What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
Or Darvish. He has plus plus stuff if he can harness it.
nateaggie - unfortunately for you, you're not a qualified scout. And they would laugh at you. I HIGHLY recommend you go look at their pitch f/x data (and scout's opinions) and come back before making yourself *appear* dumber than you're making yourself out to be.
also, "and/or". Please pay attention to the full sentence as opposed to only looking at "plus, plus".
"An ace is a confluence of all those factors = it means everything you stated PLUS stuff. 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."
nateaggie writes "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)."
Aggie, I wouldn't get too hung up on those numbers. Those are subjective values that scouts give. Scouts love high strike-out rates, first and foremost. They are fixated on "swing-and-miss-stuff." I won't pretend that scouts don't have good reason to think that way: generally, that formula works out quite well. But we've all seen exceptions in sports.
At this point in his career Harrison hasn't demonstrated a high strike-out rate. That's the biggest reason he gets classified as a "good #3. But he has a great arsenal and can throw 96 if/when he wants to. He is a horse of a pitcher. His all-star selection was no fluke. Just check out the well-respected FanGraph article that affirmed his All-star status. It has been measured: only one pitcher in the American league has more lateral movement on his two-seam fastball. It's Harry's nuclear weapon. But certainly not his only plus pitch!
All sports see exceptions to the norm. Sometimes those exceptions are so dramatic that they shatter molds and form the basis of new templates.
Stay flexible with your thinking and enjoy Matt's pitching. He's good. He's very good in a quiet, understated fashion. He's not sexy...and some people get hung up on his looks, his personality, or his strike out rate. You can prove yourself smarter than these folks.
Don't let TxBall seduce you with his dark Saruman sorcery: Harrison has very, very good stuff.
You ought to hear the good wizard pitching coach, Mike (Gandalf) Maddux talk about his stuff. Harrison doesn't miss bats...he bores them into shards.
^what is this crap?
I never said Harry doesn't have good stuff. He has solid, above-average stuff with a great two seamer. I just don't think he's an ace.
I hope he becomes one, but I don't think he will. I don't give any credence to fanboys.
Since you love cherry-picking Fangraph articles that support your point, thought you might like this excerpt from two weeks ago:
"[Harrison's] ERA still has a ways to rise, as his SIERA still sits over a run above his ERA. It’s unlikely he continues to strand runners at the rate he has so far, which is easily a career high. In addition, it is hard to believe he could sustain a below league average HR/FB ratio given his home ball park. Granted, he did allow an even lower rate last season, but in a small sample size, it would be unwise to declare that he has a special skill for suppressing the home run ball. Since his strikeout rate stinks, there’s really no floor for his fantasy value, so it’s a roll of the dice every outing with the hope that all those balls in play find gloves and stay in the yard."
You constantly refer to the hitter-friendly park that Harrison pitches in, yet you never acknowledge that he pitches in front of one of the best defenses in baseball. Have Harrison pitch in front of the Tigers' defense and you will get an average pitcher with an average BABIP.
Fanboy? You should hear what they've called me on other forums as I've skewered fan-favorite Ranger and Cowboy players/coaches/owners.
Txball, I'm not disputing that you praise Harry, but more than anything, to quote Shakespeare: you damn him with faint praise.
And you just did it again. You wrote, "He has solid, above-average stuff" Sorry, but I have to throw that back as an insult to Prince Harry. Harry's stuff is top drawer.
You simply can't have back-to-back 3.0 ERA seasons with anything less than great stuff and superior command. It doesn't happen. Major league hitters tell the truth! Let's repeat: two years running...the net numbers were better than Felix Hernandez. Yes the bottom-line, end-of-the-day, beyond-subjective-analysis numbers two consecutive seasons were better than legendary Felix Hernandez.
Elvis, you're nuts. His stuff is not top drawer. One good pitch that exhibits great movement isn't enough to satisfy the plus, plus qualifier. A great arsenal of pitches such as ones that Halladay, Hernandez (with a plus plus changeup), and Weaver possess are undeniable.
Harry isn't in that class.
Also, you keep changing arguments without acknowledging the flaws in your thinking AND in your arguments. Then you attempt to use SABR stats to validate your empirical observations but you wield these metrics like a someone holding a bazooka with the exit point faced backwards, or like someone who wields a knife in a gun-fight (ERA+???? C'mon, you HAVE to do better than that).
Elvis, I appreciate your efforts, but this conversation has lost it's steam quite awhile ago. The creation of your threads are relevant but the substance you provide in the latter stages is as impressive as Harrison's swinging strike %.
utb, I haven't cherry picked one whit. Via my Googling, I've not seen one disparaging article about Harrison on FanGraphs. There was one article where the writer was going into spasms of apology and confession about how he underestimated Harry. And I saw a second article where the author looked with true insight and empiricism about how Matt deserved his all-star selection.
You find one pithy paragraph that is critical, compared to two full articles that raved on him? Pshaww. This guy Mike Podhorzer sounds like a true Podhorzer to me. Utterly trite and conventional. A two-dimensional mind, cut-and-paste thinker.
