High Heat Stats: Taking pitchers’ WAR to the next level

“When assessing a pitcher’s value, it’s important to consider the skill set he brings to the mound. Pitchers can be effective in a variety of ways, from striking out a high percentage of batters to limiting walks, controlling balls in play and stranding runners on base.

Like position players, pitchers are evaluated according to the metric Wins Above Replacement (WAR). At FanGraphs.com, pitcher WAR is calculated with a statistic called Fielding Independent Pitching, or FIP.

FIP isolates the three outcomes directly within a pitcher’s control: strikeouts, walks and home runs. It does not give a pitcher any responsibility for allowing hits and runs during his outing, because luck and defense can significantly influence those variables. In general, a pitcher with high strikeout totals and few walks and home runs will have a low FIP and, consequently, a high WAR.

However, FIP-based WAR fails to give us the whole picture…”

Full post at USA Today Sports Weekly here.

Ump Show Finale 2013

securedownload-3 copy“We love to rag on umpires. They’re blind, their strike zones are simultaneously too wide and too narrow, and their ability to incorrectly interpret video replay is unparalleled.

With that said, and as much as it may sting our carefully honed armchair managing skills, they do get it right more often than not.”

Full post at Prospect Insider here.

Stat of the week: Skills-Interactive Earned Run Average

securedownload-2 copy“Three pitchers in the American League are making their cases for the Cy Young Award in 2013: Yu Darvish, Max Scherzer and Felix Hernandez.

Historically, the Cy Young Award has been bestowed on pitchers with superb run support, such as Cliff Lee, who went 22-3 with a backing of 5.52 runs per outing in 2008. Before Hernandez’s 13-12 won-lost record in 2010, no AL starter had taken the award home with fewer than 16 wins.

While individual wins, strikeout totals and earned run average are the prototypical benchmarks set for Cy Young contention, they often fail to separate individual progress from team accomplishments. Therefore, to determine which player is the most skilled, we need to find statistics that better isolate a pitcher’s performance.”

Full post at USA Today Sports here.

A Totally Serious Q&A with Mariners Blogger Ashley Varela

securedownload-2 copy 3Your blog just turned three, which is an eternity in Internet years. Congrats. You have said you didn’t know anything about baseball when this started. Why did you decide to blog about baseball?
I’ve always been a writer. Writing about my hobbies is a way for me to process and understand them. When I began West Coast Fan[girl], I’d watched about 20 San Francisco Giants games. A hundred days of writing and one World Series championship later, and I was hooked.”

Full post at Over the Monster here.

Futures Game: Mariners History

securedownload-3“Before Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma take the mound this Tuesday in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the Seattle Mariners will display two of their up-and-coming talents during Sunday’s annual precursor to the All-Star Game. A showcase for Major League Baseball’s best and brightest, the Futures Game will pit right-hander Taijuan Walker against infielder Ji-Man Choi for the United States and World teams, respectively.”

Full post at Prospect Insider here.

Cabrera’s wRAA Proves Worth

“In 2012, Miguel Cabrera topped the charts in home runs, batting average and RBI. While this distinction earned him the American League Triple Crown, it doesn’t begin to cover the extent of his prowess at the plate. To determine how many runs he contributed to the contending Detroit Tigers, we can use a far more encompassing statistic called Weighted Runs Above Average (wRAA), which evaluates offensive production by comparing the number of runs a player produces against the league average.”

Full post on USA Today Sports here.

Talkin’ Bout the Bartender

securedownload copy 6“The Seattle Mariners have given us plenty of reasons to watch them lately, from the resurrection of Raul Ibañez’s slugging percentage to Brad Miller’s major league debut, resplendent with two doubles, two walks, and two stolen bases in his first three games.

These are the kinds of small sample sizes that, while enjoyable, invite us to get a little carried away. Consider Tom Wilhelmsen, who had retired the last eight batters he’s faced entering play Wedneaday, striking out four and pitching 2 2/3 innings without a single baserunner. It’s a comforting sign from the right-hander, who tarnished a pristine start to the season with two blown saves, eight hits, seven walks, and 10 earned runs in the first half of June.”

Full post at Prospect Insider here.

Walker’s Tuesday Task

securedownload-3 copy“Last season, the Big Four broke hearts in the Southern League. The top-rated pitching prospects in the Seattle Mariners organization — Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Danny Hultzen, and Brandon Maurer — combined for a 2.03 earned run average, striking out 424 batters and quashing opposing power with just 23 home runs allowed in 83 appearances.

Now, the four are reunited as the core of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers’ staff. The latest addition to the rotation, 20-year-old Walker, kissed his Double-A career goodbye last week with a 12-strikeout performance, granting six hits and an earned run in 6 2/3 innings pitched. The right-hander is slated to make his Triple-A debut on Tuesday against the San Francisco Giants’ Fresno Grizzlies — who, like the Rainiers, have had trouble harnessing run support in the first two games of the series.”

Full post at Prospect Insider here.

M’s Going All Out for Zunino

securedownload-4“Last week, the Seattle Mariners fanbase was an over-anxious parent unwilling to send their child to kindergarten. “He’s not ready,” many said, as catcher Mike Zunino packed his bags for Seattle. “He can’t handle playing with the big kids yet.”

Full post at Prospect Insider here.

My Dad the Almost-Baseball Fan

tumblr_inline_moi7r7EAnt1qz4rgp“A good father listens to you prattle on about your hobbies, no matter how far removed they are from his own interests. My Little Pony? That’s cute, honey. Actual ponies? Great, you’re just not getting one for your birthday.

A great father, however, inserts himself into your life in such a way that he not only tolerates your interests, passions, and aspirations, but encourages them.”

Full post at West Coast Fan(girl) here.