Off the charts neat!
What it doesn't mean is that you can roll any MiLB thrower out there for 30 games and then he becomes, voila, a decent major leage pitcher. You anticipated that point, but we need to be careful here.
But it does mean that a guy like Maurer, clearly with MLB starter stuff, is just as likely as Joe Saunders to have a Joe Saunders type career.
Greg Maddux had a 5.61 ERA, a 1.64 WHIP, walked 4.3 while only striking out 5.8 p/9 and a 6-14 record in his rookie year.
He got better.
M. Pineda's rookie season would certainly be in Tier 1. Is he going to have a prettier career than Maurer? A whole bunch of Pineda's would become, on the average, better than a whole bunch of Maurers. But that is about the only guarantee.
Maybe I like this data because I'm a believer in an accelerated process for young talent. Get 'em in the bigs and let 'em figure it out.
Reprinted from May 24, 2013.
At BJOL two weeks ago, James published a fun-and-fascinating discovery about baseball. It was the kind of discovery that could easily be one of a franchise's Ten Core Values -- you know, sign on the wall, We Believe In ... college pitchers, position scarcity ... yada yada ... This One.
And yet, it was just buried in the letters column. Another day, another bedrock insight about baseball. And it goes exactly to the issue that Gordon brought up in his last series.
Just the Fa'ax, Ma'am
We'll publish the letter below our sigline ... right now we'll give the Exec Sum. And this article is just an opener -- a chance for you to ask, "Now that I know that, what implications are there here?" We'll follow on that later.
A reader asked James, "If you have a rookie pitcher with a GREAT season -- Fidrych, Kerry Wood, Candelaria, etc -- does that guy go on to a better career than a rookie pitcher with a GOOD season? Maybe we need to be skeptical of splashdowns like Strasburg's and Harvey's."
James replied by doing a study. He found two things. First, he found, YES, if a rookie pitcher has an epic season, it is one signal that he's going to be a great pitcher.
But second, he found that except for Epic Rookies, it doesn't much matter how good a rookie pitcher's season is.
:: he stops short ::
If that were true, what decisions would we make as a result?!
James took every rookie pitcher from 1960 to 1990, who started about 30 games in their rookie years. (Actually anywhere from 20 to 40.) This was 327 rookie starters.
Then he cut them into 10 layers, from best ERA's to worst ERA's. And he asked how each layer did for the rest of their careers. This is what he got... the ERA's after Tier 1, unless they have an *, are rounded for clarity, and to illustrate the study. If a number does have an asterisk, that ERA was specified by James in the reply.
|Tier||Rookie ERA, first 20-40 games||Rest of Career|
|1 (Gooden, Guidry, Rozema, Zachry, etc)||2.81*||3.74*|
So the "superstar" 10% did do better, a lot better. But the other 90% "regressed to the mean" -- in essence, it didn't much matter whether your ERA matched Michael Pineda's or Blake Beavan's; you projected to have the same career from then on.
Those of you who are sharp-eyed** will see some interesting caveats here; for example, all 327 pitchers, their managers believed in them enough to start them 30 times. But still. That is a lot of innnings, and a very interesting effect.
And the implications are thunderous. We followed on with a question to James about organizational philosophy, and his reply was very important.
Off the charts neat!
James lumped these pitchers by ERA, right Doc? Because Michael Pineda had a 3.70ish ERA in 2011. That's tier 5...which means he does NOT have an increased chance at success.
I think there's also something missing from this study. How many innings did each group get to pitch for the rest of their career? I'll bet the high ERA rookie group has a worse attrition rate.
You're right Matt. Thanks.
But ya, Pineda would have been OUTside Tier 1, even adjusting for era.
The first Q that comes in here: are there differences in talent that are there, but which are NOT showing up in rookie results (because the various tiers have a random mixture of talented and non-talented pitchers)? Or are differences in talent (tier 3 = talent, teir 8 = no talent) being overwhelmed and swamped by the experience factor?
Is it that the "good" rookie pitchers were NOT YET more EFFECTIVE than their bad rookie counterparts (and so finding themselves sprinkled across layers as rookies)? Or is it that they ARE more effective (and are bunching in layers 2 and 3), but that they lose this effectiveness gap as time goes on?
James' next follow-on is quite interesting -