What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
RFan, the most likely conclusion is probably somewhere in between. I'm not sure where Harry's career stats will finish. I dont think anyone is. But last year was his first full season in the MLB and he's posted sub 3.5 ERA's 2 years in a row pitching half his games at RBiA. One year can be a fluke. But 2 years (his first 2 full years) is much less likely (not necessarily 3.0, but sub 3.5). If anything, his development and future is far from over/decided. The way I see it is this. His floor is a decent MORP. I think you can count on him being a sub 4 era pitcher pretty much every season (which is more than I can say about Holland...sigh...). But his ceiling is still TBD.
Sidenote: Any guesses on the top 3 active ERA leaders? (starting pitchers only)
RFan, my point isn't that Harrison is destined to be the 2nd coming of Maddux, but rather that the performance is sustainable - and, for those (wrongly) asserting otherwise, Maddux proves this type of pitcher can even improve, and control can be improved.
Those objective facts, taken together, tell us that a proclamation about MH's performance of "it's just luck" is assumptive, and nothing more.
As for the details you note on Maddux in Chicago, the similarities between he and Harry in 2011-12 are stunningly striking. The HR rates are NOT that different (except in Maddux's 5th year following his increased control), and if you don't see how Maddux's peripheral number patterns in CHI and Harry's are mirror images as they developed, and how they improved in the same way, I truly think you're too intent on some silly point you've locked yourself into. I didn't go looking, and it jumped off the page at me because it was so striking.
Re the 78% strand rate(1) It's just a number. (2) Harrison did not do "way better" than last year. He has improved from 72% to 78%. (3) Harrison is also more of a GB pitcher this year. Thats one possible rational explanation, and the ratios of improvement are almost identical (ie his GB rate is better by 1/12, and his strand rate is better by 1/12)(4) The difference in ERA between 72% and 78% does not turn a so-so pitcher into a TORP. For a pitcher with a 3.00 ERA, the difference is probably about 0.25 in ERA. (5) The league average is 72% or so, but that's average, and why can't a pitcher have better results than the average because of better skill in some way or another? To declare that 78% is proof of "luck" and 72% is what everyone merits, you've simply proclaimed that luck is the only factor at play here that could make a pitcher better at stranding runners, and that's intellectual nonsense.
I see very little flukiness when looking at the ERA leaders of the past 3 seasons. You see almost no one-season miracles. If you finish in the top 10...you've proved yourself. Do it two seasons running...and wow.
Most of the wild variations or semi-flukey things are related to injury or pitchers moving in and out of extreme pitching parks:Trevor Cahill is a stud in Oakland...goes to Ariz. and dramatically levels off.
My bet/challenge is still open. I've not had a single taker. Over/under 3.3 Road ERA for Mr. Harrison in 2013
Calling Harry fluky...is utterly flakey.
I'm not crazy about Maddux comps and I do concede the strand rate is almost assuredly destined to fall back. But Harry is still improving and maturing. He's learning his art.
Again: 3.0 to 3.5 ERA will be where this guy lives (after park adjustments).
1) A 72% strand rate is normal. A 78% strand rate is a fluke. Well, Sandy Koufax maintained a 77.4% strand rate over his career. So maybe Matt Harrison is Sandy Koufax. And maybe the sky will be purple tomorrow. It's probably possible!
2) I conceded that Harrison might be somewhat similar to the young Greg Maddux. I also pointed out that the young Greg Maddux probably would've had 3.6 to 4.2 ERA in the modern-day AL. Harrison has a 3.0 ERA, which suggests that he's playing way over his head. Also, Greg Maddux put up those pre-peak level seasons from ages 22-25. By the time he was Harrison's age, he was starting to peak in terms of his K/BB rate. He put up K/BB rate #s that Matt Harrison is very unlikely to ever achieve.
I take your contention to be that there is some similarity b/w the 22 to 25 yr. old Greg Maddux and the 26 yr. old Matt Harrison. Ok. So that means that Harry is an above avg. pitcher (3.6 to 4.2 ERA). I don't disagree with that. I think Harry's current true talent level is 3.8 to 4.1 ERA. What I disagree with is: (a) ElvisMVP's claim that Harry's 3.0 ERA represents his true talent level; and (b) the idea that there is more than a very,very, very slim chance that Harry will develop into the peak-level Greg Maddux. Maddux posted a 3.2 ERA when he was 22. Harrison was in AA when he was 22.
