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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Pitching Runs Created 

I wanted to take another look at the Phillies pitching and was casting around for ideas when I decided to look at Pitching Runs Created (PRC). PRC is a stat developed by The Hardball Times (THT) David Glassko to get a universal baseline for how a pitcher performs. The idea of PRC is to give you a means to compare the contributions of pitchers as they compare to hitters. (see, Dave's article on PRC.)

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 …



Hamels: 110.2

Kendrick: 82.6

Lohse: 75.4

Lieber: 71.8

Moyer: 68.2

Garcia: 62.1

Eaton: 53.2

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:


Romero: 225.9

Madson: 117.9

Myers: 96.1

Gordon: 80.0

Condrey: 64.0

Alfonseca: 60.0

Geary: 59.4

Mesa: 46.2

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?

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Not really sure what the PRC is or means but i don't think i will keep an open mind because anybody who watched the Phillies last year knows Ryan Madsen doesn't come close to how dominant Cole Hamels was. Enjoyed the article anyway.
Madson actually had a solid year prior to injury.
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