Wednesday, July 07, 2010

2010 Giants: June PQS

This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of June 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

Madison Bumgarner- (100% DOM, 0% DIS; 1:0/1): 4

Matt Cain- (50% DOM, 6% DIS; 8:1/16): 5, 3, 4, 3, 5, 5, 3, 4, 4, 5, 3, 4, 3, 3, 0, 3

Tim "The Kid" Lincecum - (69% DOM, 19% DIS; 11:3/16): 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 4, 3, 3, 0, 1, 5, 5, 4, 5, 0

Joe Martinez- (0% DOM, 0% DIS; 0:0/1): 3

Jonathan Sanchez - (31% DOM, 19% DIS; 5:3/16): 0, 5, 5, 3, 0, 3, 4, 4, 3, 3, 5, 3, 3, 0, 3, 2

Todd Wellemeyer - (30% DOM, 40% DIS; 3:4/10): 2, 0, 0, 3, 0, 4, 2, 4, 5, 0, X

Barry Zito - (56% DOM, 19% DIS; 9:3/16): 5, 3, 4, 5, 3, 4, 1, 4, 3, 1, 5, 2, 4, 4, 0, 5

X = start Wellemeyer was injured in and had to leave the game. I don't include these in my analysis.

Giants season overall - 49% DOM, 18% DIS out of 76 games counted (37:14/76)
Giants Month of April - 55% DOM, 14% DIS out of 22 games counted (12:3/22)
Giants Month of May - 50% DOM, 21% DIS out of 28 games counted (14:6/28)
Giants Month of June - 42% DOM, 19% DIS out of 26 games counted (11:5/26)

June saw a flip-flop:  Lincecum and Zito reverted to their dominating ways of April, while Cain ran out of gas, Sanchez too.  Lincecum and Zito both had 4 DOM and 1 DIS start in June.  However, none of the other pitchers really did well, other than Bumgarner who threw a 4 PQS game in his first start of this season in June.  Cain and Sanchez each had 1 DOM and 1 DIS start, while Wellemeyer had a DIS start before getting DLed after his next start for his in-game injury.  Martinez had an OK start after that, neither DOM nor DIS.

That staff overall had a DOM of 49% and a DIS of 19%, 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 almost doing what very well starters alone can do in the majors, with a 49% DOM. Obviously, June was not as good a month as either April or May, as both Cain and Sanchez were a bit lost during June.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that both Cain and Sanchez had DOM starts to start off July, as well as Bumgarner, who just missed by one strikeout or one less IP to have 3 DOM starts out of 3 starts.  The pitching staff will need to continue to do this if we are to make up for the drop in the division suffered while the pitching staff struggled to find itself in June, which was the first losing month the Giants have had this season, but only barely, at 13-14. The Giants have been no worse than 1 game under .500 for a month since July 2008.

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).

June 2010 Comments

The pitching was not as good in June again and the offense was up and down, but basically the same as in May. That ended up with the Giants, as I noted above, having a one game under .500 month, 13-14. Their NL West opponents have been beating up on them, except for the D-backs.  If not for that, particularly the 'Dres and D-gers, the Giants would be ahead of the division if they had played their NL West rivals to .500.

With a record of 40-37, the Giants were fourth in the division, just behind of D-Rox. That rate works out to roughly a 84 win season.  So the Giants are playing at a little less than the same level as last season.  With Posey playing the rest of the season and Bumgarner joining the team, and with both of them contributing already, those boosts could push the Giants up to the 90 win level, based on what the team had been doing and those additions.

Our NL West Opponents Should Stumble, Give Us Chance to Get Back in Race

Of the teams ahead of us, the D-gers seem the most vulnerable. Take away their 10-2 record against the D-backs and they are basically a .500 team.  Take away their 9-2 record against the 'Dres and Giants, and they are 27-33.   And they are 4-2 against D-Rox.  They don't have many more games against the D-backs and I don't see them dominating SD or SF to that degree either the rest of the season, or COL.  Unless they make a big trade to pull in more talent, particularly a starting pitcher, I don't think they have the legs to keep their position.

