worse with men on base.
The reason for Harry's success in stranding runners is that his BABIP is over 20 points lower with men on base than without. So Harry is pitching worse with men on base, yet his BABIP is much better. It's a classic case of unsustainable luck over a small sample. (In fact, last year, Harry's BABIP with men on base was much higher than without men on base.)
Again, I've explained this numerous times to ElvisMVP, his only responses is that he exprects Harry's strand rate to "regress." Well, if Harry's LOB wins return to 0, which is what they were last season, then his bWAR and fWAR will converge. The entire reason Harry's bWAR and ERA is outperforming his fWAR and FIP, is the success in stranding runners due to the BABIP luck with men on base.
I've said all this til I'm blue in the face. ElvisMVP has no response. So I'm finished with the debate. Fact is, 6 starts ago, we both made predictions about Harry's future ERA. I predicted something closer to 4.0 and Elvis predicted something closer to 3.0. Since we made our predictions, Harry's ERA is 4.25. I'll hang my hat on that.
RFan...let me assess where you and I stand.
--You are siding with the fact that FIP-centric models—in time— get these kinds of predictions right over 90% of the time. On first blush, history would seem to be on your side, because I admit this is true. Usually pitchers that have outstanding success without the trio of LowBB/HighK/LowHomer will inevitably tumble back towards the middle of the pack—or worse.
--I am siding with the equally well-established fact that some pitchers despite lacking the HighK have persistently refused to fall back to the middle over their careers.
--I now have two years of historical data...a lengthy stretch...that starts to hint quite loudly that Harry might very well be one of these unique cases that FIP whiffs on. Another of the known FIPFLOPs.
I wasn't going to dawg you about your use of SSS, because as I've said before...the conversation is more fun with a little sugar. But I wouldn't press too far on the meaning of 6 late-season games.
One more thing, RFan: When will you...or TxBall or Eric concede that over two seasons Matt Harrison has been STUNNING! Can you boys not remove yourself from the quest to best me... and speak to the fact that one of our boys...one of our Rangers has empirically out-pitched Felix Hernandez two seasons in a row. Holy Shit!
Texas pitchers have such an extra battle with our park...and because it they receive fewer awards, fewer accolades, more curse words, more misunderstanding. Prince Harry is a battler and one with exceptional talent and craft.
And wins might not mean much on this forum, but it was sweet to see Matt log his 18th W today.
Marlboro writes, "I'd like to hang out with Matt Harrison for a day. He seems really laid back and calm, but very confident. And that's what all this mess is about."
He is fast becoming THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD!
It's fun to watch.
"I now have two years of historical data...a lengthy stretch...that starts to hint quite loudly that Harry might very well be one of these unique cases that FIP whiffs on. Another of the known FIPFLOPs."
Correction. You have 1 season, i.e., 2012. Harrison didn't outperform his FIP and fWAR in 2011. In 2011, Harrison's FIP and ERA were roughly equal, as were his fWAR and RA9 wins. This is what I've been trying to explain to you. Harry had a great ERA in 2011 b/c he had a great FIP. In 2012, however, Harry hasn't sustained his great FIP. The main reason is that Harry wasn't able to sustain the unbelievably low HR/FB rate that he had in 2011. That was the driving force behind his great 2011 FIP, and he just hasn't been able to sustain it.
2012 is a completely different story. This year Harry is outperforming his FIP by a huge margin b/c of the BABIP luck with men on base.
"When will you...or TxBall or Eric concede that over two seasons Matt Harrison has been STUNNING! Can you boys not remove yourself from the quest to best me... and speak to the fact that one of our boys...one of our Rangers has empirically out-pitched Felix Hernandez two seasons in a row. "
I have no problem admitting Harry has gotten great results and celebrating that fact. But my brain tells me that Harry can't sustain this. That's all. I hope he throws 5 shutouts in October and the Rangers win the WS. You and I can agree on that.
Where we part ways is in your quest to undermine FIP, which is pretty much the heart of sabermetric evaluation of pitching. It's fine with me if you point out FIP's limitations. I've done that myself, which is why I generally cite to SIERA instead of FIP. And it's fine with me if you point out that a guy like Jim Palmer consistently outperformed his FIP, which suggests that for a small percentage of pitchers, FIP doesn't capture something important. But you should leave it at that. FIP is a good stat that baseball fans should embrace. It basically says that 3 variables explain 96% of pitcher results over large samples. That's pretty phenomenonal.
Go ahead and discuss Pitch F/X and other new developments in Saber. I'll join the discussion. But stop the crusade against FIP. That's all I'd ask.
I've only vaguely been able to digest RA9 wins to this point, so thank you for the explanation. It helps.
Consider this hypothetical scenario. You and I are hunting kodiak bears off in the Alaskan wilderness. There we are, walking side by side, pitching stories back and forth about women we've been with, what we'd do if we were the GM of the Rangers, and every so often we dive back into our flasks for another hit of whiskey. All of a sudden, we see a pack of bears rumbling off in the distance about a thousand feet away, and you say, "Okay young Eric, how much do you wanna bet I bag more of those bears than you do?"
