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John Means - Playoff Starter


wildcard

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3 hours ago, Frobby said:

It’s been proven wrong.  It’s basically a wash because hits extend pitch counts and strikeouts don’t yield hits.  So, your average strikeout takes more pitches than your average non-strikeout, but because 30% of non-strikeouts become hits, you’re trading 1 PA for 2 30% of the time and that adds up.  

I'm not entirely sold that pitching to contact necessarily leads to the same or more pitches than pitchers that strike out a lot of batters.  IIRC that analysis happened during the height or FIP and the whole McCracken mantra that pitchers have no control over balls in play.  Pitchers do in fact exert a lot of control over their EV allowed and thus their statcast xStats, and they have a small amount of control over their BABIP.  I think a pitcher that doesn't strike many batters out but can suppress BABIP and exit velocity will throw fewer pitches than a strikeout pitcher.

Edited by Hallas
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This thread points out that Means only has averaged 3.1 K/9  in this 17 IP.   SSS for sure.    It should be noted the Cleveland has the lowest K rate of the 30 major league teams this season.   And that Means in his career has averaged 7.56 K/9.   To think that Means will continue to only strike out players at a 3.1K/9 seems like a poor assumption.

Edited by wildcard
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On 9/24/2023 at 8:34 AM, Sports Guy said:

There is zero evidence that says, if you get more Ks you throw more pitches. We have seen tons of starts where pitchers get lots of Ks and have their pitch count be efficient.

Pitch count generally rises because of baserunners, especially walks. The less outs you get, the more baserunners you have, the more pitches you throw.

Now, as with any rule, there are always exceptions but saying pitching to contact leads to a lower pitch count is factually wrong.

Means has been pitching to contact since he was brought up and he threw a lot of pitches and only made it through 5.

 

Here is my wholly incomplete look at whether pitchers with high strike-out rates are more likely to be less efficient with their pitch totals than contact pitchers (i.e. pitchers who do not have high strike-out rates).  If so, we should expect to see pitchers with higher strike-out rates generally require more pitches per inning than pitchers with lower strike-out rates.

My bottom-line up-front conclusion is that higher strike-out rates do not cause pitchers to throw more pitches per inning than pitching to contact.  Rather, the two things that drive pitch inefficiency are poor control and allowing too many base runners.  The former because throwing balls/walks drives up the number of pitches per batter faced, while the latter requires you to face more batters.  Moreover, I speculate that there may be a correlation between higher strike-out rates and poor pitch efficiency because pitchers with poor control are much more likely to be a high strike-out/great stuff types because no one with poor control and mediocre stuff stays in the big leagues very long.  That is, I expect that a guy with a 1.30 WHIP who averages 10K/4BB per 9 will likely need more pitches per inning than a guy with a 1.30 WHIP who averages 7K/1.5BB per 9.  

I looked at single season numbers (total pitches thrown, batters faced, innings pitched, WHIP, and K/9) of 16 pitchers (17 seasons because I included Pedro Martinez twice), some from this year, some all-time greats, and some random Orioles, to see what the data indicated.  I then calculated the average number of pitchers per batter and average number of pitches per inning.  Some of the best strike-out pitchers were very pitch efficient (see Pedro Martinez ('99, '00) and Curt Schilling ('02)) - striking out over 300 hitters with walk totals in the 30's.  This exercise also really made me question the future value of Dylan Cease, given that he has had only one very good season, and even in that year ('22) averaged more pitches per batter than anyone that I reviewed.  In addition, a couple of guys who were extremely low strike-out and low walk guys had better pitch efficiency than their WHIP would suggest (see Mark Buehrle and Jeff Ballard).