I'm an optimistic Ranger fan. But Matt Harrison is not Greg Maddux. If my choices are b/w (a) Harrison's 3.0 ERA is a fluke and (b) Matt Harrison is the second coming of Greg Maddux, then I choose option A.
By the way, being a GB pitcher doesn't translate into a 78% strand rate. Check out the list of top 20 starting pitchers in terms of GB rates. As a group, those pitchers have a normal strand rate. They also have normal BABIPs and HR/FB rates. Harry has below avg. BABIP and HR/FB rate and above avg. strand rate. Harry has experienced a great deal of luck.
"you've simply proclaimed that luck is the only factor at play here that could make a pitcher better at stranding runners, and that's intellectual nonsense."
I've never claimed any such thing. The research suggests that there are certain pitchers who can consistently strand runners at a higher than league avg. pace. Those pitchers are strike out pitchers like peak-level Roy Halladay. Harrison isn't a strike out pitcher. GB pitchers don't have exceptional ability to strand runners. Even Greg Maddux had a normal strand rate over his career. Sometimes it was v. high. Sometimes it was very low. On avg., it was normal.
You seem to believe two elite flukey seasons can readily happen.
Please name a handful of AL pitchers in the past five years that were back-to-back top-10 in Park Adjusted ERA...who were as flukey as you claim Harry is.
Park-Adjusted ERA (ERA+)2011 Harrison is 9th in AL2012: Harrison is 4th in AL
I don't follow NL ball too much, so please limit it to the AL.
To sum up this forum:
Camp A: Matt Harrison is pitching way over his head. His luck dragon metrics (BABIP, strand rate, and HR/FB rate) don't align with those of other pitch-to-contact, GB pitchers who have a similar K/BB rate. There's no way he's going to sustain a 3.0 ERA unless he finds some way to drastically improve his K/BB rate, which seems unlikely. Those in this camp think it's highly unlikely that Matt Harrison will ever turn into peak-level Greg Maddux, a once-in-generation (perhaps once-in-history) HOFer.
Camp B: The 26-yr old Matt Harrison looks somewhat like the 22-25 yr. Greg Maddux, so it's possible that Harrison will turn into the peak-level Greg Maddux and be able to sustain something like a 3.0 ERA in the modern day AL. Those in this camp think that those in Camp A are crazy for not seeing that Harrison might be the next Greg Maddux.
You decide! Is Matt Harrison on the verge of sustaining K/BB rates of 5 to 8 like the peak-level Greg Maddux? Enquiring minds want to know.
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.
My man, ERA+ doesn't do anything for me. I'm sorry. Your negligence to more accurate, prescient statistical data is the crux as to why you cannot persuade the gatekeepers in your futile argument. However, your undying lack of awareness in simply calling this the way it is is not a surprise; you fail at being objective when it's much easier to find a couple makeshift stats here and there that agree with your points.
Also, comparing Matt Harrison to Felix Hernandez is like offering a cockroach to a butterfly and asking which is prettier. I could say the same thing if you put up 90% of Major League starters next to the King. It's not comparison. Not even close.
I'll be a little more generous than RFan in saying I believe Matt Harrison's true talent is close to the 3.5-3.8 range rather than 3.8-4.1, but none of those numbers is even relatively close to your 3.0 ERA assertion. He's brilliant at turning #3 stuff into #2+ results, but that's about it. If he pitches the next two years at the same rates he's accomplished over the last two years, maybe we'll have a different discussion while he heads into free agency. But it's bonkers to believe luck isn't involved. Luck, I say. Luck luck luck.
RFan, your stance on strand rate is absolutely goofy.
At its core, what you are saying is that if a runner gets on base, it's merely a matter of luck if he scores or not - and that all pitchers except strikeout pitchers should be expected to give up runs at the same rate once a runner is on base. That's absurd.
Your assertion that Maddux was merely "normal" at stranding runners is also inaccurate.Through the prime of his career, 1992-2002, he averaged about 5.5% better than league average despite not being the prototypical strikeout wizard. Just an incredible string of luck that lasted for 11 years? Or is there skill involved? Isn't it likely he's demonstrated that it's not just the strikeout pitcher that could have "skill" to strand runners? Wait, Maddux at +5.5 on average and Harrison at +6 this year, could that be telling us something?
