Monday, April 18, 2011

3-Pitch Stars, NL Edition

We're looking at Fangraphs's remarkable pitch value data today in an effort to find pitchers with the highest cumulative score of their three best pitches. Although we're still in the midsts of small sample size warnings, we are looking just at 2011 numbers so that players like Phil Hughes and Pedro Feliciano don't rate too highly. Actually, looking at top 3 pitches, instead of top 2, will keep most relief pitchers off the list. We're also looking at pitchers with a minimum of 10 innings pitched this season. If this goes well, we'll look at AL pitchers later in the week.

Showing our work - to be clear, we're looking at the pitch value per 100 pitches statistic over at Fangraphs. Adding the scores for players's top 3 pitches, only for pitchers with at least three pitches with above average values, and listing the Top 10 here:

Sam LeCure's flown under
our radar until right now.
Sam LeCure, Reds, 23.6
Aaron Harang, Padres, 18.5
Clayton Richard, Padres, 15.3
Tommy Hanson, Braves, 14.5
Shaun Marcum, Brewers, 13.1
Tim Hudson, Braves, 12.6
Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies, 12.1
Josh Johnson, Marlins, 11.5
Barry Zito, Giants, 11.3
Travis Wood, Reds, 10.9

Time will tell how effective these guys will be moving forward. Looking at the weighted values of their top 3 pitches suggests they've started this season off promisingly.

After getting through this exercise, I think we are going to give it a bit more time - to get a little further away from the small sample size era. Then, we will look at the players with the best (most valuable per 100 pitches according to fangraphs) pitch in baseball, the best 2 pitches, the best 3 pitches, and the best 4 pitches. I think that'll be fun and don't really want to wait before doing it. Maybe we'll do it soon and again later in the year.

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