Friday, September 08, 2017

2017 Giants: August PQS

This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of August 2017, 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, 12th 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 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 2017 Season

Ty Blach - (39% DOM, 26% DIS; 9:6/23):  3,3/0, 4, 4, 3, 3/4, 3, 3, 3, 0, 4/4, 4, 4, 2/4, 4, 1, 1, 1, 1/

Madison Bumgarner- (85% DOM, 0% DIS; 11:0/13):  5, 4, 5, 4///4, 4, 3, 5/5, 5, 3, 5, 4/

Matt Cain- (23% DOM, 36% DIS; 5:8/22):  0, 4, 3, 4, 3/0, 3, 4, 1, 4, 3/2, 0, 2, 0, 3/3, 5, 0, 1/0, 2/

Johnny Cueto - (58% DOM, 16% DIS; 11:3/19):  2, 5, 5, 0, 4/5, 4, 5, 4, 4, 5/4, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2/3, 0//

Matt Moore - (44% DOM, 30% DIS; 12:8/27):  1, 4, 2, 0, 5/0, 3, 4, 4, 2, 5/0, 2, 0, 5, 0/3, 0, 5, 4, 4/2, 4, 4, 3, 5, 1/

Jeff Samardzija - (70% DOM, 7% DIS; 19:2/27):  2, 4, 4, 3, 5/5, 4, 4, 5, 4, 0/5, 4, 3, 4, 5/5, 4, 3, 0, 5/4, 3, 4, 3, 5, 4/

Chris Stratton - (40% DOM, 0% DIS; 2:0/5):  ///3/3, 5, 3, 5/

Giants Season overall - 51% DOM, 20% DIS out of 136 games counted (69:27/136)
Giants Month of April - 54% DOM, 15% DIS out of 26 games counted (14:4/26)
Giants Month of May - 62% DOM, 17% DIS out of 29 games counted (18:5/29)
Giants Month of June - 33% DOM, 26% DIS out of 27 games counted (9:7/27)
Giants Month of July - 52% DOM, 20% DIS out of 25 games counted (13:5/25)
Giants Month of August - 52% DOM, 21% DIS out of 29 games counted (15:6/29)

The month of August for PQS was a continuation of July, though it had a different mix of pitchers.

Bumgarner and Samardzija led the team with 4 DOM starts each.  Moore had 3 DOM starts, a huge improvement.  Stratton and Blach each had 2 DOM starts, and Cain did not have one in his two emergency starts.

Blach led with 4 DIS starts, and Moore and Cain had one each.  Neither Bumgarner, Samardzija, nor Stratton had any.

We had mixed results again, but enough were so good that the overall ERA was only 3.69.  Stratton led the way with a great 1.52 ERA and 9.5 K/9, good 1.268 WHIP, but so-so 2.08 K/BB (too many walks).  Bumgarner was next with 2.73 ERA, stupendous 1.030 WHIP, 8.7 K/9, and 5.33 K/BB.  Samardzija was also great, 3.05 ERA, also great 1.113 WHIP, only 6.3 K/9 (he appears to have weakened some late in the season) but still great 3.22 K/BB (which means he still is avoiding a lot of walks).

The other half of the rotation struggled still with run preventation.  In spite of his DOM starts, Moore's 4.71 ERA shows what happens when you have DIS starts, your ERA is pummeled.  But he had a good 1.294 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, and 2.91 K/BB, normally what results from that is a good ERA.  Blach was just bad overall:  5.59 ERA, 1.405 WHIP, which is around the point of mediocrity, extremely poor 3.4 K/9 (not many pitchers can stay in the majors with so low a K/9, as it's extremely hard to get your walks down that low too, and thus only those with the extremely rare ability to maintain a below mean BABIP can survive doing that) and 1.27 K/BB.  Lastly, Cainer had 4.00 ERA as a starter (he got clobbered as a reliever), 1.444 WHIP, good 9.0 K/9 and 9.00 K/BB, he, ironically for him, just gave up too many hits.

