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Pitchers Dominance Factor…..

June 24, 2011

A new stat? Ya baseball needs another one I know. However, as a former pitcher, and a professed lifelong stat head I have always been enamored with stats that have meaning. Stats where the smallest difference in numbers equate to major differences in talent. Give me a pitcher with a career ERA of 2, 3, 4 and 5 and I’ll show you a Hall of Famer, a great pitcher, an average pitcher pitcher and a journeyman. Put into dollars speak ones an 18 million dollar a year guy, while another is a career minor league guy praying for a shot in someone’s long relief role. A scant 2 numbers separate a world of talent.

I think I found another number, another stat, that can be used to determine the most truly dominant pitching seasons the game has ever seen, with the potential to go even farther and tab the most dominant pitchers ever.

First the why, or how, or both. A pitchers job is to win games (well a starting pitcher anyway). To win games you have to give up 1 fewer run than the other guy. That’s IF you go all 9, if not your staff has to help. But for arguments sake we’re talking starting pitchers. The key to giving up fewer runs is to give up fewer base runners. This statistic is 100% devoid of Wins as an impacting factor. While that doesn’t completely sit right with me it works. It works because we are trying to determine what one guy, who has almost total control of these stats, does over the course of a season compared to the ‘other guys’ at his position, in the same league.

A couple of stats to get used to:

WHIP = The number of walks and hits per inning a pitcher allows.

BR9 = the number of base runners per 9 innings a pitcher allows. Created by multiplying a pitchers WHIP by 9

ERA = Earned Run Average (total number of runs that pitcher averages giving up for every 9 innings they pitch)

TOA = Total Offense Against (Adding a pitchers ERA to their BR9)

PDF = Pitchers Dominance Factor is calculated as follows:

Take the leagues Starters ERA (Only the starting pitchers ERA! Very important!) and add the leagues Starters BR9.

Then take your pitchers ERA added to HIS BR9. You will end up with two numbers, the first we call the Leagues Total offense against, or LTOA, and the second number is that pitchers PTOA. Now subtract the PTOA from the LTOA. As a formula it looks like this: League ERA+BR9 – Starters ERA+BR9.

The resulting number is that pitchers Pitcher Dominance Factor, or PDF.

Here’s why I think it works. Think about some of the most dominating seasons by starting pitchers, ever.

Sandy Koufax had what many consider the greatest 5 year run by a starting pitcher. In 5 years he put up the following numbers:

1962 14-7 2.54 ERA 9.27 BR9 11.81 PTOA

1963 25-5 1.88 ERA 7.88 BR9 9.755 PTOA

1964 19-5 1.76 ERA 8.43 BR9 10.19 PTOA

1965 26-8 2.04 ERA 7.71 BR9 9.76 PTOA

1966 27-9 1.73 ERA 8.86 BR9 10.595 PTOA

Nothing can change the fact that these were, and always will be, incredible seasons, the win loss record in 64, 65 and 66 alone is amazing. Here’s where it gets interesting. Sandy’s PDF for those 5 years? 4.30, 4.48, 4.62, 5.07 and 4.32.

To put some context around those, relative to that era, consider another season, Bob Gibson’s 1968. Considered by many the most dominating season by a starting pitcher ever. 22-9 with an other-worldly 1.12 ERA, and a BR9 of 7.68. His PDF that year? 4.80.

The reason I think this is relevant is this. Their numbers are a calculated against what their respective league averages were in those seasons. Yes Gibsons ’68 was incredible, but it was also a season in which the LEAGUE WIDE starters ERA that year was, get this, 2.97! To put that in context the National League this year  has a starters ERA of 3.94! If that holds up it will be the lowest ERA by NL starters since 1992 when it was 3.54.

The ERA for the National League starters during Koufax’s run was 3.99, 3.28, 3.56, 3.62 and 3.63.

Let’s skip ahead to some guys we may have actually been alive to watch. Remember Ron Guidry’s 1978 season? 25-3, 1.74 and a BR9 of 8.52 for a PTOA of 10.25. His PDF that year was 5.57.

