## Thursday, January 20, 2011

### Comparing The Talents Of National League Pitchers

Last week I looked at similarity scores between NL West starting pitchers using the stats of K/9, BB/9, GB/FB and Age. This week I am expanding my sample to include all projected National League starting pitchers. And this time I am going to narrow the stats down to the ones I feel are most reflective of a pitchers talent (K/9, BB/9, GB/FB). I tried to weight each of the three categories somewhat evenly, by using the number of standard deviations away from the mean (in each category) for each pitchers three inputs.

The way I am calculating the similarity scores is by using an X-Y-Z plot and calculating how close each pitcher is to each other in terms of distance using the three stats listed above. There is a simple formula to calculate this that we all learned in trigonometry. Dist = SQRT((X1-X2)^2 + (Y1-Y2)^2 + (Z1-Z2)^2)

The ultimate goal of each pitcher would be to score well in each of the three categories placing him in the top quadrant. A pitcher with a high K/9, low BB/9 and high GB/FB are positioned to have the most success. What really stands out before looking at any results are the numbers of Roy Halladay. His K/9 of 7.57 is above average, coming in at a modest 0.27 standard deviations above the mean. His BB/9 of 1.24 comes in at 2.65 (the best) standard deviations (to the good side) and lastly his GB/FB comes in at 1.89 standard deviations (above the mean). It is no wonder why Roy Halladay is the leagues best pitcher.

 Roy Halladay (units SD) K/9 BB/9 GB/FB +0.27 +2.65 +1.89

Since this blog is primarily a Dodgers blog, let's take a look at the most similar NL pitchers for each of the Dodgers five starters.

 Los Angeles Dodgers Pitcher Most Similar K/9 BB/9 GB/FB Sim Score C.Kershaw Y.Gallardo 9.65 vs 9.67 3.62 vs 3.43 1.06 vs 1.18 0.361 C.Billingsley R.Dempster 8.39 vs 8.14 3.34 vs 3.27 1.36 vs 1.41 0.223 H.Kuroda C.Carpenter 6.83 vs 6.39 2.17 vs 2.23 1.59 vs 1.81 0.539 T.Lilly S.Marcum 7.63 vs 7.65 2.23 vs 2.18 0.74 vs 0.94 0.404 J.Garland L.Hernandez 4.84 vs 4.91 2.83 vs 2.89 1.33 vs 1.15 0.371

A fair conclusion to come to from this, is to say that the Dodgers starting rotation of Kershaw, Billingsley, Kuroda, Lilly and Garland is equal to in terms of 2011 projected talent as a rotation of Gallardo, Dempster, Carpenter, Marcum and Hernandez. This leads to the very interesting question of, which of those two rotations would you rather want for the 2011 season, all other things (salary, age, etc...) being equal?

Here is a quick look at the rest of the National League starters with each pitchers closest comparable NL pitcher and their similarity score (lowest is closest).

