The Nine Worst Wins of 2013

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

If you’re here, you’ve likely been exposed to our series on pitcher wins and why we want to kill them. It’s become a pretty big topic of conversation around baseball and some people are calling for a cease fire because the win has been repeatedly slaughtered to the point that we’ve probably violated the Geneva Convention. So, I’ll make sure to avoid overdoing it because apparently #KillTheWin is sabr-bullying. If you’re new to the cause, check out the groundwork for why wins are a terrible statistic and then enjoy The Nine Worst Wins from 2013 (as of Sept 13th).

So the methodology is quite simple. Below are the pitchers in 2013 who have earned a “win” sorted by the lowest Win Probability Added (WPA). What WPA does is measure how much the team’s likelihood of winning changed as a result of every play and assigns that value to the pitcher and batter who took part. It’s not a perfect stat for measuring a player’s performance but it works for our purposes here for a simple reason. If a pitcher’s team scores 10 runs in the first inning, that pitcher can pitch poorly and get a win, but most of the pro-win alliance thinks that’s okay. They believe in something called “pitching to the score” which has been shown to be fiction. So in order to make the point clearly, I’ll use WPA which is entirely dependent on context. If you’re up 10, you’re allowed to give up 5. If you’re up 1, you better not give up two.

There are other ways to do this, but I think this is the most valuable way to do it given the audience still in need of persuasion.

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec
9 Randall Delgado 2-Aug ARI BOS W 7-6 GS-6 ,W
8 Brandon League 31-May LAD COL W 7-5 9-9 ,BW
7 CC Sabathia 18-Aug NYY BOS W 9-6 GS-6 ,W
6 Alfredo Simon 22-Apr CIN CHC W 5-4 13-13f,W
5 Rafael Soriano 17-May WSN SDP W 6-5 9-9 ,BW
4 Matt Belisle 28-Jul COL MIL W 6-5 8-8 ,BW
3 Joe Smith 26-Jun CLE BAL W 4-3 8-8 ,BW
2 Michael Wacha 19-Aug STL MIL W 8-5 7-7 ,BW
1 Kyuji Fujikawa 12-Apr CHC SFG W 4-3 9-9f ,BW

 

Rk Player IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit
9 Randall Delgado 6 6 6 4 1 7 2 97
8 Brandon League 1 2 2 2 0 1 1 26
7 CC Sabathia 5.1 7 6 6 5 5 1 103
6 Alfredo Simon 1 1 2 1 0 1 1 15
5 Rafael Soriano 1 4 2 2 0 0 0 19
4 Matt Belisle 1 2 2 2 0 2 1 23
3 Joe Smith 1 3 2 2 1 0 0 21
2 Michael Wacha 1 4 3 3 0 1 1 30
1 Kyuji Fujikawa 1 3 3 3 0 0 0 30

 

Rk Player ERA RE24 WPA
9 Randall Delgado 6.00 -2.939 -0.392
8 Brandon League 18.00 -1.479 -0.404
7 CC Sabathia 10.12 -3.472 -0.410
6 Alfredo Simon 9.00 -1.537 -0.417
5 Rafael Soriano 18.00 -1.594 -0.430
4 Matt Belisle 18.00 -1.479 -0.431
3 Joe Smith 18.00 -1.490 -0.528
2 Michael Wacha 27.00 -2.537 -0.557
1 Kyuji Fujikawa 27.00 -2.537 -0.745

To date, there have been 282 wins in which the pitcher had a negative WPA in 2013. Above you’ve seen the nine worst including Fujikawa having just about the worst performance I could imagine in a win using this method. In fact, as far back as we have WPA data, it’s the 14th worst such win.

It looked like this! That’s pretty bad.

chart

This is all by way of saying that wins aren’t a useful statistic and that even if we allow for the idea of pitching to the score, we still have a ton of ridiculous wins every season. If every win was handed out perfectly the rest of the season, we would still have seen 11.6% of the wins in 2013 go to pitchers who hurt their team’s chance to win.

#KillTheWinButDoItWithoutBeingSoDramatic

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