<$BlogRSDUrl$>

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

ROY’S THE MAN, PART II

So I’m listening to the game as I'm cleaning the bathroom, and I’m thinking more and more about Halladay’s success despite being so frugal with his pitches. And then it struck me: Halladay doesn’t fuck around. Forgive me for beating around the bush in my previous entry.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it was important to point out that Halladay is a remarkable efficient pitcher, especially for one who racks up so many innings. But all that proves is that he isn’t a significant injury risk according to PAP3, and consequently he has proven to be amenable to working consistently on so-called short rest.

But none of that means he’s going to be successful, let alone a leading Cy Young candidate.

Are his efficiency and effectiveness related?

I unknowingly suggested they were when I tossed out three impressive rate stats: Halladay’s strikeout to walk rate, pitches per inning, and pitches per plate appearance. Obviously, there’s a connection between the pitches thrown per inning and per plate appearance. But the more I think about it the more I think that strikeout to walk rate is key especially in relation to the other two.

Consider his performance since 2001, when he emerged from minors reconstructed into the dominant pitcher he’s since become.

Let’s go to the chart, shall we?

year IP/GS #P/PA #P/IP #P/GS K/9 BB/9 H/9 HR/9 ERA
2001 6.6* 3.62 14.9 93.3 8.2 2.1 8.3 0.3 3.16
2002 7.0 3.52 14.6 102.9 6.3 2.3 8.4 0.4 2.93
2003 7.4 3.40 13.7 101.1 6.7 1.1 8.7 0.9 3.30
*in 2001, Halladay started 16 games and made 1 relief appearance. Not being able to find the splits, I didn't subtract those innings in relief from his overall total. Thus, his real total of IP/GS is likely a little lower than the number quoted.

I think the results are pretty clear. All the numbers suggest that the new Halladay comes right after batters, and this year more so than before. (Watching him pitch certainly confirms this.) He’s always been around the plate, and this year he’s sliced his already stingy walk rate in half. What's really amazing is that he's going deeper into games, and using even fewer pitches to do it.

Well, after having seen him for over two seasons, I think batters know what to expect, and have been going up hacking in 2003. That might partly account for the slight rise in hits allowed, and the otherwise unexplainable (albeit still acceptable) rise in homers. (I checked his groundball to flyball ratio just to be sure, but it’s identical to his total in 2001 at 2.56, albeit slightly lower than in 2002 [2.75].)

I can't say I blame them, but it doesn't seem to be helping much.

If anything it's made Halladay even more effective and more efficient--although at this point I don't have a clue how else to approach him as a hitter.

Thank God he's on our side.

Now, J.P., where are the reinforcements?

UPDATE II:

The anti-Wood, Roy Halladay, pitched another shutout (6 H, 0 BB, 7 K) against the lowly Tigers. (Best of number of all--102 pitches.) It's his fourth complete game in four starts in September, and his third shutout in a row. (His only earned run this month came in a masterful complete game performance [4 H, 1 BB, 10 K, 109 pitches] against the Yankees on Sep. 1.)


ROY’S THE MAN

Tonight, Roy Halladay rumbles against the Tigers.

The last time they tangled, Halladay pitched 10 shutout innings (3 H, 1 BB, 5 K) for the complete game victory, something that doesn’t happen too often.

Granted, this year’s Tigers are setting new standards for ineptitude.

What can’t be diminished is that Halladay is a fucking horse.

Next time somebody tells you that pitch counts have restricted pitchers’ abilities to consistently go deep into games and rack up a lot of innings compared to pitchers of yore, I want you to point them to Roy Halladay.

In 33 starts this year, Halladay has pitched 243 innings, leading the ML by a comfortable margin (Hudson’s second with 227 IP in 32 starts). He’s on pace to throw about 262 innings, which would be the most in the AL since Clemens and Hentgen both tossed 264 for the Jays in 1997. (The presence of veteran workhorses Johnson and Schilling ensured that the NL league leaders consistently posted higher totals over this several year stretch by about 20-30 IP--closer in line with Hentgen and Clemens’ totals.)

Last year, Halladay tossed 239.1 innings in 34 starts, which also lead the AL (albeit just barely ahead of Buerhle’s 239.0 and Hudson’s 238.1).

OK, so he’s thrown a lot of innings. Clearly the Jays have thrown caution to the wind, and are treating Halladay like he’s Dusty Baker’s favourite bitch. Right?

Wrong.

You’ve got to scroll waaaaayyyyyy down before you find Halladay hiding over at Baseball Prospectus’ 2003 Pitcher Abuse Points rankings. (It looks like he’s about 65th with 920 AVGPAP per start; compare that to young Mark Prior in 6th with 5639 AVGPAP and rotator cuff surgery survivor Kerry Wood in 4th with 7612 AVGPAP. Notice as well that the Oakland starters are also down the list, albeit not nearly as much as Halladay, despite their high innings.)

How has he managed to throw so many innings yet score so low on PAP? Because despite averaging 7.4 innings per start (also most in the majors this year), Halladay hasn't thrown more than 120 pitches in a game. (He's actually thrown 120 pitches once.) Usually, he's well below that, averaging 100.5 pitches per game. (Halladay's second in the MLB in K/BB with 5.81, second in fewest pitches per plate appearance with 3.4, and first in fewest pitches per IP with a piddly 13.7... play around with ESPN's sortable stats to see for yourself just how effective and efficient Halladay has been this year.)

