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Current Projected

Look what people have to say about the RLYW!

CAIRO just takes the Marcels and changes the underlying assumptions and components in a bunch of ways that make the Yankees look better.
-alskor

Wow, two stupid posts in one day. I think you’ve reached your yearly quota.
sabernar

I don’t know if any of you current posters were around for that, but if so, I just can’t understand how you can call yourselves Yankee fans. Pathetic quitters is what you sounded like. Of the lame posts I could stand to read, the only person who had any confidence in the Yankees at that point was a (yeesh) Red Sox fan.
Jeter is King

Quite the attitude you have SG. Maybe you should shitcan this blog and join Steve at WasWatching? Or follow some other stupid team that has made the PS 15 of the last 17 years. Jeez… and some people think Yankee fans are entitled.
OldYanksFan




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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Simple Statistical Translation of Masahiro Tanaka

One of the issues with trying to project Masahiro Tanaka in MLB using translations of other pitchers who have made the move from Japan to MLB is that the environments those pitchers pitched are quite varied.  It’s hard to believe, but Hideo Nomo came over almost 20 years ago and since then the run environments have changed, particularly recently with the introduction of a smaller ball that more closely resembles the ball that is used by MLB.  The new ball has reduced run scoring pretty significantly in 2011 and 2012.

Year Lg R/G
2008 Japan Central League 3.95
2009 Japan Central League 3.91
2010 Japan Central League 4.32
2011 Japan Central League 3.15
2012 Japan Central League 3.14
2013 Japan Central League 3.96
2008 Japan Pacific League 4.32
2009 Japan Pacific League 4.35
2010 Japan Pacific League 4.47
2011 Japan Pacific League 3.41
2012 Japan Pacific League 3.37
2013 Japan Pacific League 4.02

In fact, it reduced offense enough that a livelier ball was secretly introduced in 2013.

So, when we look at the stats from Japan we want to make sure we account for the varying run environments that the pitchers pitched in.  I attempted to do that by calculating the pitchers’ performance relative to their league in two statistics.  RA (runs allowed per nine) and FIP (fielding-independent pitching).  This should account for the run environment and the differences in leagues, but I did not delve into variations in parks.  So this is how the pitchers I would use in attempting to translate Tanaka to MLB performed relative to their peers in these two metrics.

Pitcher Years Ages IP H R ER HR BB SO HBP RA+ FIP+
Tanaka 2011-2013 22-24 611 499 115 98 18 78 593 10 221 195
Darvish 2009-2011 22-24 616 432 126 112 19 128 665 19 214 195
Matsuzaka 2004-2006 23-25 547 437 163 146 33 125 553 19 168 162
Kuroda 2005-2007 30-32 581 528 203 185 49 105 432 19 141 121
Iwakuma 2009-2011 28-30 489 469 164 156 32 98 364 23 135 118
Kawakami 2006-2008 31-33 500 440 179 156 51 87 451 16 132 122
Yoshii 1995-1997 30-32 502 453 183 174 49 134 340 13 132 112
Irabu 1994-1996 25-27 568 434 203 169 32 225 645 18 131 155
Ishii 1999-2001 25-27 491 395 203 190 49 226 545 17 123 117
Nomo 1992-1994 23-25 574 447 234 210 44 351 630 10 117 114
Igawa 2004-2006 24-26 582 569 263 226 69 163 567 13 111 116

Nothing fancy here.  Divide the league RA and FIP by the pitcher’s RA and FIP and multiply by 100.  The higher the number, the better the pitcher was at preventing runs relative to their league.  Since player talent is not static, I’m only using the last three years for each pitcher before they made the move.

By this measure, Tanaka has been the most effective starting pitcher to make the jump.

So real basically, I calculated the RA+ and FIP for every pitcher who has already made the jump to MLB in MLB.  Then I just used the change for each pitcher between Japan and MLB to give us an estimate of some of the ways Tanaka’s performance would translate statistically.  I only used the first three years in MLB, again assuming player talent is not static.

Translation RA+ FIP+
Tanaka->Igawa 141 130
Tanaka->Irabu 166 117
Tanaka->Ishii 168 128
Tanaka->Kawakami 161 152
Tanaka->Kuroda 174 182
Tanaka->Matsuzaka 164 140
Tanaka->Nomo 227 197
Tanaka->Yoshii 172 167
Tanaka->Darvish 133 127
Tanaka->Iwakuma 216 158
Tanaka->All 172 150

There’s more to projecting a player than their raw stat lines, and I’m very skeptical that Tanaka’s performance would translate in the way the average player has translated.  I think the key guy in this chart is Yu Darvish.  He’s the most recent pitcher to make the jump, and his numbers were the most similar to Tanaka’s.  Tanaka doesn’t have the stuff that Darvish has, so I don’t think expecting to him be as good as Darvish is realistic.  So if Darvish is a 133 RA+ pitcher in MLB, maybe Tanaka will be more like a 120-125 guy.  In 2013 there were 24 pitchers who pitched at least 180 innings and put up an ERA+ of 120 or better and all but one were worth at least three wins above replacement level and the one who wasn’t (Ervin Santana) was worth 2.8.

A 3 win pitcher is probably worth about $20M a year nowadays.  So I’d expect Tanaka to get something like 6 years and $120M from someone.  If it’s the Yankees, I’d be cool with it.  I’m not sure I’d go much beyond that though.

 

--Posted at 10:55 am by SG / 7 Comments | - (0)



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