About Me

My photo

Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

FIP meets common sense.

Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) is a subset of Defense Independent Pitching (DIP).

The Gap Between Public and Private Information
by Dave Cameron - January 19, 2016

This post was written by Adam Guttridge and David Ogren, the co-founders of NEIFI Analytics, an outfit which consults for Major League teams...

Voros McCracken’s defense-independent pitching observations forever changed the way pitching is evaluated, on a remarkable scale...

Before reading the next part: when did home runs become one word?


In the late ’90s, a researcher called Vorus McCracken came up with a radical new idea: let’s evaluate pitchers only on things they have direct control over... let’s take a look at the outcomes that only involve the pitcher and batter: strikeouts, walks, and homeruns... launched a new branch of baseball analysis: defense independent pitching (DIPs) ...

... there are a number of DIP statistics ... three of the most common ones: FIP, xFIP, and tRA.

Since McCracken came up with his radical new idea, it’s been shown that pitcher homerun rates are unstable as well. A pitcher may let up homeruns on 5% of his flyballs one year, but then let up homeruns on 15% of his flyballs the next year. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, and all pitchers have their homerun rates fluctuate regardless of if they’re high strikeout pitcher, induce lots of groundballs, or are one of the best in the league.

The original Radical Baseball document.  written June 9, 2006; posted February 20, 2008

1. Start the closer.
2. The Real scandal of the last 16 years: propagation of non-uniform playing areas.
3. Four leagues, no divisions.
4. Walks: a terrible rule.
5. Designated Fielders and the Six-Player Batting Order.
6. Clock, time-outs, … you know, like the other sports...

2. The Real scandal of the last 16 years: propagation of non-uniform playing areas.

It’s not steroids. It’s the fences. Baseball is the only American team sport in which the playing area is not uniform. Imagine a National Basketball Association (NBA) game played at Madison Square Garden. The three-point line is drawn irregularly. A player can get three points by sinking a basket from behind that line but in some places the line is 25 feet from the basket and in some places it is 15 feet away. How about a National Football League (NFL) game played on a field where the sideline is wider in some places than in others? Or the end zone is shaped oddly? Silly, right? So how come baseball gets away with it? Baseball does not merely get away with it. It’s considered cute, charming, traditional, blah, blah, blah. Here’s the real travesty: the non-uniform playing area perverts baseball’s most cherished event: the home run. It undermines the very integrity of the game that is supposedly threatened by steroid use.

Some thinking fans categorize baseball events into random and non-random. To them a home run (one hit over a barrier on a fly, not an inside the park home run) is clearly a non-random event because a fielder has no chance to catch it. A home run is a random event. Here is why. Is a 180 foot fly ball a random event? Clearly, it is random: it may be caught or it may not. But how about a fly ball hit 380 feet? The non-random advocates would be forced to ask in what direction and in what park the fly ball was hit. In other words they can only certify its randomness by waiting until it lands. The same could be done for the 180 foot fly. Like the three point shot in basketball (OK, the line is closer at the sideline to fit in bounds but that’s basketball’s problem) the only thing that should matter is how far did the fly ball go. With uniform playing areas that alone would tell us if the fly ball is a home run or not.

However, in some cases a fly ball can travel 50% further than a home run and be an out. The distances to the barriers are not just different from park to park but they are different in some parts of the outfield in the same park. A home run should reward the batter for hitting a fly ball over a barrier and for that to be fair and meaningful the barrier should be the same distance and the same height in every direction in every park. That’s pretty basic stuff. How about 375 feet to a ten foot high barrier? If you were starting baseball today and making the rules, that’s clearly how you would do it. But baseball evolved and that’s how it has always been. So? About 13 new parks have been implemented in the last 16 years (with two more coming in New York) and baseball had a rare opportunity to correct this historic inequity. Instead it allowed and even encouraged teams to replace parks that were in many cases at least symmetrical with parks that were irregular in the shape of the playing areas. Irregularities were often unavoidable in old parks because of streets and other things that required some imagination in building a park. In recent years there were no such impositions, just a warped intent to make new parks that looked old fashioned. See the Rangers park in Texas, built in an open space.

Yes, this should also apply to foul territory. Here’s something no one has considered: Fenway Park helps strike outs. Because the area in foul territory is so small it is very difficult to foul out. Also, because the fences are close in the outfield, that also helps. Let’s say Roger Clemens is going for the single game strike out record and he’s pitching in Fenway Park, a hitter’s park. Every out that is not a strike out hurts this effort. Every batted ball that results in an out also hurts. A foul pop up that drifts into the stands helps. A ball hit off the wall in left also helps.

The single season and lifetime home run records are the most important sports records in America. Yet, they are subject to the greatest randomness of any records in team sports. Forget the steroids. Fix the fences.


Now about strike outs and walks.  Umpires could reasonably be grouped into general categories: pitcher friendly, neutral, batter friendly.  Obviously, umpires decide if a pitch is a strike or a ball.  Pitch framing (deceiving the plate umpire) by catchers is now celebrated and rewarded.  Umpires and catchers impact balls and strikes.  Not to mention the height and stance of the batter.

Touch your body at the top of the strike zone. Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Baseball has a lot of really stupid rules but the strike zone is probably the most stupid...

Who can expect umpires to correctly determine if ... pitches pass through some part of that imaginary three dimensional strike zone? ...

The top of the strike zone from 1963 to 1988 went from shoulders to armpits to midway.

What the heck is midway?  Try it.  Quickly touch your torso midway between your armpits and "pants".  Then measure for accuracy.

Who the heck thinks that makes any sense?  Especially when the batter may be moving and armpits is much less definitive than shoulders...

This midway rule since 1988 is moronic.  It compounds the already stupid rule into total idiocy.  And all we hear is complaining but with no real solutions.


Imaginary strike zone. Saturday, August 8, 2009

Automated strike zone within five years. Tuesday, August 25, 2015

See next post: How much is fielding worth? Heyward? Cespedes? Saturday, January 23, 2016
10:46 AM

No comments: