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Berardino on Pelfrey

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#1 JB_Iowa

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:26 AM

Minnesota Twinsights: What's a fair offer for Mike Pelfrey? » Twins Now


Most interesting to me is his reference to a lot of advanced stats (of course, I still have to dig through them for interpretation).

Second thing I recall is that the most vocal criticisms of the Pelfrey contract last off-season seemed to be about the lack of an option for 2014.

Edited by JB_Iowa, 17 October 2013 - 11:32 AM.
typo


#2 gunnarthor

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:30 AM

I expect he'll be back. I'd be ok with a 2 year deal or 1 + option. We had something like 8 pitchers make 10+ starts last year and 9 the year before. They'll need arms.

#3 JB_Iowa

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:35 AM

I expect he'll be back. I'd be ok with a 2 year deal or 1 + option. We had something like 8 pitchers make 10+ starts last year and 9 the year before. They'll need arms.


I think the issues people will have will have more to do with whether or not he is the "centerpiece" of off-season acquisitions than with the acquisition itself.

There are a lot of hopeful things in his stats and I do think that's part of what people anticipated when he was signed and why they were disappointed that there wasn't an option. If I remember correctly (not going to look it up), he is a Boras client so I'm sure that played into it.

#4 Oxtung

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 01:55 PM

First off, good for Berardino for going with a well researched, stats heavy article.

Some of the luster wears off of Pelfrey when you realize that fangraph's WAR is based off of FIP. They are 2 sides of the same coin. FIP liked Pelfrey and accordingly so does fWAR.

The problem as I see it is that his ERA, tERA, ERA-/+, xFIP and SIERA all indicate that he was a bad pitcher in 2013. It gets worse when you realize that the strongest predictors of future performance are SIERA followed by xFIP.

#5 Oxtung

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:10 PM

If you want to dive a little deeper into Pelfrey's stats you find that WPA, WPA/LI and RE24 were all negative. Fangraph's valued his four-seamer, sinker, spliter, slider and curveball as below average based on data gathered by Pitch f/x. In the past his four-seamer has always been an above average pitch (except 2009) and some of those seasons it has been well above average. Perhaps the most damning bit of evidence is that his swinging strike rate was the worst of his career, which was not good to begin with, while both his in-zone and out-of-zone contact rates were at career highs.

#6 Badsmerf

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:16 PM

I've already accepted that Pelfrey is coming back. I'm over it. As long as he isn't the big FA boost to the rotation, whatever.
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#7 ThePuck

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:18 PM

If you want to dive a little deeper into Pelfrey's stats you find that WPA, WPA/LI and RE24 were all negative. Fangraph's valued his four-seamer, sinker, spliter, slider and curveball as below average based on data gathered by Pitch f/x. In the past his four-seamer has always been an above average pitch (except 2009) and some of those seasons it has been well above average. Perhaps the most damning bit of evidence is that his swinging strike rate was the worst of his career, which was not good to begin with, while both his in-zone and out-of-zone contact rates were at career highs.


He didn't even pass the basic eye test...he was just bad.

One question: Besides the fact already stated, that xFIP and Sierra are a better indicator of future success, since he had such a big gap between ERA and FIP, doesn't that show how dependent he is on the help of the defense?

And followup to that question, if he is that dependent on defense, how should we expect different results next year? There's no foreseeable improvement on the defensive front going into next season, is there?
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#8 jokin

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:21 PM

First off, good for Berardino for going with a well researched, stats heavy article.

Some of the luster wears off of Pelfrey when you realize that fangraph's WAR is based off of FIP. They are 2 sides of the same coin. FIP liked Pelfrey and accordingly so does fWAR.

The problem as I see it is that his ERA, tERA, ERA-/+, xFIP and SIERA all indicate that he was a bad pitcher in 2013. It gets worse when you realize that the strongest predictors of future performance are SIERA followed by xFIP.


