Comments on: Is Kevin Millwood really that bad? This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Bill Petti Mon, 28 Mar 2011 11:23:47 +0000 @ 27: Sure, it's possible to be both bad and unlucky. That's why I brought up context. If you look at more than just his BABIP it's pretty clear luck isn't the main culprit. So, sure, his FIP was .44 lower than his ERA, but his FIP was about 60th worst in the AL among starters with >=90 IPs. So 10 starters were worse last year.

Here are some other numbers.

HR/9 since 2008:




Also, his first-strike % has decreased from 62% to 56%, and his contact % has increased from 85.6% to 86.1% since 2008.

Millwood can still strike guys out (he was 38/70 among AL starters >=90 IP in 2010), but if he doesn't the numbers aren't pretty. His K/BB was among the bottom half of starters. And just look at his values by pitch type--nothing signals that his troubles are due to the O's defense.

To me, the proponderance of the evidence suggests he's just not that good anymore, luck or no luck.

By: John Autin Mon, 28 Mar 2011 04:52:48 +0000 @26, Bill Pelti -- I agree with your general assessment of Millwood. But isn't it possible to be both bad and unlucky? Also, while I am not fully read-up on BABIP studies, I haven't heard of a direct correlation between "stuff" and BABIP. As I understand it, "stuff" is best interpreted by strikeouts and HRs allowed.

Again, while I be as surprised as you would be by a Millwood resurgence, there's also no question that the O's were a poor defensive club last year. Fangraphs has Millwood's expected FIP at 4.66, which is no great shakes but a fair sight better than his 5.10 ERA.

By: Bill Petti Mon, 28 Mar 2011 03:25:26 +0000 @ 25: One season can be chalked up to bad luck, maybe two. But when you see 3 out of 4 years it isn't about luck anymore, it's about stuff. The outlier above is 2009, not the other three years.

Context matters, especially with BABIP. The context here is an ageing pitcher that has shown signs of decline for a few years. Given that, we should interpret his BABIP numbers as another signal that his stuff isn't what it used to be.

By: John Autin Mon, 28 Mar 2011 03:18:49 +0000 Millwood's BABIP has been all over the map in the last few years:
-- 2007, .340
-- 2008, .358
-- 2009, .275
-- 2010, .320
(His career BABIP is a very normal .301.)

His ERA has followed suit:
-- 2007, 5.16
-- 2008, 5.07
-- 2009, 3.75
-- 2010, 5.10

If BABIP is essentially luck, then Millwood was unlucky last year, very lucky in '09, and extremely unlucky in '08 (when the rest of his rate stats were significantly better than in '09, when he had a good ERA).

But I don't any of that adds up to a better outlook for Millwood than one would form simply by noting that he's 36 years old and had a bad ERA+ in 3 of the last 4 years.

By: LT Mon, 28 Mar 2011 00:46:47 +0000 @2, Signing a guy to a minor league contract is not a desperate move. He'll probably never throw an inning for them unless he can show he has something.

By: KJ Sun, 27 Mar 2011 19:23:23 +0000 Yes.

By: StephenH Sun, 27 Mar 2011 12:50:53 +0000 #21 -"Bill James pointed out many years ago that there were a bunch of pitchers who would go .300 with a .400 team but .700 with a .600 team, and Ruffing was one of his examples."

I thought that Ruffing was the only pitcher that James pointed out, who else did he mention?

By: Gerry Sun, 27 Mar 2011 10:18:52 +0000 @15, Ruffing had those bad years with terrible Red Sox teams. Bill James pointed out many years ago that there were a bunch of pitchers who would go .300 with a .400 team but .700 with a .600 team, and Ruffing was one of his examples.

By: T Sun, 27 Mar 2011 03:30:31 +0000 Except for a decent 2009, Millwood's ERA has sucked big time every year since 2005, and that title was sort of like Del Unser leading the A.L. in triples in '69. Sometimes a player gets kinda lucky! He's toast........but worth a cheap gamble on. I hope he's done, if only for the fact that the Yuckees would fail to capture the illusive 'lightening in a bottle'.

By: kenh Sun, 27 Mar 2011 03:30:20 +0000 All the Yankees need to do now is sign Tommy John and they will start to resemble their late 80's gong show of a pitching staff.