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Monday, August 25, 2014

Use common stats to judge both batters and pitchers.

A couple of times during the Yankee-White Sox series just completed Yankee announcer Micheal Kay stated that Adam Dunn had the worst ratio of strike outs (SO) to at bats (AB) in baseball history.  He indicated that his teams were willing to tolerate his SO because he also hit a lot of home runs (HR).  Unmentioned was the real reason for that tolerance: Dunn drew a lot of Bases on Balls (BB).  That gives Dunn OPS+ 124 for his career, with a season best of 147.  OPS+ is On Base Percentage Plus Slugging Percentage adjusted to years and parks.


There's a list of the best career batter ratios for AB per SO:

Adam Dunn's AB/SO is 2.9 and the Major Baseball League (MBL) average during his career has been 5.0, so even in his own era, Dunn is extremely bad.  However, missing among the leaders is SO/BB for batters.  It's there for pitchers:

1,000 Innings Pitched:

Now under Dunn's "more stats" it is listed:


1.79 for Dunn, 2.13 for all batters.  So, Dunn has fewer SO per BB than the average for all players, a plus for Dunn that was not mentioned by the Yankee announcer.

But why isn't a stat that is often mentioned for pitchers, seldom, if ever, mentioned for batters?  Most batting stats can be applied to pitchers.  Some pitching stats cannot be applied to batters, most obviously, Earned Run Average (ERA).  But why not use common stats?

Batters are measured by SO/AB, pitchers by SO per 9 innings (SO9).  SO9 includes outs made by batters on the bases, so it's less accurate.  Maybe that difference doesn't change it much, but it might, especially for the relief pitchers.

These pitching stats are per 9 innings:
- BB + Hits (a.k.a WHIP: walks plus hits per innings pitched)
- BB
- SO
- HR.

What the heck?

WHIP is for Wimps  March 8, 2013

The variables are the same as those for on base percentage (OBP) for batters, which is something that is familiar. Why not use OBP? Why dream up something else and put it into a pitcher’s context that requires translation to have meaning? ...

For me WHIP has become one of those annoying items that people toss around to show off how much they know.  If someone wakes you up in the middle of the night do you really know what a good WHIP is?  I’m wide awake and I can’t tell you.  Even when groggy I’m likely to know a good BA or OBP.  What’s the deal with WHIP?


Less accurate, less meaningful. That's the pitching specific stats that correlate directly to familiar batting stats. Give me OPS+ for pitchers!

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