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Pitching turnarounds in 2011

Posted by Andy on May 19, 2011

Here's a neat little thing I've just played around with.

First I made a list of the 21 pitchers who pitched at least 150 innings in 2010 and had an ERA+ of 90 or worse.

And here, among those guys, are the ones who are qualified for the ERA title in 2011 with an ERA+ of at least 100:

Rk Player ERA+ Year Age Tm Lg G GS CG SHO GF W L W-L% SV IP H R ER BB SO ERA HR BF AB 2B 3B IBB HBP SH SF GDP SB CS PO BK WP BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ Pit Str
1 James Shields 162 2011 29 TBR AL 9 9 2 1 0 4 2 .667 0 67.2 53 18 17 14 60 2.26 7 263 243 13 0 1 2 3 1 3 0 2 5 0 1 .218 .265 .358 .623 77 931 616
2 Justin Masterson 143 2011 26 CLE AL 9 9 1 0 0 5 2 .714 0 60.2 55 18 17 19 48 2.52 1 247 221 11 1 1 4 2 1 4 3 3 0 0 1 .249 .318 .321 .640 87 944 603
3 Paul Maholm 105 2011 29 PIT NL 9 9 0 0 0 1 6 .143 0 56.1 49 25 23 23 39 3.67 3 235 206 11 0 2 1 2 3 4 3 1 1 0 2 .238 .313 .335 .648 85 841 531
4 Nick Blackburn 105 2011 29 MIN AL 8 8 0 0 0 2 4 .333 0 48.2 53 25 20 18 28 3.70 7 211 190 6 3 1 1 1 1 5 4 3 1 0 3 .279 .343 .453 .795 122 786 497
5 A.J. Burnett 100 2011 34 NYY AL 9 9 0 0 0 4 3 .571 0 56.1 47 29 25 19 42 3.99 9 235 206 14 1 0 3 2 5 3 4 3 1 0 8 .228 .296 .437 .733 100 909 570
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/19/2011.

These are guys experiencing some degree of a turnaround so far in 2011.

Of course, this list doesn't catch Bartolo Colon or Kyle Lohse, neither of which who had enough innings in 2010 to qualify for my original list.

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 19th, 2011 at 11:00 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

19 Responses to “Pitching turnarounds in 2011”

  1. John Autin Says:

    Charlie Morton missed the list (just 80 IP last year in 17 GS), but I think he's the biggest turnaround of the year:

    2010 -- 2-12 / 7.57 ERA / 54 ERA+ / 4.7 IP per start.
    2011 -- 5-1 / 2.62 ERA / 147 ERA+ / 6.9 IP per start.

  2. John Autin Says:

    These are strange days, indeed, when a $17 million man like A.J. Burnett can celebrate a "turnaround" with an ERA+ of 100 even....

    BTW, a friend of mine refers to Burnett as "Hyman Roth," based on this exchange from The Godfather Part II:

    Michael Corleone: Come on, Frankie, you know my father did business with Hyman Roth -- he respected him.

    Frankie Pentangeli: Your father did business with Hyman Roth; your father respected Hyman Roth. But your father never trusted Hyman Roth.

  3. @1

    I'd have to think Josh Beckett is the biggest turnaround (thus far).

    2010 - ERA+ of 75
    2011 - ERA+ of 232

  4. Beckett also didn't have enough IP in 2010 to make my list.

  5. What happened to the other 16 guys?

    Still getting roughed up, or no longer in the majors?

  6. Most haven't pitched enough innings this year to qualify for the ERA title so far.

    Here's the original list:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/share.cgi?id=Gqi1k

  7. John Autin Says:

    @3, Rob -- I can see your point of view.

    My view is supported by WAR:
    Morton: 2010, -2.5; 2011, 1.5; Net change, +4.0
    Beckett: 2010, -1.0; 2011, 2.4; Net change, +3.4

  8. topper009 Says:

    1 thing about Morton, hes got 29 K and 26 BB right now, a 1.309 WHIP and a .259 BABIP against...all pointing to an implosion soon

  9. Kyle Lohse posted a 5.54 ERA, 72 ERA+ in a combined 209 innings in 2009 and 2010.
    He currently has a 171 ERA+ and leads the league in WHIP.

