Wednesday, August 06, 2014

2014 Giants: July PQS

This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of July 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- (61% DOM, 17% DIS; 14:4/23):  0, 4, 4, 0, 3, 1/5, 5, 3, 4, 5, 5/4, 4, 5, 5, 3/3, 2, 4, 5, 5, 0/

Matt Cain- (57% DOM, 7% DIS; 8:1/14):  1, 3, 5, 5, 2/X, 3, 4, X, X, X/4, 3, 2, 5, 4/4, 5, DL/

Tim Hudson - (55% DOM, 5% DIS; 11:1/20):  5, 4, 3, 3, 5, 4/4, 3, X, X, 5/5, 2, 5, 0, 3, 5/5, 2, 3, 4, 3/

Tim "The Kid" Lincecum - (59% DOM, 27% DIS; 13:6/22):  3, 0, 4, 4, 0/4, 0, 5, 4, 4, 3/0, 4, 5, 2, 4/5, 4, 5, 5, 0, 0/

Jake Peavy - (100% DOM, 0% DIS; 1:0/1):  5/

Yusmeiro Petit - (33% DOM, 17% DIS; 2:1/6):  5/0, 2, 3, 5//3/

Ryan Vogelsong - (59% DOM, 9% DIS; 12:3/21):  0, 3, 3, 0, 5/4, 3, 4, 5, 5, 3/4, 4, 2, 3, 5/5, 4, 4, 0, 4/

Giants Season overall - 57% DOM, 15% DIS out of 107 games counted (61:16/107)

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)
Giants Month of July - 62% DOM, 15% DIS out of 26 games counted (16:4/26)

The month of July for PQS was great, almost as great as in May and June, but down a notch.  Obvious, the results were widely different, as the Giants were 19-9 in May and 10-16 in June and now 12-14 in July.   They began the month being in a streak of losing six of seven games, and ended the month similarly, sandwiching a much better run of 10-5 in the middle.

Bumgarner, after being the worse in April, had been the top guy in May and June, and he was still close with 3 DOM.  But Lincecum and Vogelsong led with 4 DOM starts in July.  Cain and Hudson each had 2 DOM starts, and Peavy had a DOM start in his only start of the month.   So the pitching was still pretty good from a PQS perspective in July.

Disaster starts, however, was worse, doubling the amount from May or June.  Lincecum had two, ruining a nice run he had there for 13 starts.  Right now, it appears that making him save that long extra inning game affected him physically, as after that nice 13 game stretch, he has had two DIS starts after saving the day as well as the game by closing out that extra inning game.  In those two DIS starts, 7.2 IP, 12.91 ERA, 14 hits, but nice 2.67 K/W and 9.4 K/9, so it could have been some huge bad luck, but we have to wonder given the timing, as he did not have consecutive DIS starts this season until now, worse earlier was 2 DIS starts out of 3, 3 DIS out of 6.  But his start last night suggests that he's hopefully got "it" again and can keep it going for the rest of the season and playoffs.

And Bumgarner and Vogelsong each had one DIS start, and that's pretty good, as Bumgarner had a stretch there of no DIS starts in 16 (after 3 of 6 to start the season) and Vogelsong had a stretch there of no DIS starts in 15 (after 2 of 4 to start the season), so hopefully just a pause in order to start another good stretch.  And both followed up the DIS start with DOM's.

And their ERA again did not reflect their good pitching, as they had a collective 4.18 ERA.  Despite the DOMs, Bumgarner had a 4.95 ERA and Vogelsong 4.55 ERA, so there was still a lot of bad BABIP luck, as Bumgarnger had a .339 BABIP and Vogelsong a .376 (!) BABIP.   Cain and Hudson had 2.92 ERA and 3.13 ERA, respectively, and good BABIP.  Lincecum had a 3.68 ERA but lucky .255 BABIP to help that ERA (and that included his two DIS starts!).

July 2014 Comments

The good news is that we actually had a good stretch of games there in the middle of the month.  Have to wonder if the losing streak at the end was just a bunch of bad factors catching up with the Giants - Lincecum two DIS starts, getting Belt back only to lose him almost immediately to Scutaro's throw giving him a concussion that kept him out some more, giving them a gut punch.  The bad news is that we still lost ground in the standings, falling to a low of 3 games behind LA.

Still, it is not like LA has run away from us, it has more been that the Giants have played horribly after losing their leadoff hitter and #3 hitter (and #5/6 hitter, essentially, because Morse has not been hitting), which most teams would have a problem overcoming.  The good news is that Belt is back and that Pagan should be coming back in a few more days, after rehabbing.  We have had a lot of great runs of offense and winning when he's in the lineup, so it would be good to get him back.

August has started out on a good start, taking 3 of 4 from the Mets.  Some will say that's no big deal, but I learned from Pavlovic that the Mets pitching has been pretty good this season, and I dug deeper and found that they are even better at home.   So we beat a pretty good pitching staff, and as well, the Mets were not pushovers at home, they were around .500, so splitting the series was a very possible outcome.

There are 29 games this month, with 16 on the road, where the Giants have been very good.  For some odd reason, they have not been that good at home, where they'll play 13 games, but that happened mainly in June/July, they were winning a lot of games at home and on the road in April/May (10-5 in April, 9-4 in May).

My best guess at why this is so is that since ATT suppresses power, that makes being able to manufacture runs that much more important at home.  But we have been without our main manufacturer in Pagan since the middle of June.  He's in Fresno now, and hopefully rejoining the team this Thursday, assuming no recurrence of any sort.

