Tag Archives: stats

SOEFA Sunday: Reliever Rankings Update (September 29, 2013)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

You’ll recall earlier this year we introduced our very own reliever rankings called SOEFA, which you can read about in detail here. For a brief refresher, it combines inherited runner strand rate, expected OBP against, ERA-, and FIP- into a deviation from league average. This is a measure of performance, not necessarily ability, and seeks to provide a single number to judge relievers that balances context neutral and context dependent numbers. Certain pitchers, such as Craig Kimbrel, cannot be credited for stranding runners because they are never put into those situations. They are not penalized either, however. Additionally, SOEFA penalizes pitchers like Joe Nathan and Mariano Rivera who have done a very poor job when they have been asked to strand runners this season despite great numbers in other categories.

Zero is average, and will generally range between -2.5 to 2.5 with -1 to 1 being most common. This includes all pitchers who have thrown at least 20 IP in relief as of this morning, so the average score on this list is closer to 0.08 and the inherited runner threshold has been increased from 5 to 8. SOEFA is a rate stat not a counting stat. Should you wish to know the SOEFA for any other reliever, or on a day that isn’t Sunday, hit us on Twitter or in the comments section. Also, as we look to improve SOEFA for next season, let us know if you have any suggestions! Hope you enjoyed this project and look for some analysis of its success this offseason.