For what it’s worth that appears to be near the margin of greatest ever or once in a decade type seasons. Any season a starter manages a PDF over 6 is very rare.

Since 1960 there have been a total of 14 seasons by 7 starting pitchers with a PDF of 6+. Pedro 5 times (4 AL 1 NL) Maddux 2, Santana 1, RJ 2 (1 AL 1 NL), Clemens 1, Sabathia 1 (NL, though in my opinion the cutoff for starters should be either the ERA qualifying number of innings, 162, or something like 180 (30 starts with a 6IP avg)), Kevin Brown 2.

The top seasons and some cool other stuff to think about?

Those 7 guys are the only starters in the game, over the last 51 years, to manage a PDF of 6+, with Pedro’s moonshot of 10.14 far and away the best PDF ever recorded in the AL. Again, fwiw, the ONLY 8+ ever is also his, and it was the 8.05 PDF he recorded in the season prior to his 2000, 1999.

The best NL PDF, and only other season in the past 51 to surpass 7, is Madduxs’ 1995 score of 7.49.

2000 Pedro Martinez 18-6 1.74 ERA 6.64 BR9 (Ok a few things here. This line is so beyond comprehension it’s almost laughable. Pedro gave up a TOTAL of 6.64 base runners PER NINE INNINGS! In a year when the league AVERAGE for starters was 13.42 base runners per 9….. Think about that a second. It’s also, by a wide margin, the most dominating season ever by a starting pitcher as his PDF checks in at 10.14. No pitcher since 1960 has ever approached a 10+ PDF, and for what it’s worth Pedro’s 1999 season is the second best as well, coming in at 8.09!

The LTOA in 2000 was 18.51 (starters ERA of 5.10 plus BR 9 of 13.42 = 18.52) and Pedro’s PTOA was 8.38! Giving him a 10.14 PDF. Unreal and unmatched.

1995 Greg Maddux 19-2 1.53 ERA 7.299 BR9 = 8.829 PTOA. NLTOA was 16.42 (4.20 ERA, 12.22 BR9) resulting in a PDF of 7.59.

1997 Pedro Martinez (Yep, him again, and now maybe you can understand why what he did during his run is considered the most dominating performance in history) 17-8 1.90 ERA 8.388 BR9 for a PTOA of 10.288 versus a LTOA of 16.36 leading to a PDF of 6.07.

Not only did he have 3 of the best pitching seasons in the game during his run, but they are 3 of the most dominating seasons by a pitcher ever in my opinion.

1978 Ron Guidry 25-3 1.74 ERA 8.514 BR9 for a PTOA of 10.25. ALTOA was 15.83 for a 5.58 PDF.

1985 Doc Gooden (not sure you can forget this season if you got a chance to see it). 24-4 1.53 ERA 8.68 BR9 for a PTOA of 10.215. The NLTOA was 15.21 for a PDF of 4.99, 5 if you want to round up…

The beauty of this for me is the simplicity of the scale. 10 is “Perfect” in a sense, it’s only ever been done once and few have even approached this level, ever.

As an FYI I’ve started to work on relievers as well, and at first glance it appears the same scale, with 10 being other worldly, works. Dennis Eckersley, in 1990, had an ERA of 0.62 and a baserunners per 9 of 5.526 for a PTOA of 6.16. AL Relievers that year had a 3.59 ERA and a base runners per 9 of 12.18 for a LTOA of 15.77. Eck’s PDF? 9.63.

Eric Gagne’s 2003 season, 1.20 ERA and BR9 of 6.228 gave him a PTOA of 7.43 against an NL relievers LTOA of 16.80 for a PDF of 9.37.

As with any data or statistics there will be outliers. In looking at the top 25 PDF seasons from each league since 1960 it becomes very clear that to make this list you have to do a few things.

1) Be a power pitcher with very good to great control

2) NOT walk people

3) Strike people out

Two names on this list will absolutely jump out at you as being ‘not like the others’.

