We saw some good amigo, a smart analyst, complaining about Moore's first two "quality starts," that's a junk stat. Because 6 IP, 3 ER, who cares about a 4.50 ERA? Refutation: How do we count the Ways. :: sigh ::
1) Since when does ERA know its feet from the roots on a tree stump. ... Really? A saberdweeb pointing to ERA in order to bring us up to date? :: sigh ::
2) 6 IP, 3 ER is a minimum. Suppose we told you Mike Zunino was about to go on a 40-game hitting streak, right now. Would you find this prospect to be acceptable? "um, no, who cares - that means he'll hit .250 in some of the games." :: sigh :: See? Take 20 quality starts in a season and you're going to win 12-15 of those games.
3) INVERT the question to grok it. Supposing you knew the White Sox' pitcher on Friday would NOT get a quality start. Would you bet the M's? Of course you would. Major league teams win about 2/3 of quality starts.
4) Modern bullpens are getting hellacious. Esp. in terms of 95+ MPH. The Mariners have a farmhand right now who throws 99 MPH+ ten pitches in a row. Three runs in the first six or seven innings means three runs for the game, unless you're lucky.*
5) Stoploss. How many SP's do the Mariners need to field in one year, fourteen or so?, before we appreciate a QUALITY outing from a #5 starter. From your #3, #4, #5, QUALITY means -- to the guys in the dugout -- three runs or less. You'd like a slam-dunk lockdown of 0 or 1 runs, but that's what you bid $200M for.
6) Leaderboards. You also hear that R and RBI are junk stats ... but you scan down the career leaders for R and RBI and they're all in the Hall of Fame. You scan down the 2017 season leaders for R and RBI and they're all playing Tuesday, and they all deserve to be. Coinicidence? I think NOT
Here is the QS leaderboard for 2016. It's a who's who of rich men in baseball. So next time somebody says "Moore will get 20 quality starts a year, but who cares? That's a 4.50 ERA," stop a second and understand why Scott Servais likes quality from his whole rotation.
Sherm pointed out that Ariel Miranda's "expected ERA" -- his FIP, xFIP, etc -- predict a sour trend for his future results. Does Dr. D expect Miranda to continue to get lucky, or rather, to have a special skill that allows him to outproduce his K, BB, and grounders? No.
For one thing we all agreed the question on Miranda was whether he is good, not whether he is great. Dr. D does expect Miranda to get better; stats like xFIP look into the past. But there's nothing I see about Miranda to suggest such a special skill, except his match for the park and OF's. Which Sherm also noted. That's why the point is resonating, because it is a good one.
But now Andrew Moore, he is very likely to BE one of those SP's who "outproduces" his expected ERA. He's got a 5.75 FIP right now and a 3.75 ERA, loosely speaking. (The leaders each year in FIP - ERA are able to beat their "expected ERA" by 1.00 to 1.50 runs, not that you would bet a free agent contract on it.)
Two reasons. Moore's 3rd and 4th pitches, his slider and change curve, are contacted a lot. BUT the contact figures to be reactive, because of the change speed game, and both pitches are hit in the air a ton. Hmmmmmmm sounds like just the pitcher for a big park and fast outfielders.
Also, Moore's fastball has "outlier" cutting action, a real good gloveside run, which everybody knows helps to keep the ball off the barrel of the bat. That's what anybody's cutter is for, for when the count is 3-1 and they want a ball hit at an infielder. Moore however gets true cut fastball swerve on a 90-92 pitch. It helps.
So, yeah, Moore is going to give up lots and lots of ARM SWING fly balls with the offspeed, and lots of handle/cue shots off to middle infield with the fastball. He hits corners very, very consistently relative to other starters. HIM, I do expect to be better than the fancy algebra thinks he is.
Caveat. Moore does need to junk that slow curve. By "junk it" we mean, just show it once in a while, and/or keep it buried in the dirt or off the plate. Iwakuma cut way back on it too. Major leaguers will lose that pitch if it isn't absolutely perfect. Moore has given up at least two homer on it already and three more disgusted-head-shake-just-missed-it deep fly balls.
Fastball, changeup, slider located. The curve needs to be an afterthought.
The real issue is, though, that Moore's stats are so far based on only his first three games in the bigs. They're not a "sample." He's going to evolve quickly.