2024 Rotation and Bullpen

moondog80

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Even last night, the only bullpen problem was Campbell. The 8th inning was giving them 5 outs and then a HR that's a HR nowhere else other than Fenway. And I'll give Martin a mulligan for Wednesday, based on his track record. Which is to say, I'm still in on the bullpen.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Obviously the competition explains a lot of this, and the tiny sample size and park factor the rest, but the Home/Road pitching splits are really jaw-dropping right now:
Road: 7-3, 1.49 ERA, .828 OPS against, 105 K, 25 BB, 7 HRs in 90.1 IP
Home: 0-3, 5.46 ERA, .530 OPS against 27K, 14 BB, 5 HRs in 28 IP

As of right now, B-R has Fenway's park factor as:
Batting 121, Pitching 121
Coors Field as of now:
Batting 83, Pitching 86

Isaiah Campbell's split is even crazier.
More "fun" with tiny samples:
Road: 18 PA against, 3 hits, 1 double, 0 HRs, 1 run, 1 BB, 4 K, .458 OPS against, .177 BA against.
Home: 15 PA against, 8 hits, 2 doubles, 2 HRs, 9 runs, 1 BB, 1 K, 1.743 OPS against, .577 BA against.

Doesn't mean anything and hopefully it won't be long till the opening series at home is just an ugly memory.
 
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Fishy1

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Campbell has crazy good stuff and hung a bunch of pitches, which felt out of the ordinary from what I've seen of him. I expect him to continue to get opportunities out there because he was so good for Seattle last year and really good in the minors. He gave up all of 2 home runs last year and has already given up 2 in 6 innings this year.

Obviously sucks that he's blown a couple of games for us but if he really continues to come undone, the good news is he's got options.

Still like his arm a lot and think he'll be good for us for a long time.
 

Puffy

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Campbell has crazy good stuff and hung a bunch of pitches, which felt out of the ordinary from what I've seen of him. I expect him to continue to get opportunities out there because he was so good for Seattle last year and really good in the minors. He gave up all of 2 home runs last year and has already given up 2 in 6 innings this year.

Obviously sucks that he's blown a couple of games for us but if he really continues to come undone, the good news is he's got options.

Still like his arm a lot and think he'll be good for us for a long time.
He also had thrown the day before (16 pitches), and represented Cora tapping into the more depleted portion of the bullpen. The back-to-back appearances might have impacted his performance, as well.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Campbell has crazy good stuff and hung a bunch of pitches, which felt out of the ordinary from what I've seen of him. I expect him to continue to get opportunities out there because he was so good for Seattle last year and really good in the minors. He gave up all of 2 home runs last year and has already given up 2 in 6 innings this year.

Obviously sucks that he's blown a couple of games for us but if he really continues to come undone, the good news is he's got options.

Still like his arm a lot and think he'll be good for us for a long time.
He's already at -0.9 WAR on this season in only 6 innings pitched.

I don't disagree with your assessment overall but he's been so awful already I wonder if he's hurt. I fully expect him to be sent down if he has one more bad appearance. He's not right.
 

Rovin Romine

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I would have liked both Crawford and Whitlock to have been brought out at least to start the 6th in both games but I'm not really faulting the decision to not for their losses at all.
I agree those weren't clear-cut bad choices, but the homestand does raise a concern for me:

Bello 5.1, Joely 1, Winckowski 2.2
Crawford 5, Campbell 1, Martin 1, Bernardino 2
Whitlock 5, Slaten 2, Joely .2, Weissart .2, Jansen .2, Campbell 1.

First off, Winckowski, Anderson, Slaten and now perhaps Bernardino are being used as quasi-long men. Slaten has gone 1-2 innings every 3-4 days. Winck has done the same. Anderson has finished Houck's starts - 3 innings each (and he warmed up last night.)

Not really middle-innings eaters, but guys who can go pretty far along in a game. I like this in the abstract. Mostly because if a relief pitcher has it, sometimes it's better to ride one than cycle through the entire pen, as though you're fishing to see who might be off that night.

That however makes those arms unavailable, and you're left with a pen of: Jansen, Martin, Weissart, Joely and Campbell.