2002 Derek Lowe? Nothing against Dlowe, the kid has always been a VERY good pitcher, but a 5+ season from a guy that’s a ground ball pitcher and doesn’t K a ton of guys is odd, very rare actually. He didn’t strike a ton of guys out, 127 in 210 innings and his K/BB ratio was just 2.65 to 1. This list is chock full of power and command pitchers, Derek is neither but his ability to keep the ball on the ground and the 2nd best BB/9 ratio of his long career are big factors in his one 5+ season. I would also bet his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) that year was totally out of the realm of normalcy for his stats, and against the league. For what it’s worth his PDF in 2002 was 5.59.

Another outlier, which I had thought was a 5+ but seems it was not, is someone I would bet NO ONE outside the windy city has ever heard of. Joe Horlen? He checks in with a 1964 season of 5.40, which in itself is an awesome year. A very pedestrian 13-9 won/loss record with just 138 K’s in 210 2/3 innings. A nice, but relatively unspectacular 2.5 to 1 K/BB ratio. The magic in that season was his 1.83 ERA and the fact that he only gave up 142 hits in those 210+ IP.

But outside of those seasons, and a few other by guys you may have forgotten, Juan Guzmans 1996, Cal Eldred?, ya his 1992 season, and a few other guys, the top 10 seasons reads like a who’s who of dominating starting pitching. Pedro is all over the lists, RJ, Clemens, Maddux, Kevin Brown, Jason Schmidts 2003 season and Kevin Millwoods 1994 season make an appearance.

The top 14 seasons in the NL are all 1994 or later with the 15th being J.R. Richards 1980 season at 5.41 sneaking in. The top 15 in the AL are 1989 or later, with Saberhagens ’89 season being the only pre’92 season in the bunch.

Some other cool seasons to look at.

In 1998 Randy Johnson pitching for the Seattle Mariners was 9-10 with a 4.11 and a PTOA of 15.93. His PDF was 1.78. After being traded to Houston he went 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA for a PTOA of 10.1 and a PDF of 6.72! That gives you some idea of the difference in 5 points of PTOA, the Randy in Seattle was a league average guy with a PDF of 1.78 and the Houston RJ was a Cy Young candidate with a PDF of 6.72. Granted that was only a half season of data but the point remains that a 1-2 point spread in PDF results in vastly different pitcher controlled stats like WHIP an ERA.

It appears that when you start hitting the 4 number for PDF you are in serious Cy Young territory. In fact that’s a great test to run through, creating the PDF of the Cy Young finishers for the past 15-20 years and I would bet you’ll see some injustices:)

In 2010 Felix Hernandez goes 13-12 with an ERA of 2.27 and a BR9 of 9.51 for a PTOA of 11.78. His PDF? 4.32.

How does a guy with 13 wins get the Cy? Look at the runners up in 2010. Their PDFs show a difference, favoring Felix by a pretty decent margin.

David Price goes 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA and a BR9 of 10.71 for a PTOA of 13.42 and a PDF of 2.90.
CC Sabathia goes 21-7 with a 3.18 and a BR9 of 10.71 for a PTOA of 13.99 and a PDF of 2.33.

Interestingly down in 6th place Clay Bucholz goes 17-7 with a 2.33 and a BR9 of 10.8 for a PTOA of 13.13 and a PDF of 3.19.

Trevor Cahill in 9th place goes 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA and a BR9 of 9.972 for a PTOA of 12.94 and a PDF of 3.38.

In 2009 Zack Greinke goes 16-8, a good record but in prior years the win total likely takes him out of contention. His 2.16 ERA and BR9 of 9.657 create a PTOA of 11.82 and that creates a PDF of 4.80. Cy runner up? Felix Hernandez, 19-5 with a 2.49 ERA and a BR9 of 10.21 for a PTOA of 12.71 and a PDF of 3.91. Discounting wins (which cannot, in  my opinion ever be totally discounted) and you’ve got a almost a full point of PDF difference between the 1st and 2nd place finishers.

Want to see an injustice?

