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Pitching Charts Defined

Balls
Hit into Play Success Rate (BHIP%) : defined as the number of balls hit into play that are registered as
hits against a pitcher.
Balls Hit into Play Success %:
defined as the number of balls hit into play that are registered as hits
against a pitcher. Much has been written on the correlation between balls
hit into play and the pitcher’s ability to coax them in their favor. Similar
to the research conducted by Voros McCracken, Fantistics internal analysis
of the topic leads us to the following conclusion: Overall, pitchers do not
have control over balls hit into play, as it is more a function of the
batter's ability. However (in disagreement to the McCracken study), when you
only consider the top echelon of hurlers, there is a significant correlation
which indicates that some pitchers, particularly successful ones, do have
influence over balls hit into play.

Hits allowed is a category which is directly tied to many major pitching
categories including Wins, WHIP, & ERA. So understanding this indicator can
be a valuable tool in forecasting success.

In our study, we considered the top 30 pitchers (the criterion being that
they must have a 4 year track record) whose Deserved Wins (QS *.58) were
above 12 (we are basically taking the top 30 pitchers who have been around
for at least 4 years), the results show a fairly strong 3 year correlation
(.31, .58, .37). However, when taken as a whole (top 150 pitchers) the
correlation is barely existent (.18, .12, .08).

So what does this all mean? If we can identify the pitchers who do not have
control over balls hit into play (inconsistent yearly BHIP% results) then we
can extrapolate which pitchers were stricken by bad luck or good luck in the
most recent season. Using this information, along with the law of averages,
we can then predict which pitchers are due for a rebound/drop the following
season. Additionally, by identifying pitchers who have shown a consistent
BHIP% in the past, extreme deviations in the most recent year could indicate
an erosion of skills, injury, or conversely a lucky period.

The average BHIP% given up by pitchers is .286 (given up by the top 130
starters)

As an example, Ryan Dempster's BHIP% jumped to .321 in 2011 after sitting
slightly above league average in 2010 (.289), 2009 (.298), 2008 (.276). At the same
time his K/Inning ratio was within his normal range, an indication that
Dempster was healthly in his cumulative starts. Therefore Dempster was
likely a victim of bad luck on balls hit into play. This is one of the
reasons we are expecting Ryan Dempster to have a bounce back season in 2012.

During the 2012 season we'll utilize these graphs to identify trends that
are likely to reverse themselves. These trends will be highlighted in our
periodic player recommendation reports.

Fantasy Value / Fantasy Production Indicator (FPI)

Fantasy Value
is the relative value of each player based on a 5x5 Rotisserie team with a
budget of $260. This is not a draft value. Seeing a player's Fantasy
Value decline might only be an indication of a playing time reduction. We
consider FPI (see below) a more useful indicator as it does not consider
playing time.

Fantasy Production Indicator (FPI)
gives us the player's quality per inning pitched. It considers some easily
attainable statistics to produce a numeric value which is highly
correlated to fantasy production. Stat categories within this indicator
include and are valued accordingly for pitchers : ( IP +4.5, H -2.5, HR
-6, W +3, L -3, BB -1 ) These categories are then divided by the player’s
innings pitched.

Similarly
with the pitchers, FPI is one of the top indicators of Fantasy worth,
although WHIP and OOBP (Opposition On Base Percentage) also make for
excellent stand alone indicators. However, when you measure the
relationship between fantasy value and these other indicators on their own
(ERA, WHIP, Quality Start %, Opposition Batting Average) FPI is the leader
of the pack.

FPI

Equivalent

Player Example

> 2.00+

Fantasy God

Justin Verlander

1.80-2.00

Super
Star

Roy Halladay

1.60-1.80

Fantasy
Star

Matt Cain

1.40-1.60

Above
Average

Kyle Loshe

1.20-1.40

Average

Joe Blanton

1.00-1.20

Below
Average

Derek Lowe

< 1.00

Fantasy
Fool

Nick Blackburn

Expected ERA (XERA) depicts a pitcher’s "True ERA" as it
bases its expectation on factors within a pitcher's control. These factors
include Hits, Walks, Home Runs allowed and K’s. When you consider the
inequity with the ERA calculation, specifically related to errors and base
runners inherited/left, many including myself consider XERA to be a more
precise gauge of ability.

Expected
ERA is a term coined by 2 stat researchers (Gill and Reeve), which
developed the following mathematical formula ((.575 * H/9 ) + (.94 * HR/9
) + (.28 * BB/9 ) - (.01 * K/9 ) - Normalizing Factor). The normalizing
factor is based on the league (typically in the .270 and .285 range)

The best
way to use XERA is to compare it to the actual ERA. Using the delta
between the two indicators we can make observations as to whether the
pitcher’s ERA was a true gauge of his ability for the given period. For
example, in 2011 Gavin Floyd posted a 4.37 ERA, yet his expected ERA was
.88 points lower. A rebound in 2012 is likely.

Overall,
based on the MLB pitcher population, XERA and ERA are very close to the
same. On average, for the top 150 pitchers, both hover around 3.90.

Runners Stranded Percentage:The percentage of batters that reach base but
do not score (more specifically, are not credited to the pitcher’s Earned
Runs). The average stranded percentage for starters is .71. Pitchers with
Stranded Percentages of about .75 usually have successful ERA and Win
totals. Typically, veteran pitchers work around good hitters and bear down
on the hitters whom they believe they can retire. A perfect example would
be Tim Lincecum. Lincecum's Strand Percentage is typically between .75 and .79. Pitchers with Stranded Percentages below .68 typically have difficulty maintaining a good ERA.

Deserved Wins: We define Deserved Wins as Quality Starts
* .58. Typically a pitcher wins 58% of his Quality Starts (defined as a
start where the pitcher has gone at least 6 innings and has given up 3
runs or fewer). Using this indicator we can determine if the pitcher was
unfortunate or fortunate in his pitching Win totals. Another consideration
is pitchers who may be stuck on a poor offensive team; their deserved wins
totals will be less than their Win totals. Conversely a pitcher on a good
offensive team may have actual win totals which may exceed his deserved
totals. Depending on the quality of the offensive unit, this could account
for a 4-5 win swing or 2-3 wins above or below expectations.

From a
forecasting standpoint, we can forecast a pitcher’s win totals the
following season based on the improvement or degradation of his team
support. At the same time keep an eye on the players who were unusually
lucky in their totals. Consider the SF Giants Matt Cain who had 7
fewer wins in 2011 versus his deserved win totals, or Kyle McClellan who had
5 more wins than his deserved win totals.

Ballpark
Production Indicator measures the 3 year historical run output at the
home stadiums of each player. The benchmark median is 100, for a batter
it's an advantage to be home at a park above 100, while the opposite is
true for the pitchers.

The Projected 2012 team production indicatormeasures the quality of each team's starting position players (which
means just the opening day batters in the lineup). As we all know,
pitchers are susceptible when playing for a team with a lackluster offense
(Wins, Innings Pitched, & Strikeouts are all at stake). Conversely
mediocre pitchers can become serviceable when playing for a team that
produces offensively. Although it's not commonly considered, but a fact,
batters who play on an offensively productive team see an increase in
their own offensive production (categories greatly affected include ABs,
AVG, Runs, & RBIs). In summary, the median benchmark is 100, anything
above that for pitchers and batters is considered favorable.

Forecast Risk
considers the jump in Fantasy Production Indicator in this season's forecast over a player's
previous two. This indicator is from a purely statistical perspective and
does not consider the threat of injury (as some players are more injury
prone than others), nor does it consider the risk of playing time
loss/gain. The player’s overall projections should take these two
aforementioned factors into account.

Batting Charts
Defined

Singles Average (BHIPx%)– defined as the
success percentage of batted balls hit into play (Singles/(AB-K-2B-3B-HR)). The
typical percentage for singles is around .250. Every year there are outliers
that hit significantly below or significantly above this average. Of these, 80
to 85% revert toward the mean the following season. Using this historical
indicator, we can surmise which players will have a comeback or are due for a
drop-off season (with regard to batting average).

Several years
ago we
conducted a study on this indicator (full
text) to determine if there was a relationship between the
individual batter and his Singles Rate. Secondly, if there is a correlation, how
we can forecast the direction of Batting Average based on this information?

Overall, a
relationship does exist between the Singles Average and batters, but it only
exists because of a subset of players. Specifically, approximately 45% of
hitters have little or no control over balls hit into play (could be a
single, could be an out). 45% have an unfavorable control over
balls in play (likely causes include poor bat speed and poor bat control).
10% appear to have a favorable control over balls in play.

Using this
indicator we can find the players who had an anomaly season or players who are
losing/gaining skill.

Conclusion:
1. If a
player has a consistent history at or above the average Singles rate (.250) and
follows it up with a poor Singles % season (20 points below his 3 year average)
he's a good candidate to increase his Batting Average the following season
(taking into consideration age factors, and batting eye indicators).
2. The
reverse is true for a player that hits 20 points (or greater) above his 3 year
average.
3.If a player is consistently at .270 or above in singles % and has a poor
singles average in the most recent year, we could expect a bounce back in
singles average the following season (which will most likely lead to an increase
in BA.)
4. If a player is consistently at a .230 singles average or below and has
a singles percentage above .260 in the most recent year, then excluding
favorable batting eye indicators and age indicators, we should expect a
downturn).

Ballpark
Production Indicator measures the 2 year historical run output at the home
stadiums of each player. The benchmark median is 100. For a batter, it's an
advantage to be home at a park above 100, while the opposite is true for the
pitchers.

The Projected 2012 team production indicatormeasures the quality of each team's starting position players (which means
just the opening day batters in the lineup). As we all know pitchers are
susceptible when playing for a team with a lackluster offense (Wins, Innings
Pitched, & Strikeouts are all at stake). Conversely, mediocre pitchers can
become serviceable when playing for a team that produces offensively. Although
it's not commonly considered, but a fact, batters who play on an offensively
productive team see an increase in their own offensive production (categories
greatly affected include ABs, AVG, Runs, & RBIs). In summary, the median
benchmark is 100; anything above that for pitchers and batters is considered
favorable.