Jansen and Martin are 1 inning guys whom I'd be careful about using on back to back days. The remaining three need to be on. If there's a meltdown, who's going to come in and throw strikes? Maybe no one, depending on useage. Here we see that Campbell had a rough go of it (not helped by the defense, but not sterling outside it either) two nights ago. Then last night, he's brought in for extras and implodes. Which can and will randomly happen to just about any pitcher at some point. But it was really only Campbell or Anderson at that point. Slaten/Joely/Weissart/Jansen had been used. Martin had thrown 27 pitches the night before.

You can't have 20/20 forsight, but last night Weissart had thrown 6 pitches and came out to start the 9th with the game tied. With Mullins coming up, Cora went for a rested Jansen who threw 19 pitches. The Sox had McGuire, Hamilton, and Reyes coming up against Kimbrel (most likely.) So most likely, you're going into extra innings. And the plan was Campbell, no real backup, on 0 days rest.

So today we have Houck/Anderson, with a depth of. . Martin? And what if he had brought in Anderson yesterday? Why not bring in Anderson last night for extras and go with Campbell today - give him a day off to get his head straight? I can see preferring Campbell's stuff over Anderson's.

I'm not really seeing anything that was a clear-cut mistake, but in retrospect, getting a bit more out of Crawford and Whitlock might have made a difference. At the end of the series, the club is 0-3, and has burned through a bunch of arms. So let's hope it's a classic Houck/Anderson night.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Seems likely that Campbell gets sent down for Criswell, I would think. They need a fresh arm.

Story to the 60, Romy to the DL, and Sogard up seems like a good idea too.
 

Fishy1

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He's already at -0.9 WAR on this season in only 6 innings pitched.

I don't disagree with your assessment overall but he's been so awful already I wonder if he's hurt. I fully expect him to be sent down if he has one more bad appearance. He's not right.
Yeah, me too. They've got other guys with options hanging fire in AAA, so there's no reason to push the guy if he can't get things squared away.
 

Puffy

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Seems likely that Campbell gets sent down for Criswell, I would think. They need a fresh arm.

Story to the 60, Romy to the DL, and Sogard up seems like a good idea too.
There will have to be some roster shuffling soon (I see that Dalbec is already on his way to Boston). On the pitching side, they really only have Chase Anderson available in the bullpen, and perhaps Weissert given his short stint yesterday (edit: and Chris Martin). Given that tomorrow's game starter is TBD, they will likely want this to be some kind of bullpen game which leans heavily on Criswell (who I assume will start) and probably Chase Anderson. The 40-man won't be much help in Worcester, with Walter on the IL, Jacques just having pitched 1.2 innings last night, and the recent start of Uwasawa, who is not likely to be available. They could option Campbell (or shitcan Joely) in favor of Zack Kelly today, sending him down for Criswell for tomorrow. That's about all the help they are likely to get in the next 2 days from Worcester.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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He's already at -0.9 WAR on this season in only 6 innings pitched.

I don't disagree with your assessment overall but he's been so awful already I wonder if he's hurt. I fully expect him to be sent down if he has one more bad appearance. He's not right.
Only -0.2 per Fangraphs!

Statcast at a high level - his 4 seamer velocity is down from 95.0 mph (and 46.4% of the time) in 2023 to 93.1 mph (15.5%) this year. The slider & sweeper have similar speeds to last year (which means less separation).
 
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KillerBs

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You would think Winck, Weissert and Slaten are unavailable tonight. It is admittedly early, but Winck and Slaten are on pace for around 100 IPs out of pen, which seems unsustainable. Sort of surprised they brought Winck back yesterday for the first time on one days rest after throwing 28 pitches but the options were clearly limited. So that would make it aJoely, Bernardino, Martin and Jansen pen tonight, assuming Martin is available. Really need 6 from Whitlock tonight.

In this environment where structurally, on standard usage patterns, there are just not enough pitchers to comfortably cover the necessary pitches, batters and IPs, the importance of efficiency -- getting outs in fewer pitches -- seems under-rated. Even a small difference between 16 pitches/IP and 18 pitches per/IP for a SP is significant as it largely determines whether you can go 5, 5.1, 5.2 or 6+ which obviously has knock on effects for the freshness of the pen. Likewise if a RP can pitch to more batters and get more outs in a season because he is doing it in fewer pitches, this is obviously of considerable value. Slaten has excelled here thus far; Winck not so much.

