Monday, December 11, 2017

Jack Morris

Jack Morris had one top 5 finish in ERA+ and none in FIP ERA.

Now you might say that ERA or ERA+ can be affected by fielders, so if a guy has bad fielders, it hurts his ERA.

But Morris had good fielders like Trammel, Whitaker and Chet Lemon behind him. For most of his time with the Tigers, they were above average in Defensive Efficiency Rating and several times were number 1 (I think 4-5 times). So it seems unlikely that his ERA could have been hurt by bad fielders.

So then when we adjust his ERA for park effects with ERA+, he managed only one top 5 finish. So he was rarely one of the elite pitchers in the league.

Not having any top finishes in FIP ERA might not be his fault if Tiger stadium was an easy park to hit HRs in. But he actually had only one top 10 finish in his career and that was a 6th. Don't forget that walks and strikeouts affect FIP ERA along with HRs. But anyway, we can always go back to ERA+, which, again, does not seem to be unfair to him since it seems like he had good fielders behind him.

He also had only one top 5 finish in strikeout to walk ratio

Now some people said he was a winner. But his career winning pct of .577 is only 205th best all-time. He also had only three top 5 finishes and never led the league, even though he pitched for some good teams.

Some have said he could pitch to the situation. But here are his OPS allowed stats for Low, Medium, and High Leverage situations

Low .694
Medium .692
High .695

Now maybe the norm for starters is to do much worse in high leverage cases. But this does not look that impressive

He was supposed to be a big game pitcher. But in 92 post-season innings he has an ERA of 3.80. Good, but not great.

The table below shows the Tigers Defensive Efficiency Rating each year from 1979-1990, the years when Morris was a regular starting pitcher with them. It also shows where they ranked in the league each year as well as the league average. Then averages for all three are shown. He had some good fielders behind him.

Year DER Rank Lg Avg
1979 0.705 5 0.700
1980 0.704 4 0.698
1981 0.740 1 0.711
1982 0.725 1 0.704
1983 0.726 1 0.699
1984 0.713 3 0.699
1985 0.717 2 0.706
1986 0.719 1 0.699
1987 0.705 3 0.697
1988 0.718 1 0.702
1989 0.690 12 0.698
1990 0.705 5 0.699

0.714 3.25 0.701

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Annual AL Hitting In Innings 7-9 Relative to Innings 1-6, 1930-2017

All data from the Baseball Reference Play Index. Perhaps this gives us some idea of the impact of relief pitching over time.

For each year I found the OPS, OBP and ISO for the entire league in innings 7-9 and divided that by the corresponding numbers for innings 1-6 (OPSRatio, OBPRatio, ISORatio). Time line charts for each are below. The slope of the trend line for each one is

OPS) -.001
OBP) -.0006
ISO) -.0018

So maybe the strongest downward trend is for ISO.

Then I divided the 88 year period into eleven 8 year periods (I know, that is arbitrary). The table below shows each ratio for each 8 year period and again, it seems like ISO is the one that has dropped off the most. For example, from 1930-37, ISO in innings 7-9 was 3.2% higher than in innings 1-6. But from 2010-2017, it was 11.7% lower.

Anyway, all three stats have generally been in relative decline in the late innings.

Period OPSRatio OBPRatio ISORatio
1930-1937 1.016 1.015 1.032
1938-1945 1.009 1.020 0.982
1946-1953 1.008 1.013 0.994
1954-1961 1.006 1.010 0.993
1962-1969 0.997 1.007 0.972
1970-1977 0.998 1.010 0.965
1978-1985 0.984 0.999 0.950
1986-1993 0.968 0.987 0.920
1994-2001 0.955 0.979 0.906
2002-2009 0.938 0.973 0.877
2010-2017 0.938 0.970 0.883

Here are the correlations between the % of batters faced by relievers and the late to early hitting ratios

OBPRatio) -.686
OPSRatio) -.771   
ISORatio) -.713

So, as the % of batter faced by relievers increases, the OPS in innings 7-9 relative to innings 1-6 falls. The relationship is strong since the correlation is -.771. Squaring that (the r-squared) gets about .59, meaning that 59% of the variation across years in OPSratio is explained by changes in the % of batters faced by relievers. The more that relievers appear, the poorer the hitters do in late innings.

Here are the timeline charts