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.
Madison Bumgarner- (78% DOM, 7% DIS; 21:2/27): 5, 3, 5, 5, 5, 4/ 4, 5, 0, 5, 4/ 5, 4, 5, 4, 5, 4/ 5, 5, 5, 5/5, 3, 0, 3, 3, 4/
Matt Cain- (56% DOM, 12% DIS; 14:3/25): 5, 0, 4, 3, 5, 3/ 3, 5, 3, 5, 3/ 4, 3, 3, 4, 5, 4/ 0, 0, 3, 5/5, 5, 5, 5, inj (0 but headed for 2, he was steady after runs)/
Chad Gaudin - (58% DOM, 33% DIS; 7:4/12): // 5, 5, 0, 0/ 5, 3, 5, 0, 5/5, 4, 0 (inj but really bad start)/
Mike Kickham - (0% DOM, 67% DIS; 0:2/3): /0/ 2/ 0//
Tim "The Kid" Lincecum - (52% DOM, 11% DIS; 14:3/27): 3, 4, 2, 5, 5/ 3, 4, 5, 3, 5, 0/ 5, 0, 3, 5, 3/ 3, 5, 5, 0, 4/5, 5, 2, 2, 4, 3/
Guillermo Moscoso - (0% DOM, 100% DIS; 0:1/1): ////0/
Yusmeiro Petit - (100% DOM, 0% DIS; 1:0/1): ////5/
Eric Surkamp - (0% DOM, 100% DIS; 0:1/1): ///0//
Ryan Vogelsong - (36% DOM, 29% DIS; 5:4/14): 3, 4, 5, 3, 2/ 0, 0, 0, 3///4, 0, 5, 4, 2/
Barry Zito - (21% DOM, 52% DIS; 5:12/23): 3, 4, 0, 4, 0/ 1, 4, 1, 3, 3, 4/ 3, 0, 3, 5, 0/ 0, 3, 0, 0, 0/0, 0/
Giants Season overall - 50% DOM, 25% DIS out of 134 games counted (67:33/134)
Giants Month of April - 56% DOM, 11% DIS out of 27 games counted (15:3/27)
Giants Month of May - 41% DOM, 30% DIS out of 27 games counted (11:8/27)
Giants Month of June - 56% DOM, 19% DIS out of 27 games counted (15:5/27)
Giants Month of July - 44% DOM, 40% DIS out of 25 games counted (11:10/25)
Giants Month of August - 52% DOM, 21% DIS out of 28 games counted (15:6/28)
The month of August was actually pretty good for PQS, particularly compared to July's stink, but overall ERA of 4.09 and RA of 4.31 in August was more average than good. August leaders are Cain with 4, Lincecum and Vogie with 3 DOM starts. Unfortunately, after leading the staff all season (90% PQS is AWESOME!), Bumgarner had a poor month, only 2 DOM starts out of 6, plus his second DIS start of the season. That dropped his DOM% from 90% to 78%, which is still super elite, but Madison was probably headed for some sort of PQS record, from what I can recall of other great PQS seasons, 80's was the max I can remember. Shows how hard it is to keep excellence in starting pitching over a full season.
Cain really changed things around from last month's stink to this month's dominance until he was injured. He was headed towards a non-DOM start, but looked like he would have at least avoided a DIS start as well, until his injury, so I took that off his record, unlike Gaudin, who was out of control, really hit badly plus walks, so I counted his injury start as a DIS start. Still, Gaudin added two more DOM starts. Lincecum had a good PQS month with 50% DOM and 0% DIS, and that showed in his 3.62 ERA for the month. Vogie had a good month too, but Zito stunk again.
Disaster starts were mostly spread out, one per starter or less, which is actually normally very good, but Zito led the way with 2 DIS starts out of 2 starts. He is ending his Giants and probably MLB career with one of the all time stinkers ever. And he actually started out the season well. Maybe his father's death shook him up more than he had let on in interviews, and that would be understandable. Or maybe some other personal travail will come out eventually. Or maybe all the Giants fans' negative sentiment finally got to him, even after his World Series triumph that helped the team get its second trophy, there are still a lot of fans who pushed aside his great accomplishment to focus on the bad. Whatever the reason, this is truly the worse season of his Giants career by far.
He is not coming back, as I had discussed last month, you can bet on that one, and as of early this season, it seemed very possible that the Giants would pick up his option, because at $11M extra, getting a 4.15 ERA starter you can count on for 33 starts and nearly 200 IP is actually a fair market value proposition when you don't have to worry about outbidding other teams.
While the Giants ERA was OK this month, most of the starters had K/BB that were only OK or worse. Only Cain with a 5.20 K/BB was great, that explained his 4 DOM starts out of 4 starts for the month (plus the injury start). Bumgarner (3.47 ERA), Lincecum (3.62 ERA), and Vogie (2.93 ERA) had good ERAs despite middling (2.06, 2.14, and 1.80 respectively) K/BB ratios. Zito was actually around his recent results (1.60 K/BB) but batters have just been hitting him hard, resulting in his 12.08 ERA.