 NL Starting Pitchers - Similarity Scores Pitcher Most Similar K/9 BB/9 GB/FB Sim Score T.Lincecum Y.Gallardo 9.95 vs 9.67 3.01 vs 3.43 1.37 vs 1.18 0.733 B.Zito K.Correia 6.46 vs 6.60 3.72 vs 3.56 0.89 vs 1.14 0.555 M.Cain A.Harang 7.51 vs 7.38 2.66 vs 2.69 0.80 vs 0.93 0.277 J.Sanchez B.Norris 9.49 vs 8.95 4.33 vs 4.33 0.98 vs 1.04 0.392 M.Bumgarner J.Hammel 7.23 vs 7.25 2.43 vs 2.27 1.23 vs 1.33 0.302 U.Jimenez J.Chacin 8.59 vs 9.06 3.59 vs 3.83 1.64 vs 1.45 0.604 J.de la Rosa J.Chacin 8.64 vs 9.06 4.03 vs 3.83 1.31 vs 1.45 0.493 J.Hammel M.Bumgarner 7.25 vs 7.23 2.27 vs 2.43 1.33 vs 1.23 0.302 A.Cook T.Hudson 3.97 vs 5.63 2.78 vs 2.79 2.44 vs 2.60 1.191 J.Chacin J.de la Rosa 9.06 vs 8.64 3.83 vs 4.03 1.45 vs 1.31 0.493 I.Kennedy J.McDonald 7.97 vs 8.52 3.28 vs 3.48 0.84 vs 0.82 0.477 D.Hudson M.Cain 8.01 vs 7.51 2.69 vs 2.66 0.72 vs 0.80 0.383 J.Saunders R.Dickey 5.40 vs 5.42 2.85 vs 2.69 1.27 vs 1.39 0.330 B.Enright B.Arroyo 5.81 vs 5.38 2.25 vs 2.58 0.70 vs 1.01 0.830 Z.Duke R.Dickey 4.66 vs 5.42 2.46 vs 2.69 1.60 vs 1.39 0.747 M.Latos C.Hamels 9.18 vs 8.56 2.53 vs 2.32 1.03 vs 1.06 0.526 C.Richard J.Jurrjens 6.50 vs 6.54 3.25 vs 3.17 1.43 vs 1.26 0.357 T.Stauffer D.Moseley 6.05 vs 5.69 3.03 vs 3.06 1.31 vs 1.39 0.298 A.Harang J.Cueto 7.38 vs 7.16 2.69 vs 2.76 0.93 vs 1.02 0.255 D.Moseley T.Stauffer 5.69 vs 6.05 3.06 vs 3.03 1.39 vs 1.31 0.298 R.Halladay H.Kuroda 7.57 vs 6.83 1.24 vs 2.17 2.18 vs 1.59 1.786 C.Lee R.Nolasco 7.59 vs 8.82 1.30 vs 2.03 0.91 vs 0.95 1.254 R.Oswalt J.Hammel 7.54 vs 7.25 2.34 vs 2.27 1.48 vs 1.33 0.373 C.Hamels Z.Greinke 8.56 vs 8.55 2.32 vs 2.23 1.06 vs 1.01 0.162 J.Blanton M.Bumgarner 6.55 vs 7.23 2.50 vs 2.43 1.20 vs 1.23 0.484 T.Hudson J.Westbrook 5.63 vs 5.83 2.79 vs 2.97 2.60 vs 2.65 0.308 T.Hanson J.Vazquez 8.33 vs 7.68 2.67 vs 2.80 0.99 vs 0.96 0.490 D.Lowe J.Westbrook 6.26 vs 5.83 2.70 vs 2.97 3.08 vs 2.65 0.983 J.Jurrjens C.Richard 6.54 vs 6.50 3.17 vs 3.25 1.26 vs 1.43 0.357 M.Minor D.Hudson 8.74 vs 8.01 3.00 vs 2.69 0.73 vs 0.72 0.671 J.Johnson C.Hamels 8.96 vs 8.56 2.32 vs 2.32 1.45 vs 1.06 0.409 R.Nolasco C.Hamels 8.82 vs 8.56 2.03 vs 2.32 0.95 vs 1.06 0.361 J.Vazquez A.Harang 7.68 vs 7.38 2.80 vs 2.69 0.96 vs 0.93 0.267 A.Sanchez C.Billingsley 7.57 vs 8.39 3.51 vs 3.34 1.15 vs 1.36 0.606 C.Volstad D.Moseley 5.76 vs 5.69 3.34 vs 3.06 1.51 vs 1.39 0.467 J.Santana A.Harang 6.99 vs 7.38 2.46 vs 2.69 0.87 vs 0.93 0.441 M.Pelfrey D.Moseley 5.44 vs 5.69 2.99 vs 3.06 1.63 vs 1.39 0.517 J.Niese B.Myers 7.49 vs 7.44 3.06 vs 2.77 1.48 vs 1.46 0.416 R.Dickey J.Saunders 5.42 vs 5.40 2.69 vs 2.85 1.39 vs 1.27 0.330 C.Young C.Narveson 7.63 vs 7.45 3.70 vs 3.70 0.54 vs 0.87 0.667 L.Hernandez J.Garland 4.91 vs 4.84 2.89 vs 2.83 1.15 vs 1.33 0.371 J.Lannan P.Maholm 4.66 vs 4.95 3.21 vs 3.01 1.83 vs 1.84 0.349 J.Marquis J.Lannan 4.89 vs 4.66 3.43 vs 3.21 1.58 vs 1.83 0.608 J.Zimmerman W.Rodriguez 