Sunday, October 16, 2016

Satchel Paige Had A Remarkable Season At Age 45 (Or So) In 1952 And Much Of It Was Done In High Leverage Situations

All data presented here is from Baseball Reference and its Play Index.

He pitched 138 innings and was 11th in the league in WAR for pitchers with 3.4. Only one pitcher ahead of him was older than 35, Connie Marrero, who was 41 and had 3.6 WAR. Paige even pitched two shutouts. One was a 12 inning shutout a couple of days after he turned 46 which had a Game Score of 95.

The table below shows his stats and the league averages

Split Paige  Lg. Avg.
BA 0.226 0.253
OBP 0.307 0.330
SLG 0.310 0.362
ISO 0.084 0.109
OPS 0.617 0.692
BAbip 0.266 0.272
SO/W 1.60 1.11
ERA 3.07 3.67
ERA+ 127 101
FIP 2.85 3.70
WHIP 1.25 1.37
H9 7.6 8.6
HR9 0.3 0.6
BB9 3.7 3.7
SO9 5.9 4.1
SO/W 1.60 1.11

He is better than the league average in everything, except BB9 where he was league average. He likely did not get any help from his park. The Batting Factor was 102 and the Pitching Factor was 106. Over 100 means the park favors the hitters.

The Browns' DER or defensive efficiency rating was 7th at .709. The league average was .713. So his fielders probably did not help much, although maybe the rest of the Browns staff just happened to be pitchers who tended to do poorly on balls in play.

52.68% of his batters faced were in High Leverage situations. The league average was 22.22%. Now that was taking the stats presented in the Leverage section of his splits page (and same for the league). There may be some missing cases where it is not known what the Leverage was (all the PAs in Low, Median and High leverage cases did not add up to his season total).

Using the Play Index, I find that about 43.86% of the ABs against Satchel Paige in 1952 were in High Leverage situations. I did not check the "Exclude Results Which are Incomplete" option.

I called up all pitchers who had at least 500 ABs against in total and at least 200 ABs against in High Leverage situations from 1946-60 for single seasons. That was 99 pitchers. Now PAs are not a choice for the data you can select and I don't know for which pitchers the data is complete and which are not. But Paige sure did alot of work in key situations. His percentage is not as high as I mention above since his known High Leverage ABs are divided by his total ABs, and again, there may be ABs whre the leverage is not known. Here is the top 10:

Player Year HL%
Satchel Paige 1952 0.439
Jim Konstanty 1950 0.424
Mickey McDermott 1951 0.324
Bob Turley 1954 0.296
Joe Hatten 1946 0.284
Saul Rogovin 1951 0.284
Frank Lary 1955 0.275
Larry Jackson 1958 0.274
Johnny Vander Meer 1946 0.273
Billy Pierce 1951 0.270
Vic Raschi 1952 0.270

I also called up all the guys who had at least 400 ABs against in total and at least 160 ABs against in High Leverage situations for the same time period. There were 372 guys. Although Paige is not first here, he still ranks high. For a 45-year old pitcher to perform so well pitching so much in high pressure situations is amazing. Now the Browns were a 7th place, 64-90 team, and so maybe it is not like the pressure of a pennant race. But is still quite an accomplishment.

Player Year HL%
Joe Page 1949 0.490
Clem Labine 1957 0.470
Harry Gumbert 1948 0.462
Don Elston 1960 0.460
Satchel Paige 1952 0.439
Hersh Freeman 1956 0.428
Jim Konstanty 1950 0.424
Jim Konstanty 1951 0.412
Lindy McDaniel 1960 0.408
George Zuverink 1957 0.401

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