Friday, September 02, 2011

"Fixing" Your Pitching

As often happens, a non-contender in my A.L.-only home league is having a fairly significant impact on the race for the title. His team's impact, though, isn't positive.

July 25: Claim Bruce Chen on waivers, waive Joey Devine.
August 15: 1) Traded Michael Choice and Rafael Perez for A.J. Burnett. 2) Traded Jesse Crain and Brian Matusz for Alcides Escobar and Blake Beavan.

Entering tonight, here are the results of this non-contender's efforts:

Burnett 12 1/3 IP, 24 H, 6 BB, 19 ER, 13.86 ERA, 2.43 WHIP, 1 W
Beavan 18 IP, 22 H, 3 BB, 11 ER, 5.50 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
Chen 40 2/3 IP, 39 H, 16 BB, 23 ER, 5.09 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 5 W
Totals: 71 IP, 85 H, 25 BB, 53 ER, 6.72 ERA, 1.549 WHIP, 7 W

Meanwhile, Crain and Perez have put up the following numbers since the trades:

Crain: 6 IP, 3 H, 5 BB, 1 W
Perez: 8 2/3 IP, 7 H 5 BB, 4 ER, 4.15 ERA, 1.38 WHIP
Totals: 14 2/3 IP, 10 H, 10 BB, 4 ER, 2.45 ERA, 1.364 WHIP

Entering today's action, this team had a 3.96 ERA and a 1.336 WHIP. Without those trades, he'd have a 1.322 WHIP and a 3.75 ERA.

In WHIP, that's no big deal...just another point. However, in ERA, that's good for a five-point jump. Six points total. All for the benefit wins point.

OK, so what are the lessons here?

Know your categories
I suspect that when this team was chasing wins that he didn't take a close look at the ERA/WHIP races. If you're dead in the water in ERA/WHIP it's OK to chase wins with any garbage you can find. Otherwise, know that you're going to lose more points in ERA/WHIP than gain in wins.

Free pitching is free for a reason
The price for all three of these pitchers was certainly "cheap." However, this "cheap" pitching came at quite a cost. In deep leagues, pitchers sitting in the free agent pool or available for pennies in trade are caveat emptor.

It just takes one lousy outing
Chen has actually been pretty solid for his owner...with the exception of a four inning, 10 run shellacking at the hands of the Red Sox on July 27. This is what touts are talking about when they say, "the peripherals don't support the ERA/WHIP." A guy sporting a good ERA/poor xFIP (like Chen) is more likely to put up one of these stinkers than someone whose xFIP supports the ERA.

There's nothing wrong with making a desperation play in pitching if the circumstances are right. If you're in an ERA/WHIP fight, though, you probably want to think long and hard before simply adding pitchers to your team willy nilly.

No comments: