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Jamie Moyer: 2007 Evaluation

The 44 year old wily vet with his offspeed stuff that clocks in higher than his fast ball.  Jamie had a "disappointing" season for the Phillies posting the following line:

33G 199.3IP 14W 12L 1.445WHIP 133K 66BB 5.01ERA 92ERA+

Not good, but still good enough to pick up 14 wins with this high powered offense.  

Looking at Jamie's ERA using DIPS (Defense Independent Pitching Stat) they have him as a little bit unlucky with a DIPS% of 94.  This means that, if all things being equal with defense, pitchers should have a DIPS% of 100.  This would move his DIPS ERA to 4.73.  Not a big move, but still a positive sign.

The real question is, what IS a 5.01 ERA?  ERA is, after just an average.  For most players, that average is a pretty good example of how they actually played.  For others (and usually the minority), it masks other factors at work.  There are two types of extreme pitchers.  The ones who average close to the same output every game and the others who tend to have extreme outliers.  It would seem, at first, that the consistent pitcher is the best bet, but I don't think that is the case.

Jamie averaged 6.039 innings per game and gave up, on average 3.36 runs per those 6.039 innings.  That appears better than it is since ERA is a 9 inning stat and 3.36 runs per 6.039 innings equates to a 5.01 ERA.  Would you be happy if a pitcher gave you 6 innings every game while allowing 3 runs for 2/3rds of them and 4 runs for the other 1/3rd?  Maybe, but you'd probably not be too successful since you still had 1/3rd of the game left to go.

The converse is having a pitcher throw like 5 or 6 stinkers with the rest being 2-3 run games.  You'd probably end up winning more games in that situation over the guy who was much closer to his average each start.  Where am I going with this?  Well, I tend to think of Jamie Moyer as a knuckleball type pitcher (like Tim Wakefield) where, when he is on, he is on, and when he is off, he is off.

Jamie was pretty close to that example.  

Of the 33 games Jamie started (fairly good feat for a 44 year old guy), he gave up 6 or more runs in 6 of them.  In those 6 games, he pitched a total of 26.3 innings giving up 42 runs for a 14.4 ERA.  

In the remaining 27 games he pitched in, Jamie pitched 173 innings, giving up 69 runs to a 3.59 ERA.  In 19 of his 33 games, he gave up 3 runs or fewer.  (Btw, when I say runs, I mean earned runs, although, he only allowed 7 unearned runs).  

This may seem like cherry picking, and to a certain extent, it is.  You remove most pitchers', not named Adam Eaton, worst start(s), and sure, their numbers will look much better.  It appears that Jamie may have had more "bad" starts than other pitchers in his ERA range.  Just getting rid of the one 10 run and two 7 runs games drop his innings down to 186.7 and his ERA down to 4.19.  

Looking at his peripherals doesn't really tell me what he is capable of doing.  It is hard to project a 44 year old guy.  He doesn't strike out a ton, but he appears to get outs by fooling the hitters into "just missing" the pitch.  When he doesn't fool them, they crush him.  When he does fool them, he pitches well.  The fooling them looks like it occurs a lot more often than the getting crushed, despite the high ERA.  I think Jamie will likely have a decent year next year and maybe a league average ERA around 4.60.  If it follows suit to how he performed this year, that may be good enough for 16-17 wins.