Posted on: September 15, 2009 7:57 am

Baseball's Flawed Statistics Ch 1: quality starts

I don't know who really looks at this one.  People say how wins and losses are tainted by run support or lack there of.  Maybe it goes toward consistancy.  Pitchers do lose wins to blown leads by the bullpen, errors by fielders or as I mentioned, poor run support, things that cost Jon Lester a few wins this year.  The person with the most quality starts has been the more consistant pitcher.  Is that correct?  That's what the stat was designed to reflect.  Or so I am told and from what I've read.  The only reason that I look at it is that it's a scoring category in one of my custom head-to-head fantasy baseball leagues.

For those not familiar with the statistic, a quality start is a statistic for a starting pitcher defined as a game in which the pitcher completes at least six innings and permits no more than three earned runs.

My biggest gripe with the stat is with the basic three earned run requirement.  6 innings and 3 earned runs comes up to an ERA of 4.50.  If the pitcher only meets this basic requirement, there is at least 2 if not 3 inning of work coming out of the bullpen.  Not very quality.  I mean, if you're going to cause wear and tear to a bullpen, why isn't 5 innings with only 1 or 2 runs considered quality?

If the pitcher goes 8 innings and allows 4 earned runs, even though it equals the same 4.50 ERA as the 6 inning minimum requirement, it's not a quality start because 4 earned runs were allowed.  How does this make sense?  Isn't it actually more quality than only going six innings?  Let alone if the pitcher goes the full 9 and allows four.  Lower ERA than the guy going 6 and giving up 3, goes the distance, bullpen gets rest... how is this not quality?

I was just doing a little inventory of my fantasy team, where I went wrong this season and the stat jumped out at me.  As I pointed out, Jon Lester was robbed of a few wins due to a lack of run support or blown leads by the bullpen.  He leads my team with 21 quality starts, a 13-7 record, 3.29 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and a 3.52 K/BB ratio, 211 Ks in 188.2 innings.  Second on my team in the stat is Justin Verlander with 20 quality starts, a 16-8 record, 3.34 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 4.19 K/BB ratio, 239 Ks in 210 innings.  But it gets weird to me from here.  Here are the lines for the rest of my pitching staff and guess who had the next most quality starts:

1.  208 IP, 14-9 record, 3.03 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 6.31 K/BB ratio with 183 Ks.
2.  193.1 IP, 15-6 record, 3.82 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 3.53 K/BB ratio with 180 Ks.
3.  172.1 IP, 12-9 record, 3.71 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 2.16 K/BB ratio with 136 Ks.
4.  172.2 IP, 13-8 record, 4.33 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 3.64 K/BB ratio with 142 Ks.
5.  183 IP, 11-9 record, 4.33 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 1.92 K/BB ratio with 167 Ks.

Which pitchers would you want on your staff?  In order those are the stats for Roy Halladay, Josh Beckett, John Danks, Scott Baker, and A.J. Burnett.  Lets just say the problem with my fantasy team in this league was not starting pitching.  Quite proud of the staff I built. 

And the one of those five with the most quality starts was the last one, AJ Burnett.  He and Scott Baker were on my trading block the whole first half of the year and I had more bites for Scott Baker.  All the stats I listed there (wins, losses, ERA, WHIP, K/BB ratio, total K's and quality starts) were scoring categories in my league.  And AJ was a two of seven category starter.  How quality is that?  And maybe I should have traded AJ for less that what I thought he was worth considering what he brought.  The fewest wins of my starters, tied with the most losses and higest ERA, worst on my team in WHIP easily as well as the worst K/BB ratio.  The dude with these numbers beat out four better pitchers (statistically) in quality starts.

By the way, Burnett had 19 quality starts, followed by Halladay, Beckett and Danks (18 quality starts each), with Scott Baker bringing up the rear (15).

I wish this was a keeper league.  Do I dare push for that?


Category: Fantasy Baseball
Posted on: February 25, 2009 1:10 am
Edited on: February 25, 2009 1:21 am

The new avatar policy is here.

As you can see by my current avatar...

How sad.  How truly truly sad.  I can believe mine was pulled since it only represented my personality (isn't that the point of an avatar?) and wasn't sports related.  I mean, the Grateful Dead?  Other than sponsoring the 1988 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team and frequently being invited to sing the national anthem at baseball games, how could they possibly be sports related?  So I tried to post a photo of a tennis shoe, a Converse Chuck Taylor (sports-related right?), but it had a Grateful Dead logo on the side.  That was denied by the powers that be.  Maybe I should post a photo of an athlete, you know, these paragons of all that is right.  Who to pick?  Plaxico Burriss?  Adam "Pac-man" Jones?  Michael Vick?  OJ Simpson?  Charles Barkley?  Pete Rose?  And the list goes on and on.  A-Rod.  McGuire.  Palmeiro.  Pettite.  All cheaters.  All that is ok.  That's what this website wants, right? Wait, now there's an idea.  Post a picture of a police car, courthouse or vial of steroids.  How unbelievably incredibly sad. 

Now granted, my life never centered around the Grateful Dead (although I would plan every summer vacation around their tours) but it certainly does not revolve around professional sports, well not since I was 13 or 14, and although I am a huge fan and alumni of the University of Texas, I don't bleed burnt orange.  I'm just a sports fan, play fantasy sports on this site and enjoy much of the correspondence on this site and in the blogs.  The Dead were merely a big part in shaping who I am today.

I am really trying hard not to be sour grapes over all the changes.  I worked my butt off to get to Superstar status and that was taken.  And I didn't lose it, it was taken.  I enjoyed seeing how people responded to my posting (without any hard feeling for poor reviews) and that was taken.  Some mental defectives being irresponsible caused all of us to lose that.  Now my avatar.  And I fear and loath that the "Braintrust" will next ask us to have screen names that only reflect sports.  So we can be a big group of individuals with exciting names like "Football Fan 31258" and "Hockey Fan 9462."  They should probably go after my motto as well.  Then again, it was written by a former sportswriter (well, Hunter Thompson at least signed things "From the Sports desk") so it might pass muster.

I don't see what the harm is in having an avatar that reflects ones personality regardless of it's subject matter as long as it is in good taste.  It's really a shame that all the fun is being taken out of what was once a very fun site where you could express yourself and is now taking itself way too seriously bringing so many of us down in the process. 

Good luck.  Rock on in peace, y'all.





Category: General
Posted on: February 6, 2009 1:07 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2009 1:16 pm

Name your favorite cast members or hosts of SNL!

I've been wanting to create a bracket having participated in several of them as well as come up with one that I haven't seen yet. Not sure if the boys at CBS will like this but after seeing Steve Martin host his 15th episode last week, it struck me that I hadn't seen a blog, bracket or poll here devoted to this long running comedy/variety show. It's had its ups and downs but has endured for 34 seasons now and shows no signs of stopping...yet. Brandon Tartikoff couldn't kill it, NBC has been unable to kill it. 

I personally would have a hard time narrowing down a list to 10 favorites so please name as many as you like but no more than 20 guest hosts, current or former cast members. The only real criteria I ask in your selections is that they are based on the quality of their work on this show only, so people like Steve Martin or Eddie Murphy shouldn't be penalized for doing crappy films, LOL. I'll keep this open for at least two weeks or until I have enough candidates to fill the bracket. Thanks and rock on in peace!  Tongue out

Category: General
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