Related, it seems to be we may be over-valuing all those RPs who cannot really go more than 60 IPs per season. That is around 20 IPs short of what you are likely to need from each of your 8 bullpen slots. Those are 20 IPs which need to be covered by someone else who is already taxed.
 

KillerBs

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Actually looking at it, I would expect Weissert could go tonight. It's been 33 pitches Saturday (longest outing of year) one days rest and 12 pitches last night. I imagine they would rather not use him, but I doubt he is unavailable. Weissert currently on pace for 73 IPs, so we can't really afford him to be unavailable in this context.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Yeah, it’s kind of crazy. The starters have generally been going 5+, hardly any terrible starts, no opener nonsense, yet the bullpen still seems really taxed. It seems like the biggest problem is the Martin and Jansen types who can only go an inning a time a few times a week.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Other than Bello the other night, the starters have been around 85 pitches. The old ideal was 15 pitches per inning. Get through @ 90 and try to squeeze the next 15 out of your starter. 105 pitches. 7 innings.
They’re averaging around 15 per inning so should really only be a time or two before all them are around there.
 

Rovin Romine

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You would think Winck, Weissert and Slaten are unavailable tonight. It is admittedly early, but Winck and Slaten are on pace for around 100 IPs out of pen, which seems unsustainable. Sort of surprised they brought Winck back yesterday for the first time on one days rest after throwing 28 pitches but the options were clearly limited. So that would make it aJoely, Bernardino, Martin and Jansen pen tonight, assuming Martin is available. Really need 6 from Whitlock tonight.

In this environment where structurally, on standard usage patterns, there are just not enough pitchers to comfortably cover the necessary pitches, batters and IPs, the importance of efficiency -- getting outs in fewer pitches -- seems under-rated. Even a small difference between 16 pitches/IP and 18 pitches per/IP for a SP is significant as it largely determines whether you can go 5, 5.1, 5.2 or 6+ which obviously has knock on effects for the freshness of the pen. Likewise if a RP can pitch to more batters and get more outs in a season because he is doing it in fewer pitches, this is obviously of considerable value. Slaten has excelled here thus far; Winck not so much.

Related, it seems to be we may be over-valuing all those RPs who cannot really go more than 60 IPs per season. That is around 20 IPs short of what you are likely to need from each of your 8 bullpen slots. Those are 20 IPs which need to be covered by someone else who is already taxed.
I agree this is really the dynamic we're seeing play out. Pitch efficiency is going to be a difference maker. Also, absolute pitches thrown. Getting another out from a starter can matter.

It's probably worth noting that in AAA, Kelly, Benetiz, and Bosier have been used as 2 inning guys - very effectively so far.
 

KillerBs

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Sox SPs are averaging 17.1 pitches per IP this year. If they could get it to 15 that would be huge. Unlike all the other incentives, the importance of pitch efficiency would seem to encourage pitching to contact (and good defense).
 

Rovin Romine

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May as well do the check in post with the Whitlock news and the Jacques call-up - the initial 13 to today.

Edit - Figured I'd update it on April 18 for the Jacques/Booser switch.

Starting Rotation:

1 Bello​
2 Pivetta 15 Day IL (elbow April 6) recovering well.
Criswell​
3 Crawford​
4 Houck​
5 Whitlock 15 Day IL (oblique, 4/17)
Booser (LHP)​

Starting Depth, * indicates current 40-man: Winckowski* (long man MLB), Anderson* (long man MLB), Uwasawa* (AAA), Fitts (AAA), Van Belle (AAA), Gonzalez* (AA), Perales* (AA).​

Bullpen:

1 Jansen​
2 Martin​
3 Winckowski (initial long man)​
4 Anderson (initial long man)​
5 Slaten​
6 Rodriguez (LHP)​
7 Campbell 15 Day IL (shoulder April 12) good reports.
8 Weissert*​
Bernardino (LHP)​

Bullpen Depth, * indicates current 40-man:: Zack Kelly* (AAA), Jacques* (LHP) (AAA), Leutge (LHP) (AAA), Benetiz (LHP) (AAA).​