Pedro Martinez goes 20-4 with a 2.26 ERA, BR9 of 8.307 and a PTOA of 10.57 for a PDF of 6.37. Insane year (matched btw by Clemens 97 season in Toronto), not for the season but of all time.

He finishes 2nd to Barry Zito, who don’t get me wrong, had an awesome season at 23-5 with a 2.75 with a 10.22 BR9 for a PTOA of 12.97, but his PDF ends up at 3.96.

Those two years aren’t even close from a pure dominance perspective. Zito had a great season, but a season matched or surpassed in dominance by a significant amount of pitchers in the past decade. Pedro had a season only maybe 5 guys were ever more dominant, and he was 2 of them! In fact I’ve looked at 20+ seasons of dominance from starters, most recommended when I asked people to give me their ‘top seasons ever’ and the only 2 seasons I’ve checked a pitcher out that saw them with a PDF below Zito’s was Tom Seavers 1969 season where he registered a PDF of 3.55 and David Cones 20-3 1988 season where he registered a 2.44 PDF.

As a starting pitcher wins were the ONLY thing that ever mattered. It took a few years as a young pitcher to get it, but the fact was that on the day I got the ball, if we won, it was all good, no matter how I pitched. And you play the game to win, but starting pitchers are sometimes removed from the equation. Be it through an inept offense, bad defense, an opponent that shuts down your offense. There are a ton of factors that are outside the control of the pitcher, but giving up base runners and allowing runs are about the only things you can ‘totally’ control (recognizing the umpire, score keeper and your defense will always have some sort of impact on those two factors).

There are many things to work out, sort out and talk through and I am sure the Sabermetric folks are going to chime in. Let me say that there was a frenzy to get this updated and Randal Robles of Elias, as well as the slew of incredible stat guys at ESPN’s Baseball Tonight chipped in mightily. To that end there are some decimals off here and there that I noticed in trying to tie this up. I am sure there will be no shortage of folks ‘fixing’ and correcting.

My other thoughts are, and in no particular order. I want to do this for the great relievers, to see where they shake out after quickly checking the two seasons that came to mind for Gagne and Eck. I would be big dollars Riveras’ going to show up more than once.

It appears that it’s ‘easier’, if that’s the right word, to have a potentially high PDF over the past 30 or so years than it was in the 60’s and 70’s and I am not sure how to weigh that. Given these occurred mostly during the Steroid Era it makes sense, since looking at league ERA’s and WHIP’s will clearly spell out the massive offensive surge that accompanied the plethora of cheaters we now know played during those years. I don’t think that diminishes anything (except for the pitchers that were juicing that showed up on these lists as well, I’d likely just remove their numbers if doing this as a barometer of greatness).

I am working out how to ‘explain’ what this number ultimately says. I do believe it marks the greatest pitching seasons in the modern history of the game. To make this list you had to be a power pitcher that didn’t allow many baserunners (Hence the exclusion anywhere on either list of the greatest strikeout pitcher that ever lived in Nolan Ryan). Not sure anyone ever considered Greg Maddux a “power pitcher” but I do know, from first hand experience, he was better than anyone I ever saw except Pedro at not allowing baserunners.

I also think it’s a pretty cool way to put guys now, in season, in perspective. I was told the top two guys in MLB right now in PDF are Cole Hamels at 1, and Doc Halladay at 2, which I will try to firm up. That the Phils have the top 2 is telling, and likely scary, for the rest of the league.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2011 10:05 am

    It looks a very good stat but I have one question about BR9 – you’re calculating it as WHIP*9, but WHIP doesn’t include Hit By Pitches. If you include HBP in the BR9 calculations does it make much difference? Theoretically if you have a pitcher who throws inside a lot and is dominant he could have a lot of baserunners from hitting them giving him a lower WHIP and therefore a lower BR9.

  2. June 24, 2011 10:31 am

    After his decade-long campaign to get himself elected into the HOF — mostly by disparaging those already in the Hall or the most likely candidates still pitching/recently retired — I’d be interested to see where Blyleven ranks in this new contextual stat.