Bingo. Furthermore, the reality for the pitching effectiveness in his ENTIRE CAREER, year-by-year, has been confirmed by horrible SIERA, xFIP, tERA....relative to good or bad ERA numbers. This result for Pelfrey in 2013 was entirely predictable, before the "luster" was painted on the signing originally, especially coming off of TJ.....and was forecasted by many on Twins Daily.

Edited by jokin, 17 October 2013 - 02:24 PM.


#9 Nick Nelson

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:23 PM

I guess I could accept Pelfrey returning if they also acquired 2 superior arms. But I really can't stand watching the guy pitch. On top of the fact that he's not very good, he works slower than molasses and needs like 20 pitches to get through every inning. IMO, the Twins need to move away from the type of hurler and start targeting fast workers.

#10 jokin

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:27 PM

I guess I could accept Pelfrey returning if they also acquired 2 superior arms. But I really can't stand watching the guy pitch. On top of the fact that he's not very good, he works slower than molasses and needs like 20 pitches to get through every inning. IMO, the Twins need to move away from the type of hurler and start targeting fast workers.


How about hiring Jim Kaat to work with the starters on employing the "hurry-up", quick pitch attack? It kept him in the League about 10 years longer than he should have after his injuries and his arm aging.

#11 Kwak

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:46 PM

Pelfrey is a thrower--a one-pitch-pitcher (2-seam fastball). He really can't strike batters out with any consistency, all he can do is feed them pitches to hit and hope that they mi**** them. Of course he's willing to re-sign. The competition for his services will be weak.

#12 JB_Iowa

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:13 PM

Thanks, Oxtung and others for some explanation of the stats. Hoping others will add a little more to the understanding.

#13 Shane Wahl

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:13 PM

Mike Pelfrey's ERA+ stats (from BR) in seasons where he threw more than 150 innings:

2008: 113 (the year of promise)
2009: 81 (the year of collapse)
2010: 107 (the year of resurgence, aka the last good year)
2011: 78 (collapse)
2013: 78 (repetition of badness, except in the eyes of some in the Twins organization and some Twins fans)

Keep the GM, keep the manager, keep the pitching coach . . . might as well also keep all of the aging below average pitchers as well! Status quo worship.

#14 John Bonnes

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:17 PM

I hate the idea of giving him a multi-year deal. That would make me angry.

As for one year, I just don't see any point to it, not for this team. If the Twins were looking to fill out the 4th spot in their rotation, and were strapped with just a few million to spend this offseason, sure, try and get that done early. But this team is the exact opposite of that.

#15 Shane Wahl

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:17 PM

I guess I could accept Pelfrey returning if they also acquired 2 superior arms. But I really can't stand watching the guy pitch. On top of the fact that he's not very good, he works slower than molasses and needs like 20 pitches to get through every inning. IMO, the Twins need to move away from the type of hurler and start targeting fast workers.


And yes this is definitely flavoring my perspective too. I saw a disproportionate number of Pelfrey starts vs. the other starters this year due to something (day games, Monday night games, etc. as in agreement with my mlbtv time vs. work). It's just bad to watch 90+ pitches in five innings every time and severe deliberation between pitches on top of it.

#16 Thrylos

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:18 PM

I like Pelfrey (and his potential) probably more than any starting pitcher the Twins trotted out there last season whose last name is not Gibson.

That said, he is at best a number 3 at average a number 4. I will be ok with him re-signing with the Twins if the Twins somehow got rid of Correia and Diamond and those 2 are not in the rotation as well. Pelfrey as a number 4 sounds good to me. Nothing more than that.
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#17 raindog

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:25 PM

I guess I could accept Pelfrey returning if they also acquired 2 superior arms. But I really can't stand watching the guy pitch. On top of the fact that he's not very good, he works slower than molasses and needs like 20 pitches to get through every inning. IMO, the Twins need to move away from the type of hurler and start targeting fast workers.

This. It's freakin torture to watch the guy lick his hands and take 20+ seconds between each pitch.

It's almost guaranteed he'll be back after hearing Terry Ryan talk about him with Phil Mackey. He loves it in Minnesota, the Twins overvalue him, and they have plenty of money to spend. Sigh.