Think Pitching Abuse Points is baby-coddling crap? Check this tidbit from a June 8, 1999 report in Baseball Prospectus using the old method of calculating PAP:

[Pedro] Martinez, who led in this category last year, actually leads all pitchers with 426 PAPs, and is just 27. As the undisputed best pitcher in baseball, obviously, we have to worry about whether he’s a candidate to fall to pieces shortly.
Keeping score at home? The last time Pedro pitched 200 innings was the following year, 2000. If you assume the average ace starts just over 33 games a season (about what Pedro used to throw as a starter with the Expos and his first year with the Bosox), by my estimate Pedro has missed about 29 starts since that article appeared.

If anything, Jazzy may have underestimated Pedro's injury risk. Rather than an additive effect (throwing 140 pitches in a game is one point worse than throwing 130) as he suggested, the new research suggests the relationship between pitch counts and ineffectiveness and injury is actually geometric. In other words, tossing 140 pitches is many times worse than 130.

Fortunately, Jays fans have no need to dread an imminent breakdown from their ace. Despite all those innings, Halladay's consistently reasonable pitch counts means his Stress Factor remains a mere 9. Discussing the role of Stress in predicting injuries in part two of his updated analysis of PAP (the so-called PAP3 currently used on BP's website), Keith Woolner writes:

There's a clear trend between Stress and the percentage of pitchers who get injured. There's a relatively constant increase between 0 and 50, with a leveling off thereafter. Over a quarter of pitchers with career Stress Factors above 40 have suffered a major injury at some point during the time of the study, compared with less than 15% of those with career Stress Factors below 20.
And this is clearly part of a trend. In 2002, Halladay was also middle of the pack in PAP (59th with 1356 AVGPAP) despite leading the league in IP again, and his Stress Factor was a still safe 13.

This is most comforting to Blue Jay fans (and management hoping to ink Halladay to a big multi-year deal). At 26 years old, if any pitcher might be worth the risk of a four year plus contract, this might be it.

Pitching Abuse Points may not be perfect, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. Besides, Halladay is proving that you don't need to rack up high pitch totals to be a league-leading workhorse. Thank goodness the Jays don’t have some Verducci-inspired yahoo as their pitching coach. Give some credit to Gil Patterson. This guy seems like he knows what he’s doing.

Yes, Roy's the Man. And he doesn't need the beard to prove it. (He just likes the way it looks.)

UPDATE:

The anti-Halladay, Kerry Wood, threw "only" 125 pitches (4 H, 1 BB, 11 K) in his complete game shutout against the Mets today. Not horrendous, but he's still averaging about ten pitches per start more (109.0) and one inning less (6.4) than Halladay. Still think those extra strikeouts are worth it?


GUILLEN BREAKS HAND... A'S WIN THE PENNANT?

8-6
5-14
3-6
11-5
17-2
8-6
2-1
6-2
6-4
5-2
4-2
4-3
2-0
0-9
5-7
3-1
4-7
2-11
1-3
8-1
3-0
14-4
9-3
9-3
6-5
7-4
5-6

Somebody explain to me how the A's are 19-8 since Mulder's last start?

How did this team lose Jason Giambi back in '01 and get better next year?

What's next?

Will Tim Hudson go blind and the A's sweep the World Series?

Will Billy Beane die and Oakland go on to become a Yankee-like dynasty?


THE GREATEST GAMBLE

Esteban Loiza just lost his chance at winning the 2003 Cy Young Award. Can't says it shocks me. (In his three starts this month he has an ERA of 7.71) We're now in a two dog race between Roy Halladay and Pedro Martinez. Pedro has been making up for lost time in his last couple of starts, throwing a complete game against the D-Rays tonight, and having a miniscule 1.17 ERA in his three September starts averaging about 7.67 innings per. And he's going to have to keep it up to keep the Cy away from Halladay. As with the Pujols vs. Bonds debate, it may all just come down to playing time. Pedro's ERA is far better (by almost a run) but Halladay leads the league in Innings Pitched, having thrown 67 more innings than Pedro. And like Pedro, and unlike Loiza, Halladay is getting stronger down the stretch to the tune of a 0.32 ERA this month. Both Pedro and Roy have weak schedules remaining (Roy faces the Tigers tonight) so I expect them both to continue performing at their respective outstanding levels. The 20 win plateau probably means more to voters than any other given number (it shouldn't) so that will be definitely working in Roy's favor given he's already a 20 game winner this year and is on pace to end up with a league leading 23 wins . Since they have been handing the award out no starting pitcher with less than 16 wins has won the award (not counting the strike shortened season of 1981) and even if Pedro wins his last two starts that'll only put him at 15 victories. (There have been pitchers who have won the award with fewer than 16 wins who pitched as a reliever and a starter in the same season.) Pedro's games mean more though given his team is in the Wild Card race and that will be a boost for him. I don't know, it's a tough tough call folks. If I had a gun pointed at my crotch and I needed a win in a single game to prevent my genitles from being blown off I'd go with Pedro but over a whole season I'd have to entrust the fate of my manhood to the more durable Halladay. So on the basis of that, and the fact the Cy is an award for the whole season, I guess I'll go with, and I think the voters will go with, Roy Halladay. Please don't let me down Roy. Click

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?