Pitchers, why you do this?

I have spent more than a few lines of words in the league’s slack chat on my opinion that MLB has juiced the ball. Things appear to be different. Monday night I got excited because Team Hydra got a negative start from Wei-Yin Chen. Only to be deuce’d on by Gio Gonzalez against the Mets who went even more negative.

Awful.

Anyway this inspired me to collect some data. I already had all the game logs of 2015 starts thanks to Baseball Reference’s Play Index. So I added to that data, 2016 starts thanks to FanTrax using some data scraping. I had to know, are starters worse this year versus last year, or are the guys I trust just doing poorly.

The answer tends to be a little bit of both. Using the labels that I arbitrarily came up with at some point to describe starts you can see the differences below:

Games 2015 2016 Diff
RU Serious 0.39% 0.31% -0.08%
Perfect 1.07% 0.39% -0.68%
Unreal 5.54% 5.11% -0.42%
Outstanding 10.48% 10.84% 0.37%
Great 12.00% 14.25% 2.25%
Good 14.37% 12.16% -2.21%
Average 15.34% 12.86% -2.48%
Bad 16.16% 17.82% 1.66%
Awful 24.66% 26.26% 1.60%

It kind of appears to be both. I expected larger differences. Ultimately numbers are down. Awful starts are up, bad starts are up. Good and average starts are significantly down. Great starts happen to be up! And while the super starts are slightly down, that is more likely the difference one or two.

So what does this mean? Probably nothing. It is early yet in the baseball season, pitchers are just starting to get deeper into games and injured pitchers are being weeded out. At this point I would not be surprised to see 2015 and 2016 end up the same way. For The Foundation’s pitching, well, hopefully we stop screwing around.

2016 Auction Review – The Foundation

The Foundation

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It takes a real piece of work to attempt to write objectively about their own team. I was going to try to do, but everyone knows I will not do it anyway. Please email Bailey with your critiques, he forwards them to me with a tip of poison. That being said, I’m quite excited about my draft, I think I did really well despite missing out on my initial targets of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper (I have a hard time writing anything at all and ignoring Bryce).

Hitting – Good

Paul Goldschmidt is a contender to finish as the best hitter in the league. He finished second last year, and there is little reason to believe he does not compete for that title this year. Adam Jones, Alex Gordon and Kole Calhoun round out a solid outfield. Derek Norris is a sneaky catcher value as he plays more and more at first base. Justin Turner‘s red beard is as fierce as his value. There’s a huge hole at short stop, I can can be heard talking up Jean Segura last year on another podcast, and I was wrong. I don’t plan on being smart here, he was just the last one left. I hate Ian Kinsler so he’ll either give me more reason to hate, or probably he’ll continue his vodoo and be good. I can hate him for being good. Byung-ho Park is the x-factor in this line-up. He fills in at 1b and the primary utility hitter. Is the power for real? So far in spring it seems to be. Two years ago I reached for an unknown Jose Abreu. Here is to hoping I did not get too cute on my own.

Pitching – Great

Chris Sale was the pitching prize left on the table. He’s quite good. Felix Hernandez had a down year last year with his lingering injury issues that he choose to pitch through, but he was still crazy good. Jon Lester can’t pick guys off, but he’s a great pitcher otherwise. The bullpen isn’t amazing, but it’ll score more points than most other bullpens in this league. Relying on getting a fifth guy from Doug Fister, James Paxton, Bartolo Colon and Zach Davies seems like a safe bet. Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson could be refreshing additions to the team after they return from the disabled list. Gio Gonzalez is the weird fit in this rotation. He’s uncomfortable as your 3rd SP, but probably overqualified as the 4th SP. A good problem for me to have, last year he was let down by the Ian Desmond led Nationals’ “defense”.

Depth – Good

I am pretty in love with myself my pitching staff in particular. My hitters are also position flexible and good enough to start in a pinch. If Dustin Ackley does not win a daily job in New York, things get hairy pretty quickly. I’m giving myself credit for knowing that after I add the three or four guys to the disabled list that I took, I’ll be able to snag a few worthy players from the current waiver wire. Probably not fair, but you’ve already quit reading

Why 2016 would be bad… 

Well if those knocks happen to come, andthe pitchers I’m hoping to be able to sit on don’t come around. Yikes, things go to hell really quick. I have already ran through various scenarios to see where my team would be if Sale and Goldy are gone. It is not impossible to be good 2016 yet, but that might be enough to sink this team. Will I find myself in an early position to reload for next season?

Why 2016 would be good… 

Goldy is a top 5 hitter, there’s two top 10 starters between Sale, Felix and Lester. Those two accomplishments will carry this team from good to great pretty quickly. That is not asking a lot. The rest of the roster is in great shape and has room to take a few knocks.