Monday, June 30, 2014

2014 Giants: June PQS

This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of June 2014, 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 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' PQS for 2014 Season

Madison Bumgarner- (65% DOM, 18% DIS; 11:3/17):  0, 4, 4, 0, 3, 1/5, 5, 3, 4, 5, 5/4, 4, 5, 5, 3/

Matt Cain- (50% DOM, 8% DIS; 6:1/12):  1, 3, 5, 5, 2/X, 3, 4, X, X, X/4, 3, 2, 5, 4/

Tim Hudson - (60% DOM, 7% DIS; 9:1/15):  5, 4, 3, 3, 5, 4/4, 3, X, X, 5/5, 2, 5, 0, 3, 5/

Tim "The Kid" Lincecum - (56% DOM, 25% DIS; 9:4/16):  3, 0, 4, 4, 0/4, 0, 5, 4, 4, 3/0, 4, 5, 2, 4/

Yusmeiro Petit - (40% DOM, 20% DIS; 2:1/5):  5/0, 2, 3, 5//

Ryan Vogelsong - (50% DOM, 13% DIS; 8:2/16):  0, 3, 3, 0, 5/4, 3, 4, 5, 5, 3/4, 4, 2, 3, 5/

Giants Season overall - 53% DOM, 18% DIS out of 55 games counted (45:12/81)
Giants Month of April - 43% DOM, 29% DIS out of 28 games counted (12:8/28)
Giants Month of May - 63% DOM, 7% DIS out of 27 games counted (17:2/27)
Giants Month of June - 62% DOM, 8% DIS out of 26 games counted (16:2/26)

The month of June for PQS was Great, as Great as in May.  Obvious, the results were widely different, as the Giants were 19-9 in May and 10-16 in June.   And the Giants started June 6-1 before swooning to a 4-15 finish, an almost mirror image of May.

Bumgarner, after being the worse in April, has been the top guy in May and June.  He led with 4 DOM starts in June.  Cain, Hudson, Vogie and Lincecum was second with 3 DOM starts.   So the pitching was still pretty good from a PQS perspective in June.

Disaster starts, two fingers again:  Lincecum and Hudson.  Again, not too shabby!

Despite all that good sabermetric starting pitching, they had a collective 4.38 ERA.  Only 6.8 K/9 but sterling 2.4 BB/9, for a sterling 2.9 K/BB, very close to last month.  Despite the DOMs, Bumgarner had a 3.00 ERA, Hudson 3.86 ERA, Lincecum 4.88 ERA, Vogelsong 5.08 ERA, and Cain 5.46 ERA.  And their BABIP was average too, .298, and 0.7 HR/9 was good too.   Looks like a lot of bad luck with balls falling in when it could do the most damage.

What was also missing was a good bullpen.  I don't have the inherited runners stats, but 4.12 ERA pretty much says that they sucked too, even though their K/BB was a good 3.00 K/BB ratio, though middling 6.7 K/9, much like the starting pitching.   They sucked together, even while their peripherals looked good overall.

June 2014 Comments

Not really a lot to say.  What a horrendous month.  The starting pitchers and the relievers actually had good looking months if you looked at their peripherals and PQS and not their ERA results.   But, of course, that is what counts in the final standings.  The good news is that it just looked like a really bad luck month where the hits randomly came in bunches, resulting in a lot of runs being given up.  The bad news is that the K/9 was not that good, really, for either the starters or the relievers, resulting in more hits overall since there were more balls in play.

And the hitters weren't doing all that badly, though there were the good and bad, but the bad outweighed the good and they only averaged 3.44 runs scored per game.   And there were some good.  Posey was back to norms for him, .362/.380/.532/.912 (low on walks though).  Crawford was key to the offense, second in OPS, hitting .288/.376/.500/.876.  He had 5 triples in the month!  Pence hit .306/.342/.481/.824 while leading the team in HR with 4.  And Sandoval was OK, hitting .301/.352/.398/.750, but still lacking power.   And both Perez and Adrianza hit well, .871 OPS for Perez and .827 for Adrianza before he was DLed.

Speaking of Adrianza, while he had a nice June, he had not done much previously, so I wonder if his injury will turn out to be one of those lingering ones that allows the Giants to keep him on the DL while they given other prospects an opportunity in the majors.  The Giants brought up Panik with this move, plus added Duvall when Pagan finally went on the DL.

