Do Mets outperform versus good pitchers? | Mets360

Do Mets outperform versus good pitchers?

July 9, 2011
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Yesterday, I introduced my theory that the Mets do worse than expected versus elite pitchers and better than expected versus good pitchers. In that article, I looked at how the Mets did versus the top 10 pitchers in both fWAR and K/9. Today will be about how they did versus the second 10 pitchers in both of those categories. Remember, this is against pitchers the Mets have faced this year, not just the absolute top 10, or in today’s case the top 11-20.

Here is the fWAR chart for the next best group of pitchers the Mets have faced this season. The first chart is their overall numbers while the second chart is their numbers versus the Mets.

W-L ERA fWAR
Ricky Nolasco 5-5 3.91 2.1
Alexi Ogando 9-3 2.92 2.1
Tommy Hanson 10-4 2.52 2.1
Tim Hudson 8-6 3.57 1.9
Bud Norris 5-6 3.46 1.9
Livan Hernandez 5-8 4.01 1.8
Ubaldo Jimenez 3-8 4.39 1.8
Josh Johnson 3-1 1.64 1.8
Shaun Marcum 7-3 3.32 1.8
Derek Lowe 5-6 4.21 1.8
Total 60-50

These pitchers appear all over the map in regards to both record and ERA. One thing to keep in mind is that fWAR uses FIP in its calculation, so it rewards pitchers with good peripherals over those that simply have shiny ERAs. Also, fWAR is a type of counting stat, so Johnson is on the second list and not the first because of his lack of innings.

Here’s how that group has done against the Mets this year, with some other categories included:

W-L ERA IP ER HR BB K
Ricky Nolasco 0-0 2.57 7.0 2 1 0 4
Alexi Ogando 0-1 9.00 3.0 3 0 0 1
Tommy Hanson 0-1 5.40 5.0 3 0 2 9
Tim Hudson 0-2 7.88 8.0 7 1 2 9
Bud Norris 0-0 4.73 13.1 7 3 4 14
LIvan Hernandez 1-1 1.80 15.0 3 0 3 12
Ubaldo Jimenez 0-1 12.27 3.2 5 1 6 3
Josh Johnson 1-0 2.31 11.2 3 0 4 6
Shaun Marcum 0-0 0.00 6.0 0 0 4 1
Derek Lowe 1-0 3.75 12.0 5 0 3 5
Total 3-6 4.07 84.0 38 6 28 64

The Mets did significantly better against this group. Overall, this group had a .545 winning percentage but against the Mets they posted just a .333 mark.

Now, let’s see how they did against the second group of K/9 pitchers. The first chart is their overall numbers while the second chart is their numbers versus the Mets.

W-L ERA K/9
Cole Hamels 10-4 2.40 8.35
Ryan Dempster 5-6 4.99 8.29
Shaun Marcum 7-3 3.32 8.26
Ubaldo Jimenez 3-8 4.39 8.13
Tom Gorzelanny 2-6 3.94 8.11
Yovani Gallardo 10-5 3.76 7.98
Jhoulys Chacin 8-6 3.28 7.96
Jorge de la Rosa 5-2 3.51 7.93
J.A. Happ 3-11 5.76 7.92
Bartolo Colon 6-4 3.20 7.90
Total 59-55

The awful W-L mark of Happ drives down the winning percentage of the group but we still have a collection of pitchers who are better than .500 overall. Happ and Dempster have some ugly ERAs but most of them have ERAs in the 3s while Hamels’ mark is considerably better. Since the group was chosen for strikeouts, they all have very strong marks in K/9.

Here’s how that group has done against the Mets this year, with some other categories included:

W-L ERA IP ER HR BB K
Cole Hamels 1-1 7.45 9.2 8 0 2 13
Ryan Dempster 1-0 1.29 7.0 1 0 1 5
Shaun Marcum 0-0 0.00 6.0 0 0 4 1
Ubaldo Jimenez 0-1 12.27 3.2 5 1 6 3
Tom Gorzelanny 0-2 4.67 17.1 9 2 8 19
Yovani Gallardo 0-1 9.00 4.0 4 0 1 5
Jhoulys Chacin 0-0 1.50 6.0 1 0 6 5
Jorge de la Rosa 1-0 5.40 6.2 4 0 4 7
J.A. Happ 1-1 6.75 10.2 8 3 4 9
Bartolo Colon 1-0 0.00 6.0 0 0 0 6
Total 5-6 4.68 77.0 40 6 36 73

The Mets did slightly better against this group, which had a .455 winning percentage against New York compared to a .518 mark overall. This group had a 0.70 HR/9, a 4.21 BB/9 and an 8.53 K/9. This group did just as well as expected in strikeouts versus the Mets and could have been even better if Marcum did not have a surprisingly poor strikeout night when he faced New York.

The Mets hit HR against three of these 10 pitchers. Let’s break down the Mets’ record against the pitchers they homered against and compare that to the ones who kept the ball in the park.

W-L ERA IP ER HR BB K
Mets hit HR 1-4 6.25 31.2 22 6 18 31
Ball in park 4-2 3.57 45.1 18 0 18 42

Obviously the ERA of the first group is going to be higher. What’s interesting is the K/9 of the first group is 8.81 while the K/9 of the second group is 8.34. These pitchers were still doing what they were chosen for – striking people out at above average rates. The walk rate, as expected, favors the second group – 5.12 versus 3.57.

The Mets fared better against the second group of fWAR pitchers than they did against the second tier of K/9 pitchers. But they were still better than average against both groups. In the K/9 group, the Mets had success when they were able to hit the ball out of the park and struggled mightily when they did not. In the fWAR group, the Mets were 3-3 when they did not hit a HR.

The Mets generally do not strike out much compared to other teams. So when they face the top strikeout hurlers, they have a problem. So, when checking out the upcoming schedule, do not focus on either W-L record or ERAs to try to get a grasp of what the Mets are up against that night. Instead, check the opposing pitcher’s K/9 and HR/9 rates. This is generally true for all teams but seems even more so for the 2011 Mets.

Jair Jurrjens could be the starting pitcher for the National League in the All-Star game this year. Against every team except the Mets, Jurrjens is 11-1 with a 1.57 ERA. But Jurrjens is not a big strikeout pitcher, as he has just a 5.29 K/9. The Mets are 2-1 this year against Jurrjens and his ERA is nearly two runs higher against them than for the rest of baseball.

Now Jurrjens could easily dominate the Mets the next several times he faces them. But because of New York’s ability to put runners on base (1,124 H + BB in 89 games) they fare relatively well against pitchers like Jurrjens who don’t strike them out at high rates.

One Response to Do Mets outperform versus good pitchers?

  1. July 11, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Great analysis, Brian. Hopefully, Terry Collins is a reader of the three-six-oh…

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