You know how every so often on The Good Phight, we'll have some longer statistical articles, critiquing particular stats and championing others? You know how, generally, these articles make for lively debate in the comments, and how the lines of debate are usually drawn along a "traditional" versus "advanced" statistical approach? You know those threads, right?
Well, here's a brief appeal to advanced statistics by way of tonight's game. Tonight, Taylor Jordan goes against Cole Hamels. By their surface numbers, it seems as if we're going to see the Phillies up against a promising youngster and that the Nats will be facing an ace in decline: Jordan is rocking a pristine 2.70 ERA, while Hamels has a disspiriting 4.38 ERA. Tough one for the home team, right?
Well, first, check the sample size. Jordan's been up in the majors for two whole starts. Not a lot of time to really get a feel for him. Still, he had a .83 ERA in AAA this year, over eight starts. That's pretty good! But he got there with a K/9 of 7.17 and a completely unsustainable 0.00 HR/9. That's pretty troubling. In the majors, Jordan has put up the same HR/9 thus far, and is holding his own in limiting the free pass, but is only generating 3.8 K.9. Even in small sample size, that's brutal.
Hamels, on the other hand, despite his ugly ERA, is striking out 8.52 per nine, walking 2.63, and living with his own fairly sustainable HR/9 of 1.04. That's not half bad. He is, however, pitching rather poorly (or unluckily) with men on base -- a 67.6 left-on-base percentage this year, versus a career 76.2. That's rough.
So what do we get when we look at the apparent mismatch (besides a whole mess of small sample size red flags)? A nearly identical FIP (Jordan at 3.47 and Hamels at 3.65) and a radical mismatch in xFIP (Jordan at 4.74 and Hamels at 3.61). Jordan is pitching about as well as a ~4 K/9 can get you, but he has to improve to become anything more than Scott Diamond redux. Hamels is pitching about as poorly as a K/BB ratio of 3.24 can get you, and he can't keep that up forever. So that mismatch we talked about earlier? Yeah, you guessed it: screw you ERA.
Also, I like Hamels more. So there.
Discuss my butchering of analytics below
Phillies lead the series 1-0
WP: John Lannan (2 - 3)
SV: Jonathan Papelbon
LP: Dan Haren (4 - 10)
|3 - 2 win|
|Wed 07/10||7:05 PM EDT|
|Thu 07/11||7:05 PM EDT|