Thursday, April 19, 2012

More Fun With Pitching Prowess

As we have talked about on this blog last week and in the latest edition of Nats Talk on the Go (available on iTunes!), this Nationals pitching staff is really good at their jobs. And it doesn't just extend to starters, but more on that in a little bit.

Anyone that has been here for a while knows that I am a huge stat fiend, in that I love finding obscure stats that either tell a story or don't mean a hill of beans. It's fun. And this is one of those blog entries.

So sit tight and enjoy the ride.

Let's start with something that we discussed last week, Bill James Game Score. Everyone here knows Bill James (at least pretends to) as the stat guru behind Moneyball; the book, not the incredible Aaron Sorkin film.

Here is the basic formula:
  1. Start with 50 points.
  2. Add 1 point for every out recorded.
  3. Add 2 points for every inning completed after the 4th.
  4. Add 1 point for each strikeout.
  5. Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed.
  6. Subtract 4 points for every earned run allowed.
  7. Subtract 2 points for every unearned run allowed.
  8. Subtract 1 point for every walk.
  9. Done.
That's it. Pretty simple stuff. All told, the highest possible (9 inning) game score would be a 114 - with Kerry Wood's 20 Strikeout game in 1998 being the closest for a 9 inning game at 105.

Now that all of that nonsense is out of the way, let's see how the Nationals Starters fare on the National League Leaderboard so far (Top 50 Performances - there are some ties):
#2 - Edwin Jackson - 4/14 vs. Reds - 87
#9 - Gio Gonzalez - 4/12 vs. Reds - 80
#10 - Gio Gonzalez - 4/17 vs. Astros - 79
#17 - Stephen Strasburg - 4/11 vs. Mets - 74
#31 - Ross Detwiler - 4/10 vs. Mets - 68
#31 - Jordan Zimmermann - 4/13 vs. Reds - 68
#31 - Jordan Zimmermann - 4/18 vs. Houston - 68
#35 - Stephen Strasburg - 4/5 vs. Cubs - 67

For those of you scoring at home, that is 8 Nationals performances on the Top 50 Pitching Performances so far. Eight. The next closest team is the Phillies, with 5 after Cliff Lee's 10 Inning masterpiece last night.

We aren't done yet though.

Let's take a look at WAR so far in 2012.

Your National League Leader in Pitching WAR? Gio Gonzalez with 0.8. So far that is a .267 WAR/start - averaged out to a full season? 8.5+

Who is second on the National League Pitchig WAR Leaderboard? Stephen Strasburg with 0.7.

Jordan Zimmermann, not to be outdone, spun a terrific start and now places 5th in the NL in WAR - right behind Gio and Strassy with a 0.6.

Not to be left out in the cold, there a few relievers that want to be invited to the party.

Craig Stammen is currently tied for 3rd in WAR (0.3) for National League Relievers, behind Aroldis Chapman and Bryan Shaw.

Tyler Clippard is right behind him, tied for 7th with a 0.2 WAR.

As a team? The Nationals Pitching WAR of 3.4 of twice that of the 2nd place teams (the Mets and Cardinals). While also leading handily in K/9, FIP, xFIP, HR/9, ERA, SIERA, and BAA (Batting Average Against).


Yes, I know that it is terribly early and it isn't very likely that Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg will post 8+ Wins Above Replacement throughout an entire season. But I have been feeling pessimistic about sports lately, due the fact that I have suffered losing for so long I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop. So this is my attempt to break through that fog through Sample Size Alert stats.

Let's just enjoy the show while it lasts!


  1. Obviously, some regression to the mean in inevitable, but the main thing to consider is how unlikely it is that the Nats will suffer any long losing streaks this year with this staff. If 90 wins is the magic number for the playoffs, we now "only" have to go 80-69 (.537) the rest of the way to do it. :)

  2. I thought that ejax 2 hitter was in the top 5 nationals starts ever. Actually, off the top of my head i would only rank strasburg's debut and a john patterson 2005 shutout up there with it. Just wondering if the game score numbers bear that out.

  3. whereswilky,

    You are spot on with EJax being in the top 5 of Nationals Games Scores - The top 4 goes as follows...
    - John Patterson - 8/04/05 with a 92 Game Score
    - Pedro Astacio - 8/15/06 with an 88 Game Score
    - EJax - 4/14/12 with an 87 Game Score
    - Livan Hernandez - 6/15/11 with an 87 Game Score

    Fun stuff.