From an objective standpoint, every better-than-average pitcher should have better-than-average strand rates, just because they are more likely to get the ensuing batter out when a runner is on base. So Harrison's better-than-average rate, rather than being luck, is almost certainly because he's doing a better job of getting batters out.
Finally, your statement that Harrison isn't going to be Maddux is silly. While we've talked about the similarities in development, "Is Harrison the next Greg Maddux" is far from the actual debate that's been on the table. If "has to be as good as Maddux in his prime" is the standard, there are ZERO aces in baseball.
Harrison is developing into a helluva pitcher before our very eyes. Dismissing what he's been doing as "luck" is short-sighted, and you may be missing a helluva development while sitting there assuming, "It's a fluke!" I'm enjoying the ride.
Elvis, I'll let you do your own research. But I will point out that it's not at all uncommon for a decent pitcher to have a great season or 2 during his career. I think that Harrison is an above-avg. pitcher, just not HOF, elite like his current 3.0 ERA suggests. I think he's a 3.8-4.1 ERA guy having a career year due largely to luck. It's easy to find other such pitchers.
Here are a couple of examples of decent pitchers who had good/great seasons:
Liriano: 4.33 career ERA (league avg.) But in 2006 and 2010, he had a v. good ERA. In those years, he also happened to have v. good luck dragon metrics.
Ryan Dempster: 4.33 career ERA. Sub-3.0 ERA in 2008 and 2012, both years in which his luck dragon metrics greatly outperformed his career averages.
These are 2 examples that I was aware of and could find quickly. With some effort, I could find dozens (probably hundreds) of similar examples. A season or 2 isn't a huge sample for a starting pitcher. And luck can make an enormous difference over a small sample.
I introduced Maddux into this thread. Can you tell me what my first sentence was in that post? Here, I'll repost it for you.
NOTE: I am NOT saying Harrison is Maddux or will become Maddux. NOTE: I am NOT saying Harrison is Maddux or will become Maddux. NOTE: I am NOT saying Harrison is Maddux or will become Maddux. NOTE: I am NOT saying Harrison is Maddux or will become Maddux. NOTE: I am NOT saying Harrison is Maddux or will become Maddux. NOTE: I am NOT saying Harrison is Maddux or will become Maddux.
Let's not create a "camp" that doesn't exist.
Could you please look at this statement from that post and confirm for me that you point of view would have concluded that Maddux was not an elite pitcher and would be very unlikely to develop into one.
"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."
His strand rate JUMPED 6% from his first 40 starts to the next 47 starts, JUST EXACTLY like Harrison. If you're going to use that as a rationale for saying Harrison is a fluke, then you'd make the same case for Maddux.
Throw out ages. These are the same number of starts, and roughly, innnings into their major league careers. They are valid comparitive periods in their major league careers.
Maddux had made ZERO improvement in his command from the first 40 starts to his next 47. His strand rate would look even "flukier". His K/BB rate was 1.5 in both periods.
Harrison, however saw a dramatic improvement from 1.4 to 2.4. He at least has an clearly demonstrated improvement in command to provide some explanation for his strand rate.
Put me in the "camp" that says we can't KNOW what Harrison is going to do. But the metrics you're using to say how sure you are that he is 3.8 to 4.1 and the current performance is signicantly luck driven would put you in a camp all those years ago that would say Maddux was "lucky" and couldn't sustain it. Remember, you would only have those first 87 starts from Maddux to look at. And you would have been incredibly wrong. Given that, you ought to acknowledge that your certainty isn't merited.
I randomly picked Maddux becuase I cast through my memory for a really good pitcher that didn't have big time swing and miss stuff. I was fortunate that the data supported my notion. I assumed/hoped he developed over the years. Hmmm, he did.
Harrison's numbers might be a fluke. They darn sure might not as well.
There are not people saying that he is currently a HOF pitcher or will become one. That is what Maddux most certainly was during his entire career. It is a red herring to suggest that is a commonly held view on this board. I sure as heck didn't say it. See repeated line at top of this post.
You are grasping at anything, now aren't you, hopeless to win this argument!
I retract my apology the other day for mis-characterizing your argument. You just dropped an all out a-bomb of misrepresentation.
I started this thread, am the principle advocate of the argument and I've never ever invoked a Greg Maddus. I'll know better the next time to ignore your diva ways when you pout "I'm leaving this thread because someone misrepresented my golden point of view."
NOW ANSWER THE FUCKING QUESTION:
Name a handful of AL pitchers in the past five years that have been back-to-back top-10 in Park Adjusted ERA...who were as flukey as you claim Harry is.
