Checking the Leaderboards

I always like these early-season small-sample-size-be-damned articles about the early oddities in baseball. Kind of like an early preview of The Oddibe Awards from StatSpeak alum Eric Seidman. A few days ago on THT, Craig Brown took a fun look at some of the odd things going on in the baseball world. Here’s my favorite one:

Speaking of strand rate, Brett Myers is stranding 92 percent of all base runners, yet owns a 5.03 ERA.

That takes some effort.

Myers has thrown 19.2 innings and has allowed only 18 hits and six
walks. That’s not bad at all (fantasy players will recognize a 1.22
WHIP), but here’s the problem: Of his 18 hits, seven have left the
yard. With a career home run rate of 1.3 HR/9, Myers has always been
prone to the the long ball, but seven home runs in just under 20
innings of work gives him a rate of 3.2 HR/9.

His strand rate is low because, of the 10 runs he’s allowed, nine have
been the direct result of a home run. Five solo home runs and two
two-run home runs have accounted for the damage. He’s also allowed six
doubles. Pretty simple math tells us that means he’s surrendered only
five singles. Myers has always allowed extra base hits by the
bucketful, but this is kind of crazy.

What’s troubling is that it could be worse: Myers’ FIP is at 6.84. If
four more runners were on base for any of his home runs, his ERA would
be outpacing his FIP. He’s walking a fine line between disaster and
epic disaster.

That should make Phillies fans real happy.


3 Responses to Checking the Leaderboards

  1. Matt Swartz says:

    I hadn’t noticed this article, but I just left the following comment there (thanks for alerting me to it):
    I didn’t read this article Friday, but I really have to disagree with your conclusions about Brett Myers.
    FIP is a statistic used to neutralize luck on BABIP and Strand Rate on ERA. It does not neutralize for HR/FB bad luck.
    Brett Myers has allowed 30% HR/FB. That is not a deficiency of skills– that’s bad luck. As has been pointed out numerous times before, HR/FB is statistic with very little persistence. Myers should revert closer to his career average of 15%. If he had a HR/FB rate of 15%, his FIP would be in the high 4’s. Myers has actually increased his groundball rate slightly this year too. He’s issued about 2 more walks and recorded 1 more strikeout than would be expected by his career norms. In other words, this is the same old Myers with four extra first row homeruns and four fewer warning track flyouts.
    This is the same Brett Myers as always, under-performing what he should be doing based on his K/BB/GB rates.

  2. Michael Peak says:

    I was just going to say the same thing. Myers has simply been really unlucky and FIP, rather than neutralizing that bad luck, is actually emphasizing it. This is a case where FIP has fundamentally failed.
    Just another reason I don’t understand why some smart people use FIP over xFIP.

  3. Dan Novick says:

    I had the same though when FanGraphs decided to use FIP for their WAR calculations instead of ERA. If you’re going to try and strip the luck (or defense) out of it, I say go all the way and use xFIP. Go hard or go home

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