What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
I even saw the YouTube videos where you (likely) came up with your "Luck dragons". And that video explicitly espouses what Eric has been saying, that BABIP for both hitters and pitchers...is utterly random...
I'd have had no problem if the author of those video had spoken of the "high level of luck involved". But the language of those videos...shows the same kind of absolutist approach you've often employed. Namely, "it's ALL luck."
Here is a vital stat, germane to the discussion about Harrison. This is from 2 years of MLB data (all games)
-A hard hit ground ball will produce a hit 57% of the time.-A weakly hit ground ball will produce a hit 18% of the time.-All Grounders? .24
Stats are now being gathered across the league on the speed of each struck ball. And it's being done by different parties using different parameters. I don't have access to specific pitchers at this point, but it was mentioned earlier in this thread that Joey is receiving some of this data via ESPN and commented that Matt had one of the better marks in suppressing the speed struck balls.
Eric R: "As such, Matt Harrison greatly relies on BABIP, which is, in fact, luck. Average BABIP usually levels off around .320. That's just a basic fact of pitching in the Major Leagues. Matt Harrison is not exempt to historical averages."
Eric your comments here reflect an either immature or outdated understanding of BABIP. Let me give you just one few excerpts from the interwebs:
Steve Slowinski, Fan Graphs, March 2012:
There is a common perception about BABIP, and one that used to be in favor among sabermetric circles. Heck, I subscribed to this philosophy three or four years ago, and I used “luck” as a quick way of describing BABIP to the uninitiated. But these days, that’s an outdated mindset and, quite frankly, misleading.
In the FanGraphs Library, I state that there four main variables that affect a player’s BABIP: defense, talent level, skill set, and luck.
And then there was his conclusion:
It may look simple at first blush, but BABIP is actually one of the more complex sabermetric statistics. It’s not nearly as simple or cut-and-dried as many make it out to be, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we decrease the importance of “luck” even further once HITF/x data becomes available (if it ever does). So the next time you see or hear someone refer to BABIP as a luck statistic, be sure to mention that luck has little to do with it — it’s random variation.
Elvis, you can keep attempting to pick bullets out of the chamber, but that doesn't mean my gun is gone. If you are arguing that Matt Harrison is an ace you are bringing a knife to a gun fight and putting a blindfold over your eyes. Your "empiricist" approach needs those eyes, because you clearly don't have a valid conception of what constitutes an ace-caliber pitcher.
Now, just so we're clear, none of us are arguing that Matt Harrison isn't a good pitcher; we're opposed to the notion that he's an ace.
Since when is an ace someone who strikes out 5.38 batters every nine innings? Since when is an ace someone who has 1.5 solid, unspectacular seasons? Does it say anything that Yu Darvish walks almost 5 batters every nine innings but is virtually just as valuable as Harrison has been this year in terms of fWAR? Yeah, strikeouts DO matter.
I think the term "ace" is disgustingly overused in the modern era. It's been mistaken by "best pitcher on the team's staff". There are only a handful of "aces" in ML baseball, among them are Verlander, Hernandez, Kershaw, Halladay, Sabathia and Strasburg. You could also throw guys like Price and Lee and Hamels and Greinke to that collection if you'd like. My honest list doesn't expand very far beyond that. Those are the guys I look at with plus-plus stuff who can generate high strikeout totals and stop losing streaks. Those are the pitchers that are feared.
You don't earn a false title after two good seasons. You just don't. Especially when you consider that his ERA should be a lot higher than it actually is.
Matt Harrison is not historically great. He's not even great amongst his contemporaries. He is what he is, a good pitcher who's having another nice year.
Elvis, you are over-complicating an evolving, yet relatively simple, metric. BABIP is not as volatile as HR/FB% and, although there is random variance, a relevant sample size can identify a range that is applicable to the abilities of a pitcher based on aforementioned variables and inputs. As I've stated before, this allows an observer to ascertain whether a particular pitcher is over/under performing this metric.
Harrison is good. We can quibble about how good, but that won't make him any better or worse than he is. Pitching in front of a defense like the Tigers would probably make him look worse, though. But, instead he has one of the better defenses behind him, and he's maximizing his effectiveness thusly. It's working pretty well so far. I just hope it continues to down the stretch; he's probably going to need to be the guy the Rangers can count on to bring a pretty good start every time he pitches.
