Jump to content

Peter Keating: O's Rebound a Mirage


TravelerRU

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 129
  • Created
  • Last Reply
Since Showalter took over, Baltimore has both boosted its scoring, to 4.26 RPG, and gotten better pitching and defense, allowing just 3.85. So, two points right away:

" The Orioles have been somewhat lucky under Showalter; based on their runs scored and allowed, they should have a record of about 25-20 over their past 45 games, rather than the 28-17 they have actually posted."

Of their actual improvement, about 71% has come from better pitching and defense. And there's no question where that improvement is centered: A starting rotation whose five members have ERAs ranging from 2.37 to 3.78 in the seven weeks since Showalter assumed command. The defensive gains to playing Brian Roberts (4.1 runs above average per 150 games at 2B over his career, according to UZR) instead of Julio Lugo (-6.6) or Ty Wigginton (-3.1) are real, but minor. And putting Koji Uehara, who never walks anybody, into the closer's role in place of Alfredo Simon, who gives up home runs to everybody, has obviously helped. But it's the starting five who have really carried the O's to the best record in the AL East since August 1.

It turns out that for the past two months, Orioles pitchers have allowed significantly fewer runs than their underlying statistics should have generated. In August, for example, the staff had a combined ERA of 3.38, but an FIP of 3.98 and an xFIP of 4.44. In other words, the Orioles gave up 1.06 runs per game less than expected, given the factors they have the most control over (walks, strikeouts and fly balls). That was the second-biggest difference in MLB, and those gaps tend not to last.
And one of the things that's happened in Baltimore is that balls have just stopped going over walls in bunches for a few key starters. In July, Brad Bergesen allowed homers on an absurd 18 percent of fly balls. That figure plunged to a more normal 10.5 percent in August, helping his monthly ERA to crash from 6.32 to 2.72. Kevin Millwood had a horrific June where 18.2 percent of the fly balls he gave up left the park, and then pitched just 12.2 innings in July, but has looked much better since then, because his home run-to-flyball ratio has come back to earth. Then there's Brian Matusz, who posted an 8.10 ERA in July but has been under 3.00 since August, basically because he's giving up home runs on about 6 percent of flyballs instead of more than 12 percent.

These guys are not allowing fewer fly balls overall, strongly suggesting there has been no fundamental change to the way they're pitching. They're just allowing fewer dingers. Maybe it's the ballparks the O's have been playing in. Maybe it's the weather. Probably it's luck. But for just these three pitchers, the gap between their ERAs (what they've actually given up) and their xFIPs (what they would give up with a league-average HR/FB rate) saved the Orioles about 32 runs over their past 45 games, which is equal to 43 percent of the team's total defensive improvement. Not allowing those runs led to real wins, but we shouldn't expect that performance to continue.

And there's more. Opposing batters hit just .235 on balls in play against Bergesen in August, and are hitting just .269 in September. Matusz was at .277 last month and is at .266 this month. Jeremy Guthrie had an opponent BABIP of .235 in August. Quite apart their from HR/FB rates, the O's starters have been fortunate on balls in play. That won't last, either.

For the year, Orioles pitchers have a combined ERA (4.69) that almost exactly matches their FIP (4.62) and xFIP (4.68). Which means that heading into next season, the right way to look at their starters isn't to examine the sub-sample of games that Showalter will have managed, but to look at the entire stretch of 2010, where luck and other factors have now evened out.
We not only want reasons for change, we want motives. And over the long haul, Showalter surely will trigger changes in Baltimore. This year, four regulars and virtually the entire Orioles bench had on-base percentages below .315. You can bet your house that won't happen again next year.

But the bottom line is this: The Orioles have cut their runs allowed over the past two months, and won a lot more games, largely because of factors beyond any manager's control.

So, basically he thinks that the Orioles pitchers have been lucky and that when their luck regresses next year, so too will the record.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, basically he thinks that the Orioles pitchers have been lucky and that when their luck regresses next year, so too will the record.

Well, he is right.

They were also unlucky earlier in the year. For instance if the O's have been outperforming their xFIP since Buck took over but for the year they have not then obviously they were under performing before Buck took over.

I don't think many of us think the O's would be a 100 win club with the current roster, but they also should not have been a 105 loss club which is how they looked before Buck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like how he claims that we should only be 25-20 instead of the 28-17, and then uses that as evidence we aren't improved. What team did he watch before Buck if he doesn't think that even 25-20 would be a drastic improvement. Have they been lucky some? Sure. Have they been a better team in almost every aspect of the game? Absolutely.

Teams that play smarter tend to make their own luck more than sloppy, lazy teams.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, basically he thinks that the Orioles pitchers have been lucky and that when their luck regresses next year, so too will the record.

Well, yeah, but he's also saying that they were very unlucky at the beginning of the season. So there's just an evening out. Good analysis overall and he's right. This team needs a much better offense than what they're currently trotting out there right now to compete against the best for a full season.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry....I am not buying it. this guy drivels on and on about the numbers yet his only explanation to support the numbers is luck. "They haven't given up fewer flyballs, it's just that less are leaving the yard"....yeah, maybe because they have more movement on their pitches and it's harder for the batters to square up on the ball. Maybe that better movement is due to more confidence.

