Tuesday, November 06, 2012

2012 Giants: September/October PQS and Final PQS

This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of September 2012, PQS as defined in Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster annual book and they published the details here (unfortunately, they removed the article; this link gets you at least to the PQS definition, read down to middle for details; I recommend buying their older books via their website to read up on this methodology and concept). 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).


What's Good and What's Not

From my observations, 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.

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). Read the link (unfortunately, they removed the article and thus the table is no longer available, sorry), as I noted, there's a nice chart there showing the combination of high DOM% and low DIS%, and there you can see particularly how a low DIS% is so important to a low ERA.

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).  But I think when the DOM% is high enough, you win more by choosing a high DOM% over a low DIS%, as there are more high quality games pitched overall.

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' Final PQS for 2012 Season

Madison Bumgarner- (66% DOM, 13% DIS; 21:4/32):  0, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 3, 4, 5, 4, 5, 3, 5, 4, 3, 5, 2, 5, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5, 4, 5, 3, 0, 4, 0, 4, 4, 0

Matt Cain- (63% DOM, 0% DIS; 20:0/32):  4, 5, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 4, 4, 3, 5, 5, 5, 2, 5, 3, 3, 5, 3, 3, 2, 3, 5, 5, 5, 3, 3, 4, 2, 5, 5, 3 (perfect game highlighted)

Eric Hacker- (100% DOM, 0% DIS; 1:0/1): 4

Tim "The Kid" Lincecum - (55% DOM, 24% DIS; 18:8/33):  2, 0, 4, 3, 3, 3, 4, 5, 0, 1, 4, 5, 2, 3, 5, 5, 0, 0, 5, 5, 0, 5, 3, 3, 0, 4, 4, 5, 4, 5, 5, 0, 4

Yusmeiro Petit- (0% DOM, 100% DIS; 0:1/1):  0

Ryan Vogelsong- (65% DOM, 13% DIS; 20:4/31):  5, 5, 4, 3, 2, 3, 5, 2, 5, 3, 4, 5, 5, 4, 5, 4, 5, 5, 4, 5, 3, 0, 0, 4, 4, 0, 2, 0, 5, 5, 4

Barry Zito - (34% DOM, 28% DIS; 11:9/32): 4, 4, 1, 5, 0, 2, 4, 4, 0, 4, 4, 1, 2, 0, 3, 3, 2, 4, 4, 3, 0, 2, 1, 0, 3, 0, 3, 3, 4, 3, 3, 5

Giants season overall - 56% DOM, 17% DIS out of 162 games counted (90:27/162)
Giants Month of April - 64% DOM, 14% DIS out of 22 games counted (14:3/22)
Giants Month of May - 59% DOM, 14% DIS out of 29 games counted (17:4/29)
Giants Month of June - 57% DOM, 7% DIS out of 28 games counted (16:2/28)
Giants Month of July - 63% DOM, 13% DIS out of 28 games counted (15:3/24)
Giants Month of August - 41% DOM, 28% DIS out of 29 games counted (12:8/29)
Giants Month of Sept/Oct - 53% DOM, 23% DIS out of 30 games counted (16:7/30)

The Giants pitchers had their second worse month of the season, but it was much closer to what they did the rest of the season, not like August.  And it could have been better had the Giants not limited all their starters on pitch count in the last few games of the season just before the playoffs.  Might have got another DOM and one less DIS (Cain and Bumgarner).

Lincecum was the leader in DOM starts in September, with 5 out of 6 starts, so it was a bit surprising to see that he was the one pitching out of the bullpen during the playoffs.  But his one start vs. his brilliant relief appearances made that clear why that was best.  Bumgarner, Cain, and Vogelsong each had 3 DOM starts, Zito 2 DOM starts.

Both Bumgarner and Vogelsong had 2 DIS starts to lead the rotation in September, and Lincecum and Petit had 1 each.  Both Cain and Zito avoided a DIS start.  And with that, Cain was able to avoid a DIS start all season long.  And he only had 1 DIS start in 2011, so he actually improved, year to year, despite the poor stretch of pitching that he had after his Perfect Game.  He was clearly affected by that start, whether it be the number of pitches, which was not extra-ordinarily high - 125 - but still high generally for peak pitches in a game these days.