August 2017 Comments

Another bad month to continue the trend all season of losing months.  Still, an improvement over the prior two months of suckage, as the Giants were able to get close to .500, getting within 1.5 wins of it.  They only averaged 3.90 runs scored, while allowing 4.24 runs per game, an almost perfect Pythagorean 13-16 month.  That's a 90 loss pace, as opposed to the 100 loss seasonal pace previously.  The offense and defense can still both use a lot of improvement.

Offense Better

The offense was better, but still had a couple of severe black holes.  But first the good news:  lots of guys had OK to good months (but no great except for Belt, who had limited PA due to concussion):

  • Panik:  .305/.387/.475/.872
  • Crawford:  .292.364/.469/.833
  • Pence:  .290/.365/.462/.828
  • Gorkys:  .313/.346/.417/.763
  • Hundley:  .273/.298/.453/.753
  • Parker:  .268/.304/.443/.747
  • Jones:  .240/.313/.427/.740
  • Kelby:  .284/.388/.343/.731
  • Posey:  .253/.355/.354/.709
  • Span:  .224/.290/.337/.626
  • Sandoval:  .208/.269/.299/.568

We need Posey to have more than .709 OPS, and Sandoval was a blackhole, that got blacker in September when he just set a San Francisco Giants franchise record of 39 AB without a hit (though he got out of it with a homer, at least; he wasn't even showing much power before when doing OK initially).  Span appears to be wearing down some, he was hitting much better earlier in the season.

Bullpen Better

Overall, the bullpen was much better.  Much like the hitters, mostly good with a couple of bads:
  • Dyson:  1.13 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 5.6 K/9, 1.00 K/BB
  • Gearrin:  2.08 ERA, 1.154 WHIP, 9.3 K/9, 4.50 K/BB
  • Melancon:  2.70 ERA, 1.350 WHIP, 9.5 K/9, 3.50 K/BB
  • Crick:  3.12 ERA, 1.269 WHIP, 9.3 K/9, 3.00 K/BB
  • Strickland:  3.65 ERA, 1.297 WHIP, 9.5 K/9, 4.33 K/BB
  • Osich:  6.00 ERA, 2.500 WHIP, 4.5 K/9, 0.43 K/BB
  • Suarez:  6.27 ERA, 1.393, 11.1 K/9, 3.29 K/BB
  • Cain:  VERY HIGH, in one appearance, gave up 8 runs in 0.2 IP, ouch!!!
And together with the starting pitching, got the team ERA under 4, with a 3.95 ERA, 1.294 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, and nice 2.60 K/BB.

2018 Bullpen

Assuming Melancon and Smith comes back from their surgeries back to prior goodness, the bullpen is shaping up to be pretty good and set, with only the loogy position still in the air.   With Kontos being allowed to be claimed by the Pirates, when he was ran through waivers, that leaves the following who are going to make the bullpen at least pretty much for sure:

  • Melancon, closer
  • Dyson, righty setup
  • Smith, lefty setup
  • Gearrin, righty middle and setup
  • Crick, righty middle and setup
That leaves loogy and the long relief pitcher.  Long relief should be in good hands with someone.  Stratton and Blach are probably battling for the #5 rotation spot, as well as both Suarez's, Albert and Andrew, who has pitched very well in the minors, and probably Beede as well.  Given how well Stratton has pitched (albeit very SSS) and how poorly Blach has pitched recently (albeit very SSS), I have to say that's going to be a toss-up, most likely, between the two.  If Stratton wins, most likely we will see Blach be made the long reliever.  If Blach wins, I think they will want Stratton starting in the minors, keeping his strength up, as a backup starter, and use Albert Suarez as the long reliever.

The loogy can be handled a number of ways.  As mentioned by many so far, the Giants can pursue a free agent.  But even with Cain's salary coming off (and we still owe him a big buy out of $7.5M), some are going up, and it is looking more likely that Cueto will not opt out, leaving his large salary on the payroll.  That leaves the payroll most likely over the penalty threshold again, taxing the Giants very highly for overage (50% this season).  Assuming we get someone good, that's $7M per season, and with a penalty of at least 50%, that's effectively paying $10.5M.  I don't see the Giants doing that without dropping some salary off the team.  And, in any case, they probably view a good defensive CF a higher priority right now.