We have a tough month, after all.  As I noted, Mets are not pushovers at home, despite their poor overall record.  Neither are the Cubs for that matter, they are around .500 at home as well, just horrible on the road.  The Royals are .500 at home too, but better on the road so far.  Milwaukee and Washington plays great at home (as we saw yesterday), and the Brewers are even better on the road right now.   Plus the Phillies, while losing a lot at home, they are actually close to .500 on the road, where they'll play us in ATT.  The only easy series would be the Rockies at home near the end of the month, but even here, they always seem to play us tough.

On top of that 29 games this month means only two days off during August, August 11 and 14, meaning that the Giants play 16 straight days after that, into September, before their next rest.   Posey, Crawford, Sandoval, and Morse will probably be needing extra days off to get through the month.

Bochy has already said that he will be resting guys more frequently.  He mentioned using Duffy not only at 2B, but also SS and 3B, both to give rest as well as give him more starts, since he's got the bad end of the platoon at 2B with Panik.  And once Pagan is back, Bochy should revert back to the pattern of replacing Morse around the 6th/7th inning, after his 3rd AB, with Blanco for defensive purposes.

Speaking of Duffy and Panik, that was one of the nice things of July, being able to see a number of prospects get called up.  In addition to Duffy and Panik, Susac and Parker also got the call to the majors, even if it was for a day or two for Parker, as Belt got off the concussion DL sooner than expected.   None has done particularly well, but then again, except for Panik, none has gotten that much playing time either.

So far, all seem to have some nice qualities that I would love to see up here again, as most will probably get sent back down at some point in August.  However, the good thing is that these players, now that they are on the 40-man roster, probably will get a September call-up, so that they can absorb the atmosphere and environment, and gain experience.

Panik has not hit that well, per his batting line, but the more encouraging thing has been his peripherals.  He has a 88% contact rate, which is good.  In addition, he has a 0.70 BB/K ratio, which is good as well, any hitter who can keep their number of walks close to their number of strikeouts is a pretty batter.  He just needs to start getting more of those batted balls into hits.  And he has it sometimes, he already has 8 multi-hit games in 23 starts, so he just needs to start avoiding the oh-fers and start hitting for some more power, and he can hold onto the starting 2B job.

But the .267/.318/.300/.618 that he's been hitting since the start of July is not enough without good defense, and so far, he hasn't been that great defensively at 2B, though perhaps its SSS.   His UZR is above, while his DRS is below, but to hit .618 and hold a job, you got to field on par with Adrianza, who has been that good at 2B and SS.  With his good peripherals, his batting average should rise at some point, and get him closer to mid-600 OPS.  Or if he can boost his ISO to at least 100, his OPS would be .685, which would be decent at 2B.   Doing both, he would be over .700 and that would be good enough to hold the starting job.  Looks really doable, at some point, once he gets some more experience.

Adrianza in his defensive stats are mostly around adding one win.  Plus, while his overall batting line is bad, since July 1st, he has hit .327/.389/.408/.797, which is infused with good luck but given that he has some speed, he could warrant a higher BABIP overall as well.  But he unfortunately went back on the DL almost as soon as he returned, and there are no returns on how he is recovering this time, perhaps they will hold him out to September so that he can be brought back without taking a 25-man spot.

I think the Giants can have a good run in August.  Peavy has stepped into the rotation nicely with two DOM starts, suffering bad luck resulting in two losses, but he's actually been a good pitcher from 2012-2014 per PQS, I think pitching in Boston has cost him, whereas ATT will help him.  And the other starters appear ready to run off a good stretch of starts, other than Lincecum, who hopefully will be recovered by now and start another good stretch of DOM starts.

The offense is perking up with Posey, Pablo, Pence leading the way, and if Belt, Morse, Crawford, Blanco/Pagan start hitting like they did earlier this season (for Belt, I think it's just a matter of time), the offense will be working fine again, which along with the pitching, should result in a lot of wins in August.

LA's offense has been just as moribund lately, with only Puig and Kemp hitting.  Plus, Puig has been on this funky odd pattern where he's Bonds one month, followed by mere average good player the next month.  July was his Superman month, and so far in August, .667 OPS, similar to the .657 he had in June.  So they are going to need some players stepping up in August if Puig cools off like that again.  And they were lucky in July going 14-10, as they only scored 98 runs vs. 93 runs given up, that's a 12.5-11.5 record for the month, even with Puig hitting like Bonds, they will need some players to step up if he cools off again.

And while Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu have been great, Haren and Beckett have not, and they just lost Maholm for the season (not that he's that good, but there goes depth), so they will be struggling to try to break away from us, we are already back to only 1.5 games back.  The Giants have been able to stay near the Dodgers for a few weeks now, that should keep us within striking distance all the way to the end of the season.  Hopefully getting back Pagan will give us a boost of energy and offense that gives the team a surge in the standings and kiss LA good bye in our rear view mirror.  But more probably, it should be a tight race for a long while, neither team has been able to stay healthy and productive enough to pull away from the other team so far this season.

And from the Wild Card front, since we are not in the lead for the division, we are at least leading in the Wild Card race, so that means that we are in the playoffs as of right now, and at worse, we need to keep our record above the other wild cat contenders.  But as long as we are close to the division lead, I'm not going to think much about the wild card, I believe the focus should be on the division title until you are too far away, then you can start thinking of the wild card.  The priority should always be on the division title until it's not likely anymore.  There is plenty of time to make up a few games in the standings.

1 comment:

  1. Now Panik has 9 multi-hit games in 24 starts. He's now at nearly 700 OPS since start of July.



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