FanPost

Invent-a-stat Revisit


Situationalbuntingapologist recently made a fanpost about the lack of a metric that showed a hitters ability against the better pitchers in the league. I found the concept interesting and decided to take a crack at refining it a bit.

The general consensus on the original method was that the sample sizes were small and the selection of top-tier pitchers was somewhat arbitrary. The inherent problem here is that if you select more pitchers in order to increase the number of plate appearances, you will naturally be sacrificing the skill of the pitchers selected. Career stats are also tricky because a pitcher can be great one year and horrible another, skewing the numbers. What I ultimately decided to do is determine the best pitchers from each season and take the Tigers numbers against those pitchers during each season, for their entire careers.

For my "top-tier" I selected the pitchers from each league that ranked in the top 15% in FIP or xFIP. This method usually netted me the top 7-10 starters in each league for each season. For example, these are the top-tier pitchers I used for 2012:

W L IP ERA WHIP BAA OBPA SLGA FIP xFIP
Johnny Cueto 7 9 197.0 2.92 1.183 .255 .305 .365 3.22 3.64
Yu Darvish 15 9 176.2 4.02
1.302 .218 .317 .347 3.38 3.61
R.A. Dickey 18 6 212.0 2.67 1.042 .223 .276 .358 3.27 3.31
Gio Gonzalez 19 8 186.1 2.95 1.138 .207 .286 .303 2.86 3.35
Cole Hamels 15 6 197.1 3.06 1.120 .235 .283 .380 3.44 3.29
Felix Hernandez 13 8 212.2 2.92 1.110 .236 .291 .331 2.96 3.27
Clayton Kershaw 12 9 206.2 2.70 1.016 .212 .268 .333 2.94 3.20
Cliff Lee 6
7 190.0 3.27 1.132 .256 .286 .403 3.11 3.09
Wade Miley 15 10 177.0 3.10 1.158 .250 .286 .387 3.23 3.82
David Price 18 5 187.2 2.54 1.114 .224 .286 .324 3.24 3.21
CC Sabathia 13 6 176.0 3.63 1.199 .248 .295 .403 3.53 3.30
Chris Sale 17 6 175.0 2.78 1.063 .222 .278 .352 3.24 3.24
Max Scherzer 16 6 178.2 3.78 1.271 .250 .312 .413 3.31 3.14
James Shields 14 9 205.1 3.77 1.203 .245 .299 .399 3.64 3.35
Stephen Strasburg 15 6 159.1 3.16 1.155 .230 .291 .359 2.83 2.81
Justin Verlander 14
8 217.1 2.82 1.054 .216 .270 .336 3.00 3.35
Adam Wainwright 13 13 185.2 3.97 1.260 .261 .312 .394 3.09 3.16

2012 may not be the best example because the Tigers didn't face any of the top NL pitchers, and two of the AL pitchers are Tigers themselves. However, the method did work better for past seasons and usually resulted in at least 35 PAs for everyday players (Infante set the team record, facing top-tier pitchers 72 times in 2011).

After the top-tier pitchers were determined for each season, it was just a matter of going through each batters plate appearances against those pitchers in those respective seasons. So, without further adieu, here are the results:

PA BA OBP SLG wOBA BB% SO%
M. Cabrera Career vs. Top-tier 446 .267 .334 .421 .331 9.2% 20.0%
Total Career 6385 .318 .395 .559 .407 11.0% 17.1%
O. Infante Career vs. Top-tier 376 .254 .282 .370 .284 3.5% 20.2%
Total Career 3966 .275 .316 .397 .311 5.6% 14.3%
J. Peralta Career vs. Top-tier 344 .224 .294 .353 .288 9.0% 27.6%
Total Career 5161 .272 .329 .431 .331 8.4% 20.3%
P. Fielder Career vs. Top-tier 314 .301 .389 .515 .391 11.1% 22.0%
Total Career 4815 .285 .391 .537 .398 13.3% 17.7%
D. Young Career vs. Top-tier 279 .276 .297 .448 .319 3.2% 20.8%
Total Career 3511 .286 .319 .427 .324 4.1% 17.4%
R. Santiago Career vs. Top-tier 187 .172 .251 .258 .235 5.9% 18.7%
Total Career 2337 .245 .313 .335 .292 6.8% 14.9%
G. Laird Career vs. Top-tier 177 .201 .254 .287 .244 5.1% 26.6%
Total Career 2400 .244 .303 .359 .294 6.9% 18.0%
A. Jackson Career vs. Top-tier 129 .250 .318 .362 .304 7.8% 31.8%
Total Career 1875 .281 .348 .415 .337 8.8% 25.0%
B. Boesch Career vs. Top-tier 90 .282 .322 .553 .369 3.3% 23.3%
Total Career 1481 .260 .317 .416 .320 6.8% 19.2%
A. Avila Career vs. Top-tier 72 .138 .208 .231 .200 8.3% 44.4%
Total Career 1351 .262 .358 .432 .349 12.9% 23.3%

Conclusion:

Good pitchers are good. Unless your name is Prince Fielder, in which case good pitchers are pitchers.

Honestly, the sample is still too small to determine much of anything. This could be remedied by adding plate appearances against the top relievers, which would also provide some more interesting insight about late game heroics and such. I also probably could have increased the selected pitchers from the top 15% to 20% and still have had a very good group of pitchers. However, I don't care to put in the work anymore, so this is what you get. But still, for players who have only been in the league a few years (Jackson, Boesch, Avila, Dirks, etc.) the sample size will not be large enough for several years.

Leave your thoughts/analysis in the comments and if anyone would like to contact me with questions or take a look at my data, send me an email at fielderschoice11@gmail.com.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the <em>Bless You Boys</em> writing staff.

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