Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

Debate No. 3: Building a strong lineup vs. building a strong pitching staff. Which is more important? (Debate concluded/thread open)


Debate No. 3 post-debate poll: Strong Lineup vs Strong Pitching  

26 members have voted

  1. 1. Which debater was more persuasive?

    • Debater A: Building a strong lineup is more important
    • Debater B: Building a strong pitching staff is more important
    • It was a tie! Both were equally persuasive!

This poll is closed to new votes


Debate topic: Building a strong lineup vs building a strong pitching staff - which is more important?

Follow the progress of the debate as our debaters try to persuade you of which is more important. At the debate's conclusion, watch for a post-debate poll and this thread will be opened for public comment.

Enjoy, and good luck debaters! :) 

pitching-vs-hitting.jpg

 

Thanks to both of our participants for this round:

H2H Debater A: @Vanimal46
H2H Debater B: @Danchat

The poll is now closed, but the thread will remain open for further discussion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Recommended Posts

Judging by the pre-debate poll, I am fighting an uphill battle. But here I am, excited to open up your mind that building a strong offense is more important than building a strong pitching staff. The old adage has always been "pitching and defense wins championships" but how accurate is that in recent times? Let's explore the last 11 years of World Series winners, and their ranks per Fangraphs:

  • 2021 Braves: 11th in Off, 19th in Def, 12th in pitching WAR. 
  • 2020 Dodgers: 3rd in Off, 23rd in Def, 5th in pitching WAR.
  • 2019 Nationals: 7th in Off, 15th in Def, 5th in pitching WAR.
  • 2018 Red Sox: 2nd in Off, 6th in Def, and 6th in pitching WAR.
  • 2017 Astros: 1st in Off, 29th in Def, and 7th in pitching WAR.
  • 2016 Cubs: 2nd in Off, 1st in Def, and 4th in pitching WAR.
  • 2015 Royals: 12th in Off, 8th in Def, and 15th in pitching WAR.
  • Giants: 11th in Off, 10th in Def, and 23rd in pitching WAR in 2014; 6th in Off, 4th in Def, and 19th in pitching WAR in 2012; and 15th in Off, 1st in Def, and 5th in pitching WAR in 2010.
  • 2013 Red Sox: 1st in Off, 17th in Def, 15th in pitching WAR
  • 2011 Cardinals: 4th in Off, 20th in Def, 17th in pitching WAR

The noticeable trend is that the eventual world series champion has a better offense than pitching staff. Minus the Giants in 2010, and the Nationals in 2019. 

Still don't believe me? Let's include some graphs from someone else who conducted a study on whether offense or pitching is a better way to build a contending baseball team. 

2361446_Screenshot2021-11-18184555.jpg.424ec265d22ad71894fb6f39b1d6ec35.jpg

Based on the coefficient of determinations (r^2) of these two graphs, a team’s xWins over the past ten seasons can be explained 31% more from their position player WAR than their pitcher WAR, which is a substantial gap.

I can go on about how projecting a hitter's future production is more reliable and steady than a pitcher's future production, but I will wait to rebut that point when my debating counterpart presents their argument. Thank you for reading my TED Talk. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To begin my argument, I'd like to make it clear that I find building a lineup and building a pitching staff to be very close in importance. After doing some research, I believe that there is sufficient data to suggest that the pitching side is more important.

I did an analysis on the impact of runs allowed and runs scored against win record for 2017 through 2021 and here is what I found:

image.png.4e5483429275be43510d3f1785082b5f.png

image.png.b9d4b47a704d932019ea4173d8def405.png

As you would expect, scoring runs and preventing runs both correlate to winning baseball games. However, a closer examination of the slopes of each trendline reveals the advantage: the ERA trendline has a slope of -.122 compared to the Runs trendline of .119. In layman’s terms:

With the 20th percentile ERA of 4.86, expect to win 43.7% of your games

With the 80th percentile ERA of 3.77, expect to win 56.95% of your games

Conversely:

With the 20th percentile runs per game of 3.77, expect to win 39.6% of your games

With the 80th percentile runs per game of 4.86, expect to win 52.6% of your games

It has been my belief that surviving a 162 game season is easier with a stronger pitching staff compared to a stronger hitting core, and the numbers over the past 5 years seem to indicate that. With pitchers usually facing more durability issues, teams with less depth in the rotation and bullpen cannot withstand a wave of injuries and thus become more susceptible to losing more games due to poor pitching.

