As we know, the Rays feature an inconsistent offense that can be here today and gone tomorrow, at times. This is one reason that W/L record is not a very good evaluative tool for pitchers and is one of the biggest reasons that I developed this workbook last year that revolves around the idea of “Deserved” Wins. Some quick background for those that are uninitiated:
The first one does a great job of explaining the concept behind these tools, while the second one transitions the idea to what I will be showing today. The concept is that we are assuming if our pitcher had a lower FIP than his opponent(s) then he deserves a win for that game. The trick is that instead of comparing him against just the pitcher he faced, this workbook compares him against every start made against the Rays for the year. From here we can take a percentage of how often our starter was good enough to beat the opposition (FIPrays<FIPa). From here it’s pretty easy to total this up and see how many wins a pitcher should have earned over the course of the year.
The best part is that I’ve now expanded this to do the exact same thing, but using wOBA as well. FIP takes into account the things that a pitcher controls, namely walks, strikeouts, and home runs. This leaves a lot off the table which gets scooped up nicely by the wOBA workbook. For those that don’t know, wOBA applies linear weights to walks, hits, and errors per plate appearance and then scales this number to OBP, but there is an underlying effect on everything due to defense. This shouldn’t matter quite as much since typically most of the defenders are the same across the staff, but it becomes less useful comparing to pitchers on other teams. Whether you understand this or not the same concept applies (wOBArays<wOBAa = Win). You can download the entire workbook HERE. Without further adieu here is the table for FIP:
(Word of caution, the numbers for FIP and later wOBA are an average of each start, thus will not mesh with seasonal numbers, I did this to gain an idea of which guys are consistently really good and which ones have the occasional clunker.)
Clearly, by FIP, David Price is an absolute monster. He’s thrown a lower FIP than his opposition in nearly 2/3 or his starts so far. After him we have Shields and Garza neck and neck with Shields having the slight edge based on an extra start. They each give us close to an equal chance to win most night’s, but seem equally likely to get lit up. You can see it better here:
(Click to enlarge)
You can see that each has 6 starts that had a less than a 20% chance of resulting in a victory. While Shields has 7 games with a Win Probability of greater than 80%, Garza has only 5. Big Game James, indeed. The rest seems to fall down about how you would predict, but big ups to Jeremy Hellickson for being a bright spot in his limited appearances. We can do this same thing using the wOBA workbook:
This is where we see some crazy stuff afoot. Not only is Garza slightly better than Shields, but Niemann is better than both! The Big Nyquil has been almost as good as Price, even, but I think clearly it speaks more to Shieldsy’s extremely high game-to-game average wOBA. Feel free to go through this and please ask any questions regarding the methods used here since I didn’t do a real thorough job going over everything again. I would definitely recommend downloading the workbook at the link above and sorting through it, since this kind of stuff won’t be found anywhere else.