What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
Elvis, my man, I'm afraid you are dodging the numbers. Matt Harrison is no Koufax, and certainly no prime Roger Clemens. He is gritty, he is consistent, and he is uncanny at turning above average stuff into fringe-great results, at times. He is the model of what pitching should look like if you don't possess 1-2 great put-away, strikeout pitches. He has surpassed everyone's expectations, and may be Mike Maddux's finest project he's ever turned out.
But he is not extraordinary. He is not a great, can't-miss pitcher. He will not sustain his 3.04 ERA down the stretch this season, and, in fact, will probably be between 3.4 and 3.6, and I'm inclined to think it may be even higher than that.
In Harrison's 47 starts since May 22 last year he's averaged 6.5 innings per start, with a 1.25 WHIP and an ERA of 3.10.
The team is 34-13 in those 47 starts.
Run that out over a 162 game season and you've got a 117 win season.
Yes, it doesn't work that way, but if everyone on our staff was pitching as well as Harrison, we'd be killing it.
Sorry I started another thread before noting this one.
Harrison is a number 1.
It is ONLY his low strikeout totals that prevent people from viewing him that way.
He's a season and a half into this run. It isn't a fluke.
Guy, a season and a half sounds like a large sample. But for a starting pitcher it really isn't. These guys only pitch 200 inn. per year. That's the equivalent of 22 games. That's just not a v. large sample. I can go back and find all kinds of examples of mediocre and even bad pitchers who got good results for a season or 2.
Think about all the luck involved in pitching. It's not just BABIP and strand rate and HR/FB rate. Sometimes a pitcher hangs a ball over the middle and the batter fouls it off instead of hitting it 450 feet. Sometimes a pitcher gives up a solo HR instead of a grand slam. Some seasons a pitcher gets lucky and doesn't have many games against good offenses. Sometimes a pitcher just happens to have his best stuff against a great offense that would've crushed his avg. stuff. It takes a large sample for luck to even out.
Again, anyone who thinks that Harrison hasn't been lucky this season in terms of BABIP, strand rate, and HR/FB rate is effectively claiming that Harrison is on a level with Sandy Koufax and peak-level Roger Clemens. In that case, the Rangers should give him a $150 mil contract w/o blinking an eye. I don't think so!
I've been a Harrison critic in the past, but now I don't give a shit. He is becoming one of my favorite Rangers. He is the sort of quiet role model that guys should be looking up to. I just hope his regular season success translates to postseason success.
Guy, Harrison isn't a number 1.
Harrison hasn't been lucky with BABIP. He has been lucky with LOB%. He has been somewhat lucky with his HR/FB but there hasn't been over-performance to conclusively state that one way or the other; therefore, it is mostly random variation with an unstable metric. That being said, these 3 metrics alone aren't enough to classify a pitcher. In addition to those statistics, it's Clemens' and Koufax's respective K% and K/BB rates that set them apart as well. FIP and xFIP would acknowledge the apparent differences in true talent...but we really don't need any of these metrics to tell that Harrison isn't that class of pitcher.
However, let's give credit where credit is due - Harrison has out-performed *some* of his peripherals, but as RFan has stated, even 2 years is not enough data to call that a trend. He will always have solid, above average stuff but to paint him an ACE type TORP is off-base. His results are extremely nice, but, like in most cases, the process inputs matter. You take Harrison and put him on the Tigers and the results are mildly to dramatically different (and I would guarantee that it would adversely effect his numbers even while adjusting for park effects).
Harrison is quite the enigma. I believe he is an excellent pitcher, although falling just short of a TORP. He does not quite have swing-and-miss stuff, but he has enough movement on all his pitches around the plate that it is extremely difficult for batters to judge where it will be and square up on it. Because he gets a lot of weak contact, I think his BABIP and HR/FB rates may not regress too much. He gets out of a lot of scoring situations because he does induce a lot of DPs and pop-ups where runners cannot advance.
So is he Koufax or Clemens? Of Course not. K's are a true outcome, whereas any contact can produce a hit over a large sample. Against a hot hitting team, he can get lit up if hits are bunched together. I believe he is going to stay about right where he has been the last 2 years, Low-to-mid 3 ERA, and 14-18 game winner.
Where on earth did anyone get that I said Harrison was Clemens or Koufax and deserved a $150 million contract? Can we not make facts up please?
Greg Maddux had a career .281 BABIP. Was he lucky his entire career?
Harrison's is .276 this year. (No, I'm not saying he is Maddux)
But look at a few other numbers.
Maddux career GB% was 51.5% and his career LD% was 21%.Harriosn this year is GB% 51.3% and LD% 18.8%.
Again . . . I'm not forecasting Harrison to do anything approaching Maddux career.
