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Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:34 pm

Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs wrote a really interesting piece yesterday about Justin Masterson. We all know that his ball moves a ton, but did we know how much that actually hurts him?

But I’ve written about pitchers and their strike zones before. Conveniently, Masterson’s entire big-league career has come during the PITCHf/x era. As I’ve noted earlier, using plate-discipline data available at FanGraphs, we can calculate a difference between actual strikes and expected strikes. Pasted below is a table of the ten pitchers with the greatest negative differences per 1,000 called pitches, since 2008. Minimum 200 innings, starters only, adjusted so that the league average is zero.

Pitcher Diff/1000
Vicente Padilla -30
Ian Snell -32
Mitch Talbot -32
Jeff Niemann -34
Oliver Perez -34
Felix Hernandez -35
Glen Perkins -35
Jeremy Sowers -39
Andrew Miller -47
Justin Masterson -52

Relative to the league average, over his career, Justin Masterson has pitched to the tightest strike zone out of the sample. Because 1,000 called pitches is an unfamiliar denominator, know that Masterson has averaged about 1,815 called pitches per 200 innings. So this is a pretty extreme result we’re looking at, and it’s the sort of thing that makes you want to regress it going forward. It makes you want to blame someone other than Masterson — someone like, say, Masterson’s catchers. One wonders if this is a framing thing, since, in theory, a strike zone is a strike zone. Why should Masterson get screwed so badly?


Every year, Masterson has had way more pitches in the zone called balls than the average. Every year, Masterson has had fewer pitches out of the zone called strikes than the average. This confirms what we were talking about above — Masterson hasn’t been pitching to the same strike zone as everyone else. It makes you wonder how much better Masterson could be if the zone treated him more fairly.


http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.ph ... terson-be/

I really suggest reading the article. This is really thought-provoking stuff from Sullivan.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby pup » Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:10 pm

2 things.

1. A majority of that list is guys that have struggled to consistently throw strikes. We all know umpires are more likely to call a strike for someone consistently on the plate.

2. If I am reading the numbers right, he is "losing" about 52 strike calls per 200 innings. So 1-1.5 per start. Big freakin deal.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:36 pm

pup wrote:2. If I am reading the numbers right, he is "losing" about 52 strike calls per 200 innings. So 1-1.5 per start. Big freakin deal.


Not necessarily. Those are "expected" called strikes. So within the Pitch F/X strike zone, which is exactly the 18 inch width of the plate and, presumably, top of the knee to base of the letters in height. With variable umpire strike zones and expanding zones in 2-0 and 3-0 counts, it will be higher than 1-1.5 per start. No idea how much higher.

And, frankly, it is a "big freakin deal". The information presented here doesn't tell us the count or when these things happened.

Masterson career:

After 1-0: .269/.391/.388/.779
After 0-1: .221/.272/.314/.587

After 2-1: .257/.398/.369/.767
After 1-2: .180/.248/.266/.515

After 3-1: .350/.654/.478/1.132
After 2-2: .180/.295/.264/.559

All important counts. First pitch, 1-1 pitch, 2-1 pitch. A strike being incorrectly called a ball makes an enormous difference for a hitter.

On the surface, no, maybe it's not a high number. But, if these were charted on how they changed the complexion of an at bat, it could be a big freakin deal.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby pup » Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:45 pm

Which is my point. Could be.

They could also be on a 2-2 count for ball three and the guy grounds out to SS the next pitch.

When they want to take the time to analyze it in full and properly, it might be worth it. Otherwise, it is information for information's sake. Which is pointless at best.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:22 pm

pup wrote:Which is my point. Could be.

They could also be on a 2-2 count for ball three and the guy grounds out to SS the next pitch.

When they want to take the time to analyze it in full and properly, it might be worth it. Otherwise, it is information for information's sake. Which is pointless at best.


Sure, or it could be ball four in a 3-2 count with a runner on and two outs that extends the inning and leads to a three-run home run.

Amazing how you hate numbers so much, yet THIS is the one you call for further evaluation for. Aren't you usually the cut and dry one? Seems cut and dry that strikes being called balls will hurt. It may not hurt every time, but it will lead to more baserunners and more runs, and, in Masterson's case, more hard hit balls in play with one of the worst defensive teams in baseball in 2012 was absolutely hurtful.

Furthermore, I fail to see how this is pointless. I think even the most baseball illiterate person on the planet could realize that good pitches being called balls hurts the pitcher. I could bring up Justin Verlander's splits in different counts. Or Clayton Kershaw's. Or Cy fucking Young and I guarantee they're all going to be worse behind or even in the count than ahead in the count. And the further behind they get, the worse their splits. And the further ahead they get, the better their splits.

