Saturday, September 3, 2016

Binary Component 20-80 Scores - Pitchers

Introduction and Hitters

Here are the top ten pitchers by ERA from 2006 to 2015, along with their binary component scores:

PlayerERA   $BB $SO $HR $H  $XBH$3B $SA $SB
Jonathan Papelbon2.336174606865713933
Clayton Kershaw2.435772696857565174
Francisco Rodriguez  2.794675486341553734
Chris Sale2.915975475163704958
Adam Wainwright2.976254715351556065
Zack Greinke3.046361614949425572
Madison Bumgarner3.046462575555484364
Chris Carpenter3.066350695863506292
David Price3.096161575753584861
Stephen Strasburg3.096175504766524848

I changed the threshold to 2,500 BF to get more starters in the top 10; otherwise, with a 1,000 BF-minimum, the best 10 ERAs were all closers (and Jose Fernandez).

There isn't as much a "typical" skillset for elite pitchers as there was for elite hitters. Their average is 55-60 (above-average to plus) in all components except $SO (or "stuff", which is plus to plus-plus) and $SA (which is average).

Kershaw, Sale, Strasburg, and the two closers (Papelbon and K-Rod) all had better than plus plus stuff ($SO). The two closers were also poor at holding runners ($SA and $SB in the 30s), which is to be expected. The Cardinals, Wainwright and Carpenter, had average stuff but were plus to plus-plus in two other key components - control ($BB) and keeping the ball in the yard ($HR).

Carpenter was excellent at getting base-stealers thrown out (a $SB of 92). He had Yadier Molina his whole career from 2006 on, true, but then so did Wainwright ($SB of 65).

Eight-tool pitchers - pitchers with at least a 50 in all eight components:

Player$BB $SO $HR $H  $XBH$3B $SA $SB
Clayton Kershaw5772696857565174
Adam Wainwright6254715351556065
Justin Verlander  5559585553535159
Garrett Richards5152656065765254
Kris Medlen6353625351545754
Sonny Gray5556667284686251
Mark Melancon6159746682556057
Michael Wacha5456616453586670
Jacob deGrom6469656066725270
Adam Warren5154585551545961

None of these pitchers had any real weakness. Justin Verlander is probably the most well-rounded pitcher of the last ten years, with no single skill scoring less than 51 or more than 59.

Pitchers with the most "plus" (60 or better) tools:

Player$BB $SO $HR $H  $XBH $3B $SA $SB Plus Tools
Jacob deGrom64696560667252707
Matt Harvey64696567653860506
Hyun-Jin Ryu67547141616470756
A.J. Griffin62532187788762706
Jonathan Papelbon 61746068657139336

I take that back: Jake deGrom is the most well-rounded pitcher in baseball - a plus at every skill except for preventing runners from attempting to steal (but even then he's plus-plus at getting those base-stealers caught). Papelbon is also plus at every batter-related component - again, his only weakness is holding runners.

Four pitchers had four "plus plus" (70 or higher) components:

Player$BB $SO $HR $H  $XBH$3B $SA $SB
A.J. Griffin6253218778876270
Jose Fernandez  5677677074226071
Mariano Rivera7161727581414741
Pedro Strop3072737144796345

Now we have a completely different group of pitchers, each with a different set of skills. I should also point out, though, that all four of these pitchers faced less than 2,000 batters. Rates like $H haven't stabilized in that small of a sample size. The only pitcher with at least 2,000 BF and more than two plus-plus skills? Brandon League (70+ in $HR, $XBH, and $3B).

Three pitchers scored 80 or better in more than one component:

Player $BB $SO $HR $H  $XBH$3B $SA $SB
A.J. Griffin 62 53 21 87 78 87 62 70
Craig Kimbrel  45112 64 69 91 57 39 44
Aroldis Chapman   28121 58 60 82 57 39 59

But again, all three pitchers had less than 1,500 BF. A.J. Griffin is a young starter who's probably been a little lucky at preventing hits and XBH. Kimbrel and Chapman have been arguably the two best closers in the game - their stuff is off the charts, and their ability to prevent XBH is also 
likely a real skill.


  1. Great articles. Many thanks for writing and posting these!

  2. Thank you! Glad you enjoy them.