On the 40 man are:

Lucas Giolito: 60day IL TJ surgery
Chris Murphy (LHP): 60day IL, likely TJ
Liam Hendricks: 60day IL, recovering TJ, maybe available post-trade-deadline.
Bryan Mata: IL forever.
Brandon Walter appears injured but is not on an injury list.​

***

Jacques being called up with Whitlock on the IL is not optimal. He has been pitching 1+ innings with very mixed results. https://www.milb.com/player/joe-jacques-682175?stats=gamelogs-r-pitching-mlb&year=2024

Zach Kelly pitched two innings yesterday and so isn't available. But he's been lights out, even though he's given up walks. https://www.milb.com/player/zack-kelly-677161?stats=gamelogs-r-pitching-mlb&year=2024

The only other 40 man pitcher in the high minors is Uwasawa, starting at AAA, who might get called up soon.

At AAA, Benetiz and Booser are both pitching well, but not on the 40 man. https://www.milb.com/worcester/stats/pitching/era?playerPool=ALL&sortState=asc
 
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Petagine in a Bottle

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I would guess that Jacques is probably just up until Whitlock’s spot comes around, to be replaced by Uwasawa maybe? Or Anderson to rotation, Uwasawa replaces him?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I would guess that Jacques is probably just up until Whitlock’s spot comes around, to be replaced by Uwasawa maybe? Or Anderson to rotation, Uwasawa replaces him?
Definitely. In the same way that Bernardino was brought up with the Pivetta IL move. No reason to bring up a starter until that spot in the rotation is up again. Plus the pen is probably a little depleted after last night and a fresh arm of any kind is useful.
 

chrisfont9

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May as well do the check in post with the Whitlock news - the initial 13 to today.

Starting Rotation:

1 Bello​
2 Pivetta 15 Day IL (elbow April 6) recovering well.
Criswell​
3 Crawford​
4 Houck​
5 Whitlock 15 Day IL (oblique, 4/17)
Jacques (LHP)​

Starting Depth, * indicates current 40-man: Winckowski* (long man MLB), Anderson* (long man MLB), Uwasawa* (AAA), Fitts (AAA), Van Belle (AAA), Gonzalez* (AA), Perales* (AA).​

Bullpen:

1 Jansen​
2 Martin​
3 Winckowski (initial long man)​
4 Anderson (initial long man)​
5 Slaten​
6 Rodriguez (LHP)​
7 Campbell 15 Day IL (shoulder April 12) good reports.
8 Weissert*​
Bernardino (LHP)​

Bullpen Depth, * indicates current 40-man:: Zack Kelly* (AAA), Leutge (LHP) (AAA), Booser (LHP) (AAA)​

On the 40 man are:

Lucas Giolito: 60day IL TJ surgery
Chris Murphy (LHP): 60day IL, likely TJ
Liam Hendricks: 60day IL, recovering TJ, maybe available post-trade-deadline.
Bryan Mata: IL forever.
Brandon Walter appears injured but is not on an injury list.​

***

Jacques being called up with Whitlock on the IL is not optimal. He has been pitching 1+ innings with very mixed results. https://www.milb.com/player/joe-jacques-682175?stats=gamelogs-r-pitching-mlb&year=2024

Zach Kelly pitched two innings yesterday and so isn't available. But he's been lights out, even though he's given up walks. https://www.milb.com/player/zack-kelly-677161?stats=gamelogs-r-pitching-mlb&year=2024

The only other 40 man pitcher in the high minors is Uwasawa, starting at AAA, who might get called up soon.

At AAA, Benetiz and Booser are both pitching well, but not on the 40 man. https://www.milb.com/worcester/stats/pitching/era?playerPool=ALL&sortState=asc
Sounds like Pivetta would be back April 21 or 22? One more hair-raising trip through the rotation and then hopefully guys start returning.
 

sean1562

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So far, Red Sox have the lowest ERA in MLB at 2.74. 53 earned runs allowed through 174.1 innings. 76 total runs though because our defense sucks, which is still 7th lowest in the league. The rotation has just been so much better than I expected them to be at the beginning of the season.
 

Rovin Romine

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Made a new thread for him given his wild biography. No news on the corresponding 40 man
New threads are good. Cotillo reports Jacques down to AAA is the corresponding move.

The 40 man is going to be interesting - probably Story. They may also put Walter or Mata on it at some point, but at the moment they're razor thin on guys on the 40 man who might be called up. I'm pretty sure it's why they waited - to make sure they could add an effective guy.

Excluding the AA pitchers and below: Zach Kelly, (again now) Jacques, Uwasawa, and for position players, Tyler Heineman (catcher.)
 

BaseballJones

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Game log by starter so far (21 games in):

Bello:
5.0 ip, 5 h, 2 r, 2 er, 0 bb, 2 k (W, Sox win 6-4)
5.0 ip, 5 h, 4 r, 4 er, 1 bb, 6 k (ND, Sox win 5-4)
5.1 ip, 4 h, 3 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 3 k (L, Sox lose 7-1)
5.1 ip, 6 h, 2 r, 2 er, 2 bb, 8 k (W, Sox win 5-4)
6.0 ip, 1 h, 0 r, 0 er, 2 bb, 7 k (W, Sox win 8-1)
TOT: 26.2 ip, 21 h, 11 r, 9 er, 7 bb, 26 k, 3.04 era, 1.05 whip, 8.8 k/9

Houck:
6.0 ip, 3 h, 0 r, 0 er, 0 bb, 10 k (W, Sox win 9-0)
6.0 ip, 4 h, 0 r, 0 er, 2 bb, 7 k (W, Sox win 12-2)
5.2 ip, 12 h, 7 r, 4 er, 0 bb, 2 k (L, Sox lose 7-0)
9.0 ip, 3 h, 0 r, 0 er, 0 bb, 9 k (W, Sox win 2-0)
TOT: 26.2 ip, 22 h, 7 r, 4 er, 2 bb, 28 k, 1.35 era, 0.90 whip, 9.4 k/9

Crawford:
6.0 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 0 er, 1 bb, 7 k (ND, Sox lose 4-3)
4.2 ip, 2 h, 1 r, 1 er, 3 bb, 5 k (ND, Sox win 8-6)
5.0 ip, 2 h, 0 r, 0 er, 4 bb, 6 k (ND, Sox lose 7-5)
5.2 ip, 2 h, 0 r, 0 er, 0 bb, 6 k (ND, Sox lose 6-0)
TOT: 21.1 ip, 9 h, 2 r, 1 er, 8 bb, 24 k, 0.42 era, 0.80 whip, 10.1 k/9

Whitlock:
5.0 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 1 er, 0 bb, 8 k (W, Sox win 5-1)
4.1 ip, 4 h, 0 r, 0 er, 4 bb, 4 k (ND, Sox lose 2-1)
5.0 ip, 4 h, 1 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 4 k (ND, Sox lose 9-4)
4.0 ip, 3 h, 2 r, 2 er, 1 bb, 1 k (ND, Sox lose 10-7)
TOT: 18.1 ip, 14 h, 4 r, 4 er, 7 bb, 17 k, 1.96 era, 1.15 whip, 8.3 k/9

Pivetta:
6.0 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 1 er, 0 bb, 10 k (L, Sox lose 1-0)
5.0 ip, 5 h, 0 r, 0 er, 1 bb, 3 k (W, Sox win 1-0)
TOT: 11.0 ip, 8 h, 1 r, 1 er, 1 bb, 13 k, 0.82 era, 0.82 whip, 10.6 k/9

Bernardino:
2.0 ip, 0 h, 0 r, 0 er, 3 bb, 10 k (ND, Sox lose 5-4)

Criswell:
4.0 ip, 5 h, 2 r, 2 er, 1 bb, 4 k (ND, Sox win 7-2)

TEAM TOTALS FROM STARTERS:

99.0 ip, 71 h, 26 r, 20 er, 28 bb, 109 k, 1.82 era, 0.93 whip, 9.9 k/9

Fun Facts:
- Of the 21 starts, they've had just 5 official "quality starts"
- Only 2 times has a starter given up more than 3 er
- 10 of the 21 starts, the starter has given up 0 er
 

RS2004foreever

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Starting Pitching
ERA 2.67, 1st
FIP 3.30 Tied for first
XFIP 3.43, 2nd
IP, 3rd
WAR 3.6 tied for first
Boston is the only team in the top 8 in ERA to have 10 losses.
The other top 7 teams in ERA average 12.4 Wins and 7.2 losses.
I worry the starting pitching is the equivalent of a football team that gains a lot of yards but doesn't score touchdowns in the red zone.
 
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koufax32

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Sooo..a big contract extension for Bailey? I’m like 62% kidding.

This start has been impressive so far. I doubt it’s sustainable over the course of a whole season but even with a bit of regression, I’m still in a position to eat a large plate of crow with a side of humble pie about the quality of this rotation without a Montgomery to anchor it. I still think the Achilles heel will be depth but that’s an easier fix going forward than a lack of quality.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Bello is pitching about where my highest expectations/hopes were.
Crawford and Houck are way beyond those.
Whitlock pitching as a starter is better than I thought but exactly where I assumed he’d be-injured.
Of course I thought Pivetta would NOT be injured but also exceeding expectations so far in more limited sample
 

BaseballJones

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Sooo..a big contract extension for Bailey? I’m like 62% kidding.

This start has been impressive so far. I doubt it’s sustainable over the course of a whole season but even with a bit of regression, I’m still in a position to eat a large plate of crow with a side of humble pie about the quality of this rotation without a Montgomery to anchor it. I still think the Achilles heel will be depth but that’s an easier fix going forward than a lack of quality.
Well it's clearly unsustainable. (a) No starting rotation has ever pitched this well over the course of a full season, and (b) none of these guys are THAT good. Bello is the only one of the group whose current stat line is one that could be sustained the entire season.

But there's a not unreasonable chance that these guys end up with solid numbers over the course of a full season.
 

simplicio

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Starting Pitching
ERA 2.67, 1st
FIP 3.30 Tied for first
XFIP 3.43, 2nd
IP, 3rd
WAR 3.6 tied for first
Boston is the only team in the top 8 in ERA to have 10 losses.
The other top 7 teams in ERA average 12.4 Wins and 7.2 losses.
I worry the starting pitching is the equivalent of a football team that gains a lot of yards but doesn't score touchdowns in the red zone.
That's the overall pitching line, starters are even better.
ERA 1.72 (1st)
FIP 2.95 (1st)
XFIP 3.25 (2nd)
FWAR 3.1 (1st)

Also currently rocking an 84.2 LOB% (1st).
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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That's the overall pitching line, starters are even better.
ERA 1.72 (1st)
FIP 2.95 (1st)
XFIP 3.25 (2nd)
FWAR 3.1 (1st)

Also currently rocking an 84.2 LOB% (1st).
True- ERA not sustainable but isn’t XFIP considered predictive? I’ll take a 3.25 collective starters ERA.
What’s weird is the defense has been so horrible that- if I’m not incorrect- it usually expresses itself in XFIP, yeah?
 

Fishy1

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Yeah, the final numbers are not sustainable, but let's not ignore the fact that there was an optimistic case to be made for Bello, Houck, Whitlock, and Pivetta. These are guys who all had terrific peripherals, some of them outstanding K/BB numbers (it's a group that rarely walks people, which is hugely in their favor) who got killed by a bad defense last year, and who struggled to get through the third time through the order (which almost everyone does in this day and age). Houck has solved that problem by improving his pitch mix, Crawford is being smarter about what he throws when, as is Bello.

The case against them over the winter was largely that they were unproven, or that they'd had more success as relievers than as starters (Crawford, Houck). But a lot of people were expecting Bailey to have a positive effect on these guys: a lot of these guys just needed to improve their pitch mixes and stop throwing their worst pitches. Houck and Bello have largely eliminated the 4 seamer to great effect. Pivetta added the sweeper.

Pitching is always going to be unreliable in the big leagues because guys get injured, but if you can take the guys who have good control and get them to rely on their best pitches and they're up for tinkering, there's a lot of evidence you can make an average staff much better.

