If there’s one part of modern baseball that is no longer a mystery, it’s that there are a lot of stats. To the average baseball fan, these can be overwhelming. To the baseball fanatic, they are a treasure-trove of information. But which stats are not telling about a players performance.
Since the sabermetric movement hit baseball, the game transformed into a numerical chess match. Stats that look more like hieroglyphics are a common site in today’s game. The two main types of stats in baseball are counting stats and sabermetric stats.
Personally, both types of stats have their pros and cons. However, there are a couple of stats that I personally think are irrelevant. I will use current Mariners as examples of how these stats are not very telling of player performance.
My absolute least favorite stat in baseball. Yes, I do believe that winning is important don’t get me wrong. But wins are a team dependent stat, so it makes no sense to give either a win or loss to one single pitcher.
An example of team play impacting win-loss record is Hisashi Iwakuma in 2013. That year, Iwakuma had some phenomenal numbers. He had a 2.66 ERA with 220 IP and 185 strikeouts compared to 42 walks. Those are Cy-Young worthy numbers, which he placed in the top-three of that year.
If you showed people those numbers, the majority would say that those are Cy-Young award nomination-worthy. Those are the stats that encompass how the pitcher did individually. When you add his 14-6 win-loss record into the equation, it seems to turn some people off.
A starting pitcher could throw a complete game and give up one run (not even earned) and could lose the game if his offense scores nothing that day.
There have been pitchers who won 20+ games with above 3.00 ERA’s and they win the Cy-Young award. Not to say that a 3.00 ERA is bad, it’s actually quite good, but pitcher wins shouldn’t be valued more than a pitcher’s ERA or other individual stats.
For me, a better way to determine how well a pitcher did in a season is quality starts and ultra quality starts. It better describes how well a pitcher did per game and whether he gave his team the best chance to win.
To the baseball writers who don’t calculate pitcher wins into the Cy-Young award, thank you. The award is about who is the best pitcher in baseball. Not the best really good pitcher on a really good offensive team.
Replace wins and losses with quality starts and ultra quality starts and you will have a better definition of pitcher performance. Wins rely too much on the team as a whole to be put on one pitcher. Kill the win.
To begin, this is not me saying I don’t like the ERA statistic. For starters, it really is a good stat. But if you dissect it, it doesn’t make much sense for relievers.
Starter ERAs make sense because most of the runners they generally put on, score when they’re still in the game. There is no other pitcher who is letting the runs come across.
But for relievers, it is a different story. Relievers can come in during the middle of the
Relievers can come in during the middle of the inning when the starting pitcher or previous pitcher had left runners on.-base. But, if the reliever lets those runners come across, all the runs get credited to the pitcher who let them on.
That part of the game is fair, but ERA is ineffective in determining how dominant a reliever actually is. Here is a situation in which this is true.
Let’s say a reliever comes into a game with the bases loaded and two outs. The reliever gives up a triple and all three runners score. Then the next AB, he gets the batter to pop out. The previous pitcher’s ERA jumps up, which is totally fair. But that reliever escapes with a 0.00 ERA.
Although you didn’t let any batter you started with score, the job of a reliever is to stop as many people as possible from scoring, no matter the situation. So, in this case, the reliever looks good on the stat sheet but didn’t do what he was called into the game to do.
There are stats which say how many inherited runners relievers allowed to score. That to me shows how dominant a reliever is.
There are many stats in baseball when it comes to relief pitching, ones that are far more accurate than ERA.
Yes I know, everyone loves batting average, but here is my case why it is not as valuable as you may want to believe.
You can break down a lineup into three groups. 1-2 hitters, 3-6 hitters, and 7-9 hitters.
For the 1-2 hitters, OBP (on base percentage) is a more telling stat of how well they’re doing their job. 3-6 hitters need to worry about slugging percentage and run producing. Finally, the 7-9 hitters can use OPS (on base + slugging) to get a feel for how they’re doing.
Batting average is a stat that was relevant back in the dead ball era. Ty Cobb had an outstanding batting average for today’s standard. Only because back then, everyone only hit singles and had above .330 averages. The game is adapting.
Take away batting average, and then look at Kyle Seager’s stats. In 158 games, he had 30 home runs and was one RBI away from 100. He had a .859 OPS with a .499 slugging percentage.
Stellar numbers, but as soon as you add his .278 batting average, suddenly he is not a top-five third baseman anymore.
Batting average is a great stat when looking at the history of the game. But ever since the game has added fences and the style of the game changed, batting average isn’t as relevant of a stat anymore.
My Positive Word: Total Bases
This is one of my favorite stats in all of baseball. Simple, yet complex enough to encompass a player’s offensive game.
Total bases is calculated as follows: Singles = 2x Doubles + 3x Triples + 4x Home Runs. The stat is basically supposed to tell fans how much a player hits and his power when he hits. This stat usually favors power hitters, but it is still a quality stat.
The stat is basically supposed to tell fans how much a player hits and his power when he hits. This stat usually favors power hitters, but it is still a quality stat.
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If a player were to get 210 hits, but 150 were singles and only had 50 RBI, it was still a good season, but he didn’t provide much oomph. That would tell you that you have a super-solid leadoff hitter.
But for example, if a player has over 300 total bases, that’s definitely a guy who belongs in the power hitting lineup spots. It is an easy stat that doesn’t provide a super computer to calculate.
Any stat that doesn’t look like an answer to a calculus question is a good stat in my opinion.
The argument in baseball today is,” which is better, the eye test or statistics?” The answer; neither. Baseball is a human game, played by human beings, not numbers. On the other hand, stats can provide us with more than the eye can see.
Any stat that is more complicated than counting numbers but less complicated than sabermetrics is a quality stat.