Monday, May 21, 2018

2018 Giants: April PQS, newPQS, ogcPQS

This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of April 2018 (also includes March starts), 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, 13th 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.

What's New

As you might have seen, I've written a few posts about how PQS has been modified (newPQS) and how I'm unhappy about it and created ogcPQS.  I think I'm a little biased though, because in newPQS, Bumgarner is not that great a pitcher, his DOM% is in the 30's for the most part over his career, and perhaps it's a matter of acclimating myself to the new standards for the new metric.  But as I wrote in my post about my unhappiness, there were changes that I thought were made for the sake of making every category 50/50-ish, instead of focusing on identifying a good pitcher.  I'm not sure how I'm going to proceed going forward, but for now, I thought I would compare for each pitcher, their PQS, newPQS, and ogcPQS.

What's Good and What's Not

From my observations of PQS (now old PQS; not sure what the ranges are for newPQS or especially ogcPQS, which is my hybrid), 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.  Plus, I have not figured out what is the levels of okay and bad are for the newPQS, and I may never know for ogcPQS (probably a good reason for me not to keep that going), since I don't have league wide stats on that.

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.

Part of the new terminology is DEC or Decent, which covered all the starts that aren't DOM or DIS (what I used to call MID; love this term better).  What I had found previously was that DEC starts were actually decent, and would help a pitcher keep his ERA decent, whereas a particularly bad DIS are the ones that would kill the pitcher's ERA.  In fact, pitchers could have a decent ERA even if they do not have many DOM starts, as long as they can limit DIS starts.

The new methodology of no more automatic DIS starts for under 5 IP, will help to bump up DEC ERA, for my experience dealing with the automatic DIS starts was that a good number of them were decent (and sometimes DOM) but hurt badly because of too many hits and/or walks.

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.  I've started buying the e-book version to save money on it, as the main value is related to the fantasy baseball content, which I don't use at all now.  So going forward, I might be waiting a season to buy the books, it will depend.

Giants Starters' PQS for 2018 Season

Tyler Beede -
PQS: 0, 0/  (0% DOM, 100% DIS; 0:2/2)
newPQS:  2, 2/  (0% DOM, 0% DIS; 0:0/2)
ogcPQS:  2, 2/  (0% DOM, 0% DIS; 0:0/2)

Ty Blach -
PQS:  3, 0, 3, 3, 4, 3, 5/    (29% DOM, 14% DIS; 2:1/7)
newPQS:  2, 1, 2, 2, 0, 1, 2/  (0% DOM, 43% DIS; 0:3/7)
ogcPQS:  2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 1, 2/   (0% DOM, 43% DIS; 0:3/7)

Madison Bumgarner -
PQS:  /    (0% DOM, 0% DIS; 0:0/0)
newPQS:  /  (0% DOM, 0% DIS; 0:0/0)
ogcPQS:  /   (0% DOM, 0% DIS; 0:0/0)

Johnny Cueto -
PQS:  5, 2, 5, 5, 3/    (60% DOM, 0% DIS; 3:0/5)
newPQS:  4, 1, 5, 4, 1/  (60% DOM, 40% DIS; 3:2/5)
ogcPQS:  4, 2, 5, 5, 2/   (60% DOM, 0% DIS; 3:0/5)

Derek Holland -
PQS:  3, 5, 0, 4, 0/    (40% DOM, 40% DIS; 2:2/5)
newPQS:  2, 4, 0, 3, 1/  (20% DOM, 40% DIS; 1:2/5)
ogcPQS:  2, 5, 0, 4, 1/   (40% DOM, 40% DIS; 2:2/5)

Jeff Samardzija -
PQS:  3, 0, 3/    (0% DOM, 33% DIS; 0:1/3)
newPQS:  2, 0, 2/  (0% DOM, 33% DIS; 0:1/3)
ogcPQS:  2, 0, 2/   (0% DOM, 33% DIS; 0:1/3)

Chris Stratton -
PQS:  4, 3, 3, 5, 4, 0/    (50% DOM, 17% DIS; 3:1/6)
newPQS:  3, 2, 3, 5, 4, 0/  (33% DOM, 17% DIS; 2:1/6)
ogcPQS:  3, 2, 3, 5, 4, 0/   (33% DOM, 17% DIS; 2:1/6)

Andy Suarez -
PQS:  3/    (0% DOM, 0% DIS; 0:0/1)
newPQS:  3/  (0% DOM, 0% DIS; 0:0/1)
ogcPQS:  3/   (0% DOM, 0% DIS; 0:0/1)

Giants Season overall -
PQS:  34% DOM, 42% DEC, 24% DIS out of 29 games counted (10:7/29)
newPQS:  21% DOM, 48% DEC, 31% DIS out of 29 games counted (6:9/29)
ogcPQS:  24% DOM, 52% DEC, 24% DIS out of 29 games counted (7:7/29)

Giants Month of April -
PQS:  34% DOM, 42% DEC, 24% DIS out of 29 games counted (10:7/29)
newPQS:  21% DOM, 48% DEC, 31% DIS out of 29 games counted (6:9/29)
ogcPQS:  24% DOM, 52% DEC, 24% DIS out of 29 games counted (7:7/29)

The month of April for PQS was actually not that good, much unlike the results for the month.  Unlike last season, while the PQS was bad, the record (15-14) was still okay, given the Giants were missing Bumgarner and Samardzija.  The offense carried the day for the Giants in April.

