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From here: http://www.royalsreview.com/2008/9/29/624221/roy-halladay-for-cy-young
"Of AL pitchers with at least 180 innings pitches in 2008, guess who faced the weakest competition according to BP's Quality of Hitters Faced Report?
26th out of 26th. Lee's average challeger was a .262/.330/.405 hitter.
At play here is the unbalaced schedule and an additional dose of good fortune. Lee faced the Royals five times, his most common opponent. His second most common foe was Minnesota, who he battled with on four occasions. Lee also snuck in two starts against both Oakland and Seattle each, as well as matchups against Oakland and San Diego. Really, all that was missing was a game against the Nats.
Halladay on the other hand, faced the second toughest set of hitters out of the 26 ALers who had over 180 IP. Slogging through another season of hell in the AL East (even Baltimore had a weirdly good offense this year). Halladay's average hitter was a .266/.342/.425 guy. Sure, that's not hugely different, but remember, we're talking about hundreds and hundreds of individual pitcher-hitter confrontations over five months."
Also -- I'm having trouble finding the report, but I can't find it on the BP website. I have seen this referenced on a few different sites, though.
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Here is the report
Very interesting stuff. My first though was, "okay, Halladay has a slight edge in Quality of Hitters Faced, but I bet Lee has a greater edge in overall OPS against."
It turns out that Halladay actually had a lower OPSA (.621 to .633).
So then I thought, "gee, I guess that means that Lee pitched out of jams better." Nope, Lee's OPSA with men on base was .647 and w/RISP it was .701. Halladay's numbers were .611 and .577.
So I'm a bit stumped on this. Can anyone figure out why Halladay allowed nearly half a run per nine innings more than Lee did? Certainly errors played a part, but they can't be the sole factor, because even Lee's ERA was superior.
One final note - 12 of the first 17 pitchers in that report are southpaws. Clearly, an adjustment needs to be made for the fact that the Matt Murtons of the world (guys who can only hit lefties) generally don't have good overall numbers, which skews the report considerably.
On the other end of the spectrum, only 2 of the final 19 pitchers in the report are southpaws; Scott Kazmir faced the 6th toughest slate of hitters. Sheesh.
This really isn't surprising considering the divisions they play in.
"Can anyone figure out why Halladay allowed nearly half a run per nine innings more than Lee did? Certainly errors played a part, but they can't be the sole factor, because even Lee's ERA was superior."
Lee gave up 6 less HR so that could play a small part, and also, I'm not sure of this but it could have been Halladay had a few really really bad starts that inflated his ERA.
Halladay also pitched about 25 more IP. I obviously know ERA is a rate stat, but the more IP you have, the better the chance that your ERA goes up.
I think Keith's question is, How could Lee's ERA be lower if his opponents' OPS was higher overall as well as higher with respect to runners in scoring position.
The "a+b=c" answer is that despite his opponents had a higher OPS but that led to fewer runs.
The truly shocking stat cited by keith was OPSA with runners in scoring position. Almost 150 points different.
Tony is obviously right to point to homeruns allowed, but I think the thing Keith might be missing is number of batters faced with runners in scoring position.
I would bet, just based on the stats cited by Keith, I would be willing to bet Lee faced fewers batters with runners on base and faced fewer batters with runners in scoring position.
OPS doesn't hurt as much when there aren't guys to drive in.
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And pointing this report out in the first place is some of the best analysis we've seen from Greg.
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With men on Lee faced 352 batters(1.57 per IP), 176(.78 per IP) were in SP.
Halladay faced 388 batters with men on (1.57 per IP), 213(.86 per IP) of them were in SP.
With men, they're even pretty much even per inning with men on in general, and Halladay faced more batters with men in SP per inning.
I think BA+ SLG would be better to use rather than OPS, especially with RISP.
With men on, batters had a BASLG of .646 against Lee. Against Halladay they had a BASLG of .612. With RISP batters had a BASLG of .673 against Lee. Against Halladay they had a BASLG of .513.
This makes no sense. At all. WTF? All I can think of now is pure luck. Outs made on the bases, whether it be CS, plays at home, thrown out at third.
Also, we can't forget bullpens. We'd have to compare how each player's pen did with the runners they inherited from Lee and Halladay.
Aaah, bullpens. That sounds like it could be the answer.
The trouble is that the Blue Jays had the best OPSA of any bullpen at .661 while the Indians had the second worst at .785. I suppose it's possible that the Indians' bullpen was especially good when relieving Lee and eapecially poor when relieving Halladay, but given that Halladay tends to last deeper into ballgames requiring less of a bride between himself and the best relief men, I doubt it.
I see this as more of an aid to predicting future success than as a commentary on the Cy Young.
I would still support Lee's win, but I think in terms of which guy I would pick going into next year, its Halladay.
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Well shoot, you don't need a fancy stat to determine that Halladay is a safer bet to do well in 2009 than Lee.
You know, one of these years, Felix Hernandez is going to put it all together and win a Cy Young. It may just be 2009.
more fuel to the fire:
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