Wednesday, September 23, 2015

2015 Giants: August PQS

This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of August 2015, 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 (wow, 10th year of this!) 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 had 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).  Part of this is the MID (starts neither DOM nor DIS; my term for this as Baseball Forecaster never labeled that category of starts) starts are average starts which gives your team a chance to win still, unlike DIS starts.  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 2015 Season

Madison Bumgarner- (73% DOM, 4% DIS; 19:1/26):  4, 0, 3, 5, 5/5, 4, 2, 4, 3, 5/4, 4, 5, 5, 5/2, 3, 4, 5, 3/5, 5, 5, 5, 5/

Matt Cain- (30% DOM, 50% DIS; 3:5/10):  DL///0, 5, 3, 5, 3/1, 0, 0, 5, 1/

Chris Heston - (44% DOM, 28% DIS; 11:7/25):  5, 5, 5, 3/5, 2, 5, 0, 1, 5/0, 5, 2, 2, 5/3, 3, 4, 5, 3/0, 0, 4, 0, 0/

Tim Hudson - (19% DOM, 19% DIS; 3:3/16):  3, 3, 3, 2/2, 3, 2, 3, 0, 4/5, 1, 3, 2, 4/0, 2//

Mike Leake - (100% DOM, 0% DIS; 3:0/3):  ///4, 5, 4/

Tim Lincecum - (40% DOM, 33% DIS; 6:5/15):  4, 3, 4, 2/4, 5, 0, 4, 2, 0/4, 0, 2, 0, 0//

Jake Peavy - (57% DOM, 29% DIS; 7:2/13):  0, 0//4, 5, 2, 4, 4/5, 4, 2, 4, 3, 2/

Yusmeiro Petit - (0% DOM, 0% DIS; 0:0/1):  /3////

Ryan Vogelsong - (52% DOM, 38% DIS; 11:8/21):  0, 4, 0/4, 5, 1, 4, 5/5, 4, 0, 5, 5, 2/0, 2/0, 5, 5, 0, 0/

Giants Season overall - 45% DOM, 24% DIS out of 117 games counted (53:28/117)
Giants Month of April - 41% DOM, 23% DIS out of 22 games counted (9:5/22)
Giants Month of May - 50% DOM, 20% DIS out of 30 games counted (15:6/30)
Giants Month of June - 54% DOM, 23% DIS out of 26 games counted (14:6/26)
Giants Month of July - 42% DOM, 13% DIS out of 24 games counted (10:3/24)
Giants Month of August - 52% DOM, 38% DIS out of 29 games counted (15:11/29)

The month of August for PQS was high or low, DOM or DIS.   Out of 29 starts, 26 were either DOM or DIS, only 3 were MID.  This continues a string of poor (for the Giants) months since September last season.

Bumgarner led the staff with 5 DOM starts.  Peavy and Leake were next, both with 3 DOM starts (Leake was picked up in a trade and he missed a couple of starts due to injury, had his 3 in only 3 starts, an excellent start to his Giants career, except for the injury).  Vogie had 2 DOM, and both Cain and Heston had 1 DOM.   Hudson was on the DL, getting healthy, while Lincecum continued to struggle until it was decided that he needed surgery to get his hips fixed, and the Doctor said that it was not arthritic and that it should fix the problems that have been bothering him for a couple of years now.

It was a horrible month for DIS starts, the opposite of the last month, perhaps the BABIP gods provided regression for last month's goodness (together, the DIS for the two months was 26%, which is in line with all the other months).  Both Cain and Heston led the staff with 4 DIS.  I don't think that has ever happened in any month I've chronicled of the Giants monthly PQS stats.  One pitcher, yeah, but not two.  On top of that, Vogelsong had 3 DIS himself.  This contrasted with the fact that these three pitchers had DOM starts in their non-DIS starts.  The only thing keeping the month from being a total disaster was that Bumgarner, Leake and Peavy all had 0 DIS starts.