I say, "All right, you're on bitch."
Then you say, "Okay, here's the thing, I'm going to stand back here and use my sniper rifle, and you have to do it with this Swiss Army Knife."
"But Mr. Profar, I don't believe in the Swiss Army Knife; I don't believe that's a fair way of judging this bet. How about since you get to use your rifle, I get to use mine, and we'll both use our knives. After all, I'm not trying to get mauled. I don't want to become part of a statistic."
Then you come back with, "What, you aren't man enough to use a knife?"
"Well, no, I'm saying that if you get to use a rifle than I should get to use a rifle, and since I'm using a knife that you should also have to use a knife. That's only fair, right?"
Then you get into this long discussion about how park-adjusted wilderness factors favor Matt Harrison over Felix Hernandez, and that a true man uses performance-based weapons like knives to show their real worth.
And by the time, the bears are gone, and the bet is over.
* * * * * *
I've given you your ERA+, and I want xFIP (or SIERA). bWAR is out of the question. What is the third metric? Be realistic here, and you have yourself a bet. Stop pussy-footing around.
RFan wrote: "When this thread started, Harry had roughly a 3.0 ERA on the season. I claimed that was a fluke and that his ERA going forward would be 3.8 to 4.1. [ProfarMVP] argued vehemently that I'm wrong, that the stats on which I rely are flawed, and that Harry will sustain something much closer to a 3.0 ERA than I claim.
Since we made our predictions, Harry has made 6 starts and his ERA in those starts is 4.25. So the new data is consistent with my prediction and contradicts [ProfarMVP's]."
Jumping in on a 6-game sample size, rather than in the 60-game body of work, utb?
That sound...it's Matt chuckling. (it's a little muffled for some reason)
But hey...we'll see. :-)
"Jumping in on a 6-game sample size, rather than in the 60-game body of work, utb?"
The debate isn't about what Harrison did prior to our making the predictions. It's about what he'd done (and will do) after. So 6 games of 4.25 ERA is all we have at this point.
I was interested in reading a FanGraphs article about the Tigers' Doug Fister.
Here is another pitcher who was not highly regarded at by the Sabr community. However, just like Harrison he's put up 8+ WAR over the past two seasons. And... like Harrison... he hasn't enjoyed a high strike out rate.
Even when he did strike a guy out...it was achieved more often via called-third-strike than by missing a bat.
Then yesterday he strikes out 9 consecutive batters against a Royal line-up with a very low strike-out rate.
It's Interesting how pitchers can startle the skeptics.
Fister has a K-rate of 7.72 this year. Harrison's is 5.56. You really aren't very good at this whole comparison thing.
I keep hoping that you will bang your head against the brick wall long enough to knock yourself out.
utb bellows, "Fister has a K-rate of 7.72 this year. Harrison's is 5.56. You really aren't very good at this whole comparison thing.
On the complete contrary. Fister's K-rate just recently spiked. Up until the past few months his career norm was around 5.5...very similiar to Harrison.
Fister's sudden emergence as a strike-out pitcher was part of the comparative narrative I wanted to explore. According to the Fangraph's article his strike-outs are achieved more through Cliff Lee like command than via Darvish-like swing-and-miss magic.
I just find it interesting. All of us have wondered if Harrison can stay in rarefied air, when it's possible...he could get better, crushing even more critics with even greater crushing force.
I'm happy to discuss Fister. But I don't get where you're headed with this. Fister doesn't outperform his FIP. His career ERA is 3.46 and his career FIP is 3.49. Also, unlike Harrison, Fister has an awesome K/BB rate. Keep in mind that FIP doesn't focus only on strikeouts. Walks are also an important variable. Fister has put up a monster 3.8+ K/BB rate over the last 2 years. Harrison's K/BB rate is a pedestrian 2.2. Fister had a 5+ fWAR last year, which is awesome. (Though it was somewhat inflated by a HR/FB rate that's fallen back to earth this year.) And Fister's RA9 wins and fWAR are roughly equal.
Again, I'm not trying to be hostile here. I'm just trying to figure out why you think that Fister validates your theory that saber and FIP are flawed. He looks like a plain vanilla good pitcher with good peripherals and good results to me.
RFan writes, "Again, I'm not trying to be hostile here. "
I like it better when you rev up the engines.
If you want to understand how I view sports chat:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXD8yOxIPB0
Maybe I'm too used to it up here in Alaska. We don't play soft like you weak lower 48 boys.
RFan, First I take issue that Fister isn't out-pitching his SABRmetrics. He is in truth and by almost a full run. His xFip is 3.61. His ERA is 2.83.
Why do I bring up Fister in this Harrison-centric thread? Because of the historical similarities.