We also saw rising spin rates and allegations of illegal substances have pitchers dominating hitters for large stretches of 2021 – benefitting teams that were squeezing every individual RPM from their pitchers, like the Dodgers and Astros – while teams like the Twins suffered from a lack of it.

I will note that I highlighted World Series winners in yellow on my graphs. Elite run production topped run prevention in that very small sample size. Based on the question posed to me I have focused on building the team to survive the regular season and get to the big dance – having a team ERA of under 3.90 nearly guarantees this. Conversely if you are only looking at playoff success, then the better hitting team is more likely to win, but let’s not forget that both of those teams likely had similarly good/great pitching staffs. So while the goal is to win a Championship, you simply can’t get there without good pitching.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't get me wrong, I don't think a team can win with a top 5 offense, and bottom 5 pitching staff. Like everything in life, balance is key. However, I still hold the premise that building a strong offense is more important than building a strong pitching staff. 

The study I quoted before really opened up my eyes. Position players account for over 50% of fWAR over the course of a 162 game season. The correlation you posted in your opening statement is not as strong as this one:

"... a team’s xWins over the past ten seasons can be explained 31% more from their position player WAR than their pitcher WAR, which is a substantial gap"

 

15 hours ago, H2H Debater B said:

With the 20th percentile ERA of 4.86, expect to win 43.7% of your games

With the 80th percentile ERA of 3.77, expect to win 56.95% of your games

Conversely:

With the 20th percentile runs per game of 3.77, expect to win 39.6% of your games

With the 80th percentile runs per game of 4.86, expect to win 52.6% of your games

 

It has been my belief that surviving a 162 game season is easier with a stronger pitching staff compared to a stronger hitting core, and the numbers over the past 5 years seem to indicate that.


Based off of these numbers, I get the opposite conclusion. If you can't score runs, you can't win games, No matter how strong your pitching staff is. Let's take a look at recent examples:

Philadelphia Phillies were a top 10 pitching staff in fWAR, 15th in offense, and finished 82-80. The New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds were #10 and #11 in pitching fWAR and missed the playoffs. Milwaukee Brewers had a top staff in all of baseball, and lost to a more potent offense in the playoffs. When runs are at a premium in October, a 95 win team with the best pitching staff can make a quick exit because the offense was average compared to their competition. Hell, the Braves just won the World Series with 2 reliable starters and a few band-aids. 

Let's also discuss the risk factor of projecting pitching vs. hitting. 29 GMs in the league (I can't predict Colorado) will say that hitting is less of a risk to sign long term than pitching. So even if you believe pitching is the key to a contending team, good luck choosing who that will be. Robbie Ray who just won the AL Cy Young, was a 6.62 ERA pitcher in 2020. 3.93 in 2019. The projectable "workhorse" pitchers are becoming unicorns in baseball. If a GM had a choice between signing a 27 year old All Star pitcher to a long term deal, or a 27 year old All Star fielder to a long term deal, they will choose the fielder 90+% of the time.
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Quote

The study I quoted before really opened up my eyes. Position players account for over 50% of fWAR over the course of a 162 game season. The correlation you posted in your opening statement is not as strong as this one:

"... a team’s xWins over the past ten seasons can be explained 31% more from their position player WAR than their pitcher WAR, which is a substantial gap"

I have never been the biggest proponent of WAR, and I did consider basing my graph according to it. I would then have to choose a source (I usually refer to Baseball Reference's or Fangraphs'), but also deal with the shortcomings of the stat, like the way fielding is graded and adjustments based on positional differences. For comparison of hitters to hitters I would consider WAR, but when it comes to the collective of all hitters vs all pitchers, I do not see the results of the study to be as significant.

 

Quote

Based off of these numbers, I get the opposite conclusion. If you can't score runs, you can't win games, No matter how strong your pitching staff is. Let's take a look at recent examples:

Philadelphia Phillies were a top 10 pitching staff in fWAR, 15th in offense, and finished 82-80. The New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds were #10 and #11 in pitching fWAR and missed the playoffs. Milwaukee Brewers had a top staff in all of baseball, and lost to a more potent offense in the playoffs. When runs are at a premium in October, a 95 win team with the best pitching staff can make a quick exit because the offense was average compared to their competition. Hell, the Braves just won the World Series with 2 reliable starters and a few band-aids. 

Let's also discuss the risk factor of projecting pitching vs. hitting. 29 GMs in the league (I can't predict Colorado) will say that hitting is less of a risk to sign long term than pitching. So even if you believe pitching is the key to a contending team, good luck choosing who that will be. Robbie Ray who just won the AL Cy Young, was a 6.62 ERA pitcher in 2020. 3.93 in 2019. The projectable "workhorse" pitchers are becoming unicorns in baseball. If a GM had a choice between signing a 27 year old All Star pitcher to a long term deal, or a 27 year old All Star fielder to a long term deal, they will choose the fielder 90+% of the time.

While your point about a bad offense being worse than bad pitching is correct, I think I perhaps should have emphasized the difference better. My point was that if you could choose to have a stronger lineup or a stronger pitching staff without reducing the quality of the opposite side. So if you have the option between the 50th/60th percentile hitting/pitching compared to a 60/50th split, then the numbers say that putting effort towards pitching will be better.

To better prove this statement, I'd like to go back to my data and confirm my hypothesis about "surviving the 162 game season". While the goal should never be just to make the playoffs, there is no merit in building a team designed to win a championship, but can't even make the playoffs. Going by what I said earlier with the 60th percentile, here is how teams did in 2017-2021:

  • 53/56 (94.6%) teams that had pitching in the 60th percentile or better made the playoffs
  • 40/56 (71.4%) teams that had hitting in the 60th percentile or better made the playoffs

Note that the 3 teams that made the playoffs with sub 60th pitching were the 2017 Twins and 2020 Marlins and Blue Jays - none of whom were teams that had any real chance to do damage in the playoffs, partly due to 2020's expanded playoffs.

I can't refute the point about risk factor, as I think it is plainly obvious that hitters' performance are more consistent over their careers than pitchers are on the whole. However, that is not the object of debate here, or at least for how I understood the topic. Just because it is more difficult to find good pitching should not mean teams are better off avoiding it entirely. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We probably should have established further rules before engaging in the debate, since my opening argument is about World Series champions, and your opening argument is about surviving a 162 game season. Thanks mods!! ;) I will focus this rebuttal on your premise of surviving a 162 game season, if your next rebuttal is about building a World Series champion. 

When it comes to surviving a 162 game season, I think offense and pitching are both equally important. I discovered another case study from Samford University, where they conducted batting average vs. winning percentage, and ERA vs. winning percentage. They determined the correlation coefficient of BA to winning percentage is .716, and ERA vs. winning percentage is -.710. Frankly, pretty negligible when it's all said and done. So with that being said, I have to bring up consistency and projectable performance. A pitcher's range of outcomes is far greater than a typical batter's range of outcomes over the course of a 162 game season. The league is running out of consistent workhorses like Verlander and Scherzer. While emphasis should be put on both pitching and hitting, good luck figuring out who will be the pitchers to lead your strong staff. In regards to a strict budget team like the Twins, and all else being equal, I prefer spending $25 million AAV for a good bat, vs. $25 million for a good arm. There's less risk, and still helps you get to the end goal of making the playoffs.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Quote

We probably should have established further rules before engaging in the debate, since my opening argument is about World Series champions, and your opening argument is about surviving a 162 game season. Thanks mods!!  I will focus this rebuttal on your premise of surviving a 162 game season, if your next rebuttal is about building a World Series champion. 

 I would like to comply and present a case for pitching being the deciding factor in the World Series, I'll be honest - I had a hard time coming up with a compelling case. I did some more research, but I found the raw numbers do bear out that hitting is more important once you get to the World Series. I have to reiterate my earlier point - it is nearly assured that both teams in the Championship have very good pitching staffs, and the team that hits better usually acts as the tiebraker. 

I would prefer to continue my line of reasoning by returning to a different point of debate. Earlier you had discussed free agent strategy. To contrast that, I'd like to bring up prospect development. I believe that there is nothing in baseball more important than developing pitching prospects. Having a core of young and affordable pitchers can give a team a massive advantage over the competition. Having a cost effective pitching staff gives a front office the flexibility to spend their money to patch up holes.

Quote

While emphasis should be put on both pitching and hitting, good luck figuring out who will be the pitchers to lead your strong staff. In regards to a strict budget team like the Twins, and all else being equal, I prefer spending $25 million AAV for a good bat, vs. $25 million for a good arm.