My point is that there is absolutely no benefit whatsoever to Masterson not getting a properly called strike zone. Whether or not the missed call is irrelevant or not, it certainly doesn't help Masterson in any way.

Cue Lead Pipe saying "Good pitchers will get hitters out regardless of the count. Masterson's not a good pitcher."
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby peeker643 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:49 pm

So clearly they can do one of a few things:

Design robots to call balls and strikes so Masterson isn't robbed this season or any others.

Fire all umpires and replace them with more qualified humans who won't be mistaken when the ball is a strike.

Tell Masterson to stop with all that dadgum movement because it's far better to throw it hard and straight so someone can call the pitch correctly.

Seriously, who cares? His ball moves. Again nothing you wouldn't know from watching the games and watching PitchTrack, etc. His ball moves A LOT. We know that. He's always had that movement and when he hasn't he gets lit up like a Jimenez.

You know what honestly may help? A PR campaign starting in the Spring and going into summer. Francona arguing balls and strikes when Masterson is on the hill starting now. Talking to the press about it, bitching about how Masterson is ALWAYS getting squeezed. Seriously. A manager with bona fides going to war right now may get the guy a bigger share of calls. A nominal amount but maybe it's that important one you mentioned.

But that's about it. Because guys ain't missing it on purpose, robots are at least another year away ;-) ;) :wink: and Masterson's ball ain't gonna move any less (nor do you want it to).

Not to mention if he's around the plate that much guys will be swinging the bat. Keep the ball at their knees instead of at their waist and you'll be fine.

I don't find the article fascinating. And that's not a slap at those who do. I'm just not wired for it and think a simple game is made a lot more complex for a lot of reasons and because there are those with motivation to make it that way for a lot of reasons.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby bookelly » Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:58 pm

I think that his relative height plus low arm angle plus sinking action fools not just the hitters, but the Umps. Bottom line is that Carlos needs to do a far better job framing his pitches for him.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby peeker643 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:05 pm

bookelly wrote:I think that his relative height plus low arm angle plus sinking action fools not just the hitters, but the Umps. Bottom line is that Carlos needs to do a far better job framing his pitches for him.


That wouldn't hurt.

Who has the numbers for the Marson/Carrasco Masterson splits?

And do those take into account whether an ump stands on inside shoulder or outside shoulder, height of ump, the umps biases toward guys born in Jamaica, etc :hide:

Okay- that 2nd part was uncalled for. But would like to know the Marson v. Others role, if any.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby hebner20 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:20 pm

There are 3 Indians on that list which seems to be way over represented vs other teams. Is it a catcher issue? Also it is 52 per1,000 called pitches and he averages 1815 per 200 innings so the per game number would be 1.8 times more than someone else stated up thread. I don't know if all the numerical analysis is all valuable. You need to understand what the numbers are telling you and perhaps the interpretation is wrong.

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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby leadpipe » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:21 pm

It ain't the movement, it's the command.

Maddux' ball moved all over the place to, and he got an inordinant amount of balls called strikes.

Be a good pitcher - get yourself some strikes. Throw it all over the place, you're just gonna have to deal with it. Way it's always been.

This also suggests that if Justin Masterson - or anyone threw the ball straighter and with less action, things would be better cause they'd get a strike and a half more per game?

By the way movement and command are what seperates good pitchers from the thousands that are currently chucking it mid 90's in the bushes that will never see the show. Masterson has one of these - take that away and he's not a major league pitcher.

And Pods, yes good pitchers will get hitters out regardless of the count, it's just a hell of a lot easier when it's in their favor. As far as Masterson being a good pitcher or not.....you tell me. Maybe our definition of a good pitcher is different. Over 4 and a half for 5 of 6 years, and damn near 5 last year suggests he isn't.

And I'll stop talking about PLAYAS as soon as we stop trying to invent them out of some sort of obscure situational stat. Justin Masterson did not struggle last year because of some strikes that became balls. You and I both know that. If he was a PLAYA last year, he gets outs. As PLAYAS do.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:28 pm

peeker643 wrote:
bookelly wrote:I think that his relative height plus low arm angle plus sinking action fools not just the hitters, but the Umps. Bottom line is that Carlos needs to do a far better job framing his pitches for him.


That wouldn't hurt.

Who has the numbers for the Marson/Carrasco Masterson splits?

And do those take into account whether an ump stands on inside shoulder or outside shoulder, height of ump, the umps biases toward guys born in Jamaica, etc :hide:

Okay- that 2nd part was uncalled for. But would like to know the Marson v. Others role, if any.


