Tigers Pitching Projections, 2014 and 2015

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

A little over a week ago, we took a look back at the 2014 Steamer Projections for the Tigers hitters and then took an early look ahead at 2015 for the same group. We learned that while individuals beat or failed to reach their individual expectations, the team performed exactly as expected at the plate. We also learned that the Martinez boys legitimately seem to have improved. Today, let’s look at the pitching crop.

This one is a bit more difficult because there’s more movement on the roster, so we’ll be looking at the significant pitches, either because of their name value or their innings. Let’s start by comparing the 2014 projections with their performance.

Player 2014 proj ERA 2014 ERA Diff
Blaine Hardy 5.03 2.54 -2.49
Al Alburquerque 3.36 2.51 -0.85
Kyle Lobstein 5.01 4.35 -0.66
Rick Porcello 3.95 3.43 -0.52
Joba Chamberlain 3.92 3.57 -0.35
Anibal Sanchez 3.62 3.43 -0.19
Max Scherzer 3.29 3.15 -0.14
Drew Smyly 3.92 3.93 0.01
Phil Coke 3.82 3.88 0.06
Evan Reed 4.09 4.18 0.09
David Price 3.19 3.59 0.40
Justin Verlander 3.46 4.54 1.08
Ian Krol 3.69 4.96 1.27
Joe Nathan 3.03 4.81 1.78
Robbie Ray 5.16 8.16 3.00

Take note of a couple of things. First of all, the ERA listed for Price is as a Tiger. His season ERA was 3.26. These are the pitchers who threw 30 innings with the club or more and their stats as Tigers. The Tigers got some nice ERA improvements and some disasters. Let’s peak at FIP:

Player 2014 proj FIP 2014 FIP Diff
Blaine Hardy 5.07 3.49 -1.58
Kyle Lobstein 4.98 3.82 -1.16
David Price 3.31 2.44 -0.87
Anibal Sanchez 3.51 2.71 -0.80
Joba Chamberlain 3.90 3.16 -0.74
Max Scherzer 3.45 2.85 -0.60
Evan Reed 4.07 3.72 -0.35
Rick Porcello 3.67 3.67 0.00
Robbie Ray 5.19 5.23 0.04
Justin Verlander 3.68 3.74 0.06
Drew Smyly 4.02 4.08 0.06
Phil Coke 3.88 3.98 0.10
Al Alburquerque 3.32 3.78 0.46
Joe Nathan 3.43 3.94 0.51
Ian Krol 3.97 5.18 1.21

Some players did very well, many did about as expected and about three really blew it. When we take these specific pitchers and project the total ERA and FIP, they were supposed to have a 3.70 ERA and 3.75 FIP and wound up with a 3.80 ERA and 3.49 FIP. In other words, the bad Tigers defense played a bit of a role in the overall pitching line. By strikeouts, walks, and home runs, they did better than expected. By earned runs, a bit worse.

None of this is terribly surprising, but let’s also take a peak at the 2014 projections next to the ones for 2015 to see who the system thinks improved the most in during the last year.

Player 2014 proj ERA 2015 proj ERA Diff
Blaine Hardy 5.03 3.83 -1.20
Anibal Sanchez 3.62 2.80 -0.82
Kyle Ryan 5.33 4.65 -0.68
Chad Smith 4.84 4.31 -0.53
Joakim Soria 3.61 3.26 -0.35
Melvin Mercedes 5.15 4.81 -0.34
Drew VerHagen 5.81 5.50 -0.31
Evan Reed 4.09 3.83 -0.26
Robbie Ray 5.16 5.09 -0.07
Kyle Lobstein 5.01 4.94 -0.07
Joba Chamberlain 3.92 3.89 -0.03
Phil Coke 3.82 3.80 -0.02
Max Scherzer 3.29 3.36 0.07
David Price 3.19 3.28 0.09
Ian Krol 3.69 3.78 0.09
Al Alburquerque 3.36 3.54 0.18
Rick Porcello 3.95 4.21 0.26
Luke Putkonen 4.12 4.46 0.34
Jim Johnson 3.40 4.03 0.63
Justin Verlander 3.46 4.11 0.65
Joe Nathan 3.03 3.69 0.66

There’s a pretty typical ERA spread, but Steamer doesn’t love the idea of Verlander or Nathan much at all. FIP?

Player 2014 proj FIP 2015 proj FIP Diff
Blaine Hardy 5.07 3.97 -1.10
Kyle Ryan 5.30 4.48 -0.82
Anibal Sanchez 3.51 2.81 -0.70
Chad Smith 4.89 4.35 -0.54
Melvin Mercedes 5.23 4.76 -0.47
Drew VerHagen 5.71 5.27 -0.44
Joakim Soria 3.82 3.45 -0.37
Evan Reed 4.07 3.71 -0.36
Kyle Lobstein 4.98 4.73 -0.25
Joba Chamberlain 3.90 3.72 -0.18
Phil Coke 3.88 3.70 -0.18
Robbie Ray 5.19 5.09 -0.10
David Price 3.31 3.22 -0.09
Max Scherzer 3.45 3.41 -0.04
Ian Krol 3.97 3.94 -0.03
Al Alburquerque 3.32 3.47 0.15
Rick Porcello 3.67 3.84 0.17
Luke Putkonen 4.04 4.33 0.29
Joe Nathan 3.43 3.84 0.41
Justin Verlander 3.68 4.17 0.49
Jim Johnson 3.36 3.88 0.52

Basically the same overall story.

The long and short? The Tigers pitchers performed below their expected ERA and above their expected FIP. For next year, there are some encouraging projections and some troublesome ones. There’s nothing super ground breaking here, but we now have a pretty good sense of the starting point for the club as we think about the offseason.

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4 responses

  1. To make us all really mad/sad, do you have Doug Fister’s data/projections?

    1. 2.41 ERA, 3.93 FIP in 2014. 2015 projection is 3.87/3.67

  2. 1) I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. 2) His 2015 projection is schizophrenic for a contract year (right?): he’s going to give up way more runs (shoddier defense?), but be a slightly better pitcher at root?

    1. He’s had a very interesting career, so the prjections can struggle with guys like him

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