And yes, while I agree with you wanting to sign the hitter over the pitcher, it's dependent on the construction of the pitching staff. With the inability to develop pitching prospects/trade for arms/make prudent waiver claims, this roster can't afford to dump $25M into a guy like Corey Seager or Carlos Correa because we also need to pay for several starters. Sure, landing Seager might turn this lineup into one that could win a World Series, but how are you going to get there with a pitching staff that is going be below the 50th percentile? 

Meanwhile, a team like Milwaukee that's developed guys like Woodruff, Burnes, Peralta, Houser, and Lauer can have the flexibility to improve the lineup (of course their payroll was only $99M last year, you'd think they should have more to spend than that pathetic amount). 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/24/2021 at 12:08 AM, H2H Debater B said:

I would like to comply and present a case for pitching being the deciding factor in the World Series, I'll be honest - I had a hard time coming up with a compelling case. I did some more research, but I found the raw numbers do bear out that hitting is more important once you get to the World Series. I have to reiterate my earlier point - it is nearly assured that both teams in the Championship have very good pitching staffs, and the team that hits better usually acts as the tiebraker.

I appreciate you coming to this conclusion. We are mostly on the same page, even though we are debating opposing views. Pitching and hitting is important to survive a 162 game season, and if your team is below average at either one, you're not going to have a successful year. By the time the World Series comes around, hitting is the most important.

 

On 11/24/2021 at 12:08 AM, H2H Debater B said:

I would prefer to continue my line of reasoning by returning to a different point of debate. Earlier you had discussed free agent strategy. To contrast that, I'd like to bring up prospect development. I believe that there is nothing in baseball more important than developing pitching prospects. Having a core of young and affordable pitchers can give a team a massive advantage over the competition. Having a cost effective pitching staff gives a front office the flexibility to spend their money to patch up holes.

Developing pitching prospects is also one of the most random developments in the sport. It's a great way to save money, but at the same time, if you don't develop a premium position prospect, you're in the same boat. Paying premium prices for a SS, CF, 3B, or C. In recent years, we've seen the Chicago Cubs draft, develop, and trade for a young lineup and supplemented them with expensive pitching (Lester, Chapman, etc.) The Astros went with the same methodology, developing a young stud lineup and supplement them with blockbuster trades for expensive veteran pitchers. The Dodgers are the unicorn here where they can develop everything. Point being, there's more than one way to build your team, but we've seen the champions develop their lineup and pay for pitching. 

I'll close my argument with this graph that I found on Reddit. Bear with me, it is complicated, and I will post the author's interpretation. 

Capture.PNG.3432370e632070a868a93a940dca5d89.PNG

 

Per the poster on Reddit:

"How I read this:

We usually see the best pitching teams in the playoffs. Hence why pitching fWAR and WPA is stagnant from playoff teams on.

We usually see the teams that hit the best make the world series and win the world series, hence why batting fWAR and WPA continue to rise from non-playoff teams to world series winners.

With this alone, good pitching and excellent hitting wins championships. I would be cautious to draw that conclusion from these graphs alone though as we should consider more factors than just fWAR and WPA."

This concludes my argument why building a strong offensive lineup is more important than building a strong pitching staff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having a strong pitching staff is a requirement to winning the World Series, as I have shown with how heavily allowing runs is correlated to making the playoffs. Teams with middling pitching simply do not make the playoffs, while teams with middling hitting have a better chance of making a run if their pitching allows. While scoring runs has correlated more to winning specifically the World Series, that is but a single series compared to the aggregate of an entire season. Hitters who had sub-optimal years like Jorge Soler and Eddie Rosario can get hot at the right time and carry a team to the promised land, but that opportunity wouldn’t have been there if Atlanta’s pitching were outside of the 60th percentile.

Next, I would like to re-emphasize the importance of building a pitching staff through the minor leagues. Having a pipeline of cheap and capable pitchers allows for spending flexibility throughout the offseason and offers a buffer for the inevitable wave of injuries. Failing to build an abundant farm system and ignoring trades for pitchers will force teams to overpay for past-their-prime pitchers on the open market, who fail more often than not. So, while I would prefer to sign position players to free agent deals, I do not believe that conflicts with my position on the superiority of pitching.