I think the Giants have some internal options.  Of course, Okert and Osich will be battling again, but neither has done well at all this season.   But the two options I'm thinking of are Blach and Andrew Suarez.  Depending on how the 5th starter situation and long relief is handled, most likely at least one of them will be available to be a loogy for us (if not one who can handle both, as both have done well enough against RHP).  

And I still have a lot of hope for Okert, who was amazingly good before his TJS, some pitchers need more than one season to get back to where they were before.  And if he can figure things out, he'll probably win that spot.  Osich, as much as I love his potential, he's been up and down a lot, and fought various injuries over the years, so he's probably in AAA next season, given these other options.  


Starting Rotation

The starting rotation appears to be pretty set as well:

  1. Bumgarner as ace
  2. Cueto as co-ace
  3. Samardzija
  4. Moore
  5. Blach, Stratton, both Suarez
That's as good as it looked at the start of this season, but based on a lot of assumptions.  That Bumgarner doesn't have any issue with his injury, sometimes scar tissue can mess things up.  That Cueto is over his blister issues and can pitch like he did in 2016.  That Samardzija can utilize his high K/BB over a full season, while keeping the long ball down some.  That Moore is over his mechanics issues (so far so good in the last month or so).  Too many ifs to say definitively good, but strong possibility of being good.


Cain?

I'll also throw in Cain as well.  Everyone knows the Giants love him a lot, and he loves the idea of being one player who can say they spent their whole career with one team, plus, I can't see any team offering him anything more than a minor league contract or vet minimum deal.  I know most are done with him, but I can see the Giants given him the chance, and him asking for the chance, if he's going to get just a minor league contract anyway.  Kind of like how Vogelsong asked the Giants for a contract, so he won't have to go to the Dodgers.

I think he can be a wild card.  He has had some very good games this season, but more bad ones.  He hasn't really thrown that long healthy with his new arm and mechanics.  He's always been battling one thing or another.  Much like Sandoval, a cheap contract don't cost much to see what he can do, and if nothing, we can release him during spring training.

I think it would be more likely he slots as a long reliever, should he pitch well enough in spring.  That would allow the Giants to keep our young starters starting in AAA, instead of sitting around in the majors.  And should he just needed more time, maybe even win the 5th starter position.  But his bulldog attitude would also be good in the bullpen, where he can go all out and maybe get enough velocity to do well again.


2 comments:

  1. Agree on Cainer. I think he just might be back on some kind of a minimum base/incentive type deal. I would hope if things don't go well, he would decide to call it a career and retire gracefully rather than forcing the Giants to release him.

    Here's a name to tuck away on the free agent market: Tyler Chatwood. Look up his Home/Away splits and his career splits against the Giants. Giants have always tended to go after players who perform well against them.

    IDK about lefty reliever. I don't know if the Giants can afford to go into the season with just their in-house options. The FA market for lefty relievers is extremely thin. I could see them trading for one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. He seems to be a reasonable guy, and I think he would be grateful to get the chance to at least show the Giants what he can do in spring, and be able to continue to say that he was with one club his whole career. So I think if the Giants tell him he's done, I think he'll call it quits, as he is set for life monetarily, and his young family is getting to pre-school, kindergarten range age.

      Thanks for that name. I agree, the Giants seem to take notice of guys who has ownage on them. I'll be sure to look for him.

      A trade would be A-OK with me, but as we saw with Smith, it could be costly, unless we are getting an aging guy in his 30's, like when we got Lopez.

      Maybe they can find another flier among the dross. They once had signed Andrew Miller, not sure why he ended up leaving us, but they clearly comb the cheap free agents for guys they might be able to fix up and get going.

      But yeah, our internal options is not really the way to go, but if the trade option and FA option are expensive, I think they will ham and egg it, as Bochy says, between Okert, Osich, Andrew Suarez, and Blach, until someone sticks, or by mid-season, try to pick up an upcoming free agent loogy for a lesser price.

      Delete

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