  10. I think Bud Norris was on the list prior to his 5ER in 5IP against St. Louis last night. His ERA went from 3.42 to 3.93 making his ERA+ 93. I don't know what his ERA+ was prior to the start, but I think it was over 100.

    Also, this list reminds me that when I looked at Milton Bradley's contract the other week when Seattle DFA'd him I noticed that one of his contracts called for a bonus if he won the Comeback Player of the Year Award. Not exactly the type of bonus clause you want to have to put in a contract.

  11. Hector Noesi was the first pitcher to pitch 4 innings of relief in his major league debut AND receive the win since 1986, according to Mark Simon of ESPN Stats and Info

  12. Djibouti Says:

    Great turnarounds for these guys and they're still stuck with a combined 16-17 record. Someone get Paul Maholm some runs support!

  13. As a Red Sox fan, I'm enjoying Masterson's success. I loved the Victor Martinez trade, but I was still sad to see Justin go. I wanted to see him grow up in Boston. I'm glad he's having success in Cleveland this year, after a bumpy year-plus.

  14. Andy - it's been mentioned a few places but I'm not sure if it's been noted here yet: Can you or someone else here who is a whiz with the indexes run a list of the past 20 years ERA+ equaling 100? Meaning, what ERA+ equals the adjusted league average? It looks like this year it is running well under 4 (around 3.80) which seems awful low. More support for this being "Year of the Pitcher II - Electric Boogaloo"?

  15. DD, no such number exists. ERA+ is calculated as follows:

    ERA+=
    100*[lgERA/ERA]
    Adjusted to the player’s ballpark(s).

    So, it's a normalization of the player's ERA vs the league ERA, but then there is a ballpark adjustment. I'm not sure how the ballpark adjustment works--for example if it takes into consideration only the player's home ballpark, or all the parks he pitched in that year, or what. But the bottom line is that a pitcher in a hitter-friendly park could have a higher ERA than a pitcher in a pitcher-friendly park and yet both could have an ERA+ of exactly 100.

  16. Andy thanks for the explanation, that all makes sense. You do show the league average ERA on the below page.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/pitch.shtml

    It does show the league average ERA dropping the last two years, which proves that to have an ERA+ over 100, pitchers must generally have a lower ERA than in the past (adjusted for their ballpark of course). This, along with a supposed decrease in velocity, is why no one has given Kevin Millwood a big league job yet (I know he signed with Boston as a minor leaguer recently). If you're gonna give a team a lot of innings, your ERA better be well under 5 to have a positive impact anymore. The days of an acceptable #5 starter having that high an ERA are over for now.

  17. @2 John A,

    LOL, good one.

    I was kind of surprised to find that Burnett is 34 years old. I didn't realize he was that old. I was also kind of shocked to find that Burnett only had one season above (3) WAR, '02 Marlins. And his career high was 3.8 WAR in 2002.

    Burnett has averaged about 2.6 WAR from '05-09 which is good but definitely not worth something like $16 million a year. How much is 1 win of WAR worth these days, something like $4 million so you could say that Burnett's probably worth something like $10-12 million each year.

    The Yankees can overpay a guy like Burnett which most teams can't do. The Yankees can overpay a #3 starter like Burnett something like $25-30 million dollars over 5 years and not have it impact their payroll one bit.

    Another luxury the Yankees have is they can give a #3 starter a $75 million 5 year contract.

    The Yankees of 2013 are going to be interesting with all that money and age on that team.

    Maholm was a bit of victim of the Pirates terrible defense in 2010.

  18. [...] their pitching in 2011, so I thought I’d direct your attention to this little blurb over at Baseball-Reference.  Not only is Andy giving praise to Nick Blackburn for turning in solid performances in 2011 [...]

  19. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I'm not sure how the ballpark adjustment works--for example if it takes into consideration only the player's home ballpark, or all the parks he pitched in that year, or what.

    It's based on the multi-season park factor, which is based on how many runs scored in all of a team's home game games compared to how many runs scored in all of its road games over (I believe) a 5-season span.

    It should be noted that it is *not* adjusted for the specific parks a pitcher pitched in, and this could definitely have some impact on a SP. It's probably not unusual for a SP to have, say, 18 starts at home and 14 on the road, and/or 3 starts in one road park and none in several others, so his "personal" park factor could differ from the team's, but ERA+ just applies a team factor.