Saturday, May 01, 2010

2010 Giants: April PQS

This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of April 2010, PQS as defined in Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster annual book and they published the details here. I wrote on this first in 2006 and have compiled their stats on a regular basis, so I'm continuing it this season for continuity and historical comparison (there is the "PQS" label that you can click to see the old posts on this). Regular readers can skip to the next section.

This is the Quality Start with a sabermetric DIPS twist, and it gets really easy to calculate once you get used to it. I don't think it's the end all or be all, but then nothing really is that. It is, as I like to say, another piece of the puzzle. A dominating start is scored a 4 or 5 and a disaster start is scored a 0 or 1. DOM% is the percentage of starts that are dominating, DIS% is the percentage of starts that are disasters (any start under 5.0 IP is automatically a 0, or disaster).

Basically, you want to see a pitcher's DOM% to be over 40% and ideally over 50%, and you want their DIS to be under 20% and ideally under 10%. For example, Johan Santana has a 76% DOM and 3% DIS in 2006 (2.77 ERA), whereas Orlando Hernandez had a 52% DOM and 28% DIS (4.66 ERA), and Adam Eaton had a 31% DOM and 31% DIS (5.12 ERA). See my explanation down below on methodology plus read the link, there's a nice chart there showing the combination of high DOM% and low DIS%, and particularly how low DIS% is so important.

I wholeheartedly recommend buying Baseball Forecaster and learning more about their methods of analyzing baseball. It has been greatly illuminating for me, and if you want to get a taste for it without paying full price, they used to sell their old editions of their annuals on their website for half price or less (plus shipping); but that was before he sold the company off, and I haven't checked recently.

Giants Starters' PQS for 2010 Season

Matt Cain - (50% DOM, 0% DIS; 2:0/4): 5, 3, 4, 3

Tim "The Kid" Lincecum - (100% DOM, 0% DIS; 5:0/5): 5, 5, 5, 5, 5


Jonathan Sanchez - (50% DOM, 25% DIS; 2:1/4): 0, 5, 5, 3


Todd Wellemeyer - (0% DOM, 50% DIS; 0:2/4):  2, 0, 0, 3

Barry Zito - (60% DOM, 0% DIS; 3:0/5):  5, 3, 4, 5, 3


Giants season overall - 55% DOM, 14% DIS out of 22 games counted (12:3/22)

Giants Month of April - 55% DOM, 14% DIS out of 22 games counted (12:3/22)


Lincecum has been a god this month, 5 straight DOM starts, not even a hint that he was borderline, really.  Zito, surprisingly, has kept close to The Kid, with his performance this month, even better than Cain, who still had 2 DOM starts and 0 DIS starts.  Sanchez also had 2 DOM but also 1 DIS, his first start, which was also his first home opener start, so I chalk that up to experience and hopefully he can be more in control of his adrenaline next time, like in the playoffs.

Wellemeyer brought up the rear, and he was so bad it was a case of which one of these do not match the others?  He had 2 DIS starts, wasn't really close to any DOM start, though if Bochy had sat him after 6 IP in his first start, he probably would have gotten one, so I guess that is close.

That staff overall had a DOM of and a DIS of , which is pretty good both ways.  Generally, you want a DIS under 20%, and ideally under 10%, and a DOM over 50%, as a pitcher but our WHOLE staff overall was doing what very well starters alone can do in the majors.


What's Good and What's Not

A DOM at or above the 40% mark is indicative of good pitching; above 50% is great; above 70% is elite. A low DIS is also indicative of good pitching, just look at the table in the link above showing DOM% and DIS% on the axes.

If you had to chose a high DOM% or a low DIS%, pitchers tend to have a lower ERA when you have a low DIS% vs. a high DOM% (obviously if you combine both, you have a much better chance of having an elite pitcher).

April 2010 Comments

Pitching has been doing it for us again.  They did the job well enough for a win 17 times in April, meaning that if our offense was doing the job more often, we would be leading by a lot more.  However, one must also remember that we did play a good number of games in pitcher's parks like the ones in LA and SD, where it is much easier for pitchers to do their job and much much harder for the hitters to do their job.

With a record of 13-9, the Giants are second in the division behind the surprising 'Dres.  It has been their pitching that has been doing it for them, and I don't believe that they have the talent to continue doing that over a full season.  Meanwhile, all the other NL West teams have seen their rotation take a number of hits due to injuries and/or poor performances, and are around .500 and the bottom of the NL West.  Still, except for the D-gers, who are mired in the bottom, and given their problems, look to stay there much of the season, the D-backs and D-Rox are only 4 games behind, and there is plenty of games to be played yet this season.  LA, at 6 games back, still can come back too, but I expect the pall that the D-vorce is casting over the team will keep it down most of the season.

