Saturday, April 24, 2010

Unlucky?

"Unlucky" was Cole Hamels label last year with support from a funky little stat (BABIP). His BABIP was uncharacteristically high last season which lead to an elevated ERA. Well, the only thing elevated last night were those 4 4-baggers, and that my friends has nothing to do with luck. Reading through some comment sections of other sites had people blaming Rich Dubee and Brian Schneider for Hamels disaster. Really? Cole Hamels was mediocre last year, and at times terrible, but his excuse was he was unlucky. Now that he's had 4 starts this season with similarly poor results (1 good and 3 bad) the apologist are coming out again and making excuses for him. Just stop! Luck evens out over the course of a season. The pitcher needs to mix his pitches and locate them, that's what makes for an effectively consistent pitcher. Cole Hamels is not that. He's shown brilliance in the past, but rarely since 2008. Can he return to dominant form? Yes, we'd all like to think so. However, major adjustments in his approach need to be made before that brilliance/dominance returns, because until then we'll continue to see varied results ranging from awful to good.

Stuph:
*Ryan Howard has 3 hits in his last 25 at bats (.120 avg) and only 3 walks this season.

*Joe Blanton (3) and Brad Lidge (1) worked the first 4 innings of the Reading game last night while allowing no runs.

*J-Roll will not be activated from the DL on April 28th when he's first eligible.

*Figgy gets the spot start tonight. My prediction- he pitches better than Hamels, but Charlie pulls him after 4 quality innings because "that's all they really expected of him".

17 comments:

GM-Carson said...

From Crashburn Alley:
"If Cole wants to get back on the winning track, he doesn’t need to change much — he just needs to ride out yet another wave of bad luck, be a little more precise with his location, and to stop using his other pitches at the expense of his change-up. That’s really it. Based on events proven to be within a pitcher’s control — strikeouts, walks, and GB/FB rates — he has pitched very well. With a few minor tweaks, he can put himself in a better position where he won’t be resting his fate on rolls of the dice." (In post)

Comment Section:
Me- "Really, we’re still going with the “unlucky” excuse?

I hope you’re right Bill and Cole makes his “minor adjustments” and gets back to his 2008 form."

Crashburn Alley- "Carson, it’s not an excuse. It has been statistically proven that pitchers control some factors and barely (if at all) control others. In other words, we can identify the factors that are symptomatic of good and bad pitching (strikeouts, walks, and ground ball/fly ball rates) and separate them from the non-factors (hits allowed per ball in play and home run per fly ball rate).

There is no bias here — this is what the facts state.

Others can choose to accept these facts or ignore them and continue to irrationally disapprove of Cole Hamels."

Me- "Guess I’m irrational. I look at results and the results right now show me a high ERA, WHIP, and homerun total. I truly am trying to become better statistically rounded in my view of the game, but in this case I just don’t buy the “unlucky” argument."

ripjgarcia said...

The kind of pitcher Cole Hamels is now, he needs to stop worrying about curveballs and cutters and start worrying about location. If this guy could pitch location as he proved capable of when he first came up and stopped trying to add pitches, etc. he might be fine.

Hell, we have a 47 year old pitcher with more confidence that this guy, and I rarely see Cole sitting near him anymore. He was always right beside Jamie before.

On Howard. The 3 walks are suprising.. He's still hitting like .300. It's Howard. He'll always be up and down..

GM-Carson said...

I'm not basing my disgust for Hamels off of one poor start, this has become a partner with him for over a season now. It's not like I'm ranting because of a handful of games.

Aaron said...

Hamels hasn't been good since October 2008.
It's 2010 now. Hamels sucks.

David said...

Would anyone be in the "trade Hamels while you can still fool another team into thinking he's good" camp? This guy has nothing in his yam bag. As soon as one thing goes wrong, he pouts and turns into a complete mental midget. He doesn't have "it". Yes he won a world series MVP and was in a freak zone, but look at what he is even that season. He's an 11-12 game winner who gives up a ton of gopher balls and causes the bullpen to be overused. That is fine for a 4, but your two can't be that guy.

And I'm holding back on lamenting the absence of Cliff Lee too much, but let me throw this out there. Amaro gets a lot of man love for his signing of Haliday, and the man is a stud, but how about the way he botched free agency in 2008/09 to put this team in a terrible position now. He way overpays an ancient Raul Ibanez on day one of free agency, he way overpays a geriatric jamie Moyer based on local loyalty, and he way overpays the most fragile closer in the game. Every time I watch this hapless pitching staff, i can't help but think about the wasted dollars that are either sucking/on the DL/acting their age and I think about what we don't have and I get pissed. Real pissed.

Dr. Steve said...

Anyone who had a brain would know that Ruben Amaro Jr. sucks at being a general manager. Even before Ibanez played, Pat Burrell signed for like, five million and Ibanez got a solid thirty.

I would like to trade Cole at this point. He should be able to command a very high price still. But, without Cole, how far can we get?

Then again, with Cole, how far can we get?

ACSmitty79 said...

I am finally on the "I'm really Worried about Cole and his suckage could derail a Championship" wagon :(

Corey said...

i don't think amaro signed burrell.

as for trading hamels, look at what amaro got for cliff. nothing. what would he get for hamels? less than nothing?