Podhorzer referenced Harry in an 9 line summary. This line has kept me in stitches for 5 minutes.
"It is hard to believe he could sustain a below league average HR/FB ratio given his home ball park. Granted, he did allow an even lower rate last season..". Hahahhahahaha
I invite..I urge all of you to read it and get a good chuckle.
Podwhore is not the sharpest tool in the shed, and UTB…I suggest you repress the urge to post such drivel. It radically undermines your case.
Elvis, again - you conceded that HR/FB% is volatile...then, with your following statements, you're labeling Harrison as an exception. No. It doesn't work that way. You're cherry picking based on the variance of your arguments.
Your arguments are all over the place.
^This is the quote in it's entirety. Do you understand what he is saying?
I don't think you do given that you're basically saying HR/FB% is something that will stay constant within a defined range (GB pitchers tend to have higher HR/FB% so, since many of you assume Harrison is becoming a GB pitcher - this should exhibit the variance typically shown with GB pitchers in the future).
You concede it's volatile...then, you're belittling a FANGRAPHS AUTHOR who is saying exactly that?
Txball I have to pause this debate to make a comment about your skills and style.
Here is how I feel:Finally(!) a man worth killing
There's nothing you can offer me that will do anything to change what Harrison is at the moment. I think he is a great pitcher for the skills he has exhibited. He's maximized his talent. Can he develop some more? Possibly. Is it likely? Probably not.
Your arguments lately do nothing for anyone who knows what they're talking about when interpreting these advanced metrics in conjunction with their own empirical observations.
But one must also take into consideration that Harrison is following Ryan's pitching model to the tee. There has always been the concern that there is no such thing as an "ace" in Arlington stadium, especially during the summer months. Too hot, the jet stream carries balls and pitchers get worn out. To answer this Nolan instituted a new module for the Rangers pitchers. He demanded the pitchers get into top shape, work on a consistent release point, keep the ball down and throw strikes and by having top notch defense behind the pitcher. (How many runs have Beltre, Andrus and Josh saved with their defense!) The reason they didn't resign CJ for big money was even though he is in great shape he has control issues and when he does throw strikes it turns into batting practice. Look at CJ's performance since the Angels have asked him to start throwing more strikes, he hasn't won a game in his last 11 starts. This article was written on August 4th. CJ has gone 0-9 since then: http://thefixreport.wordpress.com/2012/08/04/angels-ask-c-j-wilson-to-be-more-aggressive-30/
Harrison is doing exactly what they have asked of him and exactly what Holland and Darvish aren't doing when they lose. He is throwing strikes and keeping the ball low and letting his defense do the work. Darvish gets into trouble when he strikes out eleven but then walks eleven. The same with Holland who gets into jams when he starts walking guys or gets guys into an 0-2 count and goes for the strikeout and leaves it in the zone and the next thing you see is the "Homerun!" sign. Post game interviews Washington always talks about the walks or not keeping the pitches down as the center point of where things went wrong.
Harrison is not an ace but he doing exactly what is asked of him which is throw low strikes and let your defense do the work. It's the template the Rangers have put in place for their pitchers. It may or may not work against top hitting playoff teams but it is a lot better plan than the alternative, like what CJ did, hitting the batter with the bases loaded.
Harrison is not an ace but he doing exactly what is asked of him which is throw low strikes and let your defense do the work.
The way that people on BBTIA use the worse "Ace" is confusing. Nobody seems to have a real criteria for what makes an Ace. Or at least there is agreed upon criteria.
-Don't have impressive stuff despite the production? Not an Ace to some.-Don't pitch 220 innings or have 10 complete games, even if the innings you do have are good? Not an Ace to some. I've seen this on the Newberg report, to be fair.-Six WAR player in the regular season couple bad outings in the postseason? Not an Ace to some.-Okay pitcher in the regualar season but have a couple of really good outings in the postseason? Not an Ace to some.
I just find it kind of funny. Its almost like some people like to move the goalposts back, always looking for reasons that someone isn't an Ace.
Is Harrison an Ace? Who knows. According to fWAR he is pretty good but not great at 3.4. According to bWAR, he has been a top 5 pitcher in baseball at 5.2 WAR. I think he is effectively the Ace of this team right now. Hes been Acey enough.
Well said Keystone!
NOTE: I am NOT saying Harrison is Maddux or will become Maddux.
I have looked at Maddux because he's a guy that never had big time swing and miss stuff and was very successful for a very long time.
I thought it would be interesting to look at he and Harrison at similar points in their career.
Here's a comparison of the stats from each of their first 40 starts in MLB. Maddux is the first number and Harrison is the second in these comparisons.
K/9 --- 5.7 --- 4.9BB/9 - 3.8 --- 3.6K/BB - 1.5 --- 1.4HR/9 - 0.7 --- 1.3BABIP .325 -- .310LOB% 68% --- 70%ERA -- 4.62 --- 5.38
Now, let's look at the next 47 starts which is up through Harrison's last start of his 87 total.