    Also, what about Mussina and or Pettite? Both considered potential HOF candidates, though I assume a steroid user like Pettite is going to have other obstacles.

  3. benr12 permalink
    June 24, 2011 1:56 pm

    There’s one problem with your statistic – it ignores innings. I would find a way to include them via a few important stats:

    1. Innings per start
    2. Number of starts

    Imagine we have two guys:
    Pitcher A: 0.8 WHIP, 200 ERA+, 7.2 BR9
    Pitcher B: 0.9 WHIP, 190 ERA+, 8.2 BR9

    At first glance the first guy seems to be the better pitcher. But what if we then added:
    Pitcher A: 28 starts, 6.5 Innings per start
    Pitcher B: 32 starts, 7.3 Innings per start

    Now which guy is more valuable in helping his team win?

    • June 24, 2011 6:52 pm

      No you’re missing the point of the stat. It’s not about assessing which pitcher is more valuable to helping a team win, this stat is about a pitchers dominance. How dominant they are when they are on the mound, independent of everything else. I do agree though, there needs to be an innings cutoff or limit to measure by. Innings are an incredibly important stat for SP.

  4. June 25, 2011 12:04 pm

    I posted a completely tongue in cheek look at this stat, if you’re interested:

    Quick question: Does this look at AL/NL or just overall MLB?

  5. Kincaid permalink
    June 25, 2011 2:26 pm

    I think the main reason you are getting so many of the top performances from the ’90s and later (and why the top performances from those years are so much higher than from earlier years) is that you are using differentials. For example, take the most dominant pitcher you can think of and put him in the 1968 NL, and there is a limit to how high his PDF can be. Even if he never allowed a base runner in that environment (0.00 ERA and 0.00 BR9), his PDF would end up around 13.6. In order to match Pedro’s 2000 PDF in the 1968 NL, a pitcher would have to allow less than three and a half BR9, and that’s if he still never allows an earned run.

    Effectively, the stat is saying it is virtually impossible for a pitcher to rate as well as Pedro in 2000 unless the pitcher puts up an all-time great season *and* does it in a very high-scoring league, and that a very good but not great performance in a high-scoring league is as dominant as some of the best performances ever in low-scoring leagues. As a result, the stat observes that dominant performances are less rare in higher-scoring leagues.

    Using a pitcher’s percentage of LTOA instead of his differential would put similarly effective performances from different eras on a more comparable scale. That would still tell you that Pedro’s 2000 was even more dominant than Gibson’s 1968 (Pedro allowed just 45.3% of the LTOA, Gibson 64.7%) without also labeling Derek Lowe’s best season as significantly more dominant than anything Gibson or Koufax ever did.

  6. June 25, 2011 3:44 pm

    In my senior year of High School in 2001 I did a write up of what I thought were the top 10 individual performances in the 20th century. Pedro Martinez’s 2000 season was #2 (and the #1 pitching season). I don’t know if all of this will post, but here’s what I had to say on the season.

