May 5, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) throws to the Texas Rangers during the first inning at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Sox Ranks in Sabermetrics: Pitching Only


In the second part of this series, we will look at how the Red Sox are doing in some pitching sabermetric statistical categories. Like some of the offensive categories, some of these numbers have yet to stabilize, and will continue to throughout the year. Regardless, it is interesting to see how some Red Sox are doing this year, especially a guy like Felix Doubront. Let me say I am not the biggest Doubront advocate, but some of the underlying numbers show that Doubront (.420 BABIP, but 2.82 FIP) has been a better pitcher than given credit for. Maybe these peripherals will support future success, maybe not, but it is interesting to look at these stats nonetheless.

Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP): Like BABIP with hitters, pitcher BABIP can be indicative of unsustainable performance if at particular extremes. However, unlike hitter BABIP, pitchers tend to have less control than hitters are managing opponents’ ability to get hits on balls in play. League average BABIP tends to fall in the .290 to .300 range, but there can be exceptions to the rule. For example, high strikeout pitchers frequently generate weaker contact, thus producing lower BABIPs. Also, teams that have strong defenses will tend to have more balls in plays converted into outs, thus producing lower BABIPs on a whole. BABIPs that deviate from league average and don’t fall under these exceptions, should under most circumstances, regress to the mean (which in this case is .290-300)

Red Sox Rank: 20th in MLB (.295)

Individual Leaders (arbitrary minimum of 20 innings for starters; 10 innings for relievers):

Starters: Jon Lester (.231), Ryan Dempster (.252), Clay Buchholz (.269)

Relievers: Andrew Bailey (.227), Clayton Mortenson (.245), Koji Uehara (.250)

Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP): While much of balls put in play is subject to a variety of factors (see above with BABIP), FIP eliminates the variability and randomness of this by simply looking at what the pitcher can control (strikeouts, walks/hit by pitches, and home runs). By just looking at these things, a pitcher’s true talent level can be gauged and has been statistically proven to be more effective in predicting future performance than ERA.

Red Sox Rank: 11th in MLB (3.77)

Individual Leaders (arbitrary minimum of 20 innings for starters; 10 innings for relievers):

Starters: Clay Buchholz (2.25), Felix Doubront (2.81), Jon Lester (3.24)

Relievers: Andrew Bailey (1.78), Alex Wilson (3.25), Koji Uehara (3.34)

Strikeouts per Nine Innings (K/9): Pretty simple, just the rate of strikeouts per nine innings. Teams that strike a lot of batters out will tend not be influenced by the whims of BABIP as much as other teams.

Red Sox Rank: 2nd in MLB (9.65)

Individual Leaders (arbitrary minimum of 20 innings for starters; 10 innings for relievers):

Starters: Ryan Dempster (11.44), Felix Doubront (9.74), John Lackey (9.67)

Relievers: Andrew Miller (16.2), Andrew Bailey (14.59), Koji Uehara (12.27)

Walks per Nine Innings (BB/): Similarly, this just the amount of walks permitted per nine innigs. Obviously, walks aren’t good

Red Sox Rank: 24th in MLB (3.69)

Individual Leaders (arbitrary minimum of 20 innings for starters; 10 innings for relievers):

Starters: Jon Lester (2.56), John Lackey (2.82), Clay Buchholz (3.22)

Relievers:  Koji Uehara (1.23), Junichi Tazawa (1.65), Andrew Bailey (2.92)

All stats from 5/13/13

Tags: Featured Pitching Popular Sabermetrics