K/9 --- 4.8 --- 5.8BB/9 - 3.3 --- 2.4K/BB - 1.5 --- 2.4HR/9 - 0.4 --- 0.6BABIP .282 -- .294LOB% 74% --- 76%ERA -- 3.35 --- 3.08
I see some interesting changes for Harrison. The most glaring change is his Strikeout to Walk ratio improving by 75%. I don't know any way to look at that other than to conclude he dramatically improved his command.
There's been discussion that improving BABIP might be luck and that the improved strand rate likely can't be maintained. I do grasp that deviations from the norm tend to lead to lead to regression. I'm just not sure we should assume those first 40 starts are Harrison's norm.
One thing we know is that Maddux got better from his first 40 starts to his next 47. And, if people back in the day were going to look at Strand Rate and BABIP the way I'm seeing it looked at for Harrison, they would be making the case that Maddux wasn't likely to maintain his performance. Well, he didn't maintain it, he got a whole lot better. His K to Walk ratio was nothing special and then it got very special. His command got even better. His performance got even better. His "true talent level" wasn't revealed during those first 40 starts or the first 87.
I don't know what Harrison is going to do over the next five years. But I do know that his improved strand rate and HR % and BABIP can't conclusively prove he won't maintain his current performance. He is clearly demonstrating improved command. He's a lot better pitcher in this last year and a half than he was in those first 40 starts. I wouldn't bet against him putting up 3.00 to 3.40 for several more years assuming good health.
Different people have different definitions of an "ACE". Some say that an ace is quantified as being one of the top 15 pitchers in baseball. Some scouts grade aces based a on quality of stuff and plus offerings + arsenal, other scouts base it on a more combinatorics of pitch quality and makeup + results. Analysts like to look at basic stats whereas some statisticians point towards advanced metrics.
Personally, I'm in the camp of empirical observation of stuff (plus grade pitch(es) and/or arsenal) + metrics validation of talent (Swstrike%, GB%, K/BB rate, etc.).
David Price has been on everyone's shortlist of "Ace" lately. What did he do tonight? He proved how hard it is to pitch in Arlington...especially against a good lineup.
4 IP 10 Hit 6 ER 0BB 3 SO 2 HR
Price's lifetime ERA in Arlington? Not pretty
When I was active over at the Newberg site I did a bunch of research one night about how the top 10 AL pitchers (ranked by ERA) performed in Arlington during 2011. As I recall the cumulative ERA of the top pitchers was over 5.0 when pitching in Texas. My memory could be failing but I think only one of the top 10 guys had an ERA under 3.5
Texas Ranger pitchers are forever going to be under-appreciated because they pitch in such an offensively friendly ball park.
The Tampa TV broadcasters couldn't stop blathering about how the ball jumps off the bat when playing in SummerShrine.
The difference? The opposing team pitches AGAINST this Rangers lineup. The Rangers' pitchers don't.
I'm not sure why Buehrle has not been mentioned. Similar pitch-to-contact stuff. Left-handed. Not overpowering but consistently outproduces his xFIP.
Buehrle's Career: 5.09 K/9; 2.04 BB/9; 1.00 HR/9; 45.6 GB%Harrison in '11/'12: 5.80 K/9; 2.68 BB/9; 0.65 HR/9; 49.1 GB%
And Buehrle has a career ERA of 3.81 which is just about where Harrison will/should be when his strand-rate and HR/9 normalize. Sure, we can look at Maddux as a favorable comp, but we can also look at 100 other pitchers with poor peripherals that didn't work out very well.
Tough to argue with someone who clearly has an agenda and isn't thinking objectively.
If you check out Fangraphs and the top-30 pitchers (in terms of fWAR) in the Majors this season, you'll notice some interesting data. For reference, Matt Harrison checks in at #17 with 3.4 fWAR.
Of the 30 pitchers, Matt Harrison has the lowest K/9 rate at 5.38; Rick Porcello (5.46) and Wade Miley (6.5) are the next two in ascending order. And they each possess lower walk rates (2.03 and 1.5, respectively) than Harrison's 2.56.
Also worth noting, of the top 30, Matt Harrison exudes the highest xFIP at 4.16; the only other pitchers with xFIP's in the 4's are Jered Weaver (4.06) and Jarrod Parker (4.07). SIERA is the most predictive stat for future ERA, and Harrison is sitting at 4.3.
So yeah, I don't know how else to exhibit that this has been a lucky-ish season for Harrison.
Eric writes: "So yeah, I don't know how else to exhibit that this has been a lucky-ish season for Harrison."
Eric if you type that one more time I'm going to reach through the inter webs, poke my hand through your screen and pop you in the nose. And then I'll grab your tongue and pull it back through the interwebs all the way to Alaska.
Harrison has had TWO---COUNT them TWO nearly identically scintillating seasons. To be precise he's had 1.8. nearly identical scintillating seasons, but we don't want to be a bore, so we round up to two. Two.
Two, Eric. Count with me. One in 2011. and then what comes next? Yes, 2012, which makes TWO!
In each of these last two years his ERA+ was better than Felix Hernandez. If you want to be accurate, Harrison's park adjusted year was even better last season.
You can talk about the predictive value of xFip. I got your predictive value right here: Two eerily identical seasons nearly fully in the books.
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