Rank Name Team SOEFA
1 Sergio Santos Blue Jays 1.09
2 Koji Uehara Red Sox 0.97
3 Neal Cotts Rangers 0.95
4 Greg Holland Royals 0.93
5 Kenley Jansen Dodgers 0.92
6 Drew Smyly Tigers 0.82
7 Louis Coleman Royals 0.82
8 Kevin Siegrist Cardinals 0.80
9 Nick Vincent Padres 0.80
10 Jesse Crain White Sox 0.78
11 Mark Melancon Pirates 0.77
12 Craig Kimbrel Braves 0.76
13 Javier Lopez Giants 0.73
14 Joaquin Benoit Tigers 0.71
15 Sean Doolittle Athletics 0.68
16 Chris Withrow Dodgers 0.67
17 Luke Hochevar Royals 0.67
18 Trevor Rosenthal Cardinals 0.62
19 Jose Veras – – – 0.60
20 Jason Grilli Pirates 0.58
21 Alex Torres Rays 0.57
22 Casey Janssen Blue Jays 0.57
23 Sam LeCure Reds 0.57
24 Tanner Roark Nationals 0.57
25 Carlos Torres Mets 0.56
26 Glen Perkins Twins 0.55
27 Jake Diekman Phillies 0.55
28 Tommy Hunter Orioles 0.54
29 Will Smith Royals 0.53
30 Jim Henderson Brewers 0.52
31 Randy Choate Cardinals 0.52
32 Dan Otero Athletics 0.51
33 Carlos Villanueva Cubs 0.50
34 Casey Fien Twins 0.50
35 Antonio Bastardo Phillies 0.49
36 Brian Matusz Orioles 0.49
37 Juan Perez Blue Jays 0.49
38 Alex Wood Braves 0.48
39 Josh Collmenter Diamondbacks 0.48
40 Seth Maness Cardinals 0.48
41 Brett Cecil Blue Jays 0.47
42 Chad Qualls Marlins 0.47
43 Jordan Walden Braves 0.47
44 Kevin Gausman Orioles 0.47
45 Tanner Scheppers Rangers 0.47
46 Andrew Miller Red Sox 0.46
47 Brandon Kintzler Brewers 0.46
48 Paco Rodriguez Dodgers 0.46
49 Manny Parra Reds 0.45
50 Mariano Rivera Yankees 0.45
51 Bobby Parnell Mets 0.44
52 Edward Mujica Cardinals 0.44
53 J.P. Howell Dodgers 0.43
54 Jason Frasor Rangers 0.43
55 Joe Thatcher – – – 0.43
56 Steve Cishek Marlins 0.43
57 David Carpenter Braves 0.42
58 Matt Reynolds Diamondbacks 0.42
59 Ernesto Frieri Angels 0.40
60 Jean Machi Giants 0.40
61 Tony Watson Pirates 0.40
62 Sergio Romo Giants 0.39
63 Shawn Kelley Yankees 0.39
64 Aroldis Chapman Reds 0.38
65 Blake Parker Cubs 0.38
66 Luis Avilan Braves 0.38
67 Vin Mazzaro Pirates 0.38
68 Junichi Tazawa Red Sox 0.37
69 Will Harris Diamondbacks 0.36
70 Brad Ziegler Diamondbacks 0.34
71 Jonathan Papelbon Phillies 0.34
72 Luke Gregerson Padres 0.34
73 Robbie Ross Rangers 0.34
74 Joe Smith Indians 0.33
75 Darren O’Day Orioles 0.32
76 Joel Peralta Rays 0.32
77 Ross Ohlendorf Nationals 0.32
78 Caleb Thielbar Twins 0.31
79 Francisco Rodriguez – – – 0.31
80 Jerome Williams Angels 0.31
81 Tom Gorzelanny Brewers 0.31
82 Tyler Clippard Nationals 0.31
83 Kevin Chapman Astros 0.30
84 Matt Belisle Rockies 0.29
85 Cody Allen Indians 0.28
86 Nate Jones White Sox 0.28
87 Craig Breslow Red Sox 0.27
88 Craig Stammen Nationals 0.27
89 David Robertson Yankees 0.27
90 Josh Outman Rockies 0.27
91 Santiago Casilla Giants 0.27
92 Alfredo Simon Reds 0.26
93 David Huff – – – 0.26
94 Aaron Loup Blue Jays 0.25
95 Boone Logan Yankees 0.25
96 Bryan Shaw Indians 0.25
97 Grant Balfour Athletics 0.25
98 Luis Ayala – – – 0.25
99 Jared Burton Twins 0.24
100 Luke Putkonen Tigers 0.24
101 Anthony Varvaro Braves 0.23
102 Fernando Rodney Rays 0.23
103 Rex Brothers Rockies 0.23
104 Chad Gaudin Giants 0.22
105 Danny Farquhar Mariners 0.22
106 Joe Nathan Rangers 0.22
107 Mike Dunn Marlins 0.22
108 Scott Downs – – – 0.22
109 Tim Collins Royals 0.22
110 Addison Reed White Sox 0.21
111 J.J. Putz Diamondbacks 0.21
112 Neil Wagner Blue Jays 0.20
113 Adam Ottavino Rockies 0.18
114 Dan Jennings Marlins 0.18
115 Josh Zeid Astros 0.18
116 Steve Delabar Blue Jays 0.18
117 Dale Thayer Padres 0.17
118 Rafael Betancourt Rockies 0.17
119 Preston Claiborne Yankees 0.16
120 Donovan Hand Brewers 0.15
121 Dustin McGowan Blue Jays 0.15
122 LaTroy Hawkins Mets 0.15
123 Rafael Soriano Nationals 0.15
124 Brad Boxberger Padres 0.14
125 Charlie Furbush Mariners 0.14
126 Jim Johnson Orioles 0.14
127 Justin Wilson Pirates 0.14
128 Bruce Rondon Tigers 0.13
129 Gonzalez Germen Mets 0.13
130 Huston Street Padres 0.12
131 Jamey Wright Rays 0.12
132 Logan Ondrusek Reds 0.12
133 Ryan Webb Marlins 0.12
134 Anthony Swarzak Twins 0.11
135 Scott Rice Mets 0.11
136 Tim Stauffer Padres 0.11
137 Matt Lindstrom White Sox 0.10
138 Burke Badenhop Brewers 0.09
139 Darren Oliver Blue Jays 0.09
140 Oliver Perez Mariners 0.09