Limit the discussions to the the AL.
"RFan, your stance on strand rate is absolutely goofy.
At its core, what you are saying is that if a runner gets on base, it's merely a matter of luck if he scores or not - and that all pitchers except strikeout pitchers should be expected to give up runs at the same rate once a runner is on base. That's absurd."
David, I'd ask that you stop mischaracterizing my position. I've never said that strand rate is all about luck. Luck plays a role in strand rate over a small sample. Over a large sample, the pitchers that can sustain a higher than avg. (72%) strand rate are strike out pitchers. GB, pitch-to-contact pitchers don't have unusually high strand rates. Just look at the top 20 GB pitchers in the league. Their strand rates are normal.
"Your assertion that Maddux was merely "normal" at stranding runners is also inaccurate.Through the prime of his career, 1992-2002, he averaged about 5.5% better than league average despite not being the prototypical strikeout wizard."
Maddux had a normal strand rate over his career. And over his career he wasn't a strike out pitcher. During his peak years, 1992-98 he did maintain a higher than avg. strand rate. But that was b/c during those years, he was a strike out pitcher. His K/9 rate ranged from 6.3 to 7.3 during those years. The avg. K/9 rate for a starting pitcher in the NL during those years was about 6. So during the years that Maddux had his best control, was walking people at an unbelievably low rate, and was striking people out an above avg. rate, he was able to sustain an above avg. strand rate. As soon as his strike out rate fell, so did his strand rate. He had one anomolous season in 2002 in which he had a high strand rate despite a low strike out rate. But the following season his strand rate plummeted to below 70%.
The research on the relationship b/w strike outs and strand rates is out there on the internet for anyone to read. It's the strike out pitchers that excel at stranding runners. That's not my opinion. That is the prevailing wisdom among sabermetricians who've looked at the evidence.
If you want to convince me that pitchers with a 50% GB rate (like Matt Harrison) have some extraordinary ability to strand runners, it's easy to do. Just point me to the research. I haven't seen it.
Guy, if you're arguing that the 26 yr. old Matt Harrison looks like Greg Maddux when Maddux was age 22-25 (before Maddux became super-elite), that's fine. As I pointed out in previous posts, Maddux's NL ERA during that period would probably translate into an ERA of 3.6 to 4.2 in the modern-day AL. My position is that Harrison's true talent level is roughly 3.8-4.1, not too far off the mark.
But if the argument is that we have reason to believe that Harrison will turn in to peak-level Maddux, that's where I get off the bus. Age is relevant here. Maddux at age 22 was about as good as or better than Harrison at age 26. That's a big difference. Pitcher's generally peak in their late 20s. Maddux kept getting better through his mid-20s and then peaked. Again, I just don't see any reason for thinking that will happen to Matt Harrison. But of course, anything's possible, I guess.
ElvisMVP, I'm not looking to mischaracterize you. You did claim that Harrison's 3.0 ERA is not a fluke. In the modern-day AL, sustaining a 3.0 ERA would put Matt Harrison near peak-level Greg Maddux. And it was other posters who brought up Maddux as a comp, not me.
I'm just pointing out that there are a lot of examples of decent pitchers who had great seasons b/c of good luck dragon metrics during those seasons.
"Harrison's numbers might be a fluke. They darn sure might not as well."
Ok. But I'd say the odds are 99.9% that they're a fluke.
It seems like you're saying that there's a significant chance that Harrison will become elite. If you're just arguing that Harrison is a solid pitcher (3.8 to 4.1 ERA), then I agree. If you think he's elite, I say, find the comp. You threw out Maddux. I pointed out that Maddux didn't become elite until he sustained an unbelievable K/BB rate that Harrison could only dream of. What do you think the odds are that Harrison will ever achieve a peak-level Greg Maddux K/BB rate. I say they are very low.
RFan, you say "Stop saying that I said strand rate is about luck" ...and then you make the point that when it's not a guy with a high strikeout rate, we can blindly assume it MUST BE luck if he has an above-normal strand rate.
Actually, using your chosen designations of what constitutes "luck" for a pitcher, you're saying that except for the strikeout, pitching is ALL reduced to good luck or bad. ...If the batter hits the ball and it is a hit or not? There's a league average, and then anything better is luck (and conversely, anything worse than league average is bad luck). ...Get a batter out when runners are on base? There's a league average, and then anything better is luck (and conversely, anything worse than league average is bad luck). ...Have a batter hit a fly ball without it being a HR? There's a league average, and then anything better is luck (and conversely, anything worse than league average is bad luck)..
