New stats for a new ERA of Tiger awesomeness!

I know you’re excited.

In case you’ve been living in a blog-free hole, Rebecca, a Red Sox blogger, has been tinkering with a new stat for judging pitching efficiency, which she first called the Pitching Efficiency Index but is now calling Bases Per Batter (BpB). She’s been running through and taking looks at the Sox pitchers, especially the chipmunk-cheeked and excessively frustrating Alan Embree, and it’s all been terribly interesting.

It’s a pretty good little stat she’s worked up, sort of like a slugging percentage for pitchers. Very simple, just bases awarded/batters faced. It does seem to be pretty indicative of efficiency, and makes you wonder why no one had been calculating it before (although maybe they have been– I’m not exactly the most SABR-minded of fans). So I figured I should go ahead and try to apply the fledgling stat to some Tigers pitchers, just to see what their efficiency has looked like.

For basic reference, 0 is perfect, anything over .500 is kind of ugly, and anything over 1 is send-’em-back-to-AAA ugly.

I’ve only got Jeremy Bonderman and Mike Maroth done up so far, since it’s a fairly simple stat to calculate, but getting the info is a bit annoying. Batters faced is in the boxscore, so that’s easy, but bases awarded is trickier. I’ve been using ESPN’s game play-by-play recaps and just counting up bases, so if anyone can think of an easier way to get this info from straight-up boxscores, or another site that would have it, please let me know.


Jeremy Bonderman

Bondo’s average BpB as of right now is 0.488. His average for April was better, at 0.396, but his average for June is much worse, at 0.6296.

His best outing so far was on June 21, his complete game against the Twinkies. His BpB that day was 0.290. His worst outing was the very next one, this last offering, which saw a 13-7 loss to the Purple and Teal Snakes and a shiny happy fun 2 innings pitched for Bondo. His BpB for that night was 1.333, which is ‘throw it back in the pond’ territory. Just one game, though, and if you look at his chart you can see that it’s way out of line with everything else he’s done so far this year, so I’d take that panic and tuck it away for later use, like when Carlos Guillen next decides to sharply test his knee in the field.

Mike Maroth

Exceptional Mental Makeup Mike’s average BpB as of right now is 0.494, and he’s been relatively consistent in April, May, and June, although his May was slightly higher (above .500). I admit I was surprised, I was expecting Bondo to be much more efficient than EMMM, but he’s not… at least, not markedly so.

His best outing so far was June 15, when he went 8 innings against the Pods. His BpB that day was 0.241. His worst outing was back on May 31, in the 8-2 loss to the Rangers, when he went only 4.2 innings and put up a 0.75 BpB on the day. His chart makes it look like he’s been less consistent than Bondo, but Bondo’s chart is squished down because of that one aberrant horrible outing, so it’s misleading in a way. They’re actually much more comparable than you’d maybe expect.

I’ll maybe do Gator and JJ later and I also want to do a couple of really good pitchers (Clemens, Pedro) and a couple of just godawful pitchers (BHKim springs to mind) for comparison, to see what really good and really bad BpB stats and charts look like. So you kids have that to look forward to.

5 responses to “New stats for a new ERA of Tiger awesomeness!

  1. Very interesting, and I wonder if it works even better for relievers than starters. (Starters have that “quality start” – at least 6 innings pitched, less than 3 runs allowed – stat.) This is sure to be the new stat that Tim Kurkjian and Peter Gammons cite on Baseball Tonight.

  2. *giggle* I know what you mean.
    I’ve been doing it all from boxscores. Note the hits & walks, add for extra base hits, then look for the little stuff.
    the only thing I can’t get that I would like from the boxscores is double plays (does not indicate who the pitcher is) Oh, well. Going through the play-by-play would make me even more insane.

  3. I developed this stat, in fact Ian, to try and make some sense out of Alan Embree’s performances this year. I find the charts themselves to be more helpful than the average. It allows us to see patterns and also anomalies, like Sam noted on Bonderman’s last start. The “quality start” thing? any measurement in runs leaves way too much leeway for luck, in my opinion. That stuff may be useful to determine “league leaders,” but from a management pespective, I wouldn’t trust that data to determine who I would or would not like to sign/trade for.
    What are you saying about baseball tonight? did they say they are going to talk about a new stat?
    so funny that these comments are moderated. they must know me here?;-)

  4. One thing you may want to do to make interpretation a bit easier is to scale it to something people understand. For example, if you multiply it by 9 or 10, it starts to resemble ERA type numbers.

  5. Billfer – that’s an interesting idea, but since BpB has nothing to do with runs, I wouldn’t want to confuse people. It’s a percentage, just like many others we have in baseball. It’s similar to OPSA, just a bit wider in scope. I think it’s appropriate in the percentage form.
    All statistics require some perspective in order to understand them. The charts are helpful in that respect, as we are sure to remember those games which show up high or low in the graph. The more data we have for different pitchers, the better we will be able to interpret it. And it does take some time to collect, so I was thrilled to see Sam doing some of it, to give us more to look at.

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