141 Wilton Lopez Rockies 0.09
142 Rob Scahill Rockies 0.08
143 Andrew Bailey Red Sox 0.07
144 Jesse Chavez Athletics 0.07
145 Kevin Gregg Cubs 0.07
146 Sandy Rosario Giants 0.07
147 Brian Duensing Twins 0.06
148 Heath Bell Diamondbacks 0.06
149 Jeanmar Gomez Pirates 0.06
150 Alfredo Figaro Brewers 0.05
151 Carlos Martinez Cardinals 0.05
152 Joe Kelly Cardinals 0.05
153 Matt Thornton – – – 0.05
154 Ryan Cook Athletics 0.05
155 Yoervis Medina Mariners 0.05
156 Kelvin Herrera Royals 0.04
157 Tyson Ross Padres 0.03
158 Fernando Abad Nationals 0.02
159 Jerry Blevins Athletics 0.02
160 Dane de la Rosa Angels 0.01
161 David Aardsma Mets 0.01
162 J.J. Hoover Reds 0.01
163 Matt Guerrier – – – 0.01
164 Brett Anderson Athletics 0.00
165 Donnie Veal White Sox 0.00
166 Ross Wolf Rangers 0.00
167 Joe Ortiz Rangers -0.01
168 Josh Edgin Mets -0.01
169 Edgmer Escalona Rockies -0.02
170 J.C. Gutierrez – – – -0.02
171 Manuel Corpas Rockies -0.02
172 Marc Rzepczynski – – – -0.03
173 Pat Neshek Athletics -0.03
174 Cesar Ramos Rays -0.04
175 Kevin Jepsen Angels -0.04
176 James Russell Cubs -0.05
177 Tyler Thornburg Brewers -0.05
178 Aaron Crow Royals -0.06
179 Darin Downs Tigers -0.06
180 Josh Fields Astros -0.06
181 Wesley Wright – – – -0.06
182 Evan Reed Tigers -0.07
183 Ryan Pressly Twins -0.07
184 Carter Capps Mariners -0.08
185 Evan Scribner Athletics -0.08
186 Brandon Workman Red Sox -0.09
187 Jake McGee Rays -0.09
188 Matt Albers Indians -0.09
189 Fernando Salas Cardinals -0.10
190 Michael Kohn Angels -0.10
191 Drew Storen Nationals -0.11
192 Troy Patton Orioles -0.12
193 David Hernandez Diamondbacks -0.13
194 Pedro Strop – – – -0.13
195 A.J. Ramos Marlins -0.14
196 Al Alburquerque Tigers -0.15
197 Bryan Morris Pirates -0.15
198 David Purcey White Sox -0.15
199 Ronald Belisario Dodgers -0.15
200 Adam Warren Yankees -0.16
201 Joakim Soria Rangers -0.16
202 Jake Dunning Giants -0.17
203 Jared Hughes Pirates -0.17
204 Chaz Roe Diamondbacks -0.18
205 Drake Britton Red Sox -0.18
206 Jose Mijares Giants -0.18
207 Cory Gearrin Braves -0.19
208 Raul Valdes Phillies -0.19
209 Zach Duke – – – -0.19
210 Brad Brach Padres -0.20
211 Justin De Fratus Phillies -0.20
212 Ramon Troncoso White Sox -0.22
213 Rob Wooten Brewers -0.23
214 Chris Perez Indians -0.24
215 Jonathan Broxton Reds -0.24
216 Tom Wilhelmsen Mariners -0.24
217 Kyle Farnsworth – – – -0.25
218 Mike Adams Phillies -0.26
219 Philip Humber Astros -0.26
220 Scott Atchison Mets -0.26
221 Blake Beavan Mariners -0.27
222 Rich Hill Indians -0.27
223 Vinnie Pestano Indians -0.27
224 Franklin Morales Red Sox -0.28
225 George Kontos Giants -0.29
226 Lucas Luetge Mariners -0.30
227 Nick Hagadone Indians -0.30
228 Rhiner Cruz Astros -0.30
229 Tony Sipp Diamondbacks -0.30
230 Brad Lincoln Blue Jays -0.31
231 Carlos Marmol – – – -0.31
232 Garrett Richards Angels -0.31
233 Phil Coke Tigers -0.31
234 John Axford – – – -0.32
235 Michael Bowden Cubs -0.33
236 T.J. McFarland Orioles -0.35
237 Ryan Mattheus Nationals -0.36
238 Josh Roenicke Twins -0.37
239 Dylan Axelrod White Sox -0.38
240 Paul Clemens Astros -0.38
241 Guillermo Moscoso Giants -0.39
242 Kameron Loe – – – -0.41
243 Travis Blackley – – – -0.41
244 Clayton Mortensen Red Sox -0.43
245 Esmil Rogers Blue Jays -0.43
246 Josh Lueke Rays -0.44
247 Alex Wilson Red Sox -0.46
248 Brandon Lyon Mets -0.49
249 Michael Gonzalez Brewers -0.50
250 Brandon Maurer Mariners -0.51
251 Greg Burke Mets -0.52
252 Lucas Harrell Astros -0.52
253 Luis Garcia Phillies -0.53
254 Bruce Chen Royals -0.54
255 Hector Rondon Cubs -0.57
256 Jeremy Horst Phillies -0.59
257 Jose Cisnero Astros -0.59
258 Joba Chamberlain Yankees -0.62
259 Dallas Keuchel Astros -0.64
260 Hector Ambriz Astros -0.64
261 Jeremy Affeldt Giants -0.67
262 Cory Rasmus – – – -0.69
263 Ian Krol Nationals -0.69
264 Henry Rodriguez – – – -0.71
265 Michael Kirkman Rangers -0.75
266 Brandon League Dodgers -0.76
267 J.C. Ramirez Phillies -0.90
268 Anthony Bass Padres -0.94
269 Shawn Camp Cubs -1.04
270 Mitchell Boggs – – – -1.37
271 Curtis Partch Reds -1.43
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Rick Porcello is Breaking Out (You Heard Me)