#18 Shane Wahl

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:32 PM

I like Pelfrey (and his potential) probably more than any starting pitcher the Twins trotted out there last season whose last name is not Gibson.

That said, he is at best a number 3 at average a number 4. I will be ok with him re-signing with the Twins if the Twins somehow got rid of Correia and Diamond and those 2 are not in the rotation as well. Pelfrey as a number 4 sounds good to me. Nothing more than that.


It isn't clear how one can favor Pelfrey over Correia. Deduno also pitched . . .

And 2014 and 2015 there are going to be better guys to trot out there from within the system. I have more faith, even, in Logan Darnell than Mike Pelfrey. And certainly so at 1/10th the cost.

#19 Shane Wahl

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:34 PM

This. It's freakin torture to watch the guy lick his hands and take 20+ seconds between each pitch.

It's almost guaranteed he'll be back after hearing Terry Ryan talk about him with Phil Mackey. He loves it in Minnesota, the Twins overvalue him, and they have plenty of money to spend. Sigh.


Same way with Doumit. This organization is a sucker for guys who declare there love for the team even though they aren't any good as baseball players.

#20 jokin

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:52 PM

Mike Pelfrey's ERA+ stats (from BR) in seasons where he threw more than 150 innings:

2008: 113 (the year of promise)
2009: 81 (the year of collapse)
2010: 107 (the year of resurgence, aka the last good year)
2011: 78 (collapse)
2013: 78 (repetition of badness, except in the eyes of some in the Twins organization and some Twins fans)

Keep the GM, keep the manager, keep the pitching coach . . . might as well also keep all of the aging below average pitchers as well! Status quo worship.


Of his 2 best years, the present performance masked a troubling future and the reality of the streaky, lucky and most importantly, consistent nature of Pelfrey's (lack of) pitching ability:

2008: ERA 3.72 xFIP 4.45 SIERA 4.61
2010: ERA 3.66 xFIP 4.31 SIERA 4.61

So who's the real Mike Pelfrey? Glad you asked:

Career numbers: ERA 4.48 xFIP 4.50 SIERA 4.68

Edited by jokin, 17 October 2013 - 04:12 PM.


#21 Shane Wahl

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 04:08 PM

Of his 2 best years, the present performance masked a troubling future and the reality of the streaky, lucky and most importantly, consistent nature of Pelfrey's (lack of) pitching ability:

2008: ERA 3.72 xFIP 4.45 SIERA 4.61
2010: ERA 3.66 xFIP 4.31 SIERA 4.61

So who's the real Mike Pelphrey? Glad you asked:

Career numbers: ERA 4.48 xFIP 4.50 SIERA 4.68


Thanks for that. It's pretty clear to me.

#22 Thrylos

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 04:14 PM

It isn't clear how one can favor Pelfrey over Correia. Deduno also pitched . . .


a. 95 mph FB
b. the earliest comeback ever from TJ
c. he is younger than both.
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#23 Shane Wahl

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 04:32 PM

a. 95 mph FB
b. the earliest comeback ever from TJ
c. he is younger than both.


a. With which he struck out how many?
b. Yeah, and he was terrible early. Terrible. And the second season lag after that many innings is about to hit.
c. Fair enough.

#24 darin617

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:40 PM

I expect he'll be back. I'd be ok with a 2 year deal or 1 + option. We had something like 8 pitchers make 10+ starts last year and 9 the year before. They'll need arms.


That sounds about right as long as the money is not outrageous. Also, it must be a club option not a player option.

#25 Oxtung

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:11 PM

Thanks, Oxtung and others for some explanation of the stats. Hoping others will add a little more to the understanding.


I'm not sure if you're asking for this but if you want explanations of the stats that are tossed around on this site frequently they are available, for the most part, on Fangraphs website. At the top of that page there are tabs for Offensive stats, defensive stats, pitching stats, WAR, etc....

If you're just looking for a quick overview of the statistics presented in the article or in this thread so far I can give you my understanding of them (feel free to skip this post if you feel you already understand these statistics).

