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Article: Whiff Of Success: Gibson Making Bats Miss

kyle gibson
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#101 Mike Frasier Law

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 02:14 PM

 

Pitchers frequently have significant splits within a particular year. He's faced weaker opposition, for one thing . . . random variation with respect to balls in play is another likely factor. 

 

If he was blown out every single start he wouldn't still be in the rotation - even a well below-average MLB starter can string together some solid performances. That's nothing new, it happens all the time. 

 

If you want to look at his performance by half-season, OK, since the beginning of 2015 he will have 6 half seasons, and he was bad in 4 out of the 6. 

 

So for any given half-season, there's a 1/3 chance he will be pretty good and a 2/3 chance he will be bad. Maybe that's a good ratio to you, in which case we just have an honest disagreement over SP expectations.

 

Don't disagree with you in principle, but we need to look at stabilization rates for particular statistics. For example, a pitcher's BIP doesn't really stabilize until about 2000 balls in play. That's why I included the range of statistics I did.

 

For reference, Kyle faced 376 batters in the first half, 248 in the second half. I can't find splits for balls in play, but this year he's had a total of 461 balls in play.

 

Stabilization rates are as follows:

K rate: 70 batters faced

BB rate: 170 BF

GB rate: 70 balls in play

FB rate: 70 balls in play

 

So, while we'd expect to see streaks in ERA, wins, and even HR rate (1320 batters faced), a significant change in strikeouts, walks, ground balls and fly balls become predictive much more quickly.

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#102 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 02:52 PM

77th best pitcher in mlb doesn't strike me as a *bad* thing.

I don't think he is especially good, but it is not always easy to replace that many starts. Especially not in this free agent market.


It's not 77th best in baseball though.
It's 77th out of only 87 that meet the qualifier.
That's the bottom 11%.

#103 yarnivek1972

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:01 PM

 

So he ended up with 74 in 6 with no runs.

I am not arguing Gibson is something more than he is, I am just saying since his May 28th start he has been a fairly reliable number 4 or 5 starter and has lowered his ERA almost 3 runs. Yes those first 7 starts count and he was terrible in those. But since then he has been giving the team a chance to win, hence the 12 - 7 record in his start. (and yes I realize when your teams scores 20, 17, and 16 runs that helps)

 

I just don't see the line of improvement at that point.  Some, sure.  He went from historically bad to merely bad from June through the first couple weeks of August.  This is Gibson's combined line (if I did the math correctly) from June 1 through August 17:  72 IP, 87 H, 45 ER, 11 HR, 29 BB, 50 K.  ERA=5.63, WHIP=1.61

 

I'm sorry.  I still don't consider that acceptable from a number 4 or a number 5.  I'd certainly be looking to upgrade that if I was at all able to do so.

 

Since then, yes, the results are undeniably good.  Fantastic, even.  But it still doesn't erase the previous 4 months or frankly his entire career.

Edited by yarnivek1972, 13 September 2017 - 03:02 PM.


#104 drjim

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:05 PM

It's not 77th best in baseball though.
It's 77th out of only 87 that meet the qualifier.
That's the bottom 11%.


Actually qualifying is a pretty significant achievement. It's quite telling that only 77 pitchers are on pace.
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#105 yarnivek1972

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:12 PM

 

Berrios had the worst rookie debut of any starting pitcher in the history of the franchise.

 

Might want to check with LaTroy Hawkins first.


#106 yarnivek1972

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:16 PM

 

Actually qualifying is a pretty significant achievement. It's quite telling that only 77 pitchers are on pace.

87 would be about 3 per team.  Between injuries, skipping the worst starter a few times and shuffling pitchers from AAA to get better production from the bottom of the rotation, that seems about right.


#107 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:17 PM

Actually qualifying is a pretty significant achievement. It's quite telling that only 77 pitchers are on pace.


Kyle Gibson didn't qualify last year, and likely won't this year either.

When I said qualifier, I meant drv's criteria of 250ip the last 2 years.