We can sort of examine the framing idea. Masterson has made 121 career starts, to a small variety of catchers. Let’s break his starts down by catcher and look at that same Diff/1000 measure, looking at strikes minus expected strikes per 1,000 called pitches. Is he just getting killed by his receivers?

Catcher GS Diff/1000
Carlin 1 18
Toregas 3 -36
Cash 2 -38
Shoppach 4 -43
Varitek 13 -45
Santana 46 -53
Marson 51 -54
Gimenez 1 -90

Obviously, we can’t make much of the guys to whom Masterson has just thrown a game or three or four. Of interest are the three regular backstops, in Jason Varitek, Carlos Santana, and Lou Marson. We see rates of -45, -53, and -54 — all miserable, and all similarly miserable. Maybe this is actually about Masterson, and not about the catchers?



If nobody else finds this interesting or of value, the thread can die. Whatever. I don't care. I found it interesting so I posted it. But anything I post that has numbers or a connection to Fangraphs is immediately devalued around here, so I'll just keep it to myself from now on. To me, it has a lot of merit, but, my baseball ideologies are vastly different than the TCF consensus.

We can continue the discussion on how racist Chief Wahoo is.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:34 pm

leadpipe wrote:And Pods, yes good pitchers will get hitters out regardless of the count, it's just a hell of a lot easier when it's in their favor. As far as Masterson being a good pitcher or not.....you tell me. Maybe our definition of a good pitcher is different. Over 4 and a half for 5 of 6 years, and damn near 5 last year suggests he isn't.

And I'll stop talking about PLAYAS as soon as we stop trying to invent them out of some sort of obscure situational stat. Justin Masterson did not struggle last year because of some strikes that became balls. You and I both know that. If he was a PLAYA last year, he gets outs. As PLAYAS do.


No, Masterson's not a PLAYA. He's the polished turd of the port-a-potty though.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby pup » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:42 pm

Why is it any time it gets to this point, it becomes either we don't understand stats (not this time) or i am taking my ball and going home?

I read the article. I see some flaws and am open to disussing how anyone thinks the flaws i brought up are handled in the analysis. You dig this stuff and have sound reasoning in all of the discussions. But you have become so caught up in stats guy vs anti-stats it cannot be a conversation. Relax and have a thread. Maybe we both come to an understanding of how both ides work.

I don't go looking for the anti-stat argument. Most of my immediate posts to these types of articles is truly a gut reaction to the initial reading.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby statmasta » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:52 pm

leadpipe wrote:It ain't the movement, it's the command.

Maddux' ball moved all over the place to, and he got an inordinant amount of balls called strikes.

Be a good pitcher - get yourself some strikes. Throw it all over the place, you're just gonna have to deal with it. Way it's always been.

This also suggests that if Justin Masterson - or anyone threw the ball straighter and with less action, things would be better cause they'd get a strike and a half more per game?

By the way movement and command are what seperates good pitchers from the thousands that are currently chucking it mid 90's in the bushes that will never see the show. Masterson has one of these - take that away and he's not a major league pitcher.

And Pods, yes good pitchers will get hitters out regardless of the count, it's just a hell of a lot easier when it's in their favor. As far as Masterson being a good pitcher or not.....you tell me. Maybe our definition of a good pitcher is different. Over 4 and a half for 5 of 6 years, and damn near 5 last year suggests he isn't.

And I'll stop talking about PLAYAS as soon as we stop trying to invent them out of some sort of obscure situational stat. Justin Masterson did not struggle last year because of some strikes that became balls. You and I both know that. If he was a PLAYA last year, he gets outs. As PLAYAS do.

Maddux also played before the QuesTec era when strike zones were wider and more inconsistent.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby e0y2e3 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:52 pm

I do find it interesting that you are taking the exact opposite read on this measurement as you did on the strikeouts not mattering that much if the other offensive numbers are solid pup.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby motherscratcher » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:02 pm

You know for sure ill find it interesting Tripods. I've just been working and haven't gotten to it yet.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:04 pm

pup wrote:Why is it any time it gets to this point, it becomes either we don't understand stats (not this time) or i am taking my ball and going home?

I read the article. I see some flaws and am open to disussing how anyone thinks the flaws i brought up are handled in the analysis. You dig this stuff and have sound reasoning in all of the discussions. But you have become so caught up in stats guy vs anti-stats it cannot be a conversation. Relax and have a thread. Maybe we both come to an understanding of how both ides work.

I don't go looking for the anti-stat argument. Most of my immediate posts to these types of articles is truly a gut reaction to the initial reading.


It's not that you guys don't understand stats, it's the condescending manner in which they are discredited. Then, when I try to use sabermetric logic to find hidden value or an edge in a player, it all falls back on the consensus of how this guy sucks or how he still isn't good enough. No shit Michael Bourn's not going to have an .800 OPS or hit 10 home runs. No shit Drew Stubbs might as well go to the plate against a righty with a boat oar. No shit Justin Masterson doesn't get called strikes because of his movement and how erratic he is. I know all of that, because I'm not only immersed in sabermetrics. I also watch every single game.

I hate to break it to all of you, but this is how the Indians front office operates. I said in a previous thread that when I post things, more often than not, it's generally from what I believe the front office's perspective to be. It doesn't mean I agree with it 100%, but seeing it from their perspective makes it a lot easier to understand.

They probably have run values attached to pitches that are either balls or strikes in every count. I assure you that they know, or are working on, finding out how much the strike zone for Masterson is affecting his performance. Like you guys have said, he is erratic. His stuff moves a ton. It's very difficult for the home plate umpire to call. The Indians know all of that as well. None of us are wrong.

I know exactly what you're saying, Pup. I'm also fully aware that 7 times out of 10, the guy's probably not getting a hit in that at bat anyway. I also know that no sabermetric stat is perfect and there are flaws to every single one of them. But, for better or for worse, this analytic, statistical environment is the way baseball players are evaluated nowadays by those who make the decisions.

It's not anti-stats, Pup. It's that the stats posts don't get any respect and I'm left to go to battle for them all the time to try and stand up for my point, generally, on an island by myself. So, forgive me if I get defensive about it.

I don't really need stats to tell me if a guy sucks or not. That tends to show up over the eye test. But, that's not enough for me. I need to know why. And I need to know why from a statistical perspective. Because that's what my favorite team does and it gives me more perspective.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby bookelly » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:21 pm

I like the stats stuff. Keep it up!
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:34 pm

Another thought occurred to me while I was walking my dog, so I'll add an addendum. Pup, guys like you and LP played the game. Your perspective is different than mine. I played one year of baseball as a kid. I played hockey in high school, but I wasn't very good, mostly because I didn't start playing until I was 14. A lot of athletes or former athletes probably do look down on the sabermetric crowd. I've seen most of the pictures of the guys who write for Fangraphs and other sites. Most of them didn't play. They're numbers guys. Geeks.

There's a natural discontent between my perspective and yours. I get that. I'm not saying you look down on my posts or anything like that, but, you've got the on-field perspective that I don't. It's why sabrists champion Brandon McCarthy so much, because he read statistical analysis and sabermetrics to realize that he needed to induce more ground balls and upgrade his K/BB ratio. He did just that. He stopped walking people and let them hit the ball. As a result (and yes, pitching in Oakland helped), he resurrected his career. Staying healthy has been his biggest issue.

You can argue that, yes, as a pitcher, you know ground balls are good and walks are bad. That's very obvious. What set him apart was that he made a concerted effort to change from a fly ball pitcher to a ground ball pitcher because he saw how much value there was in it.

Here's the article from ESPN the Magazine: http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/76022 ... n-magazine

There's no reason we can't both be right on something. I'm not saying that. What I am saying is that I don't think you and some others really take the time to try to understand the sabermetric stuff I post about. The concepts aren't easy, and you may not care. But, like I said, for me, it's about perspective. If you don't want that perspective, I shouldn't try to force it on you. If I come across that way, my apologies.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby motherscratcher » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:40 pm

Really cool read, Tripods. Of course, as a baseball fan, we know that framing is a "thing". But I never imagined it would potentially have the impact that this article is suggesting that it does (or might have). Have you read any of the catcher framing analysis that he refers to?
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby leadpipe » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:45 pm

statmasta wrote:
leadpipe wrote:It ain't the movement, it's the command.

Maddux' ball moved all over the place to, and he got an inordinant amount of balls called strikes.

Be a good pitcher - get yourself some strikes. Throw it all over the place, you're just gonna have to deal with it. Way it's always been.

This also suggests that if Justin Masterson - or anyone threw the ball straighter and with less action, things would be better cause they'd get a strike and a half more per game?

By the way movement and command are what seperates good pitchers from the thousands that are currently chucking it mid 90's in the bushes that will never see the show. Masterson has one of these - take that away and he's not a major league pitcher.

And Pods, yes good pitchers will get hitters out regardless of the count, it's just a hell of a lot easier when it's in their favor. As far as Masterson being a good pitcher or not.....you tell me. Maybe our definition of a good pitcher is different. Over 4 and a half for 5 of 6 years, and damn near 5 last year suggests he isn't.

And I'll stop talking about PLAYAS as soon as we stop trying to invent them out of some sort of obscure situational stat. Justin Masterson did not struggle last year because of some strikes that became balls. You and I both know that. If he was a PLAYA last year, he gets outs. As PLAYAS do.

Maddux also played before the QuesTec era when strike zones were wider and more inconsistent.


Based on what? Your opinion?

Isn't this thread discussing an article that was written about 10 minutes ago concerning stikes that weren't called strikes?

Not to mention the fact that if you don't understand that guys consistently around the plate get more calls than those not - it's only been happening for the entire history of the f'ing game - than I can't help you out.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby statmasta » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:47 pm

leadpipe wrote:
statmasta wrote:
leadpipe wrote:It ain't the movement, it's the command.

Maddux' ball moved all over the place to, and he got an inordinant amount of balls called strikes.

Be a good pitcher - get yourself some strikes. Throw it all over the place, you're just gonna have to deal with it. Way it's always been.

This also suggests that if Justin Masterson - or anyone threw the ball straighter and with less action, things would be better cause they'd get a strike and a half more per game?

By the way movement and command are what seperates good pitchers from the thousands that are currently chucking it mid 90's in the bushes that will never see the show. Masterson has one of these - take that away and he's not a major league pitcher.

And Pods, yes good pitchers will get hitters out regardless of the count, it's just a hell of a lot easier when it's in their favor. As far as Masterson being a good pitcher or not.....you tell me. Maybe our definition of a good pitcher is different. Over 4 and a half for 5 of 6 years, and damn near 5 last year suggests he isn't.

And I'll stop talking about PLAYAS as soon as we stop trying to invent them out of some sort of obscure situational stat. Justin Masterson did not struggle last year because of some strikes that became balls. You and I both know that. If he was a PLAYA last year, he gets outs. As PLAYAS do.

Maddux also played before the QuesTec era when strike zones were wider and more inconsistent.


Based on what? Your opinion?

Isn't this thread discussing an article that was written about 10 minutes ago concerning stikes that weren't called strikes?

Not to mention the fact that if you don't understand that guys consistently around the plate get more calls than those not - it's only been happening for the entire history of the f'ing game - than I can't help you out.

Well Maddux's prime coming before the QuesTec era is a fact. And the reason QuesTec was installed was to tighten up the zone and making it more consistent between all the umpires.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby statmasta » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:50 pm

motherscratcher wrote:Really cool read, Tripods. Of course, as a baseball fan, we know that framing is a "thing". But I never imagined it would potentially have the impact that this article is suggesting that it does (or might have). Have you read any of the catcher framing analysis that he refers to?

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/a/18896

This particular article is just about Jose Molina, the best in the business at framing.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby peeker643 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:59 pm

leadpipe wrote:
statmasta wrote:
leadpipe wrote:It ain't the movement, it's the command.

Maddux' ball moved all over the place to, and he got an inordinant amount of balls called strikes.

Be a good pitcher - get yourself some strikes. Throw it all over the place, you're just gonna have to deal with it. Way it's always been.

This also suggests that if Justin Masterson - or anyone threw the ball straighter and with less action, things would be better cause they'd get a strike and a half more per game?

By the way movement and command are what seperates good pitchers from the thousands that are currently chucking it mid 90's in the bushes that will never see the show. Masterson has one of these - take that away and he's not a major league pitcher.

And Pods, yes good pitchers will get hitters out regardless of the count, it's just a hell of a lot easier when it's in their favor. As far as Masterson being a good pitcher or not.....you tell me. Maybe our definition of a good pitcher is different. Over 4 and a half for 5 of 6 years, and damn near 5 last year suggests he isn't.

And I'll stop talking about PLAYAS as soon as we stop trying to invent them out of some sort of obscure situational stat. Justin Masterson did not struggle last year because of some strikes that became balls. You and I both know that. If he was a PLAYA last year, he gets outs. As PLAYAS do.

Maddux also played before the QuesTec era when strike zones were wider and more inconsistent.


Based on what? Your opinion?

Isn't this thread discussing an article that was written about 10 minutes ago concerning stikes that weren't called strikes?

Not to mention the fact that if you don't understand that guys consistently around the plate get more calls than those not - it's only been happening for the entire history of the f'ing game - than I can't help you out.


Truth.

The fact strike zones were not measurable until recently has absolutely nothing to do at all with how strikes were called before the technology. For all we know, with the exception of Eric Gregg ;-) ;) :wink: ) every single ump before Questec was dead-nuts perfect on balls and strikes.

And while that's clearly not the case, there is not one single bit of QuesTec evidence that shows that's not the case.

There's a ton of factors in play, including Masterson's (and countless others) erratic offerings. But the game has made a concerted effort to increase offense up to and including allowing guys to open pharmaceutical stores in the clubhouse. With that option "eliminated" there's more focus on strikes being actual strikes and therefore more success for guys who can dot an "I" consistently with their pitches or at least throw it pretty much where they want it.

King Felix is on that list Adam provided. He's okay. What do all the others have in common? They're marginal guys who, in some cases, have had year(s) where being marginal and erratic was marginalized?
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby motherscratcher » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:04 pm

And to your earlier point, Peek...I think you were kidding, but I'm not when I say I would absolutely welcome our robot umpire overlords.

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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby 1Perry » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:13 pm

While I simply can't get into the numbers the way skates does I do get a kick reading how excited he gets over them. Please, that is not a knock either.

So since I am not going to read all the numbers I will read an opinion on them.

This article is saying that Masterson's ball moving so much is bad because it causes him to lose a strike call now and then? Is that the basis?

Seems to me that if it didn't move so much that it would get hit far more often, so that strike he misses out on would have some sort of odds of being a base hit.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby leadpipe » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:13 pm

skatingtripods wrote:
pup wrote:Why is it any time it gets to this point, it becomes either we don't understand stats (not this time) or i am taking my ball and going home?

I read the article. I see some flaws and am open to disussing how anyone thinks the flaws i brought up are handled in the analysis. You dig this stuff and have sound reasoning in all of the discussions. But you have become so caught up in stats guy vs anti-stats it cannot be a conversation. Relax and have a thread. Maybe we both come to an understanding of how both ides work.

I don't go looking for the anti-stat argument. Most of my immediate posts to these types of articles is truly a gut reaction to the initial reading.


It's not that you guys don't understand stats, it's the condescending manner in which they are discredited. Then, when I try to use sabermetric logic to find hidden value or an edge in a player, it all falls back on the consensus of how this guy sucks or how he still isn't good enough. No shit Michael Bourn's not going to have an .800 OPS or hit 10 home runs. No shit Drew Stubbs might as well go to the plate against a righty with a boat oar. No shit Justin Masterson doesn't get called strikes because of his movement and how erratic he is. I know all of that, because I'm not only immersed in sabermetrics. I also watch every single game.

I hate to break it to all of you, but this is how the Indians front office operates. I said in a previous thread that when I post things, more often than not, it's generally from what I believe the front office's perspective to be. It doesn't mean I agree with it 100%, but seeing it from their perspective makes it a lot easier to understand.

They probably have run values attached to pitches that are either balls or strikes in every count. I assure you that they know, or are working on, finding out how much the strike zone for Masterson is affecting his performance. Like you guys have said, he is erratic. His stuff moves a ton. It's very difficult for the home plate umpire to call. The Indians know all of that as well. None of us are wrong.

I know exactly what you're saying, Pup. I'm also fully aware that 7 times out of 10, the guy's probably not getting a hit in that at bat anyway. I also know that no sabermetric stat is perfect and there are flaws to every single one of them. But, for better or for worse, this analytic, statistical environment is the way baseball players are evaluated nowadays by those who make the decisions.

It's not anti-stats, Pup. It's that the stats posts don't get any respect and I'm left to go to battle for them all the time to try and stand up for my point, generally, on an island by myself. So, forgive me if I get defensive about it.

I don't really need stats to tell me if a guy sucks or not. That tends to show up over the eye test. But, that's not enough for me. I need to know why. And I need to know why from a statistical perspective. Because that's what my favorite team does and it gives me more perspective.


Funny you bring up condescension, cause I look at it the other way - stats guy has been more condescending on these boards than traditional guy, ILO.

Just that the number of stat guys on this site took their balls and went home - not because of guys ragging on numbers - because after they flippantly told people how things were going to go based on numbers, once these things didn't pan out, they didn't like the heat.

Not to bring back a classic, but the Andy Marte debacle chased 2 or 3 on it's own. Yeah, minor league numbers are a pretty good indicator if you know how to use them - but once a guy has been a disaster before your eyes for the better part of two years, it's time to put down the calculator and face the facts. But guys dug themselves too deep. I said Marte wasn't going to hit, was treated like a Neandrathal cause I wasn't paying attention to his A ball stats.

