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Charting Pitching Components, 2008-2010

A few weeks ago, I looked at the league-wide leaders and trailers in batted ball FIP, which is an ERA estimator based only on strikeout, walk, and batted ball (ground balls, fly balls, line drives, pop ups) inputs.  Today, I will revisit the topic with a different way of displaying the data.  We can look at which components impact run scoring at what levels - for this, I will use linear weight runs.  The league average is 0 and lower numbers are better for pitchers.  Below are the values I'm using:

K -0.29
BB 0.32
GB -0.10
FB 0.06
LD 0.37
PU -0.25

Strikeouts and pop-ups are very good for pitchers, walks and line drives are very good for hitters, and grounders and flies are in between with the latter being better on average for hitters (because fly balls will sometimes turn into home runs).  Those components can easily be broken down into an " not in play" set of values and an "in play" set.

The graph below shows the not-in-play runs above average per plate appearance plotted against in-play runs above average per ball in-play for pitchers with a minimum of 1,500 PA since 2008.

(click for enlargements) 


As you can see, the graph gives you four quadrants - above average NIP / above average BIP; above average NIP / below average BIP;  below average NIP / above average BIP; and below average NIP / below BIP.  For a more comprehensive and focused look, I've provided some tables with leaders and trailers for these three-year data.  The first is for NIP runs above average, only taking into account strikeouts and bases on balls per plate appearance.  


Rank Player NIP Runs
1 Tim Lincecum -.029
2 Dan Haren -.028
3 Ricky Nolasco -.026
4 Roy Halladay -.025
5 Cole Hamels  -.022
6 Cliff Lee -.022
7 Josh Johnson -.021
8 Zack Greinke -.019
9 Javier Vazquez -.018
10 Josh Beckett -.018

1x Fausto Carmona .024
2x Jeff Suppan .020
3x Kyle Kendrick .019
4x Jason Marquis .018
5x Ian Snell .018
6x John Lannan .016
7x Scott Feldman .016
8x Trevor Cahill .014
9x Aaron Cook .014
10x Kyle Davies .013

This next list focuses on the best and worst in batted ball profile. 

Rank Player BIP Runs
1 Tim Hudson -.030
2 Fausto Carmona -.023
3 Hiroki Kuroda -.021
4 Justin Masterson -.018
5 Derek Lowe -.014
6 R.A. Dickey -.014
7 Ryan Dempster -.013
8 CC Sabathia -.013
9 Chris Carpenter -.011
10 Brett Myers  -.011

1x Aaron Harang .025
2x Ian Snell .021
3x Kyle Kendrick .016
4x Kevin Correia .016
5x Kevin Millwood .016
6x Livan Hernandez .014
7x Kyle Lohse .012
8x Scott Kazmir .012
9x Scott Olsen .011
10x Jason Hammel .011


(Wow, 60% of these trailers are guys named Kyle, Kevin, or Scott.) 


Something that caught my eye when graphing these data were the players that were good at one thing and less good at the other - the "southeast" and "northwest" quadrant guys.  This next table shows NIP - BIP difference.


Rank Player NIP-BIP
1 Dan Haren -.035
2 Aaron Harang -.035
3 Ricky Nolasco -.035
4 Tim Lincecum -.033
5 Justin Verlander -.026
6 Josh Beckett -.026
7 Yovani Gallardo -.026
8 Javier Vazquez -.025
9 Josh Johnson -.023
10 Max Scherzer -.023

1 Fausto Carmona .047
2 Tim Hudson .033
3 R.A. Dickey .025
4 Jason Marquis .024
5 Aaron Cook .023
6 Trevor Cahill .023
7 Justin Masterson .022
8 Chris Volstad .017
9 John Lannan .017
10 Mike Pelfrey .017

To conclude this post, here are your three-year leaders and trailers in expected runs per plate appearance, which yields extremely similar results to bbFIP.  

Rank  Player  xRV/PA
1 Roy Halladay -.038
2 Tim Lincecum -.037
3 CC Sabathia -.035
4 Hiroki Kuroda -.034
5 Cole Hamels -.033
6 Dan Haren -.031
7 Clayton Kershaw -.030
8 Adam Wainwright -.030
9 Felix Hernandez -.029
10 Roy Oswalt -.029

1x Kyle Kendrick .026
2x Ian Snell .025
3x Livan Hernandez .018
4x Jeff Suppan .017
5x Scott Feldman .011
6x Kevin Millwood .010
7x John Lannan .009
8x Kyle Davies .009
9x Kevin Correia .009
10x Scott Olsen .008


For those who are interested, here is a Google spreadsheet with the data for all pitchers, aggregated from 2008 to 2010. 


Data are from Baseball Prospectus.  Run values are courtesy of Dan Brooks.  Also, a thank you to Rich Lederer of The Baseball Analysts for getting me thinking about quadrants.