What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
If I recall, the hard-hit ball metric is a proprietary metric used by ESPN. I don't think it's available w/o a subscription. I can't knock the metric, since I don't know anything about it. But I can say that Harry has a normal line drive rate. He also has a normal BABIP. What's unsual about Harry's performance this year is his strand rate and his HR/FB rate. I think the strand rate is mostly luck. It's not something he did last year or any other year. The HR/FB rate is suspicious to me, given that he doesn't have swing and miss stuff.
I get that people want to believe in Harry. I also know in the past when I argued that CJ Wilson's BABIP was a fluke and he would come crashing down, people claimed that Wilson was somehow "special" and he defied sabermetric evaluation. Today, his BABIP has returned to a roughly normal level and his ERA has skyrocketed.
I'm open to persuasion, but I have my doubts about Harry.
ElvisMVP wrote: "And pitching on the road in the face of opposing crowds is is a great test for a pitcher. How has Matt done?In 2011 he did this on the road:6-4, 2.99 ERA 1.22 WHIP
In 2012 he has done this on the road:10-4 W-L, 3.05 ERA 1.20 WHIP"
Not tough to put up solid road numbers when the majority of road starts are made in SEA, OAK and LAA (three parks that significantly suppress offense).
I like Harrison...for what he is (a solid #3 starter). If he didn't pitch in front of a great defense, I don't think his numbers would look very impressive.
^simple, short, and direct.
This is a pretty awesome thread. I feel Im learning a lot about advanced stats.
I want to hear more from Elvis about this hard hit ball business.
What about weakly hit line drives to the outfield? Are those counted as line drives in the line drive rate, or is the line drive rate more or less similar to this mysterious hard hit ball stat?
Matt kicked some more sand on the FIP/SIERA crowd tonight.
And he dominated those Twins too.
Once stats are updated Matty's ERA will be somewhere around 7th in the American League...and let's quickly add that Matt pitches in a run inflationary home park, while all but 2 of the guys ahead of him in ERA pitch in run repressive home parks. Matt's adjusted numbers aren't far behind the luminaries we all admire.
UTB writes, "Not tough to put up solid road numbers when the majority of road starts are made in SEA, OAK and LAA (three parks that significantly suppress offense)."
Matt Harrison 3.05Jered Weaer Road ERA: 3.06Felix Hernandez Road ERA: 3.24
Our AL Rivals have very similar schedules/venues with the exception of a couple of appearances in Texas.
Matt's road and home ERA's are both right around 3.05. Very, very impressive.
I would take all those other pitchers over Harrison. Easily.
I would take all those other pitchers over Harrison. Easily.Txball
Harry just don't care. Two years of data don't lie.
Matt chuckles as the broken bats pile up enough wood for winter. He chortles with each dribbler to the mound. He snickers at yet another meek fly ball.
Harry dominates his critics.
Don't get me wrong, Harry has been simply phenomenal the past two years...
but if you're suggesting that he has the talent of those 4 pitchers above him, then, well, there's not much more to say. The only one that's slightly over-rated is Weaver. Harrison's stuff isn't in Weaver's class, but he's done mighty fine.
Again Price, Verlander, Felix, and even Sale >>>> Harrison.
I'd put Verlander in the class of Verlander. No one else compares.
A tick below that I'd put Price and Hernandez. I don't feel I've seen enough of Sale to assess him.
I'd put Harrison in the top 6-8 in the AL. I can't yet comment about how he will hold up under the pressures of the playoffs. I'm willing to give him a mulligan on last year.
But getting back to my point: the FIP and SIERA approach is very much threatened by Matt Harrison. By those metrics he would barely be top 20, if that.
All contact is not created equal.
"I'd put Harrison in the top 6-8 in the AL."
I'm glad you aren't our GM!
"the FIP and SIERA approach is very much threatened by Matt Harrison."
No. Harrison actually had a good FIP tonight.
The difference b/w you and me is that you think Harrison is a true talent 3.0 ERA guy. I think he's a true talent 3.8-4.1 ERA. Time will prove me right. Harrison has all 3 pitching luck dragons on his side right now (BABIP, strand rate, and HR/FB rate). But luck dragons are fickle beasts. Just ask CJ Wilson. Before the AS break when CJ had a .240 BABIP, he was a CY Young contender. Now that CJ's BABIP is 40 points higher and his ERA has skyrocketed, everyone's asking, "What's wrong with CJ?" Answer: The BABIP luck dragon and the strand rate luck dragon turned against him at the same time. Those 2 luck dragons can make even a solid pitcher like Wilson look very bad over a small sample.
Over a small sample, pitchers' fates are often subject to the whims of luck dragons. And for starting pitchers, even a season can be a small sample. They don't pitch that often.