I'm interested in seeing the numbers of young players. I'm interested in seeing numbers from guys I can't see much. I don't find it necessary to see many numbers on guys I can watch every day - aside from a few that may confirm or refute what I see. But what I'm starting to see now are things akin to the old "football wagering trend that has 75 components. You know the old 9-0 in there last 9 home games against AFC teams coming off consecutive losses on the road after traveling from the west coast on rainy days.

I saw Justin Masterosn pitch a ton over the last few years. And he pitches like a guy that has little command. I know guys with little command naturally get squeezed. I know he's not that great at getting outs. Lefties are comfortable against him. Don't need a stat to tell me this nor do I need a stat that tries to tell me the opposite.

By the way Adam, I don't consider you "stat guy" that are obtuse like some on this site. Kuip and Nosco come to mind. There's a difference between enjoying stats as a part of the game, and allowing them to dominate your entire train of thought - and keeping you from actually watching the games.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby peeker643 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:15 pm

I think we should use SOAP

Subjective- Masterson appears to be erratic, misses spots high, low in and out when I see him pitch.

Objective- Yep, testing and stats ( and many 5-run innings allowed)show he's erratic as well and that he may not get benefit of machine-called strikes from non-machines.

Assesment- Masterson is erratic and it hurts him in many ways.

Plan- Stop being being erratic because there's empirical and subjective evidence that it hurts your performance, your future and your bank account.

All done.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby pod2dawg » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:16 pm

bookelly wrote:I like the stats stuff. Keep it up!


Me too. It does give insight as to how the FO thinks.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby leadpipe » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:17 pm

statmasta wrote:
leadpipe wrote:
statmasta wrote:
leadpipe wrote:It ain't the movement, it's the command.

Maddux' ball moved all over the place to, and he got an inordinant amount of balls called strikes.

Be a good pitcher - get yourself some strikes. Throw it all over the place, you're just gonna have to deal with it. Way it's always been.

This also suggests that if Justin Masterson - or anyone threw the ball straighter and with less action, things would be better cause they'd get a strike and a half more per game?

By the way movement and command are what seperates good pitchers from the thousands that are currently chucking it mid 90's in the bushes that will never see the show. Masterson has one of these - take that away and he's not a major league pitcher.

And Pods, yes good pitchers will get hitters out regardless of the count, it's just a hell of a lot easier when it's in their favor. As far as Masterson being a good pitcher or not.....you tell me. Maybe our definition of a good pitcher is different. Over 4 and a half for 5 of 6 years, and damn near 5 last year suggests he isn't.

And I'll stop talking about PLAYAS as soon as we stop trying to invent them out of some sort of obscure situational stat. Justin Masterson did not struggle last year because of some strikes that became balls. You and I both know that. If he was a PLAYA last year, he gets outs. As PLAYAS do.

Maddux also played before the QuesTec era when strike zones were wider and more inconsistent.


Based on what? Your opinion?

Isn't this thread discussing an article that was written about 10 minutes ago concerning stikes that weren't called strikes?

Not to mention the fact that if you don't understand that guys consistently around the plate get more calls than those not - it's only been happening for the entire history of the f'ing game - than I can't help you out.

Well Maddux's prime coming before the QuesTec era is a fact. And the reason QuesTec was installed was to tighten up the zone and making it more consistent between all the umpires.


Yeah, to my point - the single fact you cited means nothing.

And if you think a Greg Maddux in his prime still isn't getting a ton of marginal pitches called strikes you're a GD moron.

Questtec Shestec. Good pitchers get close pitches, bad pitches...maybe.

Forever.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby GodHatesClevelandSport » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:19 pm

Masterson may or may not get one or two strikes a game called balls by the umps.

Baseball remains a game of inches, though.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:42 pm

leadpipe wrote:Just that the number of stat guys on this site took their balls and went home - not because of guys ragging on numbers - because after they flippantly told people how things were going to go based on numbers, once these things didn't pan out, they didn't like the heat.

Not to bring back a classic, but the Andy Marte debacle chased 2 or 3 on it's own. Yeah, minor league numbers are a pretty good indicator if you know how to use them - but once a guy has been a disaster before your eyes for the better part of two years, it's time to put down the calculator and face the facts. But guys dug themselves too deep. I said Marte wasn't going to hit, was treated like a Neandrathal cause I wasn't paying attention to his A ball stats.


I don't buy in to minor league stats a lot, so we're on the same page in that regard. In that instance, I'd much rather get a scouting report from somebody who has seen that guy rather than try to project him with statistics. Too many park factor issues and varying individual talent levels to bother with getting a hard-on about minor league stats.

I saw Carlos Santana a few times in Akron when I was at UA. I didn't know about his stats, I didn't care. I sat behind home plate and watched his pitch selection. I heard the way the ball came off his bat. I also saw his catching problems. I knew he could hit and could get on base. I didn't need stats to tell me that.