August 2013 Comments
I was totally off for August. The gauntlet beat down the Giants again, and they ended with a 13-16 record (29 games in 31 days, oy!). The pitching returned to their more usual performances, but the offense could never get untracked as I thought they would, when one would rise, another would fall or get injured or both.
Belt had a great month, finally unleashing his inner goodness as I had hoped, but nobody else could really unleash their inner RBI-guy, both Sandoval and Posey continued to struggle with that, Panda because of that injury he suffered near the start of the month, which stalled him again, Posey because he finally hit that straw with the camel's back, he had to start a lot more games at catcher this season (due to Hanchez's injury from his Venezuelan winter league playing; Blanco blamed that for interfering with his 2013, so he's skipping it this season after a dozen or so years playing there) and he was not as well rested as he was coming into 2012, plus there was only two days off the whole month and I think they lost one of those days visiting the White House.
Still, even had the Giants got untracked, it would have been all for naught anyway, as the Dodgers did even better in August than July, going 23-6 for the month, after a stellar 19-6 in July. Despite Puig falling down to slightly above average levels, from July 3rd to the end of August, he hit .297/.376/.453/.829, the rest of the team picked things up and they just took off like a rocket for the two months. And I would note that the Dodgers were only 7-10 in his first 17 games, before they ignited when Hanley rejoined them in that time period and he took off, then the pitching staff took off in July and August, so it was not all Puig as the hype might seem, it, to me, has been really all due to the great pitching the last two months.
The pitching took off and vastly outperformed, 2.52 ERA in July, 2.09 ERA in August, after collectively 3.81 ERA from April to June with basically the same pitching staff, the only significant addition was Nolasco, and while he has delivered, 2.20 ERA in 10 starts after 3.85 ERA with Miami in 18 starts to start the season, after 4.68 ERA in his prior four seasons, it was a virtually complete team effort. Kershaw has been great, as usual, plus Greinke had stepped up too, delivering great starts, who knows, maybe he was held back by his former teams, but his ERA is starting to match his peripherals (though I would note that it appears to be all LA derived, 2.20 ERA at home, 3.49 ERA, very much in line with his career numbers, on the road). Ryu has also performed great too, only Capuano has been the "laggard" and only because they were great, he basically is doing what his career suggests, low-to-mid-4 ERA, and with their offense, that wins games.
I have to wonder if all these above career performances can continue into the playoffs, but that is not a big deal to me now that we are so many games out of making the playoffs, my interest turns to where the Giants might draft in 2014, now that we have such a poor record.
Lemons Into A Nice Draft Prospect
The Giants are currently in line for a pick somewhere in the high single digits, we have been in line for somewhere in the 7-9th pick at the end of August. But the teams are tightly bunched. While the Giants could conceivably end up as high as 4th overall pick, they could also fall back to the 14th pick as well. So I think it behooves the Giants to stay in the single digits if possible, or better tank some more and get a Top 5 pick.
Ideally, I never want the Giants to lose, but now that we are here, in position to get a great draft pick, it would not be logical to go full out to win. My study found that Top 5 picks are generally the best chances of finding somebody who can make a difference for your team long term. So it would only make sense for the Giants management to focus less on losing, more on figuring how who is the wheat and who are the chaff that we can throw away.
So I'm hoping that the Giants keep on playing the young guys as that improves our chances of losing if they keep on failing and thus of keeping a great draft pick. And if they play well, then that works too, then we'll have the good player in hand rather in draft pick that may or may not work out (over 50% of Top 5 picks still fail to become a good player). That's also why I'm OK with Zito starting, as right now, those are guaranteed losses, the way things are going, he has not had a good start in ages. So try all the young unproven guys, we win either way, and given that most of them are not that hyped, the odds favor that they will struggle in the majors. And for those who beat the odds and perform well, that's great for the Giants too, for Sabean loves the bird in the hand versus the two in the bush.
And they are still playing a number of playoff teams and teams over .500. There are 21 games left and 7 against the Dodgers and 3 against the Yankees, and 10 games of those games are on the road (4 Dodgers, 3 Yankees plus 3 Mets who have been .500 since July started, roughly). Plus the 2 games left against the D-backs. And the remaining games against the Mets, Rockies, and Padres are against teams that are just as bad as the Giants have been, record wise, overall. There are no easy series, and about the same number of games home as on the road.
The Giants look headed for roughly 90 losses for the season. That would have got them the 7th or 8th pick last season. Right now, it looks good for a pick around that same spot in this year's draft. The teams are too bunched up right now to accurately forecast. BP's playoff odds report has them in 8th if I got the teams right, and they could easily be 10th or worse with an extra win or two.
As I noted previously, they could be anywhere from 4th to 14th, depending on how bad or good they play the rest of the games here on out. And that's basically all the teams with losing records. Two team are around .500 and the rest are headed for at least 85 wins in the season. So they look to be in pretty good shape for getting a top 10 pick, with which they have selected Lincecum, Bumgarner, Posey, and Wheeler in recent drafts, but if they play better down the line, they probably end up in double digits beyond 10th.