July 3, 2006

More Pedro Stat Insanity

Something I wrote after the 2000 season that I, being a disorganized pack rat, couldn't put my hands on last week (and there wasn't a clear link to it on my Pedro site).

How Good Was Pedro In 2000?

Imagine an AL batter hit .454. Would he win the MVP Award? Do you think he would receive at least one first-place vote?

In 2000, Pedro Martinez -- whose 1.74 ERA was the equivalent of that otherworldly batting avarage -- finished fifth behind Jason Giambi, Frank Thomas, Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Delgado. Only two out of the 28 voters placed Martinez in their Top Three, and eight voters ignored him entirely.

[The American League ERA in 2000 was 4.91, so Martinez's ERA of 1.74 was 64.5% lower than the league. A batter hitting at 64.5% above the league average that year would have hit .454.]

More from Pedro's 2000 season:

He allowed only 6.636 walks+hits per nine innings, easily breaking Guy Hecker's record of 6.923 from 1882. They are the only two pitchers in history below 7.00.

Martinez retired the side in more than half of his innings: 112-of-217. He faced 3 or 4 batters in 179 innings (82.5%). And he faced five or fewer batters in 206 innings (a mind-boggling 94.9%). (His other 11 innings: 6 batters six times, 7 batters three times, 8 batters once and 9 batters once.)

Martinez registered at least one strikeout in more than 80% of his innings (177 of 217). He struck out the side 10% of the time (22 of 217) and never went more than two innings without a strikeout.

Pitching in a league where the average team scored 5.3 runs per game, Martinez allowed more than 3 earned runs only twice in 29 starts (June 25 and August 24). He allowed 2 runs or less in 21 starts and 1 run or less in 17 starts.

Somehow, Pedro was charged with six losses in 2000. What did he do in those games? 48 innings, 30 hits, 13 runs, 8 walks, 60 strikeouts, a 2.44 ERA (stats any pitcher would kill for). While Martinez was on the mound in those six games, the Red Sox scored a grand total of four runs -- an average of less than one run per nine innings (0.75).

On June 14, after twelve starts, his ERA was 0.99. His ERA never rose above 1.81 (September 14) and he finished at 1.74.

Roger Clemens's ERA of 3.70 was second in the AL, yet was more than twice Martinez's ERA. That difference of 1.96 was the largest margin in history. In fact, among qualifying pitchers, Clemens at #2 was actually closer to #38 [Rolando Arrojo, 5.63] than he was to #1.


Red-Sox-Rumors said...

Interesting... What equation do you use to determine that a 1.74 ERA is the equivalent of a .454 batting avarage?

allan said...

It is in the post -- in the bracketed section.

Jere said...

Never has Arrojo been used to get the desired result so effectively. Nice job on this.

Wasn't that the year people just voted for Hudson because he had the great final start and his team won the West while Pedro missed his last start and the Sox missed the playoffs?

And about the MVP that year, there's even more of a case for Pedro now since Giambi was on 'roids.

Red-Sox-Rumors said...

Oop - sorry I missed that descrip of the stat on my first read...

Is that an equation of your own conception? I like it, but I'm not sure it works. Since no one has ever hit .454 wouldn't it be more reasonable to compare the best pitcher with the best hitter? 1-to-1?

Maybe if the equation took into account the statistical bell-curve or used median rather than mean/avg.

I'm just thinking out loud - I like the thought process...

allan said...

I don't know if it works and it may very well be off-base. :>) It makes sense on its face, I think, for a non-counting stat: how far above the norm was this performance?

Also, as I mention in the link, Pedro did come very close to winning in 1999.

Then he actually turns in a better season -- who even thought that was humanly possible?? -- and he gets completely stiffed!

It's amazing how moronic and ignorant baseball media can be. And they seem to take enormous pride in their ignorance, like a certain former member of the Texas Rangers' front office.