By the way Adam, I don't consider you "stat guy" that are obtuse like some on this site. Kuip and Nosco come to mind. There's a difference between enjoying stats as a part of the game, and allowing them to dominate your entire train of thought - and keeping you from actually watching the games.


Thanks, I think.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby skatingtripods » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:46 pm

1Perry wrote:This article is saying that Masterson's ball moving so much is bad because it causes him to lose a strike call now and then? Is that the basis?


To an extent. Sullivan posted an article on catcher framing today, so it seems like the Masterson article got him thinking a lot more about that. I guess, if I had to sum up the article, between Masterson's movement and a lack of catcher framing, he has the tightest strike zone over the last five years of the guys who have thrown 1,000 called pitches. So pitches that weren't swung at, minimum 200 IP.

Seems to me that if it didn't move so much that it would get hit far more often, so that strike he misses out on would have some sort of odds of being a base hit.


Maybe. Maybe not.

My issue with his smaller strike zone is related to the splits I posted about up above. If it's a pitch in a swing count (0-0, 1-1, 2-1), it makes a big difference if he doesn't get the call.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby 1Perry » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:38 pm

So how much of a role does the catcher play in this?
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby skatingtripods » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:00 pm

1Perry wrote:So how much of a role does the catcher play in this?


Hard to say. In a piece for his Lookout Landing blog, Sullivan ranked Santana as the 5th-worst catcher at framing pitches.

Research from 2008 by Dan Turkenkopf found that a strike incorrectly called a ball cost 0.13 runs on average.

From Mike Fast's late September 2011 article for Baseball Prospectus, the spreadsheet shows that Santana's pitch framing cost Indians pitchers 88 strikes over the 2011 season. Marson cost his pitchers 77 strikes.

I think I'm reading that correctly. Using the 0.13 runs from the Turkenkopf article, the data would suggest that Santana and Marson's poor framing skills cost the Indians 21.45 runs in 2011.

While I appreciate the amount of work put into this by all the writers involved, I'm still a little skeptical. Using a static definition of the strike zone doesn't seem right to me. Every plate umpire has variances to the strike zone and every pitcher deals with that at some point. Some guys call the low strike, of course that'd help Masterson. If a guy has a higher zone, that'll affect Masterson negatively. Using a static definition of the zone takes out plate umpire variance.

So, overall, I don't think it's all on the catchers, but it's really not surprising that Santana isn't a good receiver.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby WiscTribeFan » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:20 pm

I'm calling for a board-wide ban on the term 'playa'.

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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby googleeph2 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:27 pm

(in my best motherscratcher voice)

Hm, movement or command...

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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby 1Perry » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:02 pm

skatingtripods wrote:
1Perry wrote:So how much of a role does the catcher play in this?


Hard to say. In a piece for his Lookout Landing blog, Sullivan ranked Santana as the 5th-worst catcher at framing pitches.


Thanks for the reply. So are there stats that state how many balls are incorrectly called strikes?
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby skatingtripods » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:16 pm

1Perry wrote:
skatingtripods wrote:
1Perry wrote:So how much of a role does the catcher play in this?


Hard to say. In a piece for his Lookout Landing blog, Sullivan ranked Santana as the 5th-worst catcher at framing pitches.


Thanks for the reply. So are there stats that state how many balls are incorrectly called strikes?


The Masterson article has percentages. I'm sure I could track down the total number of called pitches, but here's the chart and background:

zTkB% = Masterson's percentage of pitches in strike zone called balls
Lg zTkB% = league average percentage of pitches in strike zone called balls
oTkS% = Masterson's percentage of pitches outside zone called strikes
Lg oTkS% = league average percentage of pitches outside zone called strikes

For support, we can also look at some numbers generated by Matthew Carruth and made available at StatCorner. StatCorner shows a pitcher’s rate of pitches in the strike zone taken for balls, and also a pitcher’s rate of pitches out of the strike zone taken for strikes. Here are Masterson’s rates, as a starter, against the league averages:

Year zTkB% Lg zTkB% oTkS% Lg oTkS%
2008 26% 20% 8% 8%
2009 24% 18% 6% 8%
2010 21% 16% 5% 8%
2011 22% 16% 5% 7%
2012 19% 15% 5% 7%


Sorry for the formatting. I tried to fix it.
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Re: Fascinating Justin Masterson Article

Unread postby 1Perry » Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:09 pm

Thanks. If I read that right, the umps are screwing him over on both counts. Seems like a situation that Francona needs to address ASAP with the umps.
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