Bumgarner and Vogelsong were bad at opposite ends of the month.  Vogelsong started the month shaky but ended it strong, with 3 straight DOM starts, after 3 straight poor starts (0, 2, 0).  Bumgarner had 8 straight DOM starts, then over his last 7 starts, while he did have 3 DOM starts, he also had 3 DIS starts, after only 1 DIS start all season long, in fact, his first start of the year, so he was clearly struggling with something in those games, he said it was mechanics, but I had to wonder if it was also his being tired as well, he's been putting in a lot of innings.

September 2012 Comments

In September, the offense was stellar, even if the pitching wasn't as good as usual, particularly in the area of DIS starts.  They averaged 4.97 runs scored per game in September/October.  And as poorly, relatively, the pitching did, they were still able to keep the opposition down to 3.90 runs allowed per game.  That allowed them to finish September 19-8, taking and keeping first place and clinching very early, with 10 games left to play, at which point they were 14-3, a great streak that won them the division, fair and square.

During the playoffs, in 16 games, they had 9 DOM starts and 4 DIS starts (56% DOM/25% DIS), which is about what they did in the last 30 games.  Both the Reds and Giants pitched poorly in their series, but our pitching did just a little better with a total of 10 PQS points vs. the Reds 9.  The Giants actually won two of the games based on PQS score (though one ended up a loss) and the Reds won two, with the last one a tie. It could have gone either way, but it didn't, the Giants wanted it more.

In the Cards series, the Giants actually won 5 of the starts and tied for one.  The Cards only won 1 of the starts (with 1 tie).  The Giants lost one game they should have won (game 3 with Cain/Lohse), but ended up outpitching the Cards in the final three games.  They should have actually won in 6 games without being up for elimination.

In the Tigers series, the Giants won on PQS twice, tied once, and should have lost one that they won, which was game 3.  It could have been very easily 2-2 and not a sweep, though not that the Giants didn't earn the championship, they got 3 DOM starts in the World Series, and Vogelsong was one out from a 3 PQS and 2 K's from a DOM start, not that far.

Overall, it was their pitching that won them their World Championship again.  56% DOM starts is the mark of a good pitcher (good pitchers have at least 50% DOM starts) and they accomplished that as a rotation.  Not that the offense wasn't helpful too, in 16 games, they scored 4 or more runs 9 times, which under my system means that they were 9-7 in supporting the defense.  The pitching (with fielding), meanwhile, held opponents to 3 or less runs in 11 games, making them 11-5 in doing their job in preventing runs.  It is clearly pitching, from this perspective, that won the World Championship for the Giants in 2012, once again, though obviously the offense did chip in some as well.

The Giants are the 2012 World Championships and the winner of two of the past three because of their wonderful and glorious pitching.  And this should last us a while longer too, as much of our staff is still relatively young, and should have 3-5 more good seasons together, if the ownership can pony up the money to sign everyone.

Go Giants:  Team of the 2010 Decade.

2 comments:

  1. Thought I would follow up and show how the Tigers did with PQS. Overall, they were better than the Giants. 13 starts, they had 11 DOM starts, and had the higher PQS in 8 of those games, ties in 2 of the starts, and only 1 DIS start. That is a great 85% DOM/8% DIS overall profile. That is what drove them to the World Series.

    Unfortunately for them, their one and only DIS start was the one Verlander had for them in the first World Series game, then Bumgarner outpitched Fister in Game 2, for two games where the Giants had higher PQS (in the 9 games in the AL playoffs, they only had one start where they had a lower PQS). They actually had the higher PQS in game 3, but Vogelsong had a gutsy performance and was not that far away from a DOM start nor far away from the same PQS. That's baseball luck for you.

    Then in the last game, both starters had the same PQS, and that is where our bullpen came in, it shut down the Tigers while the Tigers allowed the winning run. Game and World Series over.

    The Tigers had a dominant staff going into the World Series, but the Giants were just that much better, not sweep better, but still measurably better. And they were more attuned to do-or-die scenarios than the Tigers were, I totally believe that was our edge in game 4, the Giants might not have been actually eliminated, but they knew what was coming up - Verlander and Fister - and fought hard to close it up in game 4, succeeding.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd also add the Leyland really did not do a good job of managing. Certainly this is all in retrospect, but even at the time it seemed clear to me that Leyland was doing a Dusty: sticking for too long with his 'A' starter.

    ReplyDelete

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