It is, as I've been saying for years now:  pitching is the Giants plan.  And the plan has been going great this season.  The offense, has been good enough to win with our pitching, and that is what we should be looking for, not trading good pitching for maybe a hitter who could do something for us in the lineup.  That is just creating another hole to fix a hole.  And sometimes the fix does not fix things up (see Cepeda trade, George Foster trade, or Gaylord Perry trade).

Besides, I wouldn't want to trade any of the starters right now.  People don't realize how powerful it is to have a rotation full of  #1 and #2 starters one to four in a short series like the playoffs.  It will be that much more powerful once Bumgarner is ready to join the rotation.

Besides, every team has some sort of weakness, whether it be hitting, starting pitching, relief pitching, or defense.  Even the Yankees have their weaknesses.  The Giants strengths are in starting pitching, relief pitching, and defense.  According to studies by BP and THT, those are the strengths that contribute to success in the playoffs.  Offensive strength does not add anything according to those two authorities.

So accept that there will be series where the Giants look a bit lost offensively.  Look at how well the offense is with just the ordinary hitters we have now.  Amazing how productive a lineup can be when the pitcher is the only automatic out in the lineup.  Amazing how unproductive a lineup can be when the #1 and #2 hitters aren't getting on base.  But overall, it has been doing OK, with 14 offensive wins this month (which is a metric I have defined as a win when the offense scores 4 or more runs), and the Giants led the NL in batting average in April, first time since 1992 (or so it has been tweeted by the Giants plus commented on a previous post).

And Buster Posey should be here by next year and hopefully will team up with Sandoval to be our big hitters in the middle of the lineup.  And, as seen this season, the others should be good enough to complement them and score enough runs for our glorious pitching and defense to win with.

In any case, some patience with vets should be taken by the fans.  People were ready to jump on Molina and Huff, led by a reporter, and then they hit well and make that seem all silly to do, floating with tidal waves.

4 comments:

  1. I feel that, at least as things are, being able to run out those 1-4 starters every day is DOM in itself. I'm really enjoying seeing "Sanchez is pitching today" and knowing that, odds are, the opponent's offense is going to have a tough day. That in itself is a huge asset, and, if Bochy uses the bullpen deftly - well, the team has a good bullpen.

    Wellemeyer feels like giving away games at this point, but I do think he'll revert to average. And if not (despite the rending of garments elsewhere over not resigning Penny) there's always replacement value pitchers out there by definition. And if things are looking good, a Pedro or Smoltz will at least keep the team in the game.

    I'm feeling very optimistic. And expecting one big year from Cain. Your DOM/DIS shows what his April was really like.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I totally agree Marc, that has been my point all along about our rotation, but you were much more succinct about it.

    Right now, I don't see any need to spend good money on a 5th starter as long as we win enough with the other starters. We did last year and are doing it this season. Let Wellemeyer eat up a lot of innings for us, plus given our relievers a chance to show their middle inning stuff.

    Meanwhile, Bumgarner is rounding into shape, his velocity is returning - it basically seem like, now, he was totally unprepared for spring training and finally finished getting ready for the season with his starts in April - and he looks like he'll be ready to join our team in mid-to-late August as a spot starter and reliever supreme, a la Rodriguez did for the Angels in 2002. At worse, if Wellemeyer needs replacing, I think Bumgarner will be ready to jump in as necessary by mid-seaon.

    With a four man rotation of Lincecum-Zito-Cain-Sanchez, we won't need a 5th starter during the playoffs - in fact, it would be better because then Lincecum would get more starts.

    And if the team has any lead late in the season, they can move to a 6 man rotation by including Bumgarner into the mix, which would reduce the starts that Lincecum has during the season and give him a little rest that would put him at his best during the playoffs.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jehovah's Witness ProtectionMonday, May 03, 2010 1:42:00 PM

    Don't get too excited.
    Their record is only one game better than they were in 2005,2006 and 2007 at this point.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You know, JWP, I've been excited for a number of years now about the prospects of the Giants going forward and people have been telling me not to get too excited, that the offense is bad, that we need to trade away one of the pitchers, that we need to get rid of Sabean.

    I've been one of the few positive voices for the Giants fans over the past few years, having to listen to other people disparage the Giants when they didn't see the growth and potential of the team.

    So I'll get excited if I want to, even if you've had your head in a hole the past few years, I haven't and I've enjoyed the past few years, so I think I'll listen to gut for now because it has seen more the past few years than you have.

    ReplyDelete

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