I'm pointing out that there is a clear example of a pitcher with a very high GB to LD ratio sustaining a low BABIP over an extended period of time.
Yes, luck may be playing into Harrion's performance. But, inducing ground balls and not allowing line drives is definitely at play as well.
Guy, I suggest you read the thread. That part was obviously directed at Rfan. Context.
Again, 1 year does not make a career or even a trend.
I suggest you re-read the thread. RFan tossed that into a reply to me.
Also, I didn't say one year makes a career. I said Harrison is a good pitcher and it isn't impossible to sustain a low BABIP.
Guy - no, he didn't. He offered that originally to Elvis. That's been his premise the whole time. Again, I suggest you do what you readily accuse others of failing to do.
This whole "everyone is against me, can't anybody read?!" with your forum responses is becoming tiresome.
What you're doing is comparing Harrison's ONE YEAR to Maddux's CAREER. Do you see where your comparison is flawed?
No, what I'm suggesting is that low BABIP is entirely related to luck is false. Maddux wasn't lucky. He induced weak contact.
Whether Harrison is lucky or good at inducing weak contact, we'll see over time.
I'm not a fan of absolutes. Folks sometimes use numbers to say things that the numbers don't actually say. Low BABIP CAN be a result of luck. There also CAN be other causes. Maddux proves the point.
We'll see which it is for Harrison.
In the meantime he's having one of the better years in the league this year and is on a nice year and a half run of either being lucky or good at inducing weak contact.
I think I see where you're coming from - you're offering counter arguments to RFan. That being said, I'll provide this from earlier in the thread:
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 hasn't 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.
Put a fly ball pitcher in RBIA and he'll suffer as well. A GB pitcher needs a good defense. That's not a knock on the pitcher.
Harrison is a good, young developing starter. We'll see where he goes from here.
Guy, Harrison's low ERA this season is a direct result of his BABIP, strand rate, and HR/FB rate. My point is that anyone who thinks that Harrison hasn't been lucky with respect to those metrics is wrong. The reason is that the only pitchers who are able to sustain over a large sample the #s that Harrison has put up with respect to those metrics are elite+ pitchers like Koufax and Clemens. And Harrison clearly is not an elite+ pitcher. The example you give in your response strengthens my case. The comp you found for Harrison is Greg Maddux. Does anyone actually believe that Matt Harrison is as a good as Greg Maddux over a large sample? No way. Harrison is a solid pitcher who has gotten lucky over a small sample so that his ERA, BABIP, strand rate, and HR/FB rate make him look like a CY Young contender.
By the way, there are major differences b/w Greg Maddux and Matt Harrison. Maddux rarely walked anyone. That's why he could maintain a 3.37 K/BB ratio over a long career even though he wasn't a huge K guy. He had pinpoint command. At his peak, Maddux had K/BB ratios of 6+. Harrison could never do anything like that.
Matt Harrison is a solid pitcher. He lives right and the luck dragons have rewarded him for it this year. But it takes more than luck dragons to be a sustained 3.0 ERA guy in this league.
At what point to you convert it from luck to inducing weak contact?
If he sustains this level of performance through next season? Trying to figure out when to check back into this discussion.
I think Harrison is a true talent 3.8 to 4.1 ERA guy. ElvisMVP apparently thinks that Harrison is a true talent 3.0 ERA guy. If Harrison sustains something close to a 3.0 ERA for several seasons, I'll concede defeat. That won't happen.
Sample size matters a great deal in baseball. It's the reason the Cardinals won the WS last year despite not being the best team. There is a lot of correlation from year to year in terms of who the best hitters in the league are. It's basically the same guys every year. That's because a season is a relatively large sample for hitters, so luck evens out. There's less correlation b/w who the best starting pitchers (in terms of ERA) are every year. That's b/c a season is not a large sample for starting pitchers and luck doesn't even out.
There's even less correlation b/w who the best relievers are from year to year. A season is a very small sample for relievers. That's how you end up with a guy like Robbie Ross having a 1.69 ERA. Does anyone actually believe that Robbie Ross is a true talent 1.69 ERA guy over a large sample? Is he a better reliever than peak-level Mariano Rivera? Absolutely not. In fact, his ERA was below 1 not that long ago. His luck is starting to run out and his ERA is rising accordingly. Not surprisingly, you hear a lot of people asking, "Is Ross worn out from overuse?" My answer: Probably not. His luck just ran out as the sample size has gotten larger.
Just go back over the last 10 years and look at the top 30 starting pitchers in terms of ERA from each year. You'll see some of the greats on the list every year. But you'll also see a bunch of flashes in the pan. Guys who couldn't sustain a 2.0 to 3.5 ERA over multiple seasons.
Rfan, I've never seen you chase your own tail with as much poor logic....and I must say an *emotional* debating style. Perhaps you are half human and half Vulcan after all?
