Sunday, June 20, 2004
WHIP (BB + H / IP = WHIP)
WHIP is probably the best stat to keep track of, instead of a pitchers win/loss record, because it tracks how often a pitcher is able to keep runners off the base paths. It is a stat Moneyball types like myself love because it is a much better judge of a pitcher's ability than Win-Loss. (One of the finest pieces I ever read in Baseball Primer was a deconstruction of the 2002 A's pitching which revealed that Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito was the weakest of the A's "Big Three". Baseball writers, dazzled by Zito's 23-5 record ignored teammate Tim Hudson. Not coincidentially, Zito had a mediocre year in '03 and started off awful in '04. Hudson and Mulder have been far more consistent.)
(stats current to June 19, 2004)
Added together, Milton, Millwood, Myers, Padilla and Wolf have a collective WHIP of 1.42, while the rest of the staff is far stingier at 1.38 ... subtract Wolf, the Phils best starter, and the Phils starting staff looks pretty awful: 1.48 ... the bottom line is that the Phillies starting rotation, after carrying the team in '03, has been a colossal bust this season.
Milton in particular has been a disappointment: despite his 8-1 record, his WHIP is dead-last among the starters, his ERA is a 4.60 and his BAA is an absurdly high .285 (both only ahead of Millwood) ... Milton has succeeded because the Phils have furnished him with considerable run-support in his starts.
Millwood is also treading water: his ERA is nearly 5.00 and his BAA is .287, both dead last among the five starters. He seems to be fading quickly.
The Phils stongest pitcher looks to be Randy Wolf: despite being just 2-3, he leads the starting rotation in BAA, WHIP & ERA. In a game seven, there is little doubt I'd want Wolf on the mound ahead of everyone else.
So where do the Phils stack up in '04? They are 10th in NL ERA and 11th in NL WHIP, down considerably from '03, when they were 6th in WHIP and 7th in ERA. The Phils were 2nd in WHIP and ERA Pre-'03 All Star Break and then 14th in WHIP and 12th in ERA after. The team's mediocre pitching performance from the end of '03 has carried over in '04. The only pitcher immune so far has been Wolf. (And even he suffered a dramatic Part II collapse in '03: 3.31 ERA; 1.09 WHIP; .204 BAA v. 5.60 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, .274 BAA.)
The Marlins, in contrast have a stingy rotation and are pitching well: their WHIP is just 1.29 and they appear that they will get stronger when Josh Beckett fixes his blister problems. Even the Mets (!) are ahead of the Phils in WHIP and ERA.
The offense is going to have to carry these guys ...