8.30 vs 8.40 2.86 vs 2.94 1.33 vs 1.26 0.143 T.Gorzelanny H.Bailey 8.00 vs 7.54 3.88 vs 3.93 1.06 vs 1.20 0.429 C.Carpenter H.Kuroda 6.39 vs 6.83 2.23 vs 2.17 1.81 vs 1.59 0.539 A.Wainwright J.Johnson 8.41 vs 8.96 2.24 vs 2.32 1.50 vs 1.45 0.409 K.Lohse B.Arroyo 5.50 vs 5.38 2.71 vs 2.58 1.12 vs 1.01 0.298 J.Westbrook T.Hudson 5.83 vs 5.63 2.97 vs 2.79 2.65 vs 2.60 0.308 J.Garcia J.Westbrook 7.30 vs 5.83 3.39 vs 2.97 2.29 vs 2.65 1.379 E.Volquez B.Norris 9.43 vs 8.95 4.68 vs 4.33 1.34 vs 1.04 0.845 B.Arroyo K.Lohse 5.38 vs 5.50 2.58 vs 2.71 1.01 vs 1.12 0.298 J.Cueto A.Harang 7.16 vs 7.38 2.76 vs 2.69 1.02 vs 0.93 0.255 T.Wood I.Kennedy 7.61 vs 7.97 3.14 vs 3.28 0.63 vs 0.84 0.522 H.Bailey T.Gorzelanny 7.54 vs 8.00 3.93 vs 3.88 1.20 vs 1.06 0.429 Z.Greinke C.Hamels 8.55 vs 8.56 2.23 vs 2.32 1.01 vs 1.06 0.162 Y.Gallardo C.Kershaw 9.67 vs 9.65 3.43 vs 3.62 1.18 vs 1.06 0.361 S.Marcum T.Lilly 7.65 vs 7.63 2.18 vs 2.23 0.94 vs 0.74 0.404 R.Wolf R.Ohlendorf 6.45 vs 6.48 3.32 vs 3.24 0.95 vs 0.92 0.130 C.Narveson T.Gorzelanny 7.45 vs 8.00 3.70 vs 3.88 0.87 vs 1.06 0.594 R.Dempster C.Billingsley 8.14 vs 8.39 3.27 vs 3.34 1.41 vs 1.36 0.223 R.Wells T.Stauffer 6.57 vs 6.05 2.76 vs 3.03 1.43 vs 1.31 0.577 M.Garza N.Figueroa 7.38 vs 7.04 2.94 vs 3.00 1.16 vs 1.05 0.332 C.Zambrano J.de la Rosa 7.92 vs 8.64 4.23 vs 4.03 1.51 vs 1.31 0.698 C.Silva H.Kuroda 5.63 vs 6.83 1.94 vs 2.17 1.51 vs 1.59 0.895 P.Maholm J.Lannan 4.95 vs 4.66 3.01 vs 3.21 1.84 vs 1.83 0.349 R.Ohlendorf R.Wolf 6.48 vs 6.45 3.24 vs 3.32 0.92 vs 0.95 0.130 C.Morton C.Richard 6.51 vs 6.50 3.64 vs 3.25 1.55 vs 1.43 0.604 J.McDonald I.Kennedy 8.52 vs 7.97 3.48 vs 3.28 0.82 vs 0.84 0.477 K.Correia R.Wolf 6.60 vs 6.45 3.56 vs 3.32 1.14 vs 0.95 0.520 W.Rodriguez J.Zimmerman 8.40 vs 8.30 2.94 vs 2.86 1.26 vs 1.33 0.193 B.Myers J.Niese 7.44 vs 7.49 2.77 vs 3.06 1.46 vs 1.48 0.416 J.Happ T.Gorzelanny 7.87 vs 8.00 4.15 vs 3.88 0.87 vs 1.06 0.546 B.Norris J.Sanchez 8.95 vs 9.49 4.33 vs 4.33 1.04 vs 0.98 0.392 N.Figueroa M.Garza 7.04 vs 7.38 3.00 vs 2.94 1.05 vs 1.16 0.332

There are some interesting results here. The two pitchers with the closest similarity scores are Randy Wolf (MIL) and Ross Ohlendorf (PIT) with a score of 0.130. Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels have a score of 0.162, the lowest score of what I would call upper tier pitchers. There are a few pitchers like Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Jaime Garcia who don't have any worthwhile comparables, usually from being outliers in more than one category. If you are interested in the complete spreadsheet of all the comparables, please write me an email (xeifrank-yahoo-com) or leave a comment.

 Summary Statistics Statistic Result Average K/9 7.14 Stdev K/9 1.45 Average BB/9 2.98 Stdev BB/9 0.70 Average GB/FB 1.32 Stdev GB/FB 0.50

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