In the end, winning it all requires a lot of luck alongside good hitting and good pitching. I am not a big proponent of “just get to the playoffs and see what happens”, but recently we have seen a couple teams sneak in and win titles out of nowhere. Having a strong rotation and bullpen is key to surviving the regular season and putting your team is position to be in the big dance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This debate is now concluded and open for public comment. Don't forget to vote in our 'Who was most persuasive?' poll.

And a big thank you and virtual round of applause for our two debaters, who did an awesome job! 👏👏👏

I am thankful for both posters' participation! If anyone is interested in being a debate participant, please contact @Otto von Ballpark or @Squirrel.

Posters will be revealed after the poll closes, so keep an eye out here.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think DebaterA was more pursuasive; however, I still believe pitching is what's important. What wasn't talked about in specific is how the positional players and hitting remains the same in the playoffs while the pitching staff largely transforms. A bunch of mediocre pitchers can get you to the playoffs and then immediately get you bounced because often only the best pitchers are used in the playoffs.

The Texas Rangers focused on elite hitting with mediocre pitching. It got them to the playoffs most of the time around the late 2000s to mid 2010s, but it only got them one World Series during a year where the Rangers got an excellent performance from CJ Wilson, 1 of only 2 good years from Matt Harrison, 1 of 3 good years from Derek Holland and it allowed them to take a Alexi Ogando and convert him to a reliever despite being an excellent starter that season. Surprisingly good starting pitching was the key.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to stay with pitching even though the debate was a tie.  I watched the Dodgers with one of the worst lineups in baseball win with Koufax and Drysdale pulling them through.  Then they went to the WS in 1965 with a Twins team that had a much better lineup and good pitching, but in game seven it was not Dodger bats, but Koufax arm that won the series.  

We anguish over an Ace even when we had the Bombas squad because in the playoffs someone needs to shut down and even demoralize the opposition.  Verlander, Scherzer, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Koufax, Lew Burdette (57 Braves), Madison Bumgarner, Bob Gibson, Randy Johnson, Jack Morris, Mickey Lolich, Grover Cleveland Alexander...There were even series where a great relief pitcher was the WS difference maker - Rollie Fingers for the As, Mariano Rivera, John Smoltz, Clem Labine relieved for two innings in game three and won a complete game six for the Dodgers, Larry Sherry was MVP for Dodgers in 1959.

Thus my premise is that the two are equal until their is an Ace or even more important the big game pitcher.  The batter gets 4 or 5 chances to do something, the pitcher (in my old days) had nine innings to make a difference.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good hitting may get you to the playoffs, but poor pitching will take you right out of them. 
 

A question on the opening argument posed by debater A. I assume the pitching ranks for the teams listed were for the teams pitching, starters and bullpen. As I assume were the hitters. That said, very few of the teams "drag down team stats" pitchers were used in playoff series. But they were used in a regular rotation during the season. If it was two starters not used, 40% of the SP were not used in key playoff situations. Whereas on the offensive side, the opportunity for bench players to drag down numbers would seem to be quite a bit smaller since they likely represent a smaller percentage of playing time during the year. And in the case of an offense only PH, may actually increase offensive teams stats. 
 

Point being, the pitching staff you see in the season is not the same you see in the playoffs. They cull the bottom 40% in effect. On the other hand, baseball does not allow you to leave the bottom 40% of your batting order on the bench during the playoffs. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, bean5302 said:

I think DebaterA was more pursuasive; however, I still believe pitching is what's important. What wasn't talked about in specific is how the positional players and hitting remains the same in the playoffs while the pitching staff largely transforms. A bunch of mediocre pitchers can get you to the playoffs and then immediately get you bounced because often only the best pitchers are used in the playoffs.

The Texas Rangers focused on elite hitting with mediocre pitching. It got them to the playoffs most of the time around the late 2000s to mid 2010s, but it only got them one World Series during a year where the Rangers got an excellent performance from CJ Wilson, 1 of only 2 good years from Matt Harrison, 1 of 3 good years from Derek Holland and it allowed them to take a Alexi Ogando and convert him to a reliever despite being an excellent starter that season. Surprisingly good starting pitching was the key.