    Pedro Martinez is good. Pedro Martinez is really good. In 1999 he compiled a 23-4 record, won the All Star MVP in front of his home crowd, led the Red Sox to the playoffs, and unanimously won the American League Cy Young award. He was injured in the first game of the playoffs, pitched 6 perfect innings in the final game of the Division Series to beat the Indians, and beat Roger Clemens for Boston’s only win in the American League championship series. Many people questioned whether Pedro could match such an impressive season. In 2000, not only did he match his performance in 1999, but he also broke single season records he set in 1999; and the end result was the best pitching performance in the 20th century.
    It is hard to believe that baseball fans are watching history in the making every day Pedro Martinez takes the mound. His 2000 campaign, despite only 18 victories, represents the most dominating pitching performance in baseball history. Generally, when pitchers have dominating seasons, they will have three or four bad starts; this was not the case with Martinez in 2000. During the 2000 season, Pedro Martinez had one bad inning, a 5-run first inning against the Royals on August 24th. He stayed in the game, pitched 8 innings, and the Red Sox eventually won the game in extra innings. In his worst month, August, he walked 2 batters. When Pedro Martinez has his stuff, he is un-hittable, when he doesn’t; he is merely the best pitcher in the game.
    On May 28, 2000, baseball fans experienced one of the most memorable pitching duals in baseball history. Red Sox pitching coach Joe Kerrigan called it, “The best regular season game I’ve ever seen. It’s one for the ages. Great for baseball.” The game in question, “Pedro vs. Roger II.” The previous match up was a 13-1 victory for a disabled Martinez in the 1999 American League Championship Series. Clemens’ performance was not indicative of the pitcher he once was, only the playoff choke artist persona he has established for himself.
    In the much-anticipated rematch, both pitchers were in true form, despite Pedro fighting the flu and a 103 temperature. Through 6 innings the score was tied at 0, and no player had made it past second base. With one out in the top of the seventh, Red Sox right fielder Trot Nixon tripled starting the first real scoring threat of the game. However, Clemens rebounded, striking out Brian Daubach and Nomar Garciaparra to end the inning. Still going strong, Martinez set down the Yankees in the seventh, and both teams went down in order in the eighth. Still tied at 0 going into the 9th, Clemens retired the first two batters he faced. The next batter, Jeff Frye lined a single up the middle, for an infield hit; and Trot Nixon followed with a 2 run home run into the right field bleachers, giving Martinez the 2 run cushion he needed. The Yankees would threaten in the 9th, but to no avail as Pedro Martinez induced Tino Martinez to ground out to second, leaving the bases loaded, and ending the game.
    There would be other memorable games throughout the season, including two outstanding performances against the Devil Rays. On May 6th, despite 17 strikeouts, Pedro received his first loss of the season, 1-0 to Steve Trachsel. Pedro would get his revenge in a 1-hitter against the Devil Rays in late August, a game where 8 frustrated Devil Rays were ejected.
    With all Pedro’s benumbing statistics for the 2000 season, perhaps the hardest to fathom were his 6 losses. Pedro did not pitch poorly in any of these games; in actuality, he dominated most of them. However, his Red Sox teammates scored a measly 6 runs during his 6 losses. Furthermore, Martinez yielded 3 or less runs in 27 of his 29 starts, and in the other two he did not get the loss. The league average of runs per game was over 5, had the Red Sox scored just 4 runs in each of his 29 games, Martinez would have finished with an amazing 27-2 record.
    Perhaps the best way to evaluate Pedro’s performance is to compare him to other pitchers in the league, and other pitchers in history. Opponents batted .167 against Martinez – first all time. Additionally, he held opponents to a .213 On-base Percentage and a Slugging Percentage of .259, both ranking first all time. As a result, Pedro allowed the fewest Walks and Hits per 9-innings pitched in baseball history, 6.636. Compare Martinez to other pitchers in the American League, and the numbers really get interesting. In 1968 Bob Gibson stunned the World of Baseball with his 1.12 ERA, 1.78 runs below the league average. In contrast, Martinez’s ERA was 1.96 runs better than his next closest “competitor,” Roger Clemens, and an unprecedented 3.23 runs below the league average. Possibly the most impressive statistic of all, Martinez allowed 2 Hits in an inning a mere 6 times all season. These marks shattered previous all-time records; many of which were broken only a year earlier by none other than Martinez.
    Off the mound, Pedro Martinez is widely regarded as one of the most colorful men in baseball. He has been known in his career to heckle former teammates; so much so, that one game in Boston, the White Sox called Boston’s dugout to get them to quiet Pedro. The Red Sox responded as Nomar Garciaparra and Mark Portugal taped Martinez to a pole in the dugout. Early in his Boston career, Pedro would sit in the dugout wearing a Yoda mask. Other times, Pedro would tease fans on the road by tying a string around a baseball, throwing it on the roof of the dugout, then pulling it back before the fan could retrieve it. All of these antics are in good humor of course; as they help to encapsulate all that is Pedro Martinez. And to think, Martinez’s former manager Tommy Lasorda, never thought Pedro would make it as a starter. Sorry Tom, you were a little off.

