Pitcher Replacement Level

Still on vacation, but since I have a moment: I’ve been thinking about replacement level for pitchers a lot recently. What is a replacement level pitcher? To me, a replacement level pitcher is the type that cannot keep a spot on a major league roster, but is good enough to pitch in the major leagues in place of an injured starter or for the Kansas City Royals.
I’ve heard a lot of very smart people say that to pitch in the major leagues, you have to have a BABIP of .330 or lower. So let’s say that a replacement level pitcher has league average fielding indepent (HR, BB, SO) rates, but a .330 BABIP since he is a fringe player. How many extra hits will he allow over an average pitcher? About 2.3. Given that the average ball in play is worth roughly .55 runs, he would allow roughly 1.3 runs more per game than a league average pitcher, meaning that a replacement level pitcher is roughly 78% of a league average pitcher. Baseball Prospectus says the number is 80; that seems about right.

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3 Responses to Pitcher Replacement Level

  1. SaberTJ says:

    Isnt BAPIP pretty random though?doesnt it jump up and down yearly for most pitchers? Unless im thinking of a different statistic.

  2. David says:

    BABIP does have a lot of year-to-year variance. However, some pitchers do have some control over their BABIP. Since BABIP is mostly a function of how many line drives a pitcher allows, or in other words, how hard a ball is hit, pitchers that are not good enough to be major league regulars will have higher than normal BABIPs.

  3. SaberTJ says:

    I can understand that..thank you. I believed ive read the same thing.

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