Eric, I never bring a knife to a gun fight. I ride in on my T-90 fully armored, fully armed tank! And I keep the testicles of past victims in my tank's glove compartment. Just for kicks. LOL
Ok...all that silliness aside...
I see that you quickly retreated from your ill-advised BABIP proclamations. Good move. So now you are trying to divert me into the shrubs with some discussion of "Ace." Not interested. I've never used that language in this thread and won't start now.
But Harrison is top 6-10 in the A.L. Print it up for God to read.1. His ERA has been rock solid, unwavering for 1.8 seasons at an elite level..2. All arguments that he can't sustain a 3 to 3.5 ERA have been summarily crushed.3. I've established that other nationally acclaimed sabermetrican experts find him a worthy all-star4. I've referenced his elite ball movement, second only to David Price5. I've documented his outstanding ground ball rate and his ability to induce weak ground balls...On top of that I nailed a lock-down global stat of what weak ground balls do: 82% turn into outs...and less than 2% of them produce more than a single.
In a park most generous for home-run hitters...his home run suppression is among the best. He doesn't miss games. He can throw 96 when he needs to. He's big. He's strong. He's left-handed. He's a horse. He's a stud. He reads good books. He's a Ranger.
Harrison's ERA+ (park adjusted) is better to Felix Hernandez
100 is what an average pitcher does. Higher numbers are better. Numbers below 100 are progressively worse.
Harrison is better than Felix Hernandez 2 years running. He's also been more consistent than "the king."
2011 Harrison 1302012 Harrison 149
2011 Hernandez 1072012 Hernandez 147
Keep in mind we are talking 1,500 sample points (opposing batters faced).
Elvis, buddy. Stop.
You can't stop a runaway train, Txball. And we are talking about Matt Harrison's train! Remember, He crushes his critics into fine powder. We are talking top 8 pitcher in the American League.
My suggestion: jump on board the HARRY Express. Warning: you can't get on board if you are disrespectful...remember what to call him:Prince Harry
Matt Harrison is better than Felix Hernandez?
Okay, this discussion is over with.
I'm sure you'd like to run and hide, Eric, and pretend this thread never existed. But we both know it is now haunting your very existence.
I never said Harrison was better than Felix Hernandez. I would never be so bold.
But the park adjusted ERA numbers SHOUTED that in 2011 and 2012 Harrison out-pitched your precious "King" Felix.
How will you man up to the facts?
Elvis, no disrespect - but are you drunk? The proper analogy would be a train that's fallen way off it's tracks.
I'll view Harry as I wish. I certainly don't view him as a top 10 pitcher in the AL based on true talent. I view him as a top 10 pitcher this year based on results.
However, I am a PROCESS oriented person - results don't mean much to me in the long run if the process is faulty. Also, there is absolutely NO WAY THAT HARRISON IS A BETTER PITCHER THAN FELIX. Harrison has a better ERA+? That's cool. That means very very very little to me. I've harped on using several filters and ERA+ just doesn't cut it. It's limited to only a park adjusted measure of a very basic stat.
Despite some overwhelming numbers, I'm not prepared to say that Harrison is better than Felix Hernandez. That was never my contention. But hey! More than likely that just makes me one more flawed person in a long line of people that have repeatedly underestimated Matt Harrison.
You are a process person? I can respect that.
When it comes to baseball...I'm a more of a results person. And when you are talking about Harrison's success over 1,500 resultant data points...I'll take my results over your process, and prefer that as my predictive formula 8 times a week over your analysis that values Harrison as a 4+ ERA pitcher.
I suspect this thread will have a very, very, very long life. Harrison deserves it.
Uh, I don't think you understand what you're saying, Elvis. You're a results oriented person? Do you know what this entails? The correct process doesn't always lead to the desired results. However, you're saying that the results validate the process. That is what results orientation is.
BTW, I never said that Harrison was a 4.00 ERA pitcher. You're mixing arguments. Also, "1,500 data points" would get you laughed out of the room in any serious conversation regarding sample size inputs and terminology. "1500 data points" in your case is equivalent to 1500 pitches seen by a hitter (not a perfect analogy, but it works in accentuating your incorrect view of an appropriate sample size).
If you were to do a case study on pitching and only took 2 years to test your hypothesis, what kind of margin of error do you suppose you would have? 2 years regarding pitchers is an absolute mockery of the concept of relevant sample size in regards to eliminating statistical noise and reducing variance.
I would never presume to say 1,500 data points demonstrably proves anything! We have nothing close to a hermetically tight seal. But it is greater evidence than what you have articulated.
I don't know what you are speaking about with 1,500 "pitches". The data set I'm talking about is the volume of opposing at-bats Harrison has encountered in the 2011 and 2012 season...it's just under 1,500.
Again, it's quite striking how eerily consistent Harry's numbers have been. And that speaks to their likely stability/repeatability.
2012 road 3.05 ERA...1.20 WHIP.... .240 opposing average...2011 road 2.99 ERA...1.22 WHIP......235 opposing average...
The 2012 home ERA? 3.02
Again, as I have stated:
"1500 data points" in your case is equivalent to 1500 pitches seen by a hitter (not a perfect analogy, but it works in accentuating your incorrect view of an appropriate sample size)
Equivalent. Not a perfect analogy. This means that your contention that 1500 batters faced is equivalent to 1500 pitches seen by a hitter.
Also, are you still saying you're a results-oriented person? Your last few comments have provided an explanation as to why you're possibly having some difficulties in understanding some arguments.
So I'm scrolling through these posts and see that one person claims Harrison outpitched Felix, based on stats or course? This is where the saber stats get in the way of reality. Is there anyone that would have Harrison pitch a deciding playoff game over Felix? I say no.
Alan - ERA+ is not a stat that is a staple of SABR. It isn't a very useful stat simple because it's only a league and park adjusted ERA. It's just not very useful especially as a stand-alone stat but is a quick tool to examine the results of a pitcher in a given year.
To be fair - Elvis hasn't explicitly stated Felix is better than Harrison...but he has a weird way of dancing around what he WANTS to say. ERA+, IMO, is essentially a garbage stat.
Everyone wants to be positive about our team. I get that. I also get that Harry is not really a proven #1 (Even though it remains to be determined if he can develop into one. To me, an ace is more about mindset, work ethic, and determination than stuff/numbers. Hence, why I dont consider Greinke an ace.)
What I dont get is the arbitrary value we assign to guys. I've heard some say he's a good #3. I dont get that. To me, its more of a sliding scale. Him being a #1 going into the playoffs makes us below average (for a playoff team). Him being a #2 going into the playoffs makes us average (for a playoff team). Him being a #3 or lower going into the playoffs makes us above average (for a playoff team).
Alan, you are familiar with ERA, right? Runs allowed? That's the paramount goal of any pitcher, stop the other team from scoring.
So here is the thing: Seattle is a ballpark universally known to suppress runs. It's damp, it's cold. It's not particularly cozy. Pitchers LOVE it. Hitters HATE it.
Our ballpark is the complete opposite. With huge heat and frequent winds..it exaggerates offense. Last season our team scored and permitted about 40% more runs when they played at home versus when they played on the road.
ERA+ is simply an improved version of ERA. It adjusts for these sometimes dramatic park differences. That's it and that's all.
So once park adjustments are made...Harrison has been superior to Hernandez at suppressing runs over the past two seasons, compared to "King Felix." This has zero to do with opinion. It's a fact.
Am I saying Harrison is better? No, but the numbers are very, very, very interesting.
An ace is a confluence of all those factors. Name a certifiable ace in this era that lacks stuff. Plus, plus pitches and/or multiple excellent other offerings are what separates true value aces from TORPs. Any scout will tell you that.
It isn't arbitrary. It's empirical observation (scouting) validated by advanced statistical analysis.
TxBall writes, "Elvis has a weird way of dancing around..."
When and where did you ever see me dance!? I'm every bit as good a dancer as Elaine Benis! Hey, you laugh, but she went on to have her own TV show!
I disagree. Cliff Lee does not have have plus plus stuff. Nor does Jered Weaver. They do it with pitching no how. There isnt a scout on the planet that would say they have anywhere close to the stuff of a guy like David Price or verlander or hernandez.
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