BDD: A Not So Happ-y 2010

At Baseball Daily Digest, I detail why you should not expect J.A. Happ to be the pitcher we saw last year. This is the article I was talking about in my response to David Murphy.

As you can see, ERA estimators very much disagree with Happ’s 2009 ERA. Even the most optimistic estimator only puts Happ at 4.33, which is in the same neighborhood as Nick Blackburn, Mike Pelfrey, and Livan Hernandez. That is not to say that a 4.33 FIP is awful, it just means that Happ’s success last year does not match up with factors we know fall under a pitcher’s direct control.

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  1. LarryM

    January 27, 2010 04:21 PM

    Another question – are the various predictors “neutral” in their assumptions about team defense? I mean, I know that DIPS are by definition defense independant. But in using DIPS to predict ERA, one needs to make an assumption about team defense.

    If the predictions cited are defense beutral, we can expect Happ’s real numbers to be a little better (than the DIPS based predictors) because of the Phillies better than average team defense.

  2. Bill Baer

    January 27, 2010 08:59 PM

    Larry, yes absolutely. ERA predictors aren’t perfect. Look for SIERA (Skill-Interactive ERA) at Baseball Prospectus, which is being worked on by Eric Seidman and Matt Swartz.

    As far as defensive components, I think the biggest key to Happ’s success (and really, Hamels and Moyer too, being lefties) is the production of Placido Polanco at third base. Pedro Feliz wasn’t exactly Brooks Robinson, but he was an above-average fielder during his tenure in Philadelphia. Polanco hasn’t regularly played third base since 2002 and at his age I worry about his arm strength at the hot corner.

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