The same can be said about elite pitching and mediocre hitting. The Brewers’ starters ranked 2nd in MLB in ERA (3.13) 2nd in WHIP (1.09) 2nd in BA against (.213) and 3rd in strikeouts (906) with a lockdown bullpen. Yet got swept by the Braves because of their mediocre offense. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The debaters coming at things from 2 different perspectives lead to some good conclusions. And people in the thread have added to it. There's a big difference between the regular season and playoff pitching staffs. To the point that Roger's quote of TK is now less relevant than anytime in the history of the sport. I don't have the numbers in front of me right now, but I know the Astros were averaging about 3 innings a game from their starters for most of the postseason. And that wasn't because they were using relievers as starters. They were using their regular starters and still couldn't get through 4 innings, yet almost won the World Series.

Front offices have realized you need 25 arms to get you through 162, but then you need 6 or 7 to get you through the postseason. Those aren't exact numbers, but with extra off days in the playoffs you can use your elite bullpen arms every game so don't need a full 13 man staff.

I voted that building a strong offense is more important because you need both pitching and hitting to survive 162 games (ask Jacob deGrom how elite pitching with no hitting goes for winning games), but you can scheme your way to good pitching in the playoffs when you can get away with using so few guys. Or you can be Dave Roberts and scheme your way out of elite pitching by using your elite starters as relievers, but that also goes to show that you can use strategy to affect your pitching outcomes in the postseason. But if you have a Brewers-esque lineup of guys who just aren't that good of hitters you can't scheme your way to better results so easily.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

 To the point that Roger's quote of TK is now less relevant than anytime in the history of the sport.

That quote is NEVER less relevant; emphasized by posters whining all summer about certain pitchers being next up.

Every game counts, not just certain ones.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, RpR said:

That quote is NEVER less relevant; emphasized by posters whining all summer about certain pitchers being next up.

Every game counts, not just certain ones.

Bad pitching is still bad pitching. That will never change. But the role starters play in MLB has changed drastically over the last 5+ years. And the Twins are talking about possibly being even more dramatic with their approach to pitching in 2022. 

I mean if you want to get into it, the quote is actually "momentum is only as good as the next day's starter" and it was Jim Leyland quoting Earl Weaver back in 1985. In 1985 Bert Blyleven lead the AL in innings pitched at 293. In 2021 Robbie Ray lead the AL in innings pitched at 193. Oakland had their starters throw 892 innings in 2021. That lead the league in 2021. That is good for the 828th most innings by starters since 1985. Out of 1068 team seasons. Houston was second at 878 innings good for 877 out of 1068. If you take out the 86 team seasons from the 94, 95, and 2020 strike and covid shortened seasons there were only 982 team seasons. So the team with the absolute most innings pitched by starters in 2021 was good for 828th out of 982 seasons.

All I'm saying is the game isn't played the same and starters don't matter like they used to. Especially in the playoffs. Which was brought up in the debate (difference between 162 and the playoffs). Teams are smarter and more creative and can find their way around a bad starter. The quote isn't as relevant anymore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

The debaters coming at things from 2 different perspectives lead to some good conclusions. And people in the thread have added to it. There's a big difference between the regular season and playoff pitching staffs. To the point that Roger's quote of TK is now less relevant than anytime in the history of the sport. I don't have the numbers in front of me right now, but I know the Astros were averaging about 3 innings a game from their starters for most of the postseason. And that wasn't because they were using relievers as starters. They were using their regular starters and still couldn't get through 4 innings, yet almost won the World Series.

Front offices have realized you need 25 arms to get you through 162, but then you need 6 or 7 to get you through the postseason. Those aren't exact numbers, but with extra off days in the playoffs you can use your elite bullpen arms every game so don't need a full 13 man staff.

I voted that building a strong offense is more important because you need both pitching and hitting to survive 162 games (ask Jacob deGrom how elite pitching with no hitting goes for winning games), but you can scheme your way to good pitching in the playoffs when you can get away with using so few guys. Or you can be Dave Roberts and scheme your way out of elite pitching by using your elite starters as relievers, but that also goes to show that you can use strategy to affect your pitching outcomes in the postseason. But if you have a Brewers-esque lineup of guys who just aren't that good of hitters you can't scheme your way to better results so easily.

I suspect if TK was commenting today, he would amend his comment to refer to the next day's pitchers, not just the starters.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the hitting side won this debate in the first post and from there it was an informative, even matchup.  I say that because, at the end of the day, team building needs to be about predictability and reliability and it's evident hitting is the better bet from that end.  