But the timing was bad for Ehire, as he was doing well, but none of the other 2B were.  Hicks lost the starting role by hitting .128/.255/.191/.446 with no homers and 22 K's in 47 AB (ouch!).  Arias didn't play much 2B, but hit only .286/.300/.286/.586 anyway.

Panik came up and did well for a couple of games, but only has a .174/.240/.218/.457 batting line so far, but that could be bad luck, he only had 3 K's in 23 AB (with 2 walks) for a good 87% contact rate and 0.67 BB/K ratio (I would note that Adrianza had a 89% contact rate in June and 1.00 BB/K ratio), so if his .200 BABIP were at .300, he would have 2 more hits for a .261/.320/.304/.624 batting line, which would be tolerable in the 8th spot.  But his defense so far has been spotty bad, only Hicks and Adrianza has been adding value defensively at 2B.

And the rest of the position players struggled.  Morse only hit .233/.275/.337/.612 with only 2 homers, and his BABIP was low for him .286.  Have to wonder if that hamstring issue is affecting him or if playing 1B threw him some (though he has played OK there defensively, as his history suggests).  Still, he got to play LF a bit once Duvall came up, and while he hit a homer, he's now batting .143/.143/.429/.571 with his two hits being two extra-base hits, but only 3 K's in 14 AB's, so that's not so bad, at least for him.

Blanco got to start while Pagan has been out, but he didn't keep it simple as he did earlier, and ended up hitting only .247/.299/.309/.607 for the month, and got stealing twice to boot, for 50% CS rate.    But he had a good contact rate, roughly 85% and 50% BB/K, so his peripherals was OK, he might have had some bad luck with balls getting caught.  Though I would note that he actually outhit Pagan, who only hit .234/.321/.255/.576 in June (a lot of bad luck, only 5 K's in 47 AB plus 6 walks, both very good).

And shades of Andres, with Morse playing 1B, Colvin got more playing time but he ended up hitting .216/.241/.333/.574 for June, with no homers, and struck out 17 times in 51 AB.  Hicks also hit the skids too, as noted above.  And Hector didn't do much either, perhaps all those hits to the head is affecting him, he only hit .132/.171/.211/.381.   I think he still has options, so if the Giants thought Susac was healthy and ready, they might swap spots for a while (though they would need to open up another spot on the 40-man to do so;  they have already traded away Huff and DFAed Dunning, though I think he just ended up getting reassigned to Fresno, nobody took a bite on him).

So just as it seemed like the Giants had a lot of good luck earlier, they then had a lot of bad luck in a very concentrated period of time.   This will be a strong test of the resiliency of the team, testing whether they can come back from such horrible results, though it is nothing new for this team, where they had to win out in two straight playoff series in 2012 in sudden death situations, but still, strong test of their mental toughness to see if they can recover from this.

Looking at the Dodgers, they mainly won because their starters were outstanding in June, mostly Kershaw and Beckett, and Beckett benefited from a very low BABIP (and Kershaw can't continue to pile up shutouts and below 1 monthly ERA's, can he?), so as long as the starting pitching can hold up and keep the DOMs coming, and the hitting can get back to some semblance of the good hitting before, and the bullpen can get back (Machi, Lopez, and Romo had horrible months) to what they are capable of, it should be a battle royale between the two teams for the NL West title.

And it is a two horse battle, for now, with the rest of the division still 10 games behind.  We need some hitters to step up (I'm thinking two among Posey, Panda, and Morse) to keep it that way, as the pitching has run into some bad luck with their results in June.   But Sabean don't like standing pat when the chase is afoot, so I wonder what type of trades he will be considering for July/August, I would speculate a starting 2B where Adrianza would be part of the package (but the 2B could be controlled longer term to account for that; Prado?), though I would still prefer to keep him and see if we can make do.

1 comment:

  1. I meant to post this link in the blog post.

    The problem with national analysts are they can only look at the picture painted by Tim's numbers, they know little of the nuance that regular Giants fans like us know about him. I recommend reading the interview Baggerly had with Rags for richer understanding of what Timmy went through and what he's doing now differently than before: http://www.csnbayarea.com/giants/extra-baggs-righetti-opens-about-lincecum-cain

    Really good read, this is why Andy is someone I read regularly.

    ReplyDelete

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