Again, deep divide between the great performances and the not so great.  Bumgarner, of course (5 DOM in 5 starts!), led the way with 1.43 ERA, 12.7 K/9 and 13.25 K/BB (amazing!).   The team went 5-0 in his starts.  That contrasts with Mike Leake, who had 3.38 ERA (3 DOM in 3 starts) but 3.38 ERA, 7.2 K/9 and 3.75 K/BB, and the team only went 1-2 in his starts.  They were the only ones to have good ERA.

The rest were bad to worse.  Peavy had a 4.67 ERA in spite of his 3 DOM and 0 DIS, he bumped up to 7.3 K/9 and 2.80 K/BB, so a bunch of bad luck there.  Still the team only went 3-3 in his starts.  Vogelsong had a 4.31 ERA in spite of all those DIS starts, boosting to 9.4 K/9 and so-so 1.85 K/BB (5.1 BB/9!!!).  The team was 2-3 in his starts.  Heston had a 5.79 ERA with only 4.6 K/9 and 0.92 K/BB and Cain had a horrendous 8.03 ERA with 5.5 K/9 and 1.50 K/BB.  The team went 1-4 for the two of them.

Both Heston and Cain had horrible months.  That was clear from their 4 DIS months, and shown by their poor ERA, K/9, and K/BB.

Cain was actually OK in his first five starts, which was last month, but he lost a lot in the following five starts in this month.  Day and night.  He was eventually DLed for elbow irritation, and recently returned to the team.

Heston clearly hit the wall, he only had 3 DIS starts in the first 20 starts of the season, then had 4 DIS in his next 5.  The Giants optioned him to the minors, but he continued to travel with the team, and basically rested, before he was returned to the rotation to take over Cain's spot when Cain was DLed, and had his last DIS for the month.

Heston gained weight over his last off-season, which helped him gain velocity and helped him perform well this season.  Unfortunately, like last season, he started hitting the wall in August and was not able to pitch to the level he was for much of the season.  He and the Giants need to work together this off-season to improve his stamina so that he can last through August and September.

August 2015 Comments

Since it is so late, I'm going to keep this relatively short (for me :^).

As great as the pitching was in terms of DOM, it was just as bad for DIS.  Hurting us even more was losing so many DOM starts, the Giants were 9-6 in DOM starts (should have been at least 12-3), while losing as expected in DIS starts, going 2-9.  And they were 2-1 in MID starts, which helped.  That lead to a 3.85 ERA for the month, as they had 2.23 ERA in DOM starts, 8.31 ERA in DIS starts, and 4.08 ERA in MID starts.  Despite all the DIS, the Giants had a 8.1 K/9 and 2.93 K/BB ratio, both pretty good.  Relievers had a good month with a 2.95 ERA in August.

That swing in DOM starts cost us greatly, as we would have been 16-13, but instead ended up 13-16.  That three game swing in DOMs cost us 3 games in the standings (would only be 3.0 games behind LA in this case right now).

There were a number of notable August performances.  Among the SP, Bumgarner led the way with 1.43 ERA, 12.7 K/9 and 13.25 K/BB (yes, his K/BB was higher than his K/9, he was THAT good!).  Leake paired up nicely with him with 3.38 ERA, 7.2 K/9 and 3.75 K/BB, but the offense did not help, and we went 1-2 in this starts instead of 2-1.  Lots of good relief as well.  Romo had an 0.73 ERA, 11.7 K/9 and 16.00 K/BB, out-doing Madison.  Lopez was right behind, 1.13 ERA, 5.6 K/9 and 0.71 K/BB.  Petit had a 1.62 ERA, 10.8 K/9 and 10.00 K/BB, righting his ship in time to help out in August.  Strickland continued to do well, 2.40 ERA, 6.6 K/9 and 5.50 K/BB.  He and Lopez were second in appearances behind #1 Kontos, who had a 2.87 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 1.80 K/BB.  Osich contributed with a 3.00 ERA, 8.0 K/9 and 4.00 K/BB.

Unfortunately, it was day and night on this staff, with no in-betweens.  Out of the starters, as noted above, Peavy had a 4.67 ERA, Vogelsong had a 4.31 ERA, Heston had a 5.79 ERA, and Cain had a 8.03 ERA.  That's 21 starts between them.  A few reliever struggled too.  Unfortunately, one of them was our closer, Casilla, with a 4.66 ERA, though 9.3 K/9 and 3.33 K/BB.  Affeldt continued to struggle, with a 4.91 ERA, 6.1 K/9 and 2.50 K/BB.  Lastly, Broadway had a 9.82 ERA, 7.4 K/9 and 1.50 K/BB, as hitters figured him out (7 hits in only 3.2 IP over 5 appearances;  plus 2 walks, that's 9 batters who got on base out of 20 batters faced, ouch!).

Overall, while the pitching was wildly up and down, the scoring was pretty strong, averaging 4.28 RS per game.  With a 3.93 RA, that should usually yield a 16-13 month, but we ended up 13-16 instead (like above, cost us 3 games in the standings).

Much like the pitching, there was a divide between the good and the bad hitters, though enough hit for the offense to do well.  Byrd led the way, joining the team and hitting .286/.348/.643/.991 with 3 HR in 46 AB and driving in 17 in only 10 games.  In spite of all that RBI contribution, the Giants only went 4-6 in his starts.  Belt also led the way all month, hitting .312/.395/.560/.955 with 7 HR in 109 AB and 18 RBI to lead the team (Byrd was second).  Belt also led the team in runs with 21.  Tomlinson also contributed nicely, hitting .328/.394/.469/.863, with 13 RBI (tied for fourth with Posey) in 17 starts and 24 games in total.    Panik, Bumgarner, and Perez also hit well in limited ABs.

In the middle was a grouping of hitters we rely on for most of this season.  Posey hit .312/.347/.422/.769 and was 4th in runs with 11 and RBI with 13.  Crawford hit .241/.298/.460/.758, with 3 HR (tied for 3rd).  Duffy hit .301/.341/.398/.739 and was 3rd in runs with 17 and in RBI with 14, plus he stole 4 bases (hasn't been caught all season so far; tied with Belt for 2nd most SB).  Blanco did OK hitting .281/.373/.360/.732, which is pretty good enough for a leadoff hitter, really, and he scored 19 runs, good for 2nd, and stole 6 bases, leading the team.

Then there were a good number of hitters who did not contribute much.  Pence hit only .227/.271/.439/.711, but hit 4 HR and drove in 11, only playing in 16 games before going on the DL again.  Aoki probably should have stayed on the DL, hitting .208/.282/.390/.672, as his HBP cost him his healthy and hitting stroke.  Adrianza continued to struggle, hitting .180/.286/.246/.532, in spite of good contact (only 8 K's in 61 AB) and good walk rate (6 in 72 PA) and good BB/K ratio (6 walks vs. 8 K's).  His hitting, however, picked up once he started playing regularly.  Maxwell hit a measly .175/.298/.200/.498 then had the temerity to openly complain about being cut after September 1st, because it (his words) cost him a chance to catch on with a playoff team.  No playoff team wants a hitter like that.  Pagan did not do so well in his return from the DL, hitting only .154/.154/.192/.346 in 5 starts/7 games.  Sanchez and Lollis did not hit well either in limited chances, and Hector eventually went on the DL for good after suffering three injuries running to 1B (yikes!).  In spite of all this suckitude, the offense continued to excel overall, averaging 4.28 RS per game (average in NL is 4.13 RS nearing the end of September).

The poor month, hurt by bad luck, put the Giants in horrible position to make the playoffs.  It will take a lot of winning on their part and losing on the Dodgers part for that to happen (Cubs just kept on winning).  But you never know, that's why they play the games.

Go Giants!

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