Even in these comments there are a lot of false, preconceived notions about the "requirement" of ace pitching or top end starters.  As @chpettit19rightly points out....the role of an 8 inning starter who chews up playoff games for you is basically extinct.  It's been replaced with flexible 6-8 man groupings that do well enough for long enough that the lineup you field wins it for you.  The Brewers, as @Vanimal46rightly points out, are the clear example: badass starters who put up cartoonish numbers can't save you when your team has an OPS that Andrelton Simmons would be ashamed of.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Atlanta's top 3 starters during the season had an average FIP of 3.48, which is still very good. Their wRC+ was 98.

Milwaukee's top 3 starters durig the season had an average FIP of 2.61 which is fantastic. Their wRC+ was 91.

Milwaukee Scores:

  • Game 1 = W 2-1. Starter went 6.0 IP 0 R
  • Game 2 = L 3-0. Starter went 6.0 IP 3 R
  • Game 3 = L 3-0. Starter went 2.0 IP 0 R
  • Game 4 = L 5-4. Starter went 3.2 IP 2 R *Went with 4th starter facing elimination.

Not one loss was tied to a Milwaukee starter. If you don't score at least 3 runs in a game, there's like an 80% chance you'll lose it. The Brewers vs. Braves series was clearly not the result of "hitting" it was the result of pitching performances.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

The Brewers vs. Braves series was clearly not the result of "hitting" it was the result of pitching performances.

The Brewers scored six runs in four games. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're getting at here but how is that series win not the result of hitting, or lack thereof?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before I go any further, i want to make what I feel is an interesting observation that seemed to be glossed over that debater A listed initially, and that is the defensive rankings of the WS winners, as posted, since 2011. With a couple of exceptions, most all defensive rankings were 10th or lower and most in the teens and several in the 20's. But not only is the o,d adage "pitching wins games" but it also was assumed that defense won games, and, of course assisted in better pitching.

Is this a greater reflection of the change in the game over the past decade in regard to the 3 outcome? Look, I still think quality defense is important to prevent the other team from scoring and to help your pitching staff PREVENT the other team from scoring. That's still the nature of the game, isn't it? Keep the other team from scoring more runs that you do. 

But until, or unless, changes in the game swing back another direction....dead balls, changes in shifts, etc....i think defense is important but less so than before.

My philosophy hasn't changed in recent years despite changes in the game. I still believe you put together the most BALANCED team together. I want a good defensive team overall to prevent unearned runs. But I would rather have a top 5-6 staff and offense vs a #1-2 staff or offense with the other being in the #10-12 category. I'd take that top 5-6 balanced team every single year for a chance to make the post season and have a shot and not "ride" on a single aspect of my team. 

Just reflecting back to the initial "A" post, you will witness yet again that there a LOT of ways to actually win the WS. Ironically,  the Braves won this past WS the way the Twins won in 1987. Stay in contention, trust what you have, make a move or two, get hot, and ride it out.

To this day, there is NO PERFECT FORUMLA to guarantee anything. Man I wish there was and I knew the answer so I could make a few $M a year and retire after my favorite team won a WS or two, LOL.

But the way the game is played today, I am building the best lineup I can put together with a couple #2 SP, HOPING for a #1 to emerge, and a pair of NICE #3's and let my #5 be a prospect getting his feet wet and trying to push someone, while building a pen that can shut down the opposition.

So yeah, having a true #1 sounds great. And I'd love to have it. But what if he loses? Give me a quality pen and a couple 2 or 3 #2  SP and some depth and give me the powerful and productive lineup and I'll go with that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

The Brewers scored six runs in four games. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're getting at here but how is that series win not the result of hitting, or lack thereof?

Milwaukee's lineup scored an average of 4.56 vs. Atlanta's 4.88 runs during the season. That's what the hitters are expected to produce. Great hitting would suggest scores should have been higher than expected. Great pitching would suggest scores should have been lower than expected.

Pitching > Hitting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Milwaukee's lineup scored an average of 4.56 vs. Atlanta's 4.88 runs during the season. That's what the hitters are expected to produce. Great hitting would suggest scores should have been higher than expected. Great pitching would suggest scores should have been lower than expected.

Pitching > Hitting.

This paragraph feels like 2 + 2 = banana.  

At the end of the day no amount of great pitching can save a flailing lineup.  That was the point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

Featured Video

×
×
  • Create New...