"You have to look at the overall season or 2010"....why? Maybe I could say they were just really unlucky to start the year as he is saying they are lucky now.

Garbage article if you ask me. Typical result of too many sportwriters, someone has to play devil's advocate yet he has no real meat to his argument, other than "Probably luck".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe it's me but even if we were 25-20 that's a pretty big turnaround not a mirage - especially with the schedule.

That's just a side point, taking into account the Pythagorean effect of runs scored and runs allowed. But Pythagoras isn't reliable over 45 games anyway.

What he's really saying is that the Orioles have been lucky to have allowed as few runs as they have -- that improvements by Bergesen et al. are due somewhat to luck, and therefore can't be sustained.

That's a more sobering observation.

However I'm not buying that their current season record represents their true talent level.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry....I am not buying it. this guy drivels on and on about the numbers yet his only explanation to support the numbers is luck. "They haven't given up fewer flyballs, it's just that less are leaving the yard"....yeah, maybe because they have more movement on their pitches and it's harder for the batters to square up on the ball. Maybe that better movement is due to more confidence.

"You have to look at the overall season or 2010"....why? Maybe I could say they were just really unlucky to start the year as he is saying they are lucky now.

Garbage article if you ask me. Typical result of too many sportwriters, someone has to play devil's advocate yet he has no real meat to his argument, other than "Probably luck".

There's no evidence to support the idea that pitchers can exert significant influence over how many of their flyballs go for homeruns. Outlying numbers tend to regress toward the mean over time.

Pitchers can control how many homeruns they allow by allowing fewer flyballs. This is certainly within their control. How many of those flyballs go for homeruns, however, seems to be pretty standard. (something like 9-12 percent is normal).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another boner reporter for ESPN who just doesn't get it. Yeah we have been lucky the past 2 months but how unlucky was this team in the beginning of the year. I find it funny that this article surfaces when the O's are in Boston. I am guessing that this is usually when ESPN reporters get a chance to view teams that are playing the Sux. Had he watched any of our games before and after Buck got here he would definitely notice a difference that is beyond luck. The O's are playing smarter, harder baseball period. That is how you get luck on your side and it certainly didn't occur earlier this season. Another dumbass from the New England media that just doesn't understand anything other than Red Sux Nation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know who Peter Keating is, so he must be a nobody rendering his points as uneducated and worthless.

He gets bonus points from me for saying this:

After reading Rob Neyer's take on how well the Orioles are playing, "O's Turnaround Is Real ... and Fantastic," I was left with two questions.

First, shouldn't that be "Real ... and Spectacular"?

As for who he is, there's this blurb on that page:

Keating is a senior writer at ESPN the Magazine, where he has covered investigative and financial stories since 1999. He coordinates The Mag's annual "Ultimate Standings" project, which ranks all pro franchises according to how much they give back to fans. His work on concussions in football has earned awards from the Deadline Club, the New York Press Club and the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This article is a mixed bag...useful in assessing our needs and expectations for next year, but useless in its blanket observation that the turn around is due to luck.

The truth lies somewhere in the middle. We're probably a little lucky, but some of that is luck we're making. For example, I'm guessing the HR% on FBs where the count is 0-1 is much lower than when the count is 3-1. I frankly don't know if the FIPs account for things like that, but I'm guessing they don't account for a lot of the difference between this team now and before August 3, mostly because statisticians can't seem to believe the notion that a manager makes that much of a difference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


  • Posts

    • Twenty people believe there’s a trade before the season that changed the offseason? Hmm I said it when Elias was hired. Nothing of any significance will change until there’s new ownership.  Actually, I questioned his ability to perform his duties with the current ownership. I’m still waiting for an impact signing. However, I think they may have a chance with the young guys. Of course, that assumes a big season from Adley, Gunnar and GrayRod and it’s likely at least one of that group has growing pains.    I also hope Hall gets a real shot as a SP. Too many people didn’t recognize the strides he made in season and he’s always been a starter. His stint in the pen was useful, but that kid has electric stuff.  Don’t get me wrong, Elias has been ok, but how much could he do if they loosened the purse strings? Yes, I know, the Frazier signing, but how bout that Gibson guy!  
    • The biggest development of the season will be the sale of the team.
    • We will be fortunate if GRod has a sub 4 ERA. I don’t see him as any more important than the rest of the starters.  If he is ever a true ace (and the odds are against that), it won’t likely be in 2023. The biggest development to this year will be revolved around all the young players, not just one. Everything about this team and the future success of this organization hinges on them. 
    • I'd say that is a yes. https://www.mlb.com/glossary/transactions/service-time  
    • Unusual, in that Birds usually avoid both Fox and Wolf.
    • Why not keep Al and NL just make each have East and West Divisions. Al East is our current group plus Chicago WS and Cleveland plus an expansion in Charlotte-Nashville. AL west gets the rest NL east is that current group plus Chicago Cubs, Pittsburg, and Cincinnati. the west gets the rest plus an expansion in Vegas or wherever. You play your division 15 times (105 games) and the other division say 6 times (48 games). That gets you to 153, add a 3 game inter league to a close geographic rival (Gnats) you are at 156. Expand Playoffs so top 4 in each Division in. the top 2 advance to face the other geographic Division. league winners in WS
  • Popular Contributors

×
×
  • Create New...