One pitcher does not make (or break) a metric. These metrics really aren't stand-alone metrics in that you should follow any one and classify a pitcher based on ERA, FIP, xFIP, SIERA, tERA, etc. alone. You should use them all to help you sharpen what you're seeing from any particular pitcher.
In other words, they're like a CFM - you can't have a complete picture without the proper filters (naturally, some being more important [useful] than others).
And for anyone who doesn't think Harry has been extremely lucky this year, here's my challenge to you. Compile the list of starting pitchers with 1,000+ innings who have anything close to a 78% strand rate, .276 BABIP, and 8.5% HR/FB rate.
Sandy Koufax is on that list, along with a few others. Roger Clemens might make the list if you include only his best years. Do you honestly think that Matt Harrison belongs on the same short list as Sandy Koufax and peak-level Roger Clemens?
RFan I am preparing to issue a challenge to you, but I want to think about how we can scope it so that it has adequate volume. I don't to wait 3 years to win my challenge! TxBall, if you or anyone else wants in...I'll be glad to include you.
Here is my premise:
It's easy to tell when a pitcher is getting particularly lucky or unlucky.
On a particularly lucky evening balls are caught on the warning track. Rocket-line drives are smashed directly at an infielder.On a particularly unlucky evening a dribbler goes for an infield hit. A broken bat flare lands in front of an outfielder.
Obviously the range and quality of the defense come into play as well. When the center fielder can track a ball down in the gap, and turn a two-run double into an out...it's meaningful!
This is why I appreciate the basic rationale of FIP metrics, because, particularly in small samples, one pitcher might hit a particularly acute streak of misfortune or be blessed by the luck dragon.
But here is where the those metrics fail: not all balls in play are struck with the same authority. 2/3 of the time Josh Hamilton strikes a ball...it is traveling with radical velocity. When the bad Derek Holland shows up.... opposing hitters will launch rockets all over the stadium.
BABIP is inherently limited in that it treats all struck balls democratically...whether those ball-bat collisions are paupers (dribblers) or princes (bombs) As I like to repeat: All contact is not created equal.
Just as some hitters can consistently generate greater velocity (due to swing speed, bat plane and exceptional hand-eye coordination) ....similarly some pitchers...particularly those with downward boring pitch action, are consistently able to suppress struck-ball velocity.
It's not merely an issue of grounder/liner/fly ball...it's an issue of velocity.
BABIP is a red flag metric. You should look at the formulas for the predictive metrics before continuing your premise. I understand your general premise and it is a valid one; however, basing your premise on BABIP alone is flawed.
RFan, regarding CJ...I'll wager you that during the first 2 months of next season CJ Wilson will be back to his purportedly unsustainably low .240 BABIP. His problem right now is simply the sheer toll of innings pitched over the last 3 seasons...compounded by morale problems that have clouded all of Anaheim.
Back to Harrison...Every pitcher is going to have inconsistencies but consider:2012 road 3.05 ERA...1.20 WHIP.... .240 opposing average...2011 road 2.99 ERA...1.22 WHIP......235 opposing average...
And listen, if Harrison can feature a low homer per fly-ball rate...pitching in OUR PARK... holy shit...that should tell you this guy is special. And if you think his HR/FB rate of 8.5% is unsustainable---just check out what it was in 2011 (7.1%)!!! And he achieved that during a historically hot summer/run-inflationary season.
Txball...can you direct me towards links/articles on the predictive metrics that you are speaking of?
Am I safe to presume you are speaking for instance of HR/FB rates or a high line drive rate? That kind of thing?
Harrison's BABIP isn't really alarming nor is it his best BABIP of his career.
2010 - .2702011 - .2902012 - .284
That points to the fact that he's probably near his career average and he shouldn't suffer a regression based on BABIP. However, when you look at his LOB% and his GB%, that's where it jumps out at you.
Harrison has a LOB% of 78% this year. Is it a product of him bearing down? Has his mentality changed or his pitches gained more velocity? Does he have more movement than in past years? Is it due to mechanical adjustments? Or could it just be dumb luck? Who knows...but the fact of the matter is that when weighed against his career average of 71.9% - there has to be something else that *may* point to his success. His K% and his BB% haven't been phenomenal; in fact, they are near his career averages. What he's done this year is become more of a GB pitcher (51.2% compared to his best of 47.5% last year) and kept his HR/FB% down. Now, stats like xFIP suggest that HR/FB% can vary from year to year and is very unstable from year to year.
● While HR/FB ratios are generally unstable over time, some pitchers are still more prone to allowing home runs than others. If a pitcher has a long history of over- or under-performing the league average with their HR/FB rate, then you can reasonably expect them to perform closer to their career average than the league-average. In cases like this, xFIP may overestimate or underestimate a player’s true talent level by assuming a league average HR/FB ratio. Again, for more, see SIERA.