I don't think they're going to be immune to struggles, or maintain a ridiculous LOB%, but I do think this is a good group, and a massive reason to be optimistic about the team going forward.
 

chrisfont9

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Well, fip stands for fielding independent pricing so no, the defense is not Relevant to xfip.
The defense is baked into the ERA, so the delta between the two is the defense (and park factors). Have they made all their errors when the relievers are in? Is the outfield D saving the starters a bunch of runs? I guess I'm not shocked because the ERAs are all so low despite the defense. But I don't know why the FIP is significantly higher.
 

chrisfont9

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Yeah, the final numbers are not sustainable, but let's not ignore the fact that there was an optimistic case to be made for Bello, Houck, Whitlock, and Pivetta. These are guys who all had terrific peripherals, some of them outstanding K/BB numbers (it's a group that rarely walks people, which is hugely in their favor) who got killed by a bad defense last year, and who struggled to get through the third time through the order (which almost everyone does in this day and age). Houck has solved that problem by improving his pitch mix, Crawford is being smarter about what he throws when, as is Bello.

The case against them over the winter was largely that they were unproven, or that they'd had more success as relievers than as starters (Crawford, Houck). But a lot of people were expecting Bailey to have a positive effect on these guys: a lot of these guys just needed to improve their pitch mixes and stop throwing their worst pitches. Houck and Bello have largely eliminated the 4 seamer to great effect. Pivetta added the sweeper.

Pitching is always going to be unreliable in the big leagues because guys get injured, but if you can take the guys who have good control and get them to rely on their best pitches and they're up for tinkering, there's a lot of evidence you can make an average staff much better.

I don't think they're going to be immune to struggles, or maintain a ridiculous LOB%, but I do think this is a good group, and a massive reason to be optimistic about the team going forward.
Agree with this, and while none of us optimists saw this level exactly, I would only add that Houck and Whitlock have both looked like guys who maybe just needed more time to evolve as starters. It's perfectly normal for rotation mainstays to start out having exactly the same problems these guys were having -- better command, better mix so that you can last longer, even minor injuries as they get physically used to the demands of the job -- which itself involves conditioning, particularly a couple off-season's worth, I think. Lots of future top starters spend years as swingmen and mediocre rotation guys until they put it all together. Even Pivetta with his wild effectiveness swings. Nobody loves to hear the word "patience" but in baseball it is absolutely critical.

Another possibility is that the previous coaching staff was giving them nothing much. They did get Crawford to where he is and Pivetta's transformation happened before Bailey got here. I suppose the current results don't literally prove Dave Bush was bad so much as that Andrew Bailey is good.
 

Rovin Romine

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The defense is baked into the ERA, so the delta between the two is the defense (and park factors). Have they made all their errors when the relievers are in? Is the outfield D saving the starters a bunch of runs? I guess I'm not shocked because the ERAs are all so low despite the defense. But I don't know why the FIP is significantly higher.
FIP measures all the stuff a pitcher directly controls: BBs, Ks, HBPs, HRs, which is calibrated to ML average ERA, with the idea being that all else is more or less random over a large sample. (i.e., there is no foul ball/weak contact skill.) It's an interesting concept, but not some kind of universal constant pitchers are always going to regress towards.

PS - HRs are the biggest component. Give up a lot of solo shots and the FIP will always be high.
 

simplicio

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Apr 11, 2012
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The defense is baked into the ERA, so the delta between the two is the defense (and park factors). Have they made all their errors when the relievers are in? Is the outfield D saving the starters a bunch of runs? I guess I'm not shocked because the ERAs are all so low despite the defense. But I don't know why the FIP is significantly higher.
Mostly, yes. Starters have given up 6 unearned (of 27); for relievers it's 19 of 55 (ouch!). So our pen has a 3.94 ERA, 3.76 FIP, 3.68 XFIP.

Fun fact: there's only one bullpen (DET) with a lower ERA than our starters (1.67 vs 1.72).
 

chrisfont9

Member
SoSH Member
FIP measures all the stuff a pitcher directly controls: BBs, Ks, HBPs, HRs, which is calibrated to ML average ERA, with the idea being that all else is more or less random over a large sample. (i.e., there is no foul ball/weak contact skill.) It's an interesting concept, but not some kind of universal constant pitchers are always going to regress towards.

PS - HRs are the biggest component. Give up a lot of solo shots and the FIP will always be high.
Yes, right, thanks. So this means their current ERA reflects unsustainable hit sequencing luck?