Corey said...

oh yeah, and if you think cole hamels is 'unlucky' then you are a fucking moron. take you eyes off of the hr:fb ratio and watch the damn game. i don't know how many fly balls hamels gave up last night but i do know that he didn't give up cheap homers. if every fly ball goes 400 ft that doesn't make you 'unlucky' it makes you not a major league pitcher.

hits allowed per ball in play and home run per fly ball rate are factors that are under the control of the pitcher. to say they aren't is so ridiculous. can you imagine if you managed a team based on these assumptions. "alright cole, just go out and lob it in there like batting practice, you'll lose the 5-6 K's you were going to get, but because 'hits per ball in play" is completely out of your control, your results won't be that much different, as long as you keep the ball down and continue to have the same gb:fb ratio. got it?"

adam eaton also thinks it is beyond his control and he's been unlucky for the last century and wants another try.

Corey said...

i just want to add another thing: i was a pretty good high school pitcher with very average stuff. i got batters out by hitting my spots and making the batters hit the ball where i wanted. i didn't try to miss bats. and if i missed my spot, the ball went in the air and the ball would go far. i didn't give up many fly ball outs and when the ball was put in the air, it went a long way. so to suggest that a pitcher can control gb:fb but that it has not effect on 'hits per ball in play,' seems wrong b/c they would necessarily have to be independent of one another and that doesn't seem possible. i guess i have to go find the data that proves this, though, b/c i've never read it and could be completely wrong.

carson, maybe you could get this guy to link you to the data that proves how these factors are completely pitcher independent.

GM-Carson said...

It's not just Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley who maintains that Cole is unlucky, it's a lot of people. I just don't get it. Unlucky happens sometimes, but not consistently. When unlucky happens consistently it means that the guy just sucks. Stats are awesome, I love 'em, but they're not everything.

GM-Carson said...

More anti-Carson sentiment on Crashburn Alley:

Bill- "I don’t mean to be insulting when I say “continue to irrationally disapprove of Cole Hamels.”

But I do mean to say that this is not debatable, at least in the sense that most people are going to argue this. If you can disprove the findings that pitchers cannot control BABIP and HR/FB and that K/9, BB/9, and GB/FB rates are controllable by a pitcher, then the current anti-Hamels arguments may have merit.

You can dislike him all you want and you can be extremely frustrated with his results so far, but by no means is the “ERA, WHIP, and homerun total” on any kind of equal footing with the evidence posted above, at least on an intellectual level.

Simply put, you are looking at the wrong statistics. I know that statement will rub some non-stat people the wrong way but there simply is right and wrong analysis."

Peter Hjort- "Carson,
Results based analysis is a crappy place to start. Results fluctuate a great deal more than a pitcher’s fundamental skills.

There are a million and a half ways for a pitcher’s ERA to balloon after a few starts, most have nothing to do with anything the pitcher can control."

Ugh! It's within his fucking control!!! Hard hit balls and weak grounder and flyouts are not all created equal. If so Jamie Moyer would be a 500 game winner!

8008 WFC's said...

Cole's problems are still in his head or at least in his mental approach to pitching moreso than his physical ability. And as lefties are notorious for blooming late, I've assumed that as he matures and lets his physical skills take over, that would improve. That's part of why I was impressed in the past when he used to always be at Jamie's side in the dugout. The comment about him not sitting there anymore really makes me wonder if he just doesn't want to be told much. I also thought that Halladay's addition to the staff would give Cole another awesome role model - if you want to be as close to perfection as Hamels always seemed to want to be - who better than to try to absorb everything you can from but Doc. It looks like KK is trying to take advantage, but Cole seems to be becoming a loner. Not good from a mental side of the pitching game as a young guy.

Corey said...

here is what i see in all of this: psuedo-intellectuals who misrepresent certain stats as undeniable scientifically proven facts. if these people were so intellectual, they would realize that their are a lot of assumptions that must be made and an extremely large number of variables that are not including when using certain stats as tools to evaluate performance.

these people are so dedicated to their pseudo-intellectualism that they cannot see even simple flaws and formula constructs that allow for manipulation by avoiding certain variables(ie babip does not include home runs.) they also refuse to accept theory and evidence that may refute their beliefs. please read the following that shows that babip is not pitcher independent:

link

even the author of the original work behind babip later said that pitchers CAN control this and that there control is "statistically significant" but "not very relevant." oh, that makes sense. maybe these 'intellectuals' could explain that part to all of us, how the authors interjects his own subjective opinion to counter actual scientific evidence.

these stats are being totally misrepresented by people who use them only as a convenience while allowing them to completely bury their head in the sand and ignore the obvious (ie cole hamels giving up three homers in one inning) and call out others for stating the obvious, regardless of its intellectual merit.

you cannot look at things like babip as indisputable scientific fact. if you do, you don't know science and you don't know baseball. correlation does not prove causality. and trends cannot predict outcome.

wherever you fall on the stats debate, look at the original question and ask yourself this: do you think cole hamels has pitched well and is unlucky or do you think hamels, due to many factors that not all of which can be measured, has pitched poorly.

a duck is still a duck even if the data suggests it's a platypus.

GM-Carson said...

Corey- I believe we need your comment transformed into a post. Beautiful!

GM-Carson said...

From the Zo Zone:
"Hamels is 12-13 with a 4.41 ERA in the regular season since 2008. He has allowed 31 homers, which is tied for the seventh-most in baseball. His ERA ranks 61st out of 88 pitchers who have thrown at least 163 innings."

That's not unlucky, that's just mediocre, borderline bad.

GM-Carson said...

Good start by Figueroa. 5 innings with 2 runs is great for a spot start from a long reliever. Too bad the offense remains dormant. Hell Kelly Johnson is taking care of this team by himself.