Cueto led the way with 3 DOM starts out of five starts.  He had 3 DOM in all three versions of PQS.  He was good no matter the methodology. 

Stratton was a big help in the month, providing 3 DOM starts per PQS, 2 DOM starts with the newer versions (I found there was not a lot of difference between newPQS and ogcPQS, but it made a big difference for Holland).  Holland provided some strength in the rotation as well, with 1/2 DOM starts, which suggests that he was not bad in April, suffering bad luck, and should be better going forward.  Blach had 2 DOM starts per PQS, but under the new methodologies, he had 0 DOM starts.   Per beat writers, Holland was going to win the last rotation spot, and Blach put in long relief role, before all the injuries to Samardzija and especially Bumgarner.

Really hurting the rotation were Beede, Samardzija, and Suarez, all who had zero DOM starts.  Worse, Beede had 2 DIS starts, and the Shark, one DIS start, which probably explains why Suarez got the call to take a spot in the rotation in May, once Cueto's DL opened up a spot for Suarez.  Without their starts, the rotation would have been 40% DOM/44% DEC/16% DIS in terms of PQS, 24% DOM/52% DEC/24% DIS for newPQS, 28% DOM/60% DEC/12% for ogcPQS.  Which was good in PQS methodology, you want a rotation with 40% DOM or greater and under 20% DIS. 

April PQS Comparison Thoughts

Clearly, the newer methodologies really puts the hammer on DOM starts, pushing down the number of them greatly.  No matter the view, the DOM percentages were bad across the board (though I suppose I'm saying that from the viewpoint of PQS, as I am not sure about the appropriate ranges for the newer methodologies).  It will be an interesting season as we learn what makes sense in the new methodologies.  I probably should have a post looking into newPQS and figuring out what the new ranges of goodness and eliteness are.

There does not appear to be any effect on DIS starts, which I found surprising because the rule of automatic DIS starts for under 5 innings pitched was removed.  That was supposed to push some DIS starts into the DEC category.  Yet, DIS actually went up for newPQS.  This will be interesting to track this season.

A thought I just had now is regarding PQS usage in the playoffs.   I found that PQS was powerful in the playoffs, a great indication of a likely win or loss, based on PQS advantage involving DOM and DIS starts.  I should probably study the playoffs with newPQS and see how good or bad it was at indicating wins and losses.  Perhaps that would be good enough reason not to use the new method, as one key finding I had related to how DOM starts were crucial in the playoffs, providing an edge to the team.  With less DOM and DIS starts, most will be DEC and thus there will be a lot more games where the outcome IS a coin toss, as both pitchers throw a DEC start.  So I probably need to compare in parallel, both methods to see what each says about pitching and winning in the playoffs.

April 2018 Comments

Nothing much to say, really, about April, it's already mid-May, so I'll provide a short recap.  Hitters came out of the chute cold, but the pitching, even though Bumgarner and Samardzija were on the DL, helped kept the team afloat in April, particularly the Starting Pitching, led by Cueto's great run and strongly supported by Stratton and Blach, both roughly 4.00 ERA. 

But then the offense took off, and by the end of the month, the offense had scored 4 runs or more in 16 of the 29 games in March/April, which means the team should have been 16-13 based on the offense alone, as most teams win significantly with 4 runs or more scored.   While the pitching started to fall back, particularly once the Giants lost Cueto and when Samardzija was rushed back before he was ready to pitch effectively, and the pitching kept the opposition to 3 runs or less  in 15 of the 29 games, which works to a 15-14 record.

Thus, the Giants 15-14 record was not an anomaly, as many suggested, the offense and pitching both were producing well enough to justify a winning record.  And suggests that once the Giants get back both Bumgarner and Cueto, plus Samardzija returning to prior goodness (though, in his third season with us, it is getting tiring watching his inconsistencies as a starting pitcher, by now he should have absorbed and learned all the Giants had to teach, and he should be much more consistent;  we'll see how he goes in the rest of the season, since he's still working his way back into regular season shape), the Giants look like they should be a very competitive team this season.

NL West:  No Longer NL Best

It also helps that the rest of the NL West has not taken off and separated from everyone else.  The D-backs took the lead position early on, and threatened to separate itself, but as I've noted for a number of years now, the NL West, no matter who leads, most of the time the lead falls back to the pack as we head into the summer months of June and July.  And the D-backs fell to the norm and thus while the teams are not that far from .500, there is a battle for the lead spot.

In the pre-season, many talked about how tough the NL West was in 2017, how the Giants would find it hard to pass up the three teams who got into the playoffs in 2017, Dodgers, D-backs, Rockies.  But as I noted, part of the big gains by those three teams in 2017 was their ability to beat up on the Giants, whereas the Giants beat up on them in 2016.  People forget that the Giants improvement is amplified within the division because of all the games they play each other.

With the Giants that much better in 2018, that advantage would go away and they would fall back to the Giants, and that is what has happened so far.  In addition, the Dodgers have had their issues with injuries and poor performances, and, ironically, they have been on pace for a 98 loss season, much like the Giants did in 2017.   Their move to dump salaries to prepare to be able to sign big contracts with Kershaw and/or Bryce Harper, and other big contract free agents after the 2018 season, led them to dump some of their starting pitching depth and backlog, and that has hurt them some.

1 comment:

  1. One can buy the 2017 Baseball Forecaster from a couple of sellers for under $4 on eBay.

    ReplyDelete

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