#108 Mike Sixel

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:19 PM

 

I just don't see the line of improvement at that point.  Some, sure.  He went from historically bad to merely bad from June through the first couple weeks of August.  This is Gibson's combined line (if I did the math correctly) from June 1 through August 17:  72 IP, 87 H, 45 ER, 11 HR, 29 BB, 50 K.  ERA=5.63, WHIP=1.61

 

I'm sorry.  I still don't consider that acceptable from a number 4 or a number 5.  I'd certainly be looking to upgrade that if I was at all able to do so.

 

Since then, yes, the results are undeniably good.  Fantastic, even.  But it still doesn't erase the previous 4 months or frankly his entire career.

 

well, when I filter by date on fangraphs splits........Gibson has a 3.96 ERA since June 1....which is 62nd in baseball of those with at least 50 innings pitched since then, so not sure where you get your numbers.

 

edit: see below for my error!

Edited by Mike Sixel, 13 September 2017 - 04:02 PM.

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I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#109 drivlikejehu

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:19 PM

 

Don't disagree with you in principle, but we need to look at stabilization rates for particular statistics. For example, a pitcher's BIP doesn't really stabilize until about 2000 balls in play. That's why I included the range of statistics I did.

 

For reference, Kyle faced 376 batters in the first half, 248 in the second half. I can't find splits for balls in play, but this year he's had a total of 461 balls in play.

 

Stabilization rates are as follows:

K rate: 70 batters faced

BB rate: 170 BF

GB rate: 70 balls in play

FB rate: 70 balls in play

 

So, while we'd expect to see streaks in ERA, wins, and even HR rate (1320 batters faced), a significant change in strikeouts, walks, ground balls and fly balls become predictive much more quickly.

 

You're using stabilization rate to draw conclusions that aren't supported by the underlying methodology. Stabilization rate generally refers to the point at which R = .5 for the stat in question, meaning that half of the subsequent results are explained by the current results.

 

Taking your numbers: after 70 batters faced, a pitcher's K rate would be expected to explain 50% of his rate against the next set of 70 batters. 

 

So while it's a useful concept to get a general profile of a player, it's predictive value is limited. You're also assuming that Gibson is no more inconsistent than the average player, which is not an assumption I would want to make. 

 

His 2nd half stats look particularly good compared to the first half largely because, in the first half, he was batting practice. But compared to his career numbers, nothing he is doing now indicates some kind of real change.

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#110 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:27 PM

well, when I filter by date on fangraphs splits........Gibson has a 3.96 ERA since June 1....which is 62nd in baseball of those with at least 50 innings pitched since then, so not sure where you get your numbers.


Yarn cited 6/1 through 8/17, not through current.

The reason being, and I agree with him, is that people are trying to say that since his COMBINED numbers are good from June 1, that means he's turned it around from June 1 onward.
In actuality, he was still pretty bad from June 1 to mid August, and THEN has been really good since.

#111 yarnivek1972

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:27 PM

well, when I filter by date on fangraphs splits........Gibson has a 3.96 ERA since June 1....which is 62nd in baseball of those with at least 50 innings pitched since then, so not sure where you get your numbers.


That's because your end date is the current date, not August 17.

What I am saying is that his very good numbers since then skew the subpar numbers he had in the previous 2 1/2 months.

It's the clearest definition of a SSS skewing a larger sample.

#112 yarnivek1972

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 03:28 PM

Yarn cited 6/1 through 8/17, not through current.

The reason being, and I agree with him, is that people are trying to say that since his COMBINED numbers are good from June 1, that means he's turned it around from June 1 onward.
In actuality, he was still pretty bad from June 1 to mid August, and THEN has been really good since.


Yes

#113 Mike Sixel

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 04:00 PM

 

Yarn cited 6/1 through 8/17, not through current.

The reason being, and I agree with him, is that people are trying to say that since his COMBINED numbers are good from June 1, that means he's turned it around from June 1 onward.
In actuality, he was still pretty bad from June 1 to mid August, and THEN has been really good since.

