Monday, February 19, 2024

Which pitchers had the biggest differences last year between their actual ERA & their FIP ERA? (or Bad Luck is an Aaron Bummer)

FIP ERA means fielding independent ERA and it is an estimated ERA based on what the pitcher controls: walks, strikeouts and HRs. See Baseball By The Numbers—Earned Run Average (ERA) and Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) by Marilyn Green at "Redbird Rants" for more information and the formula.

I used Stathead from Baseball Reference to call up all the pitchers who had 50+ IP last year. Then I found the difference between their actual ERA and their FIP ERA.

Table 1 shows the guys who had the worst luck, that is they had the biggest negative differentials for FIP ERA - ERA.

Table 1

Player

IP

ERA

FIP

Diff

Aaron Bummer

58.1

6.79

3.58

-3.21

Shintaro Fujinami

79

7.18

4.61

-2.57

Zach Davies

82.1

7.00

4.58

-2.42

Hogan Harris

63

7.14

5.02

-2.12

Fernando Cruz

66

4.91

2.83

-2.08

Dylan Floro

56.2

4.76

2.96

-1.80

Michael Grove

69

6.13

4.36

-1.77

Connor Seabold

87.1

7.52

5.75

-1.77

Osvaldo Bido

50.2

5.86

4.10

-1.76

Josh Sborz

52.1

5.50

3.75

-1.75

Table 2 shows the guys who had the best luck, that is they had the biggest positive differentials for FIP ERA - ERA.

Table 2

Player

IP

ERA

FIP

Diff

Wandy Peralta

54

2.83

5.05

2.22

H├ęctor Neris

68.1

1.71

3.83

2.12

Tom Cosgrove

51.1

1.75

3.70

1.95

Brusdar Graterol

67.1

1.20

3.03

1.83

Kendall Graveman

66.1

3.12

4.88

1.76

Dominic Leone

54

4.67

6.29

1.62

Clayton Kershaw

131.2

2.46

4.03

1.57

Wade Miley

120.1

3.14

4.69

1.55

Bryse Wilson

76.2

2.58

4.13

1.55

Ronel Blanco

52

4.50

5.99

1.49

Bummer's differential is much greater than anyone else's. I thought that maybe he got hit hard with runners on base, but his splits don't reflect that. Did the White Sox have bad fielding? Maybe, their team FIP was 4.71 while the team ERA was 4.87. Bad, but not too bad. Certainly not close to what happened to Bummer. And if it was the fielders, we would see high numbers for his AVG & SLG allowed with runners on base, but again, that was not the case (that would not be the whole story but at least part of it). His splits can be found easily at BR.

Maybe the guys who came in after he had put some runners on just did really bad so that he got charged for the runs. I am not sure if there is an easy way to tell that.

Others have looked at the issue of what explains the difference between FIP and ERA before. I might post some of those links when I get a chance.

Update Feb. 22: Here are Bummer's AVG-OBP-SLG for his splits last year:

None on)  .240-.365-.365
Runners on) .233-.342-.333
 
Looks like he had good numbers with runners on. He did allow .340 BAbip while his AVG allowed in all situations was .236, a .104 difference. For all of the AL last year those numbers were .295/.245. For the NL they were .299/.251. So Bummer's differential here was twice the MLB average. That might partly explain why his FIP/ERA differential is so large.
 
Here are some studies on this issue:
 
The FIP/ERA Gap: Historically by Glenn DuPaul of Beyond the Box Score.
 
Evaluating the Gap Between ERA and FIP by Christopher Rinaldi of FanGraphs.