Sunday, June 08, 2014

2014 Giants May PQS

This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of May 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- (58% DOM, 29% DIS; 7:3/12):  0, 4, 4, 0, 3, 1/5, 5, 3, 4, 5, 5/

Matt Cain- (43% DOM, 14% DIS; 3:1/7):  1, 3, 5, 5, 2/X, 3, 4, X, X, X/

Tim Hudson - (67% DOM, 0% DIS; 6:0/9):  5, 4, 3, 3, 5, 4/4, 3, X, X, 5/

Tim "The Kid" Lincecum - (55% DOM, 27% DIS; 6:3/11):  3, 0, 4, 4, 0/4, 0, 5, 4, 4, 3/

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

Ryan Vogelsong - (20% DOM, 40% DIS; 5:2/11):  0, 3, 3, 0, 5/4, 3, 4, 5, 5, 3/

Giants Season overall - 53% DOM, 18% DIS out of 55 games counted (29:10/55)
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)

The month of May for PQS was Great.  I don't have time to check, but this was up to the standards of before, plus the DIS was way low.  I took out two starts, one because Hudson had a rain delay cut his outing short, the other because an injury cut Cain's start short.   The purpose of this stat is to represent how well a pitcher is pitching, but things like these do not, I feel, represent what was going on necessarily in that start (though I recall that one of them was having some struggles.

Bumgarner, after being the worse last month, led the way with 5 DOM starts this month.  Vogie and Lincecum was second with 4 DOM starts.  And Lincecum was only an inning away from another DOM because Bochy took him out early because he was developing a blister.  Hudson only had 3, but that's because he had two starts interrupted (one by injury, the other by rain).   Cain had only 1, but then again, he only had two starts that I counted for the month.

Disaster starts, two fingers, both at the start of the month:  Lincecum and Petit.  Not too shabby!

The starters had a collective 2.85 ERA in May.  8.4 K/9 with a sterling 3.0 K/BB.   Hudson led the way with a 1.46 ERA in 4 starts.  Only 4.7 K/9 but great 3.25 K/BB.   Bumgarner 2.08 ERA in 6 starts, 11.1 K/9 and outta this world 9.6 (!) K/BB.   Vogie was not far behind, 2.29 ERA in 6 starts, 7.8 K/9, 2.83 K/BB.  Cain had a 2.30 ERA in 3 starts, 8.0 K/9 but only 2.00 K/BB (which is still good, but compared to his teammates...).  Lincecum had a 2.86 ERA in 6 starts, with 8.8 K/9 and 1.55 K/BB, that's down there with Zito (and as I've been saying for this season, he's our new Zito; here's hoping he continues to transition and become our new Vogie).  Lastly, Petit had a 6.29 ERA (disaster starts can kill your ERA, especially if you don't start much) in only 3 starts, but 8.6 K/9 and 4.60 K/BB, both great peripherals, suggesting that Petit had a bit of bad luck, especially with the hits.

April 2014 Comments

Not really a lot to say.  The pitchers are not doing anything really out of this world so far, except for Hudson, really.  But we don't need him to do this the rest of the season to win the division, they only have to meet expectations/projections and they should be fine.

And the hitters aren't really doing anything crazy either.   Look at his lineup:

  • Posey:  .272/.341/.419/.760
  • Belt:  .264/.317/.504/.820
  • Hicks:  .191/.313/.389/.701
  • Crawford:  .238/.314/.435/.749
  • Sandoval:  .247/.295/.413/.707
  • Morse:  .285/.338/.570/.908
  • Pagan:  .316/.368/.429/.797
  • Pence:  .285/.353/.463/.816

All are within prior past performance except for Hicks, but the #8 hitter don't need to hit for much to add value to a lineup relative to the rest of the league.  WAR does not capture that nuance of value to a team.  If anything, Posey and Sandoval are way below projections and should be expected to produce more (though of course those projections does not take into account Posey's bad back, so perhaps this is his best now).  And the bench hasn't been doing much, other than Colvin.  Again, nothing crazy happening here.

That speaks to what I've been saying all off-season, this is a good offensive team.  They just hit what they are capable of and they will win games with this pitching.  And they have done a lot of this with Belt on the DL.  And with nearly a 10 game lead, they could play .500 the rest of the way and still win the division.  But, of course, hopefully they continue to rock other teams.

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