Thursday, February 14, 2008
I’ve dismissed PRC in the past (see, my review of THT’s Baseball Annual), stating that I didn’t understand how it works and what it is supposed to measure. I suppose that my real issue is that it seemed like an attempt to graft a hitters stat, or a hitters measurement, onto a pitcher. I’ve decided to give PRC a chance and wanted to see how and what it turned up in looking at the Phillies stats.
In applying PRC, I elected to try and come up with some way to smooth out the numbers to compare everyone to everyone. I rarely post Runs Created for hitters without noting what their Runs Created per 27 Outs were: ((RC / Outs) * 27) = RC/27. I decided to take PRC, divide it by innings pitched, and post PRC per 200 Innings pitched. 200 Innings, of course, being the number the workhorse on a team’s pitching staff will hurl in a season.
Cole Hamels, for example, had 101 PRC in 183 & 1/3 innings pitched, so: ((101 PRC / 183 & 1/3 IP) * 200 IP) = 110.2 PRC/200.
So let’s turn our attention towards the Phillies …
Not surprisingly, PRC rates Hamels as the strongest of the Phillies starting pitchers and gives a big edge to Kyle Kendrick, who had a nice season with the Phillies despite posting some pedestrian strikeout numbers (3.8 K/9). Also, not surprisingly, Adam Eaton rates dead-last on the list, even worse than Freddy Garcia. The real surprise to me is Jamie Moyer, who actually led the Phillies in innings pitched with 199 and one-third of an inning, rates so poorly. I like Moyer so much as a pitcher
Let’s go back to Hamels. First, let’s compare PRC/200 in ’07 (110.2) to ’06 (93.72). Hamels obviously improved, but I think those numbers go to illustrate what a strong debut Hamels had in 2006 to begin with. Next, I compared Hamels with some of the top pitchers in the National League. Hamels rates very well:
Jake Peavy: 128.1
Cole Hamels: 110.2
Brandon Webb: 109.2
John Smoltz: 108.9
Roy Oswalt: 103.8
Brad Penny: 103.8
Aaron Harang: 102.8
Tim Hudson: 96.3
Carlos Zambrano: 91.5
What caught my eye was the fact that Hamels actually rates better under this scale than Webb, the 2006 Cy Young Award winner and 2007 consensus runner-up to Jake Peavy. Hamels, you’ll recall, tied for sixth in the Cy Young voting, just getting a handful of votes, behind Brad Penny, Aaron Harang and Carlos Zambrano, tied with Smoltz and Jose Valverde, a relief pitcher with the Diamondbacks (PRC/200: 136.9).
Valverde’s numbers raise an interesting issue. Does PRC rate relief pitchers too high? I’ve noticed that a lot of relievers rate higher than I’d expect. Billy Wagner: 128.8 PRC/200. Francisco Cordero: 123.2. Trevor Hoffman: 101.2. Now let’s turn our attention to the Phillies:
I think my theory is borne out a little here. Does anyone really feel that Ryan Madson was a better pitcher than Cole Hamels? That he’s more effective? I know that starters and relievers do different things, but I find it hard to believe that Madson out-pitched Cole Hamels. But, I’ll keep an open mind.
Moving along … How great was J.C. Romero’s campaign in 2007? After being cast-off by the Red Sox, Romero hooked up with the Phillies, pitched in fifty-one games, finishing with a 1.24 ERA. He allowed just one home run in thirty-six innings.
Any thoughts? Comments?