Sunday, August 06, 2017

2017 Giants: July PQS

This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of July 2017, PQS as defined in Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster annual book and they published the details here (unfortunately, they removed the article; this link gets you at least to the PQS definition, read down to middle for details). I wrote on this first in 2006 (wow, 12th year of this!) and have compiled their stats on a regular basis, so I'm continuing it this season for continuity and historical comparison (there is the "PQS" label that you can click to see the old posts on this). Regular readers can skip to the next section.

This is the Quality Start with a sabermetric DIPS twist, and it gets really easy to calculate once you get used to it. I don't think it's the end all or be all, but then nothing really is that. It is, as I like to say, another piece of the puzzle. A dominating start is scored a 4 or 5 and a disaster start is scored a 0 or 1. DOM% is the percentage of starts that are dominating, DIS% is the percentage of starts that are disasters (any start under 5.0 IP is automatically a 0, or disaster).

What's Good and What's Not

From my observations, a DOM at or above the 40% mark is indicative of good pitching; above 50% is great; above 70% is elite. A low DIS is also indicative of good pitching, just look at the table in the link above showing DOM% and DIS% on the axes.

Basically, you want to see a pitcher's DOM% to be over 40% and ideally over 50%, and you want their DIS to be under 20% and ideally under 10%. For example, Johan Santana has a 76% DOM and 3% DIS in 2006 (2.77 ERA), whereas Orlando Hernandez had a 52% DOM and 28% DIS (4.66 ERA), and Adam Eaton had a 31% DOM and 31% DIS (5.12 ERA). Read the link (unfortunately, they removed the article and thus the table is no longer available, sorry), as I noted, there's a nice chart there showing the combination of high DOM% and low DIS%, and there you can see particularly how a low DIS% is so important to a low ERA.

If you had to chose a high DOM% or a low DIS%, pitchers tend to have a lower ERA when you have a low DIS% vs. a high DOM% (obviously if you combine both, you have a much better chance of having an elite pitcher).  But I think when the DOM% is high enough, you win more by choosing a high DOM% over a low DIS%, as there are more high quality games pitched overall.

I wholeheartedly recommend buying Baseball Forecaster and learning more about their methods of analyzing baseball. It has been greatly illuminating for me, and if you want to get a taste for it without paying full price, they used to sell their old editions of their annuals on their website for half price or less (plus shipping); but that was before he sold the company off, and I haven't checked recently.

Giants Starters' PQS for 2017 Season

Ty Blach - (41% DOM, 12% DIS; 7:2/17):  3,3/0, 4, 4, 3, 3/4, 3, 3, 3, 0, 4/4, 4, 4, 2/

Madison Bumgarner- (88% DOM, 0% DIS; 7:0/8):  5, 4, 5, 4///4, 4, 3, 5/

Matt Cain- (25% DOM, 35% DIS; 5:7/20):  0, 4, 3, 4, 3/0, 3, 4, 1, 4, 3/2, 0, 2, 0, 3/3, 5, 0, 1/

Johnny Cueto - (58% DOM, 16% DIS; 11:3/19):  2, 5, 5, 0, 4/5, 4, 5, 4, 4, 5/4, 2, 1, 4, 3, 2/3, 0/

Matt Moore - (43% DOM, 33% DIS; 9:7/21):  1, 4, 2, 0, 5/0, 3, 4, 4, 2, 5/0, 2, 0, 5, 0/3, 0, 5, 4, 4/

Jeff Samardzija - (71% DOM, 10% DIS; 15:2/21):  2, 4, 4, 3, 5/5, 4, 4, 5, 4, 0/5, 4, 3, 4, 5/5, 4, 3, 0, 5/

Chris Stratton - (0% DOM, 0% DIS; 0:0/1):  ///3/

Giants Season overall - 51% DOM, 20% DIS out of 107 games counted (54:21/107)
Giants Month of April - 54% DOM, 15% DIS out of 26 games counted (14:4/26)
Giants Month of May - 62% DOM, 17% DIS out of 29 games counted (18:5/29)
Giants Month of June - 33% DOM, 26% DIS out of 27 games counted (9:7/27)
Giants Month of July - 52% DOM, 20% DIS out of 25 games counted (13:5/25)

The month of July for PQS was much better overall.  DOM was at levels seen earlier this season, instead of not very good as it was in June.  DIS was better but not that much better.

Blach, Bumgarner, and Samardzija led the team with 3 DOM starts each.  Cain had just one, but Cueto had none in two starts, before his blisters that has plagued him the whole season, finally pushed him onto the DL.

Cain led with 2 DIS starts, and Cueto, Moore, and the Shark had one each.  Neither Blach nor Bumgarner had any.  Stratton, with one MID start, had neither a DOM nor a DIS start.

Bumgarner and Blach led the way, with 2.84 and 3.67 ERA respectively.  Madison had 7.5 K/9 and 4.20 K/BB, which was reflected in his ERA, and similarly with Blach, whose 5.0 K/9 is not really rotation worthy, but his 3.00 K/BB is very good.  Keeping that ratio appears to be more important than striking out hitters.

Samardzija should have made it a trio, but his great 8.6 K/9 and 7.25 K/BB was not matched up with his truly horrible 5.64.  It appears that the Giants experiment to get him to be consistently good has not paid off yet.

Meanwhile, Cueto continued to struggle with his blisters (apparently the new ball is causing a number of pitchers who never had blister problems to suddenly have them) and was eventually DLed, then suffered a setback when he had forearm pain, which, to his (and Giants fans' relief) was not a Tommy John issue.  But he did have two bad starts, for a 8.10 ERA, 6.3 K/9, which is about what he normally does, but a horrible 0.78 K/BB, which is reflected in the ERA.

And Cain continued to sink further down, having a DOM start, then following up with two DIS starts.  All good for a 4.98 ERA, bad 4.2 K/9 and bad 1.11 K/BB.  It is the end of his tenure as a Giants starter and turkey tapper extraordinaire, as he was moved out of the rotation to get Cueto back in, only for Cueto to be DLed immediately, putting Cain back in, but with poor starts, he was removed as the starter in early August, replaced by Chris Stratton.

Stratton had his first MLB start in July, as an emergency starter when Cueto came up lame (forgot for what), and he was able to get a PQS 3 start out of it.  As the new starter, he will get a chance to show off what he can do as a starter for a while.

Lastly, Moore was bad once more, but showing some improvement.  He had a bad 4.76 ERA, but OK 7.6 K/9 and 2.18 K/BB.  It appears that he's still recovering from his messed up mechanics that a new pitch caused him to experience.

July 2017 Comments

Another bad month to continue the trend all season of losing followed by more losing.  For every glimpse of a silver lining (like Slater, or that nice win streak), it is followed by more injuries (Slater, Arroyo, Cueto) and suckage (too many to list, but you know...).   Many can't wait for the season to end, particularly fans.

In July, the bad continued coming, as the Giants only scored 3.80 runs per game, while giving up 5.00 runs per game, a pretty good recipe for a bad month.  It has been over a year of bad play now for the Giants.  And it continued for the offense.

Not Enough Offense

We actually got some very good hitting too, wasted by the rest of the lineup.  Belt hit .269/.394/.449/.842, Nunez hit .354/.392/.438/.830 before being traded off for two Boston prospects, Posey hit .289/.398/.386/.784 (another powered down hitting performance for Buster), Gillaspie hit .231/.231/.538/.769 (but was DFAed in early August), Hundley hit .286/.306/.457/.763, and Hernandez hit .316/.366/.382/.747.  With Belt, Nunez, Posey having such high OBP, we should have scored a lot more.

But it didn't help that the rest of the lineup was really bad.  Tomlinson had a .681 OPS, Crawford .663 OPS, Span returned to bad hitting with .654 OPS (which probably killed any idea of trading him), Gomez in his MLB debut, had .598 OPS, Panik continued to spiral, only .594 OPS, Pence continued to struggle, only .514 OPS.

And after nice starts to their MLB careers, rookies Jae-gyun Hwang and Austin Slater struggled in July, with .395 and .393 OPS, respectively.   Slater, however, didn't get the chance to see if he could get out of his slump as he was DLed with a serious injury, and it is not certain if he can get healthy by the end of the season, though apparently his rehab is going well.  He's probably playing in the AFL to get more AB and exposure for the Giants scouts.

Not Enough Bullpen Either

The bullpen was night and day too.  A number of good performances by a few relievers.  Dyson had a 1.38 ERA taking over as the closer while Melancon was out with his arm problems again, and DLed, but only 4.8 K/9 and 1.17 K/BB.  Gearrin had a 2.31 ERA, 9.3 K/9, and 1.71 K/BB.  Strickland had a 2.45 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 1.11 K/BB.  Crick, in his MLB debut, 2.45 ERA, 9.8 K/9, and 1.71 K/BB (his problems walking continued, but he was great otherwise).