  7. June 26, 2011 9:49 am

    The one problem I see with this stat is that doesn’t take into account the stadium, and that’s a very important factor. That Koufax pitched in the super friendly Dodger Stadium of the 60’s reduces his value though they’re still great seasons but not that great as they look on the surface.

  8. June 30, 2011 3:53 pm

    I would be interested to see if park factors could be somehow factored into this stat. I’m a big believer in how much a park influences an individual. OOTP is great at handling this, and with them rolling this stat in at some point in the near future, it might be interesting to see what park factors do to it…

  9. June 30, 2011 4:40 pm

    It looks like you put a lot of thought and work into this and I like any stat that can easily be explained to me, and I think the sabrmetricians out there lose a lot of people that way. However I have 2 basic problems with your stat: The Ballpark Factor was my biggest issue with this idea, Mr Schilling. Playing half your games in Oakland or San Fran is a lot better for your ERA and WHIP than having to do so in Arlington or Chicago. Another is defense, as a pitcher is going to look a LOT better with Elvis and Kinsler behind him than he does with Michael Young and Alfonso Soriano (gee wonder where this guy’s from…)
    I don’t see where PDF is better than WAR, which neatralizes defense and parks and gets higher as your innings climb.

  10. June 30, 2011 7:17 pm

    Really interesting stat from someone with a great perspective. However, your result would be more accurate if you looked at the ratio of PTOA and LTOA rather than subtracting one from the other.
    Brad Silverman

  11. June 30, 2011 8:52 pm

    Great stat! Along the same lines as the percentage suggestion, you could really benefit by calculating the standard deviation in each league/year and then using that to assign a z-score to each player’s season. Maybe call it D-Score for dominance. This would allow you to easily compare Pedro’s 1999 or 2000 to Walter Johnson’s 1912 or 1913. Good stuff!

  12. July 1, 2011 1:00 pm

    There’s a slew of flaws to this stat.

    I don’t even know where to start. Essentially all this is is ERA+ and WHIP.

    Well, except ERA+ uses park factors so it’s not even that good.

    If you have Ubaldo Jimenez and Clayton Richard both with 3.00 ERAs Jimenez is much more impressive cause he plays in Coors even though they’re facing similar competition. While Richard is massively unimpressive cause he’s Petco.

    Also doesn’t factor in team defense. A pitcher on the Rays is going to get more of a boost from their stellar D than a pitcher on the Cubs with their terrible D. (Which BTW, the dominance of the Phillies and Braves starters even with their less than stellar backing defenses is impressive)

    THis stat may have been cool 20 years ago but it’s just not fresh at all. Today the world comes with stats like FIP, xFIP (good for pointing out outlier years and for relievers), and tERA.

    Sorry Curt. A for effort.

  13. July 2, 2011 12:27 am

    I like the premise for PDF, but have a reservation about the formula… the juiced ball syndrome, WWII players were second rate, etc. this COULD skew the numbers if the offensive categories spike or dive again. I agree the general numbers work and the case presented here is a powerful one, but how do you identify a team that tanks its season (Pirates/Orioles) and offers BP for 162 games? can you eliminate based on won-lost record or throw out the top and bottom pitchers score? Bell curves? (pun intended!)

  14. August 4, 2011 1:25 pm


    You should write this up for the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference. They have a research paper track which is the dorky highlight of the entire weekend. Go here for details:

    and lemme know if you want some advice with the writeup (I presented last year).


  15. September 28, 2011 12:16 am

    As a Yankee fan, it kills me to say this…PEDRO IS THE BEST I HAVE EVER SEEN!!
    Curt..I respect you greatly for various reasons..but my god..Pedro was a monster..GO YANKS!!!

  16. April 10, 2012 11:15 am

    New to blogging-sorry for late comment. Curt’s discussion is great information for young players with D-1 pitching aspirations.


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