Sunday, July 03, 2005

State of the Angels - Part III.I

After taking a look at how the Angels' hitters did so far this season compared to the predictions made by the Baseball Think Factory, I'll now check how the pitchers have fared so far.

Bartolo Colon (3.08 ERA, 11-4)
Expected: 4.60 ERA, 16-12
So far, Colon is obviously having a great season. Right now, he is 4th in the league in ERA, 4th in innings and 3rd in wins. If the Cy Young voting would be today, only Roy Halladay (Blue Jays), Mark Buehrle (White Sox) and maybe Johan Santana (Twins) would finish better than Colon.
Why is Colon so successful this year? What is he doing differently to last year, when he was hit hard and had an ERA of 5.01 (and somehow still managed to win 18 games).
First, he is not missing more bats. His strikeout rate is actually lower than it was last year (6.65 K/9 to 6.83), so his "stuff" is the same as in 2004. But he nearly cut down his BB/9 rate in half (1.76 to 3.07) and he's done a better job of keeping the ball in the park (11 homeruns allowed so far compared to 38 during 2004). That's not great (0.88 HR per 9 innings is 20th in the league. John Lackey is 12th with 0.72), but ok and much better than last year (1.64). Opponents hit a .243 average of him, which is only 10th in the league, but his OBP allowed is only .280, which is good for 4th. When opponents hit Bartolo, they usually don't hit him hard. His .364 SLG against also ranks in the Top 10 (6th). All this adds up to an OPS against of .644, 4th in the league. In other words, hitters facing Colon turn into Orlando Cabrera (.648 OPS, 158th in the league), which you know isn't a good thing if you have seen OC hit this year.
So let's sum up: Throw strikes, keep the ball in the park, try not to get hit too hard and you'll do fine. Having an offense that give you 4.90 runs per game sure is helping, though that's only average run support (53rd).

One last thing, though. Bartolo's Balls in Play Average (Batting Average Against, not including HR or K) is only .267, which is 18th in the league. This is a good rate, maybe a little too good, because it might mean that Bartolo's been a little bit lucky so far (on the other hand, Roy Halladay has a BIPA of only .248. Also, Contreras and Garland of the White Sox are 2nd and 3rd on this list. They certainly have been lucky so far.)

CYP (Cy Young Probability) for Colon: 15%


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