1. Neither Harrison nor Fister were well regarded 3 years ago by Sabr folk.2. Both have historically featured low strike out rates3. Both have come on to excel tremendously, churning WAR like butter.4. Oh...and this: One has an awkward demeanor. The other an extremely awkward name.
I find it interesting that Fister has found another gear...and one that is helping him raise that K rate. He is excelling in a non-formulaic way, without a big heater and without a Yu Darvish "this-pitch-is-like-a-box-of-chocolates-you-never-know-what-you-might-get" arsenal.
Matt has improved two years in a row. Some say regression is imminent. Maybe so—but further improvement is also possible. Harrison's three season trend line is an arc of beauty. It wouldn't surprise me to see him improve both his walk rate and his K rate. If he did either...Katy bar the door.
Doug Fister. Matt Harrison. Two examples of pitchers outside the box....demonstrating that a performer can find nonconventional paths to huge success.
So your point is that Fister was not that good a few years ago (when his peripherals were more similar to Harrison's)...but now that Fister has significantly improved his K/BB rate, his production has also improved...signifying that Harrison could get better in the future?
In other words, if Harrison gets better in the future, his results will be better. Weird.
In order to take the step forward that Fister has taken, Harrion will have to significantly improve his K/BB rate, just as Fister did. If he doesn't, then he will not experience the same kind of success that Fister has experienced. Pretty simple.
Of course, the same argument could be made for any pitcher in baseball with a below-average strikeout rate. Hey, if [insert pitcher here] suddenly improves his K/BB rate, his results will improve.
"RFan, First I take issue that Fister isn't out-pitching his SABRmetrics. He is in truth and by almost a full run. His xFip is 3.61. His ERA is 2.83."
You're looking at last season only. This year and for his career, Fister's ERA and FIP are identical and his xFIP is only slightly higher. The reason for the large difference b/w his 2011 ERA and xFIP was his ridiculously low HR/FB rate. His HR/FB rate has regressed this year.
"Neither Harrison nor Fister were well regarded 3 years ago by Sabr folk."
Both these players were basically rookies 3 years ago. They had no statistical history. So I'm not sure what "Sabr folk" you're talking about who didn't like them.
"Matt has improved two years in a row. Some say regression is imminent. Maybe so—but further improvement is also possible."
I agree. If you look back at my many, many posts in this thread, you'll see that I've argued that Harrison could get better IF he finds a way to improve his FIP (basically by increasing his K/BB rate). But if Harrison's FIP stays around 4, his long-run ERA will be around 4. And I know of no reason to think that Harrison has a better chance than any other 26 year old of his profile of shaving 0.5+ runs off his long-run FIP.
The fact is that Fister has 3 seasons of very low FIP. Harrison hasn't done that. Fister is just a better pitcher than Harrison.
There you are again, making absolute statements about FIP that aren't supported by history.
I found an article today by a blogger known as "theynastyguru." He takes a position half way between RFan and mine.
It can be found here:http://thedynastyguru.com/2012/09/23/what-to-do-about-matt-harrison/
A few excerpts:
Compared to Holland, "I’d rather have Harrison for the 2012 season and going forward..."
This was quite interesting:"You might first take a glance at his 17 wins and say that Harrison benefited from great run support, being fortunate enough to have the high powered Rangers offense behind him. However, Harrison got the least run support of any ERA qualifying Rangers starter — and was only 33rd in the league (not even in the top 1/3). So what makes the biggest difference in Harrison getting wins? Pitch efficiency. There have been four starters in all of baseball who have gone eight innings or more in a start at least nine times. Those starters are: Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw and Matt Harrison."
I found an interesting website that compares FIP to ERA for every pitcher. Link: http://razzball.com/playerrater-fipvera/
Using that I made a little list.
Here is the spectrum of Ranger pitchers...at the top of the list are guys who most outperformed their FIP...ranging to guys who considerably underperformed their FIP. (I despise that language, but there it is)
Here were the Ranger pitchers with noticeable gaps (in runs)Feliz 1.48+Ross 1.19+Lowe .89+Harrison .78+Koji .71+Dempster .55+------Darvish -.61Perez -.75Feldman -.1.34Oswalt -1.6
10 Ranger pitchers had .5 run or better disparities3 Ranger pitchers had 1 run or greater disparity
Does the reader honestly think Feldman and Oswalt were just unlucky this season?
It's remarkable to me how crude an instrument FIP is...and at times how dismally it reflects what is really going on between the lines.
For example, Consider how close FIP seeds Oswalt and Harrison this seasonHarrison 4.03 FIPOswalt 4.33 FIP
Yet the ERA gap between the pitchers is 2.7 runs! FIP is a complete fuck up in this instance. These guys aren't close. Harrison is competing for a 1st or 2nd seeding going into the playoffs. Oswalt has pushed himself into a relief role.
FIPFLOPS. FIPFLOPS. FIPFLOPS.
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