You are cutting yourself profusely on Occam's razor (google it as necessary)
No one on this thread has ever compared Harrison to Koufax, Maddux, Clemens, etc. Harrison is not a strikeout pitcher. They are very different types. Harrison could maintain the trifecta of stats you mention and still not have anything approaching a HOF career....because he'd never have the *addition* of the high strikeout rate, which added considerable run-suppression to those other pitcher's overall ERAs.
I'm going to have to disassemble some of these arguments one by one. Next up: Sample Size.
"RFan: If Harrison sustains something close to a 3.0 ERA for several seasons, I'll concede defeat."
The Harrison-deriders on this thread have repeatedly pounded the notion of sample size. Let's address it.
Let's Get Real about Sample Size.
1. Game counts have been repeatedly used by the Harrison-is-a-ho contingent. Yet game count is hopelessly misguided as what we are counting.. A hitter has 4-5 statistical outcomes in a game. 4-5 At-bats. But a starting pitcher will have 15, 25 or 35 such statistical outcomes. He has far more sample data per "game" than a hitter. For more engagements.
This season Matt has pitched 169.0 innings. With an average of 4 plate appearances per inning...We can conclude that he has faced off against a hitter 676 times.
Opposing hitters have faced Matt 676 occasions this season. Compare that with Hamilton's 447 At-Bats.
Starting pitchers have considerably MORE statistical data flowing into their cumulative stats that hitters do--not less as some have erroneously argued here. Indeed one could argue that a starter's stats constitute the same as 1.5 years of a a position player's hitting stats in sheer count.
Let's put one myth on the spit, skewer and bake.
Now of course…1 good season does not a great player (or pitcher) make. Let's expand our look.
Guy, you're missing the point. Harrison isn't a career 51% GB pitcher. In fact, this is the first time he's ever maintained that rate in his career throughout the season. Groundball pitchers generally have a higher HR/FB% as well.
But he is not extraordinary. He is not a great, can't-miss pitcher. He will not sustain his 3.04 ERA down the stretch this season, and, in fact, will probably be between 3.4 and 3.6, and I'm inclined to think it may be even higher than that. BLAM."-Eric R
Methinks in 5 weeks your "BLAM" will sound like "BARF." Already it sounds like a big wet burb.
You are flailing wildly at the plate, Eric, my friend. Matt already sustained a 3.0 ERA all last season. Yet again Matt Harrison scalds his critics.
In 2011:Road ERA: 2.99(Normalized) Home ERA: 2.85*
2012---125 Games into seasonRoad ERA: 3.05Home ERA: 3.02
------------Why normalize 2011 home games? With historic heat invading North Dallas, the Ball park in Arlington was statistically one of the most inflationary venues in history...witnessing 40% run inflation. The Ranger team ERA was bloated 1.2 runs higher at home than on the road.Instead of the 40%, I applied a modest 25% to derive a normalized value of 2.85Park effects, BBIA, 2011:Link: http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/parkfactor/_/year/2011
ElvisMVP, here's a simple question. What do you think is the ERA that Matt Harrison is capable of sustaining over his peak 5 seasons? Is that ERA closer to 3 or closer to 4? I say it's closer to 4, perhaps over 4. You appear to be arguing that it's closer to 3. That would put Harrison in some elite company. Harrison isn't elite.
Starting pitchers pitch 200 inn per year. That's not a huge sample. Mediocre starting pitchers are capable of having a good ERA for 1 or even 2 seasons. It happens all the time. It's only the very good pitchers who can sustain a 3.0 ERA over 5 seasons. Matt Harrison isn't in that group. If by the end of his career, Harrison has proven me wrong, so be it. But I am 100% confident that won't happen.
.276 BABIP, 78% strand rate, 8.5% HR/FB rate, 50+% GB rate, and 3.0 ERA is a fluke season from a guy like Matt Harrison. End of story. (I admire your determination though.)
RFan1. You are being disingenuous to repeatedly speak of 1 good season. He was even better last year!
2. You balk at his low 8.5% HR/FB rate...yet it was even lower last year! (7%)
3. You say his 3.0 ERA is a fluke. You need to be prepared to call both '11 and '12 a fluke
4. You keep changing your terms. You said you needed to see "several" years of Harrison repeating this success. Now you are changing the bar to 5 seasons? So quickly in retreat?
5. Yes I'll absolutely go on record to say that I expect Harrison to repeat <3.4 (park adjusted) ERA, and continue in coming years to stay in the top 6-8 of AL starting pitchers. I don't see additional improvement but none is needed for him to continue to thrive.
Here's an interesting article about Matt on FanGraphs:http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/qa-matt-harrison-low-k-rate-success/
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