ERA is obviously the most basic and well known of the statistics available for pitchers. ERA+ and ERA- are essentially just ERA that has been changed into an easier to read/use format. So an average ERA is always going to be 100 no matter what year you're looking at. ERA+ comes from baseball-reference.com and better pitchers are given values >100. ERA- comes from fangraphs.com and for this statistic better pitchers are given values <100. Otherwise they are very similar statistics with some small nuances.

However ERA is very dependent on factors outside of a pitchers control. The ballpark he pitches in, his defense behind him or just random luck, does a ball fall in for a hit when it shouldn't? Which is called babip or batting average on balls in play. Essentially when contact is made what percentage of the time does it fall for a hit.

To eliminate those factors people started to creat DIPS theory, or defense independent pitching statistics. The most popular of these currently are FIP and xFIP. The theory at the time these statistics were created was that pitchers could only control how many batters they struck out, walked and how many home runs they allowed.

Accordingly the FIP formula only takes those 3 things into account to determine how well a pitcher actually pitched. Then there is some fancy math done to make the result look like a traditional ERA number. So if a players FIP (let's say a 5.18) is bad on an ERA scale (an ERA of 5.18 is obviously awful) then it is also a bad FIP number.

xFIP is the same thing as FIP except that it includes how many home runs a pitchers should have given up based on league average home run rates instead of how many home runs a pitcher actually gave up. This makes strikeouts, walks and flyball rate the only factors that matter. For a several years this was the go to stat. It was the best at determining how well a pitcher actually pitched as well as the best at predicting the next seasons ERA.

Some types of pitchers didn't seem to play nicely with FIP and xFIP, however. Knuckleballers and players like Tim Hudson consistently seemed to have lower ERA's than their FIP or xFIP suggest they should have. It has since been acknowledged that pitchers can control how many groundballs they produce versus how many flyballs and line drives. Fly balls are turned into outs the most frequently but they can also go for home runs and extra base hits. Line drives are clearly bad all around. Ground balls, while going for hits slightly more frequently than fly balls, rarely turn into extra base hits and never into home runs. So after quite a bit of research and debate it was determined that ground ball pitchers allow fewer runs than fly ball pitchers, all else being equal, and that it is a controllable skill.

That bred the most recent statistics like tERA (the "t" stands for true) and the latest, and currently best (at least that I am aware of), statistic called SIERA. These use a pitcher's strike out, walk and home run rates, just like FIP and xFIP, but it also adds in how a pitcher pitches. Is he a ground ball pitcher or fly ball? What's his line drive percentage? It also takes into account what stadium a player pitches in. A home run at Yankee Stadium might not be a home run at Target Field.

FIP, xFIP, tERA and SIERA are all known as ERA estimators as they are attempting to determine what a pitchers true skill level was. As such these can be used, cautiously, to determine what a pitchers following season will look like as well.

There is another line of thought however. Some people don't care about ERA because it is too vague of a statistic. A home run is a home run; the previous statistics don't differentiate between a home run allowed when your team is winning 7-0 or when your team is tied in the bottom of the 9th inning. Clearly the home run when you're up 7-0 means much less than a home run in the bottom of the ninth of a tie ball game.

There are two basic premises of Win Probability Added (WPA) and similar stats. First, a pitcher (or batter or fielder as these stats work equally well for offensive players) is more valuable, in either a positive or negative way, in close or late game situations than he is early on during the game or in blow outs. This is referred to as the Leverage Index. The later in the game and the closer the score the higher the Leverage Index.