In fact, you attribute the years Liriano and Dempster were good, to having more of the luck, and when they weren't as good, you've decided that it's because their luck went down. By that standard, all pitching is reduced to luck, since the diff between good and bad simply boils down to more or less of the lucky stuff.
Call JD ...he can save a bundle by simply getting any ole pitcher from now on, and hoping for luck.
Of course, silly me, I think pitching and results are due to skill not luck. And therefore I think things like strand rate and babip and hr/fb are derived from a pitcher's skills, and can be improved. Who knew it was just a game of chance?
You know this conversation would be a helluva lot more productive if you some of you guys understood the nature of some of the metrics.
Of course skill is involved. Of course luck is involved. UNDERSTAND THE METRICS! Jesus.
RFan - it appears to be counter productive to argue and educate in the same breath. It's painfully clear some people are having a difficult time understanding the volatile nature of these metrics and how skill relates to establishing a range "baseline", if you will.
Funny how with all the predictive muscle the Harry doubters think they have...none of them wants to accept my generous challenge/bet. Who has predictive powers?
Txball, you want to tout volatility? You are the one not checking yourself and your premises. Go look at the guys who are able to make it into the top ten AL ranking for a full-season ERA+. Then look at the pitchers who are able to repeat the feat the next year.
Get back to me when you can find one single name that you can demonstrate is a flukey-way-over-his-head type. Take your time. Take all the time you need. Keep searching...maybe you'll find one if you keep looking.
The reality is that with rare exception the guys at the top of that list are extremely legit. The guys that can repeat are special.
To a large extent, pitching is about strike outs, walks, and luck. In general, pitchers have control over strike outs and walks. They have much less control over what happens when a hitter makes contact. That's why the very best pitchers in the modern game, the one's that have consistently low ERAs, generally are pitchers that have above avg. K/BB ratios. Guys like Lincecum, Martinez, and Halladay. And b/c these guys have swing and miss stuff, they also initiate weak contact. That's why some of them can sustain below-avg. BABIPs.
That said, there are some v. good pitchers that don't strike out a lot of hitters. Tim Hudson and Brandon Webb are examples. But these guys are extreme GB pitchers. Hudson and Webb consistently have/had GB rates of 58-65%. Harrison hasn't proven that he can do anything like that. And I'll note that Webb's career strand rate is normal (72%) despite his being the most extreme of GB pitchers. Hudson's is a little higher, but still close to normal. Hudson and Webb do have somewhat below avg. career BABIPs, suggesting that they initiate weaker than avg. contact. But again, these guys are the very best GB pitchers out there with GB rates that are incredibly extreme. Are you prepared to put Matt Harrison into that category?
ElvisMVP, I'll make a prediction. If Matt Harrison doesn't find a way to significantly improve his current 2.1 K/BB rate and 51% GB rate, then he will be a 3.8 to 4.1 ERA guy over the next 5 seasons. His strand rate will return to normal (72%), and his HR/FB rate will normalize (10%+).
The only way that Harrison maintains anything close to a 3.0 ERA over the next 5 seasons is if he morphs into peak-level Pedro Martinez (swing and miss), Greg Maddux (pinpoint command), or perhaps Brandon Webb (super-extreme GB rate). Could that happen? Possibly. The sky may be purple in the morning. But the odds are very slim. Those guys were special for a reason. A 2.1 K/BB rate and 51% GB rate just isn't that special.
Elvis, you cherry pick and use pretty horrible metrics. Your arguments are all over the place. You issue a crap challenge for road ERA but won't accept one based on HR/FB%. You don't know what you're talking about when it comes to these metrics.
Why should I give you any credit? You don't put in the due diligence to try and comprehend them, so why should I give you and slack? Sorry bud, I'm more apt to listen to Guy, David, or the rest before I even attempt to answer your foolish assertions/comparisons. Don't take it the wrong way, but your numbers/metric are flawed and your comparisons are even worse.
Not only that - you've been proven wrong countless times but you still continue with your "empirical" views while attempting to grasp SABR (but not really putting in the work).
Personally, it seems like all you're trying to do is give this thread life without providing the necessary content to keep a valid discussion going with your recent (lack of) substance. Try harder.
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