In conclusion, Harrison has been having a FANTASTIC year, but let's settle down here. His stuff has markedly improved and it probably won't. He's a solid pitcher with solid stuff and you can look for him to out perform *some* of his peripherals given his history; however, let's slow down on labeling him one of the top "6-8" pitchers in the AL. Put him in front of Detroit's defense and what do you think he would be? I tend to think NOT one of the 6-8 best pitchers in the AL.
*hasn't markedly improved.
Also, click the link (xFIP) I have provided, Elvis. BTW, I wouldn't recommend trying to understand SIERA's formula in one night - it is quite exhaustive - but that's why it's rated as *probably* the best predictive metric out there, at the moment, in terms of gauging the true talent level of a pitcher.
ElvisMVP, I love your determination and commitment to Matt Harrison. I think Harry is a solid pitcher and am glad he's on the team. Plus, he comes across as a genuinely humble guy, and there aren't enough of those in pro sports.
That said. I restate my challenge. Compile the list of starting pitchers with 1,000+ innings who have anything close to a 78% strand rate, .276 BABIP, and 8.5% HR/FB rate. If you think that Harry hasn't been lucky and that he can sustain those numbers over a large sample, then you are claiming that Harry is near Sandy Koufax level and perhaps better than Roger Clemens. Do you honestly believe that Matt Harrison is a once in a generation HOFer?
Harry pitches to contact and doesn't miss many bats. But he also doesn't walk a lot of guys and he induces a good number of ground balls in front of a great IF defense. That makes him a solid pitcher and a guy who can probably be depended on to produce an above avg. ERA. But he's not Sandy Koufax or Roger Clemens.
BTW, Elvis - 2 months isn't a bet. That's the epitome of SSS. 2 months doesn't tell you the true talent level of a pitcher. CJ is overrated. The way he's pitching recently isn't his true talent level either. Look at the whole picture.
His career BABIP is .286. His career LOB% is 71.2%. His career BB/9 is 3.79. His career xFIP is 3.84. SIERA is 3.82.
His ERA this year is 3.83. He is a "good" pitcher as far as SIERA's rating system would suggest. At best, he is an average #2 in the league.
Awesome posts, TxBall!
I'm winding down with some cocktails as I read up on a summary of SIERA on Baseball Prospectus. I'm just looking for big picture understanding on it's underlying principles.
TxBall...Harrison isn't pitching any better than last year, IMO. His net road numbers are almost identical the past two years.
The only difference is his 2011 home ERA (bloated to 3.8) But that was summershrine '11 w/epic run inflation--the Ranger staff's home ERA was 1.2 runs higher than their road ERA!!
Yes I said it again, since I've got to dawg you at least a little: SummerShrine '11 ;-)
LOL, I would NOT recommend drinking and reading up on SIERA. That is a massive headache waiting to happen. Good luck with that one, buddy.
Honestly, I'm secretly hoping Harrison absolutely crushes for the remainder of the year and Verlander/Felix wilt somewhat (not likely). Besides, I'm still a fan and I would love to have a Cy Young to go with a WS trophy. I'm greedy.
For what it's worth, I've also argued that some metrics haven't accounted for his improved performance and that he could conceivably out-perform them for the remainder of the year. However, I don't think a mechanical adjustment would account for a LOB% of 78%. Here's to *hoping* he does.
RFan: I restate my challenge. Compile the list of starting pitchers with 1,000+ innings who have anything close to a 78% strand rate, .276 BABIP, and 8.5% HR/FB rate. If you think that Harry hasn't been lucky and that he can sustain those numbers over a large sample, then you are claiming that Harry is near Sandy Koufax level and perhaps better than Roger Clemens. Do you honestly believe that Matt Harrison is a once in a generation HOFer?
I'll leave it to you RFan, to pull historical trifecta stats like that. I snorkel in stats infested waters and enjoy it now and then. But I never plunge that deep. I have little interest in compiling lists for you. You are the Great White statistician and I would never claim to best you!
Isn't it Interesting, though, that it's you---not me--that digs deep in the data and finds correlations between Harrison and Hall-of-Fame greats such as Koufax and Clemens? Wow, I'd never dreamt of going that far! Maybe I'm guilty of underestimating our boy Harry!
It's now quite late and I've had more than a few liquid indulgences. But I will counter w/this solo stat: Harrison's HR/FB rate. You marveled at his 8.5% rate, but when I underscored that he'd achieved this while pitching half his games in Arlington..and had achieved an even more impressive number last season.......you said nothing.
Who is dodging the numbers, here, RFan? :-)
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