Second, because we have an extensive history of the play by play of baseball we can determine the average outcome for any given situation. We can then compare how much better or worse Mike Pelfrey did than the average pitcher. Another way to say that is we can determine how much Mike Pelfreys actions affect the Twins probability of winning a game, for better or worse, when compared to an average pitcher. Imagine Pelfrey faces a bases loaded situation. We can look back and determine what an average pitcher actually did in that situation, let's say the generic pitcher gave up a hit and 2 runs. If Pelfrey strikes a batter out we know that he actually increased the Twins odds of winning the ball game when compared to the generic pitcher that allowed 2 runs. If Pelfrey's next pitch is hit for a home run he has now decreased the probability of the Twins winning compared to the generic pitcher. When you add up all of the changes in probability throughout a game, or season, and then factor in the Leverage Index you get the stat Win Probability Added. For WPA a 0 is average and for every whole number above zero one win has been added to the team's win total. Similarly every number below zero is a game lost that an average pitcher wouldn't have.

Well I didn't mean to write a novel, but for the second time today it seems I have. I didn't touch on all the statistics but those are several. If you have questions about any others or feel I misrepresented a statistic above feel free to ask or correct me. Again, sorry for the novel.

#26 Danchat

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:29 PM

I feel something has to be wrong if on Fangraphs Pelfrey is a 2.1 WAR and on Baseball Reference he was a -0.3 WAR.

We can argue all we want about Pelfrey, and I bet he'll throw better next year, but the key is we have to get better pitching. If we re-sign Pelfrey we are doing nothing but accepting a mediocre pitcher who will give us little chance to be elite. We have to get someone better or we have the same pitching rotation as last year (plus one unimpressive FA pitcher). And that was a 90 loss rotation.

#27 kab21

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:30 PM

I could probably tolerate a Correia type contract since he's roughly that level of pitcher and the Twins are short on actual MLB capable pitchers. But regardless of his quick return from TJ and the hope that he will do better next season he literally has no upside as a starter. He's 30 (in January) and literally has no upside beyond innings eating #4/5. A significant multi-year contract would work out as well as the Blackburn contract.

tbh I want nothing to do with a guaranteed 2nd yr (like Corriea) but I'm already resigned to the Twins bringing him back and that's what it will take. If the guaranteed money is >15M then this board will be unreadable for a week and i will likely contribute to that nonsense.

#28 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:17 PM

I go either way on Pelfrey and his 2.1 WAR.

Perkins had 36 saves in 40 save opportunities in 2013

Perkins also had a 1.7 WAR (wins above replacement).

therefore, any other bullpen guy or chump off the street coulda come in and saved 34 out of 40 games last year, am I understanding that correctly?

#29 Seth Stohs

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:15 PM

It's too early in the offseason to want to bring back Pelfrey. At this stage, my hopes are way higher. I don't mind Pelfrey. I have a hard time watching when he pitches, but if he can be as good in 2014 as Correia was in 2013, that would be solid. Like Nick said, if he's your 4th or 5th starter, that's fine. But I certainly wouldn't go multi-year, or much (if any) more than he got last year. Just not enough upside. But, one thing it is clear that Terry Ryan likes is a pitcher who can throw 180+ innings. And that's understandable. Meyer, May and Gibson should be up in 2014. It'd sure be nice for them to not be the top three pitchers in the rotation.

#30 Shane Wahl

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:39 PM

Pelfrey for multiple years is completely ridiculous. And Pelfrey for one year . . . is actually more ridiculous. If the Twins sign FAs to one year deals, then the same damn thing is going to be asked next year going into 2015. This is the time to invest in 3 or 4 years of pitching. This is THE DAMN TIME TO DO SO. Even the owner is willing to do that!

Pelfrey is worth 0.0 WAR next year. And that might be nice. The Twins can easily get that from a guy making 500k.

So save that 5 or so million bucks, take the 5.5 million bucks from the end of Nick Blackburn, splurge another 5 million or so and you get Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez per year. Or you get Hughes and Feldman or something. Why is this such a difficult concept to grasp?

The Twins, hopefully, will learn from the Gibson nonsense of 2013 and not do the same to Meyer. Gibson should have been given 100 innings of MLB time in 2013, but they failed to figure out a way to do so. Same for Meyer this year.

May can be up midseason and would be an instant improvement over everyone in 2013 other than Correia and Deduno.

If I were in charge--and had balls--I would declare Kyle Gibson the opening day starter and let it fly.