I think the 'Dres will slip so eventually too. They are 15-13 against NL West opponents.  They have built up their record beating up other opponents who they won't see again or much: Florida 5-1, Houston 5-2, Seattle 4-2; only a 3-game series at home against Florida. However, they have won so many games already that even if they finish the rest of the season at 40-39, they would still have 89 wins. So they will be in the mix at the end of the season, barring any huge collapse on the part of their young rotation, which is their golden goose much like the Giants.

However, our starters may be young, but they are experienced, other than Bumgarner, in delivering a full season of innings. The San Diego staff is not as sturdy, and they have 79 games left, or roughly 16 more starts left each. And according to Krukow, you don't want to push pitchers more than 25 IP than they are used to, or you are taking risks with him (and I think the Giants did that with Lincecum, if I recall correctly).

Clayton Richards has never pitched over 175.1 IP, which he did in 2008, and he had 161.1 IP in 2007 and 153.0 IP in 2009.  He has 108 IP, and with 16 starts, at his rate so far, that's another 101.2 IP, putting him at 209.2 IP.   That is not too far from 200 IP based on his 2008 but 3-4 more starts if you measure from his 2007 or 2009 IP.   He could start fading in September, depending on his conditioning.

Mat Latos is a horse at 6' 6", but the most he has ever thrown is 123.0 IP in 2009.  He only threw 56.0 in 2008 and 56.1 in 2009; he must have had some injury problem in 2008.   At his current rate he will throw another 99.2 IP in his next 16 starts. At a 148 IP limit, based on his 2009 workload, plus he already stretched from 2008 to 2009, he is on pace for 199.1 IP, about 50 IP more than that limit, or roughly 9 starts.  He could start dragging in August.

Kevin Correia will be OK workload wise this season but his IP almost doubled last season, and his ERA increased greatly too this season, if you buy into the workload putting stress on young pitchers arms. Though he's not exactly young, he's 29 YO this season. At a 5.05 ERA, I don't see him getting any better, as he is walking a lot more (but more in line with his career than 2009) and giving up more homers, again in line with his career than 2009. 2009 appears to be an outlier season.

Lastly, Wade LeBlanc's max was 167.1 IP in 2009, so to stretch would be 192.1 IP. With 97.0 IP so far this season, MLB and minors, and 92.0 IP projected, he would be at 189.0 IP by season's end.  He would be right at the limit.  He could be fine but by being near the edge, he could start fading in September, again, depending on conditioning.

Garland probably will continue to do well, his road numbers look like his career numbers and so his big ERA drop is solely related to his homepark being SD, one of the most extreme pitcher's park in the majors.  But the wheel could fall off some of other starters in their rotation, once they reach August and September, when they play a lot of NL West opponents, and that should bring them back to the rest of the division sooner or later.

For Colorado, without a Super Ubaldo, the D-Rox were a poor 30-36 in games where he didn't start. He has had three very poor starts and four out of his last five (relative to what he was doing earlier in the season).  It appears that the carriage is turning back into a pumpkin.  Still, it will not be quite like that, he will still be a very good pitcher, just not super great. However, he pitched very well last season and the team was 17-16 with him starting.  And they are scoring 0.18 less runs per game this season.

It helps that Street is back as closer and de la Rosa in the rotation, that will give them a boost, and then they get another one when Tulo returns to the lineup, but as Ubaldo returns to being Just Jimenez, where are they are going to get the boost to push them higher? Those additions should help them get back to .500 outside of Ubaldo, but they will need to reach 90 wins to be competitive for the division title. And if they couldn't do it in the first half without a super-Ubaldo, how can they do it in the second half?

The Giants have been struggling up and down this season. They have shown some capabilities to excel but they have also stumbled a lot too. Now is the time for them to show what they got, now that Posey and Bumgarner are up here. Part of our stumbles along the way was having Wellemeyer as our fifth starter, where the Giants were 4-7 in his starts. However, we had to go through that because Bumgarner wasn't ready for the season, he needed to fix some mechanical issues early on, then he spent time learning another pitch, which now gives him the 4 he will need to be successful as a starter up here.