Forecast Risk
considers the jump in FPI in this season's forecast over a player's
previous two. This indicator is from a purely statistical perspective and does
not consider the threat of injury (as some players are more injury prone than
others), nor does it consider the risk of playing time loss/gain. The player
overall projections should take these two aforementioned factors into account.

Batting Average (BA) –one of the most recognized indicators in the
baseball world, but not a valued indicator of performance. When we look at full
time players, consider that the difference between the league average of .274
and that of a .310 hitter is only 16 singles. Thus it’s easy to see how a player
can drop in batting average from one year to the next, after just a few weeks of
nursing an injury or a bout of bad timing.

In the graphic
chart “BHIPx% - BA” we are using BA to show the relationship between a
batter’s Singles Rate and overall Batting Average. An example of its application
would be to observe wide gaps (with BA being the greater number) as an
indication that the batter attributes most of his average to extra base hits,
while gaps in the reverse order (BHIPx% being the greater number) are an
indication that the batter may be striking out (not making contact) at a greater
than typical rate. At the same time, seeing the difference between a hitter who
has a batting average moving closer to his singles rate, is an indication that
the hitter is losing power.

If a player's
current season Singles Average is below his 3 year Singles average, and we have
not seen any increase in HR% or OPS, then this player’s star may be fading.

In this
historical example,
Sammy Sosa was the difference between his average and BHIPx% (Singles
Average) drop precipitously between 2002 and 2005. Consider the change between
his 2002 season (60) and that over his last 3. His HR rate and OPS confirm a
hitter who is losing his ability to hit the long ball.

Sammy Sosa

BHIPx

BA

Delta

HR Rate

OPS

2002

0.268

0.328

60

9.2

1.177

2003

0.263

0.288

25

7.4

0.933

2004

0.263

0.279

16

6.9

0.909

2005

0.225

0.250

25

6.5

0.848

Fantasy Value /
Fantasy Production Indicator (FPI)

Fantasy Value
is the relative value of each player based on a 5x5 Rotisserie team with a
budget of $260. This is not a draft value.
Seeing a player's Fantasy Value decline might only be an indication of a playing
time reduction. We consider FPI (see below) a more useful indicator to evaluate
players as it does not consider playing time.

Fantasy
Production Indicator (FPI) provides us with the player's quality per plate appearance in a
fantasy environment. It considers some of the most available statistics to
produce a numeric value which is highly correlated to fantasy production. In the
bestseller Moneyball, Michael Lewis
describes the importance of the Walk as explained by guru GM Billy Beane.
Similarly we've been touting the importance of the Walk in Fantasy Baseball
since 1999, as Walks lead to many other relevant fantasy categories such as
runs, stolen bases, and ultimately every other offensive player category (as
opposing pitchers are inclined to make better pitches to those players who have
a keen eye).

Stat categories
within this indicator include and are valued accordingly for batters :
AB*-.5+ H*3 + 2B*4 + 3B*5 + HR*6 + BB* 1.5 + SB*2 + CS*-1 / Plate
Appearances)

Roto categories
such as RBI’s & Runs scored are not included in this calculation because of
their dependence on outside influences (i.e. teammates getting on base and
teammates driving them in).

FPI

Equivalent

Player Example

>
.82+

Fantasy
God

Albert Pujols

0.76-0.81

Super
Star

Robinson Cano

0.71-0.75

Fantasy
Star

Carl Crawford

0.65-0.70

Above
Average

Jay Bruce

0.58-0.64

Average

Michael Cuddyer

0.52-0.57

Slightly
below Average

Daniel Murphy

0.45-0.51

Below
Average

Cliff Pennington

<
0.44

Fantasy
Irrelevant

Russ Adams

This indicator
has a higher correlation to fantasy value than does any single widely know
indicators such as SLUG, OPS, AVG, EYE, K ratio, etc...for more on
FPI click here.

EYE (BB/K)
- Also
called Batting Eye, considers a players judgment skills at the plate.
When Walks are greater than Strikeouts, the batter is considered to have an
excellent EYE (>1.00), and this usually correlates to the league’s top hitters
in terms of batting average (>.300). Batters who have a batting eye of less than
.40 are considered risky and usually are the hitters well below average in raw
skill (there are exceptions). The average EYE for a MLB batter over the last 10
years (with over 400 ABs) is approximately .60.

EYE, when coupled
with Batting Average, can reveal and justify trends in performance. For example,
if EYE is increasing and so is his BA, then the hitter is said to be locking
in or shrinking his volatile strike zone (this is a good sign). Conversely
if a batter has a dropping BA and a dropping EYE, then he's lost control
of the plate. If these trends continue for sustained periods, it could indicate
an erosion of skill.

BB% / K% - A breakout of EYE showing walk (over Plate appearance)
percentage and strikeout (over Plate appearance) percentage . If a batter is
walking at a higher rate but his K percentage has remained the same, his EYE
will rise. However, if his AVG is not rising then his production from a fantasy
standpoint may be moot point.

The average
BB% for a batter is .10, the average K% for a batter is .16