Friday, February 16, 2007

Lincecum in the California League: Versus Everyone

As I noted in my first post, I finally remembered to download the data in Baseball Cube for all the leagues the Giants have affiliates at and thought, since I just went all in on Lincecum, how exactly did he do in A+ ball, the highest level he pitched at. For this post, I compare him against everyone, instead of just, first, 22 YOs, then 22 and younger.

Demographics

There were 157 pitchers who pitched at least 25 IP. The average age was 23.1 but when weighted by IP, it was 22.9. So most pitchers were at least one year older and therefore probably had at least one more year of experience than he did. Hitters, as I noted before, averaged 23.7 years, 23.3 years when weighted by ABs.

Lincecum only pitched 27.2 innings, so obviously there is the small sample effect, but he has clearly been a dominating pitcher everywhere he has gone, so I don't think that many batters would have learned enough to bring that performance down. Plus he clearly is a learner, having added a pitch last season to help his repertoire, so who is to say that he won't learn fast enough to counteract that. Just look at how he has improved from his freshman year to his junior year in college.

Lincecum Versus The California League with 25+ IP
  • ERA: He was tied for 10th out of 157 with an ERA of 1.95, and the group's mean ERA was 4.60. His ERA was 1.56 standard deviations below the mean.
  • H/9: He was second with a very low 4.23 H/9. The group's mean H/9 was 9.69 and his ERA was 2.52 standard deviations below the mean.
  • HR/9: He was under the middle again, tied for 106th of 157, with a 0.98 HR/9, so he did not do so well here. But the group's mean HR/9 was 0.81, and his HR/9 is only 0.37 standard deviations higher than the mean.
  • BB/9: Again, he didn't do so well here, though slightly better, tied for 99th of 157 with 3.90 BB/9. The group mean BB/9 was 3.56, and his BB/9 is only 0.19 standard deviations higher than the mean.
  • K/9: Here is where Lincecum shines brightly, leading with a 15.6 K/9, far outdistancing his second place finisher, who had "only" a 14.4 K/9. Admittedly, small sampling because he only pitched 27.2 innings, but still pretty good nonetheless in that he was so extreme relative to the group. The group mean was 7.60 K/9 and thus his K/9 was 3.83 standard deviations higher than the mean.
  • WHIP: With his very low H/9 helping greatly, he was tied for 4th here, with 0.90 WHIP and the group mean was 1.47 WHIP. His WHIP was 1.78 standard deviations lower than the mean.
  • K/BB: His stellar K/9 made up for his average BB/9, resulting in the 22nd best K/BB among the 157 pitchers with over 25 IP. His K/BB was 4.00 and the mean K/BB for the group was 2.13. His K/BB was 1.33 standard deviations higher than the mean.

Comparing Lincecum to the league didn't do much to change any of the results of the ranking, in terms of where he ranked in the group, proportionally. His rank relative to the group appeared to hold steady with this greatly enlarged comparison group, as did his standard deviations away from the mean. Nothing greatly changed.

Admittedly, small sampling because he only had 27 IP, but, as someone commented earlier, his stats were not that far away from what he was doing in college in 2006, plus, when you are so many standard deviations away and no one else could do something similarly in a small number of IP, it suggests that what he did was pretty special, was out of the ordinary.

2 comments:

  1. Hello Martin. I have always thought WHIP was a very important and predicative stat. You report Linececum as 4th in the Cal League. IOmpressive, but who were the three who had lower WHIPs?

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is an important stat, but the most important and predictive stats for pitchers, from what I have read, are K/BB, K/9, and BB/9.

    The pitchers above Lincecum are (and they all have IP in the 20's):

    * Miguel Gonzalez of Rancho Cucamonga, also a 22 year old, 26.1 IP, reliever, 1 save in 14 G. 0.72 WHIP

    * Darren Clarke of Modesdo, 25 year old, 26.2 IP, reliever/closer, 5 saves in 25 G, 0.75 WHIP

    * Mark Lowe of Inland Empire, 23 year old, 29.1 IP, mainly reliever (11 games + 2 starts), 2 saves in 11 relief appearances, 0.85 WHIP

    Also, Brian Anderson, his teammate in San Jose, 23 year old, 67.2 IP, closer, 37 saves in 54 G, tied Lincecum with 0.90 WHIP.

    The 3 closest starters are:

    * Robert Rohrbaugh of Inland Empire, 22 year old, 55.1 IP, 9 starts in 10 G, 0.92 WHIP

    * Gregory Smith of Lancaster, 22 year old, 88.1 IP, 13 starts, 1.00 WHIP

    * Nick Pereira of San Jose, 23 year old, 78.2 IP, 13 starts, 1.03 WHIP (4.75 K/BB, 8.7 K/9, 1.8 BB/9; all most excellent as the min you want are 2.0 K/BB, 6.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9!). 23 is the average age of players in the California League, so he was facing players who were developmentally at about the same level as he is.

    ReplyDelete

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