Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More On Bergmann

Federal Baseball has an excellent look at Jason Bergmann -- where he's been, and what's different statistically this season.

He argues that his prior MLB performance was a bit unlucky, and that he's been a bit lucky this year in terms of his Batting Average on Balls In Play.

It's worth reading and considering.

One thing he points out is the disparity of defense behind each of the Nats 5 primary pitchers:
Pitcher DER
Bergmann .820
Hill .764
Chico .667
Williams .756
Patterson .691


Combined with the halving of his line-drive rate, there are a few red flags on the Cy Young Express.

But... I wonder how much of that is luck (certainly some) and how much of it is the quality of his stuff. Like I said last night, he's inducing a LOT of weak fly balls to the outfield. When they do make contact with his curve, it's generally a popup (his homers per flyball is waaaaay down). And when they make contact with the slider, it's a weak tapper in the infield.

We'd certainly expect that line-drive rate to increase a bit. Even the best pitchers have a hard time keeping their rates that low. But as long as he keeps the strikeouts coming, and keeps the homers down -- which were high in the past, I think, because he was always behind hitters -- he'll be an effective pitcher. Maybe not 2.76 effective, but if he finishes the year under 3.75, it's an excellent year.

4 Comments:

  • We'd certainly expect that line-drive rate to increase a bit. . . . But as long as he keeps the strikeouts coming, and keeps the homers down -- which were high in the past, I think, because he was always behind hitters -- he'll be an effective pitcher.

    I think that's a very fair way of looking at it. Bergmann's probably not this good, but then, who is? Very few pitchers, that's who.

    By Anonymous Basil, at 5/15/2007 11:39 AM  

  • The difference in DER behind two pitchers is likely the product of three factors: (1) quality of the defensive players behind him; (2) how well hit the balls in play are struck; and (3) luck. In this case, pitchers on the same team playing in front of pretty much the same defense would tend to more or less eliminate (1), meaning that it would come down to (2) or (3). I would think that how well the balls a pitcher gives up would have more of an effect than plain old luck (especially when there is a wide disparity). For example, last night, very few of the balls Bergmann gave up were well struck. He was inducing a lot of pop ups, lazy fly balls, and easy grounders. That certainly is not the product of luck, but of good pitching (mainly getting ahead in the count and making the batter swing at bad or borderline pitches). I suspect if you went back & viewed tape of Patterson's starts, you would see that the primary reason the DER behind him is .690 is that he gave up a lot more well struck balls than Bergmann. It would be an interesting exercise to track the "percentage of well-struck balls" a time or two through the rotation.

    By Anonymous Deez Nats, at 5/15/2007 12:44 PM  

  • It would be an interesting exercise to track the "percentage of well-struck balls" a time or two through the rotation.

    To a certain extent at least, that's the line drive rate.

    On a very positive note, it's very low for Bergmann.

    On a somewhat different note, it's very low for Bergmann and should be expected to rise to some degree.

    By Anonymous Basil, at 5/15/2007 1:12 PM  

  • Depends on whether you think the line drive % is a function of luck or a pitcher's skill. I think the pitcher's ability to induce popups, flyballs, and grounders is a skill, so just because a pitcher's line drive % is low doesn't mean it will regress toward the mean if the pitcher continues to pitch with the same effectivness. Obviously, with Bergmann the big question is whether or not he can maintain this effectivness. To me, an indication of luck would be a pitcher with an average or so LD % but a lower than average BABIP.

    By Anonymous Deez Nats, at 5/17/2007 12:31 PM  

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