clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Organizing the Observation

New, comments
SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 12:  Starting pitcher Phil Hughes #65 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 12, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 12: Starting pitcher Phil Hughes #65 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 12, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Mood Music - Never Gonna Give You Up by Barry White

How often do we say things like:

"Colon had a great fastball today."
"Hughes couldn't get batters to chase his curveball."
"AJ had great stuff today, but no command."

Maybe all three of them give up two runs in six innings with the same number of baserunners, but wouldn't it be great (or at least interesting) if there was a way to track not only the results but how they were attained?  So, here's something that I'm going to try.  I'm going to make (completely subjective and un-scientific) ratings of every start, and see what types of patterns emerge.

I really don't know where it will lead, but I do wish it had occurred to me at the start of the season.  Here's what is going to be rated and the first few entries:

Control (0 to 10) - Hitting the target, avoiding walks, getting ahead in the count, locating pitches, staying out of the heart of the plate.  

Stuff (0 to 10) - Velocity and life on the fastball, sharpness and break on everything off-speed.  Ability to generate swings-and-misses as well as weak contact.

Fastball (0 to 10) - Effectiveness of the fastball to get strikes and outs.

Off-Speed (0 to 10) - Effectiveness of the non-fastball pitches.

Luck (-10 to +10) - How the pitcher's final results was affected by things outside his control.  Terrible or terrific defense.  A wide zone or a squeeze.  Bloop singles or lineouts.  -10 is extremely unlucky, +10 is extremely lucky.

Damage Control (-10 to 10) - Ability to make the big pitch with the bases loaded or to keep the game tied or with two runners on and Jose Bautista at the plate.  -10 is A.J., +10 is D-Rob.

Overall Score (0 to 100) - Formatted similar to a game score, where zero is a horrific implosion in the first inning, 100 is a perfect game, and 50 is mediocre.  Based partly on results and partly on the quality of the pitching.

It's somewhat obvious from this format that everything done will be aggressively subjective, with lots of "his fastball looked pretty good, I'll give him a seven."  However, I think it could be an interesting alternative to mapping the peaks and valleys of a season beyond just looking up the box score results.  Here's what I've got so far:

Bartolo Colon - 9/9/11 @LAA
Control - 8
Stuff - 7
Fastball - 8
Off-Speed - 7
Luck - -4
Damage Control - +3
Overall - 83

CC Sabathia - 9/10/11 @LAA
Control - 5
Stuff - 7
Fastball - 6
Off-Speed - 6
Luck - +3
Damage Control - +8
Overall - 62

Freddy Garcia - 9/11/11 @LAA
Control - 4
Stuff - 5
Fastball - 4
Off-Speed - 5
Luck - -1
Damage Control - +4
Overall - 48

Phil Hughes - 9/12/11 @SEA
Control - 6
Stuff - 6
Fastball - 5
Off-Speed - 6
Luck - +4
Damage Control - +3
Overall - 58

You probably don't agree with at least some of those ratings (or wouldn't have with the game fresh in your mind), so whenever possible, I'll try to post what I'm thinking in the game thread and get feedback.  If I miss the game, I may need to rely entirely on those of you who did watch, and do my best to reach a consensus.

We'll see how it goes.  If it's a way for us to make observations like "CC hasn't really had his good fastball in a while" or "Colon has had some tough outings, but he's really pitched better than what would show up in the box score," I'd consider it a success.