rick-porcello-detroit-tigers-e547e740e740d09e_large

Now the Rick Porcello skeptic is going to look at his 5.92 ERA and just ignore this post in favor of his or her preconceptions about the Tigers right-hander, but I urge you to read on. Rick Porcello is about to have his breakout season. Really.

First, let’s point out that his start on April 20th against the Angels was a mess. 0.2 innings and 9 runs. But it certainly wasn’t all his fault, it was only somewhat his fault. There were infield singles galore in that inning and he should have gotten out of it with  only a run or two to his name. I don’t mean to deflect the blame, but merely want to to point out that type of strange inning can happen to anyone and that he induced 7 groundballs in 2/3 of an inning. Normally, that should get you a lot of outs. If we remove that start from his line this year, he has a 3.85 ERA. Again, I’m not trying to just wish it away – it happened – but I do want to point out that other than that one inning, he’s having a very solid season for back end starter even by a conventional, inch deep approach to analyzing baseball.

But let’s also turn to the peripheral numbers. Rick Porcello is striking out 6.39 batters per 9 so far in 2013 and that is the highest number of his career. In his first two years he was about 4.7 K/9. In 2011-2012 he was 5.0-5.5 K/9. He’s added nearly an entire strikeout per 9 this season, which is always a good thing.

He’s also walking fewer batters than ever. In his first season he walked 2.74 per 9 and in his last three he’s been around 2.1-2.3 BB/9. This year, he’s walking 1.89 batters per 9 inning. Look at how his strikeout rate and walk rate are bowing apart on the graph. That is a sign of improvement.

K bb

He’s striking out more hitters and walking fewer. In other words, he’s getting better at two of the aspects of the game a pitcher can truly control. But there’s more.

Rick Porcello’s groundball rate is rising too. In his rookie season he got 54.2% GB, but that number dropped to 50.3% before rising each of the last three seasons into this year’s career high 54.9% groundball rate. Not bad. More groundballs are always better than more flyballs.

gb

And then there are the homeruns. Typically Porcello has allowed 0.8 to 1.0 HR/9, but this year that number is 1.42. Now that may sound worse, but it’s actually good. The reason being that most people consider HR to Flyball rate to be inherently driven by luck and that over a large enough sample, every pitcher regresses toward giving up about 1 HR per every 10 fly balls. Porcello has generally been in that range for his entire career. Until this season. This season that rate is 1 in 5. Again, this is a good thing because we would expect that number to come down toward his career norm, thus shrinking his HR rate as the season goes on. In other words, Porcello has given up more runs that he should have this year because he’s been unlucky with flyballs and that luck will change.

hr fb

Put this together and we have this story: Rick Porcello is striking out more batters than ever, walking fewer batters than ever, getting more groundballs than ever, and is allowing more homeruns per flyball than we would generally expect. All of this points toward the 24 year old having his best season to date.

I’m buying it. Everything we know about what makes pitchers successful tells us to look at strikeouts, walks, and homeruns and the percentage of balls in play he allows on the ground versus in the air. All of those numbers – all of them – are trending in the right direction for Rick Porcello. Lots of people talked about his great spring and the trashed it when he struggled a bit early, but here were are on May 18th and Porcello is starting to make himself look like a very good starter.

Fangraphs furnishes a metric called xFIP which gives us an expected ERA for a starting pitcher based on his strikeouts and walks plus a regressed version of their HR rate adjusted for park effects and league average. Rick Porcello is posting a career best 3.42 xFIP right now. That xFIP is 27th best in baseball among pitchers with 30 IP or more. He’s tied with Jordan Zimmermann (who has a 1.69 ERA) and is getting ace-like attention this season.

xfip

I’m not trying to make the case that Porcello is a #1 starter or even a #2, but rather that Rick Porcello is poised for a breakout season and that you should take notice. Heck, look at how his xFIP has declined in every season of his career. He’s often a whipping boy for fairweather fans and idiot radio hosts, but Rick Porcello has always been a durable starter and now he’s having his best season yet.

And he’s still just 24.

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