Thursday, August 2, 2012
Selective Endpoint Fun with Phil Hughes
fip: Fielding-independent pitching
xfip: Expected fielding-independent pitching
bb/bf: walks and hbp per batters faced
k/bf: strikeouts per batters faced
babip: Batting average on balls in play against
ld%: Percentage of batted balls that were line drives
gb%: Percentage of batted balls that were ground balls
fb%: Percentage of batted balls that were fly balls
iffb%: Percentage of batted balls that were infield flies
FB%: Percentage of fastballs thrown
FBv: Average fastball velocity
The number that surprises me here the most is the HR/FB rate since May 1. It’s approaching league average, which I suppose is what we should have expected, but it’s still surprising to me. Especially given the disgraceful place he pitches half his games in. He’s going to keep giving up homers when he’s giving up so many fly balls, but giving up a lot of fly balls isn’t necessarily a terrible thing.
The big question with how sustainable Hughes’s run over the last three months is has to be his BABIP against. FIP and xFIP say that if that regresses he’ll be about 3/4 of a run worse per 9 innings pitched going forward. There is some variability in ability to control BABIP against pitchers, but it’s generally small and hard to separate out from random variation over small sample sizes. Hughes has been better than league average in that area in his career (.285 vs. around .302 for the league) and is at .280 this year. So we have some evidence it may be a skill, but not enough to be certain. The fact that he’s a fly ball pitcher supports a lower BABIP against, because fly balls are more likely to be outs.
I’m happy to see Hughes turning into a pretty reliable starter. I was skeptical that it would happen, and I probably would have moved him into the bullpen after his April. That the Yankees didn’t is a credit to them, something we don’t necessarily give them enough of some times.
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