Outside of Wellemeyer starts, they are 39-33 so far, which if they keep it up (assuming Bumgarner can keep pace; so far so great), would be 43-36, which would put them at 86-76. Presumably with Posey in the lineup now, we should get a little boost over Molina, which would push us back to 88 wins.  So they will need someone to step up in the second half over what they did in the first half, for the Giants to get to 90 wins and be competitive with others for the division title.

Pablo Needs to Get Out of His Funk, Find His Mojo

If you go back and look at the Giants season, the one link between the Giants winning and losing was when Pablo was hitting and when he wasn't.  We did great in April while he was doing great, and when he hit nicely again in late May, and even when he was so-so in early June, but this losing stretch has been matched by his poor hitting as well, .197/.231/.213/.444 with no homers. It seemed like he was breaking out, blasting those two homers just before, but maybe that got him too cocky again.  Who knows?  But as the Panda goes, our team appears to go.

Then again, it could just be a lot of bad luck again. It is not like he's been striking out a lot in that stretch: only 8 K's in 61 AB, that's very good. He also had 3 walks, not great but OK given his low K's. And as much as we fear him hitting into double-plays, he's only hit into 2 in that bad stretch, he just hasn't been having the balls fall in for him either.

Still, there has been no power at all, it is like he hit the wall physically and is running on fumes, or something. Even with the bad luck, with no power, Sandoval would not be that productive since he's our usual #3 hitter. He needs to hit and he needs to hit for power, for him to be productive for us.  If he can return to his Panda-ness of 2009, he and huff would make a nice duo in the middle of the lineup.

For now, with Posey starting to hit again, he can stand in Panda's stead in the lineup, but the Giants really need Pablo to be the Kung Fu Panda for us to make a move.   He's the linchpin to the Giants getting into the playoffs. Of course, we need the pitching most of all, but they are pretty reliable, relative to how Sandoval has done this season. I thought Pablo was going to have another great season, but clearly he's struggling with something this season, something that affected him in May as he had another great month in April.  He needs to find his mojo back.

Pitchers Need to Return to Normal

The pitchers also need to return to the norms they set in 2008-2009. Lincecum I won't point out because you can't expect him to be that great all the time. And Zito has been pitching much better this season than any season before, so he's giving his best.

But Cain and Sanchez needs to get themselves straighten out for us to move ahead again. Cain usually takes it into another gear in August in the past and he started out this month with a DOM start, which is all he had in June, one. Sanchez too. So they are at least in the right direction, but need to continue to deliver more DOM starts like they have in the past. They need to step it up in July.

Also, the bullpen needs to stabilize. Affeldt is starting to return to goodness, but to expect a 2009 would be foolhardy. We need Romo and Runzler to get more consistent, and they have lately, but need to continue. The acquisition of Ray will probably ease the load on the set-up guys if he can continue to do well. He seems to have learned how to pitch with less after his TJS, and once his arm returns to normal, which most pitchers take a while to reach, he could return to his closer form from before his arm problems.  That would be a huge boon to our bullpen.

Not sure about Mota, Bautista or Casilla.  Lots to like, lots to be afraid of. Luckily, if the guys above do their jobs, whatever the two of the three who remains can deliver, after the Giants bring up another position player after the All Star break (or even soon), would be a bonus. But teams don't win from having good middle relievers, it is their set-up guys who need to do well and they have had an up and down season so far. They will have to step it up a notch, and in recent weeks, they have. But they will need to continue.


  1. Nice (and very long) post. I think the key to the Giants second half is getting Panda on track or at the very least adding another professional hitter. I see that happening in the outfield. I think Ishikawa deserves another shot at regular at-bats.

