FLUKE OR NOT?
From Myers to Burrell to Utley to Lidge, it seems that a lot of Phillies are performing quite differently than expected. In the next few posts, I’m going to discuss some of the peripheral statistics for these guys and see what’s different and whether these performance changes are likely to persist. For today, I’ll work on a couple of starting pitchers.
Actual: 5.52 ERA
Projected (ZIPS): 3.31 ERA
Myers is still striking people out, slightly below his strike out rate from years past as a starter, but still a solid 7.73 K/9. His walk rate is up slightly to 3.44 BB/9. Both of those are as a result of recent performances, and probably unwise adjustments after being unlucky on balls in play and homeruns/flyball in his earlier starts. I would guess he rebounds to around three walks per game and 8 strikeouts per game.
A lot of his change in performance is luck. His BABIP is high-- .337. His career rate is a very normal .304, and my guess is that’s what he’ll have from here out. It seems that he’s having some problems in the first inning—he’s given 16 first inning runs in 12 games, good for an ERA of 12.00, and his ERA after the first inning has been 4.29. That seems like a mental problem to me, and those things are easier to fix than rotator cuffs. These things both indicate he's likely to turn it around.
His homeruns/flyball rate is still very high at 18.3% but it has been falling for a few starts now (I think it was up at 25.1% a few weeks ago). Apparently his career homeruns/flyball is very high—15.1%. For someone who plays half his games in CBP, you would expect that number to be around 12.5%. I’ve read that there is very little evidence that pitchers have much control on homeruns/flyball, but his 15.1% rate is much higher than that-- in fact, the difference is statistically significant at the 98% level. That leaves very little room for a claim that it is a fluke. It’s still possible, but I would guess Myers does have some tendency to give up longer flyballs than other pitchcers. Certainly, it should go down from here.
My guess: FLUKE. Myers will probably have an ERA of around 4.00 from here out and finish around 4.50 for the year. There’s simply nothing in his performance that makes me think we shouldn’t count on him as our number 2 from here out. The team needs to work on keeping his first inning nerves down, or perhaps simply telling him that it’s the second inning and that he is actually in for an 8-inning save each time out. Either way, I think he’ll sort out his head enough to succeed.
Actual: 4.63 ERA
Projected (ZIPS): 5.53 ERA
Hamels, Moyer, and Kendrick have been performing quite consistently with expectations thus far, so I'm not going to analyze them here. Let me know what you think about Myers and Eaton. Will Myers stay bad? Will Eaton stay average?
Tomorrow, I'll post about some hitters-- specifically on the disappointing seasons thus far of Ruiz and Howard, and the superb seasons thus far of Utley and Burrell.