Then the bad and the ugly.  Suarez was actually OK, but minimal use, 4.15 ERA, but great 8.3 K/9 and 4.00 K/BB.  He could be long relief again next season.  Stratton had a 5.91 ERA overall, but only two games, one the emergency start.  Kontos had a 7.30 ERA, but good 8.8 K/9 and 3.00 K/BB.

Kontos was just placed on waivers and picked up by the Pirates, when the Giants let them have him.   As much as I like Kontos, he's only getting more expensive next season in arbitration, he's on the bad side of 30 at 33 next season, we have so many bullpen options, and he could never get consistently good, he would have too many off days to be part of a core bullpen.  In addition, pitching has moved towards strikeouts as a key component of adding value, and he just did not have the ability to get strikeouts (hence why he was sent to the minors early in his Giants career, to learn how to pitch to contact, and why his strikeout rate went down after he returned to the majors for good).

And no good lefties.  Okert had a 7.71 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 2.50 K/BB, and got sent down late in the month.  Osich had a 8.64 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.33 K/BB.   The loss of Will Smith turned out to be a huge loss, as we have not been able to rely on no other lefty to shut down rallies.  Part of me has been wondering if they might bring up Andrew Suarez, who has been great as a starter in the minors, to pitch in September, as part of the call ups, so that he can help shore up the bullpen with a reliable lefty.

Few Good to Come of This Season

And really, prospect hoping (and trying to get a Top 5 pick in next year's draft) is about all we can look forward to as Giants fans in August and September.   But with so many of our top prospects, entering the season, injured, not as many as one could have hoped for.  That's what makes the news that Slater is healing fast such good news, maybe we get to see him again in September.

Oh, and we picked up Sandoval, who was just brought up when Belt got hit in his helmet by a pitch, and was placed on the 7-day concussion protocol DL.  With a major league minimum veteran salary for the rest of the season, and similar seasonal rate options for the team in the next two years, it appears that the Panda is contrite about all the crap he said after he signed with Boston, though he won't be returning the last ball he caught for the last out of the 2014 World Series (I won't fully forgive him for everything until that happens).

But we need a starting 3B, Arroyo's development was pushed back by his injury, Hwang is struggling.  If Sandoval can provide a great defensive 3B, and OK hitting, that's a huge win, an average plus player by WAR, and one less position to worry about.  If he can hit like he used to, that's what we need to help us have any hopes of competing for a playoff position in the next two seasons.   And if he sucks as badly as he did in Boston, or at least isn't that good, that's a contribution to us getting a better draft pick.  Any way you want to look at it, it should be a win.

The only way I can see this as a loss is if him being welcomed back in is seen by Posey or Bumgarner as a strongly negative thing, and we lose either of them because of this move.  But I have to assume that management wasn't that stupid and approached them (and probably Crawford, Belt, and Cain) to get their input whether to ride the Sandoval roller coaster ride again.

Competing in the Future

Beyond all that, we need the rotation to be straightened out, and Crawford needs to start hitting again, him or Pence.  And a centerfielder who can field and hit some.  And Panik to stop sucking so badly, I wonder if he's suffering some from the concussion he had.  Yes, a tall list, it could be a long while before we are competitive again.  Things crumbled so fast, basically over the All Star break last year.

Hence why I want the Top Pick, if possible, plus with Ramos and Gonzalez hitting so well, we could be ready to compete again by 2020, even if all of the above don't happen.

2 comments:

  1. I don't comment much, but I read. Just thought I'd let you know that. And I really appreciate this particular type of write-up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks MosesZD, appreciate your note.

      I do wonder sometimes if I'm just blogging to a bunch of bots trying to figure out how to sell weird products on my blog (I used to get a bunch of hits off Finland which I finally realized it was just a bot).

      But as I've noted, I write because I'm interested in certain things about the Giants, and I don't see anyone writing or analyzing that particular subject.

      Not that there isn't more stuff than PQS that could be done, to be clear, I just don't have as much time (or really, the interest to make the time) to spend on blogging, but I really believe in the PQS as a tool for studying pitchers, and then trying to use that as a springboard into our favorite team, the Giants.

      I think part of the impetus I had before to write more was related to my fear that there were Giants fans still not enjoying the team's golden era we have been having, but once I realized that I can't save everyone, I lost that impetus.

      But I love being helpful in some way, and thus I'll continue to write on Giants topics that interest me, and hopefully you and others will continue to find it helpful in some way.

      Cheers, ogc

      Delete

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