 

Ah, I missed that, sorry.....

 

And, I have no skin in the game, other than I generally find that hot streaks are just that.....now, it's certainly possible Gibson made some change, but most stories we read about change are post hoc analysis and narrative, and suddenly disappear and no one writes about that.....

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I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#114 jimmer

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 04:01 PM

 

Ah, I missed that, sorry.....

 

And, I have no skin in the game, other than I generally find that hot streaks are just that.....now, it's certainly possible Gibson made some change, but most stories we read about change are post hoc analysis and narrative, and suddenly disappear and no one writes about that.....

and this isn't the first time the narrative has been written about how Gibson has changed and has now figured it all out.


#115 yarnivek1972

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 04:05 PM

And as I keep pointing out (because I think it is relevant), Gibson's "turnaround" happened while he faced some of MLB's worst offenses.

#116 drjim

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 04:13 PM

I think if there was an easy replacement for Gibson you would do it. But Twins will need to add at least one starter, possibly two, even if they keep Gibson. It is just not that easy to get good replacements, especially not at ~5mil for 1 year that he'll get. That is a contract worth tendering in my mind. I'm not especially interested in trading from a position player and creating a different hole.

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#117 Mike Frasier Law

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 08:07 AM

 

You're using stabilization rate to draw conclusions that aren't supported by the underlying methodology. Stabilization rate generally refers to the point at which R = .5 for the stat in question, meaning that half of the subsequent results are explained by the current results.

 

Taking your numbers: after 70 batters faced, a pitcher's K rate would be expected to explain 50% of his rate against the next set of 70 batters. 

 

So while it's a useful concept to get a general profile of a player, it's predictive value is limited. You're also assuming that Gibson is no more inconsistent than the average player, which is not an assumption I would want to make. 

 

His 2nd half stats look particularly good compared to the first half largely because, in the first half, he was batting practice. But compared to his career numbers, nothing he is doing now indicates some kind of real change.

 

I didn't know this until you posted it, so I had to look it up. According to This BP Article, stabilization rates are the point at which R > .70. So that's the point at which "the signal to noise crosses the halfway point." The farther you get beyond the stabilization point, the more it becomes an indicator of true talent level over that time frame.

 

Yes, past results don't imply future success. And yes, this stretch was during a time where Gibson faced worse teams. But the stark difference in k rate, bb rate, gb rate and fb rate indicate to me that he changed something.

 

Will he sustain it? Who knows. But those statistics are ones pitchers have more control over and ones that stabilize quickly. So I think he's actually been a better pitcher, not just one facing worse teams.

 


#118 kab21

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 11:22 AM

I am not sure if there is a pitcher in baseball that won't look good if you start omitting enough results using some arbitrary split.

Gibson's nice little run that he is having is why I disagreed those with pitchforks that were ready to cut him despite no viable replacement being on the MLB or AAA roster. There is some level of competence and he is showing that he can be successful against awful offenses but I don't really believe in any significant change from his previous 700+ innings of mediocrity. 

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Is 2016 2017 the year that a good pitching prospect is truly blocked by 5 good pitchers in the starting rotation? 

Looks like we will have to wait another year until a good pitching prospect is actually blocked.


#119 AlwaysinModeration

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 05:16 AM

This was posted elsewhere, but figures it should go here too, an article in Baseball Prospectus on Gibson's tweaks this year:

http://www.baseballp...campaign=buffer

I'll also note that in his September starts, Gibson has
1. Followed a loss with a win
2. Followed three losses and win (but 3-inning start) with a great start that resulted in a late-game win
3. Followed two losses with a win.

And 4. Pitches today after two losses.

Part of this is simply being slotted behind the fifth spot in the rotation, but Gibson has come up in big situations for this playoff run, and come up big in those situations. Hopefully he can do it again today!

#120 Craig Arko

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 06:04 AM

Today may be the most important start (to date) of Gibson's career.

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