  2. Thanks Jon. Yeah, I actually wasn't sure what I was going to write about, and I was thinking of just something short, but then tackling the NL West and what we need (which I thought appropriate since it is about mid-way through the season) just stretched it out. The plans of mice and men, eh?

    Yeah, you got, either Panda or another good hitter should help a lot.

    I like Ishikawa too. Some think I have a man-crush on him, but as my handle says it all, I can get obsessive and compulsive, and what happened was I got into a dust-up with someone before (which finally degenerated to him trying to insult me by using my dead father) about Ishikawa. He wanted the Giants to release him there and then, that he wasn't worth keeping at all (he was only in low-A ball at the time) and all I said was that Ishi had shown enough that he was better than the guys the other guy was arguing for (Brad Vericker and Jason Columbus). He also lied, quoting a "fact" that proved to be easily proven wrong, so that got me mad too.

    So I've been analyzing Ishikawa forever now, trying to see whether he is worth keeping or if this guy was right.

    So far, I think Ishikawa has been worth keeping. His defense is so great that if he could only produce replacement level offense at 1B, he would still be a 2 WAR player, all on defense. Unfortunately, it would require a lineup that can handle a replacement level hitting 1B. Tough with a low scoring team like the Giants.

    But I think if he is given enough playing time, he can perform well enough offensively in a platoon, which fits right in with the Giants plans to play Posey at 1B when they want to give him a rest from catching (and even young guys can't catch 162 games, the position is just too hard on a body).

    I also think that was the Giants plans too. Why else would they have kept Ishikawa around this long without starting him much?

    However, the crimp in that plan is how well Huff has been playing. And he loves playing here. Sabean is going to sign him, most probably, probably could get away with a one year plus mutual option type of deal or maybe have to go two years, but he seems very happy to be here, he obviously loves hitting here (now), and has had a great attitude about everything.

    Now, HE is a gamer, not like the lamer that Rowand has turned out to be.

  3. Wow, whoever it was you were debating about Ishikawa had seriously lost touch with reality.

    Huff has been awesome, I hope he keeps it up. I've heard a few David DeJesus rumors and I think he would be a nice fit on the Giants. He plays decent to great defense at all three OF positions and he can hit. He isn't a massive power guy or a speedster, just solid all around.

    The other great thing about him (another Giants blogger pointed this out recently) DeJesus is signed next year for relatively cheap money.

  4. Yeah, that's what I think too, except that he's selling his website to Giants fans, so some people believe in what he has to offer. Whatever, you know PT Barnum's reported motto...

    Huff looks like the real thing. That is, he looks like how he was in 2008 and before, and not like his 2009. His time in Detroit really hurt his numbers, else he wasn't thaaat bad with the Orioles early in the season, just down from the year before. But it's amazing how a losing team can drag down a player's ability to perform. Look at Weiters, he's suppose to be better than Posey as a hitter and yet he's still struggling after a year and Posey looks like what Weiters was suppose to look like, blasting homers.

    And I should have also mentioned that I am totally OK with signing Huff to a 1 or 2 year deal, he has been a great player and a good clubhouse figure, based on what I've read about him in the press.

    I think that can still work with Ishikawa sharing 1B with Posey. Huff would play LF, DeRosa will be the roving super-utility guy and backup starter when anyone is injured (HELLO Uribe, DL yourself next time!).

    I have seen those DeJesus rumors too. I don't care for getting DeJesus, mainly for the reason you state, that he is solid all around. We have enough of those guys. I would rather the Giants let Schierholtz and Bowker get the playing time they would give DeJesus. If Pablo was hitting like he was last season or even this April, we could afford to try them out in RF and see what happens, particularly with Posey hitting the way he is now.

    And Schierholtz and Bowker would be even cheaper and controlled over more years too.

    The only way I would be OK with getting DeJesus is if we can get him for basically nothing, that is, just prospects that the Giants have put on their "OK to Trade" list. Sabean has been pretty good at not trading away anyone unquestionably good, they have kept their actually good prospects.

    Or if the Royals would be willing to take Rowand and his contract. :^)



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