Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ethier The Sole Dodger Rep on SI "Bangers" List

Sorry this is old news, but interesting data: in the April 4, 2011 Baseball Preview Issue, Sports Illustrated had an article titled "Bangers and Mash" which detailed statistical analysis called Pitch Type Linear Weights to determine what players were best against specific pitch types.

The baseball analytics website FanGraphs features a stat called Pitch Type Linear Weights, which examines how productive hitters are against the most common pitches in the major league arsenal. In simple terms it's a measure of how successful a player has been against a particular pitch. That performance is expressed as the number of runs a hitter creates above (or below) the average level for a major leaguer. For example, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano was rated as the most productive hitter in the majors against the slider in 2010: Per 100 sliders seen he created 4.47 runs more than the average big league hitter.

PTLW isn't a perfect stat. It doesn't take into account defense, among other factors, and it can be skewed by sample size. But it provides a general measuring stick of a hitter's performance, the way ERA does for a pitcher.

As you can imagine, there weren't many Dodgers on the lists (top five for each of six pitch types). But there, against the split-fingered fastball, shined Andre Ethier, whose 8.57 PTLW ranked fourth in the NL (Starlin Castro of the Cubs was first with a 16.34; Carl Crawford of the BoSox led the AL with a 26.90 (and look at what that's getting him this year).

It was nice to see ONE Dodger mentioned positively, especially when the NL West preview noted Rafael Furcal as the division's most prominent "Declining Star" ("There was a spring chicken in his locker one day during camp...but it certainly wasn't Furcal himself." And this was BEFORE last night's unfortunate news that Furcal has broken his thumb...), and then in the Dodgers' preview (slated third in the division), SI mentions that "a realistic goal for the team is to finish .500.

SI also pointed out that the Dodgers' outfield has a UZR of -48.5, signifying that our lack of defensive skill cost us almost 49 runs last season. Matt Kemp "led" the team with a UZR of -24, "the worst in the majors at any position."

SI also picked the Red Sox over the Giants in the 2011 World Series. Yay.


MR.F said...

Maybe I'm in denial, but I really don't expect the Giants to be all that hot.