Pitcher/Season

WHIP

K/9

Pitches Thrown

Batters faced/

pitches per batter

Innings/

pitches per inning

John Means (’21)

1.03

8.2

2328

590/3.94

146.2/15.87

Dylan Cease (’22)

1.11

11.1

3120

747/4.18

184/16.96

Nolan Ryan (’89)

*301K

1.09

11.3

3935

988/3.98

239.1/16.44

Curt Schilling (’02)

*316 Ks/33 BB

0.97

11.0

3721

1017/3.66

259.1/14.35

Kyle Gibson (’23)

1.33

7.5

2863

760/3.76

180/15.90

Greg Maddox (’95)

*181 Ks/23 BB

0.81

7.8

2425

785/3.09

209.2/11.57

Daniel Cabrera (’06)

1.58

9.5

2681

662/4.05

148/18.11

Pedro Martinez (’99)

*313 Ks/37 BB

0.92

13.2

3321

835/3.98

213.1/15.56

Pedro Martinez (’00)

*284 Ks/32 BB

0.74

11.8

3164

817/3.87

217/14.58

Mark Buehrle (’09)

1.25

4.4

3213

847/3.68

213.1/15.06

Michael Kopech (’23)

1.59

9.3

2430

591/4.11

129.1/18.79

Wei-Yin Chen (’14)

1.23

6.6

2976

772/3.85

185.2/16.02

Jeff Ballard (’89)

1.38

2.6

3011

912/3.30

215.1/13.98

Felix Bautista (’23)

0.92

16.2

984

237/4.15

61/16.13

Spencer Strider (’23)

1.06

13.8

2911

713/4.08

176/16.53

Bryan Bellow (’23)

1.32

7.7

2514

641/3.92

151/16.64

Patrick Corbin (’23)

1.47

6.3

2823

766/3.68

175.1/16.10

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14 hours ago, Rbiggs2525 said:

I think everything depends on matchups. For example, if we play Houston you may want Bradish and Grayson throwing down there. Right now it’s Bradish, Grayson, Means and Gibson in that order depending on matchup. Grayson relief pitcher game 5 if needed.

you'd think Orioles utilize the wall they built to suppress right handed bats power and start the lefty in one of the games in balt in any series. 

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This is just food for thought, but Means' FIP, xFIP, and xERA all point to a pitcher that's gotten a bit lucky.  His xERA definitely stands out to me, because it's a statcast derived stat and statcast is aware that his average EV is extremely low at 85 mph.  I tend to think that he's allowing such weak contact that his bad strikeout rate can be forgiven, but it's definitely something to keep an eye on.  His current strikeout rate is not really sustainable for a quality pitcher, and while pitchers can make their own luck on balls in play, not to this degree.  His whiff rate has fallen off a cliff, at only 13%, compared to 26% and 25% in his last 2 full seasons.   He's also throwing more meatballs; previously he only had 6% meatballs, compared to 10% this year.

 

All of this comes with small sample caveats but there's a bit more that's worth keeping an eye on than simply the lack of K's.

Edited by Hallas
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Means is an efficient pop-up getter....here he is 4th of 130 since 2019.    I don't believe FIP or the xStats always factor that in, and pop-ups being 99% as good as strikeouts, pitchers who get a lot of them I believe have some signal behind it when their ERA beats some of those widgets.     I'm sure the Sigbot and Clubs stuff generally bakes all that in.

Tonight's opponent Josiah Gray matches Means in this and in having about 375 career IP.

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders/major-league?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&type=2&month=0&ind=0&startdate=&enddate=&season1=2019&season=2023&qual=350&sortcol=7&sortdir=default&pagenum=1

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9 hours ago, Winter said:

you'd think Orioles utilize the wall they built to suppress right handed bats power and start the lefty in one of the games in balt in any series. 

I agree but I have an interesting thought. With all that space do LHP actually perform better or worse. Seems like it could lead to a lot of doubles and balls dropping in front of left fielder due to playing deeper than normal. I do not have the stats though.

Edited by Rbiggs2525
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1 hour ago, Just Regular said:

Means is an efficient pop-up getter....here he is 4th of 130 since 2019.    I don't believe FIP or the xStats always factor that in, and pop-ups being 99% as good as strikeouts, pitchers who get a lot of them I believe have some signal behind it when their ERA beats some of those widgets.     I'm sure the Sigbot and Clubs stuff generally bakes all that in.

Tonight's opponent Josiah Gray matches Means in this and in having about 375 career IP.

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders/major-league?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&type=2&month=0&ind=0&startdate=&enddate=&season1=2019&season=2023&qual=350&sortcol=7&sortdir=default&pagenum=1

fWAR factors in pop ups.

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