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Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter - Pitcher in Logo

Vol. IV, Issue #2 - February 2016


** The Marc Pelletier Challenge
Part II - The Pelleiter System
dealing with Pitchers
**

(This is the second part of several articles and reports that will be made over the next few
months dealing with the Marc Pelletier System to draft teams in the newly named on-line
SOM Baseball 365 system for leagues using the 20XX seasons plus the upcoming
utilization of the Pelletier System by Wolfman Shapiro as he joins a 2015 season in March.)


(
Comments from the Wolfman:  In our December 2015 issue, we introduced to you one of the most successful on-line SOM Baseball gamers, Marc Pelletier.  Marc offered to share with our members a discussion of how he creates his system to valuate each player for the draft of the league or tournament he has joined in order to decide which players he will select for his team he will be playing using the 20XX year cards.  So this is his second article where he is fulfilling his promise to our members. In our January issue (2016) he spoke about how to evaluate the hitters for such a league/tournament, now in this article he is discussing and focusing upon how to evaulate the pitchers. If you missed the interview and first article by Marc discussing his system, I have given you links below to those pages:

http://www.ultimatestratbaseball.com/USBN-12-2015/MarcPelletier-December2015.htm

http://www.ultimatestratbaseball.com/USBN-1-2016/MarcPelletier-January2016.htm


In addition again, Marc accepted my challenge (as I did with Bruce Foster last year to implement his system in an All Time Greats on-line league I participate and won) to also learn and implant his system as I plan to join a 2015 on-line draft season for the newly named Baseball 365 which should be in March sometime.  So with this article, our readers should have a good idea of Marc's total philosophies behind preparing his system to play in these on-line leagues.  The third part of this article series that will be coming out next month (March) will be a combined article I will write with Marc as he explains his system to me and we prepare for my entry into a 2015 league for Baseball 365.  Of course, we are offering this type of extensive interviewing and reporting with the hope that by following these systems, it can help our members experience a greater degree of success in their Baseball 365 game play for 2016.)


WAR in Straat
(The Pelletier System for Pitchers)

Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter, Marc Pelletier photo, author of unique player evaluation system for Baseball 365

Introduction

Last month, I sketched the basis of a WAR-based evaluation system for Strat (WAR=Wins Above Replacement level). In summary, WAR-strat is determined by taking into account all contributions that you can find on a Strat card:

 (Offensive Runs + BaseRunning Runs + Fielding Runs + Positional Adjustment),  sum of which must then be:

         adjusted for the expected playing time of the player,

         adjusted for the replacement level of your league,

         and converted into wins.  

I argued that the best way to calculate the offensive runs a card is expected to create is to base the rating system on linear weights. I also argued that, instead of using linear weights as generated by sabermetrics, we could generate our own weights which would have the advantage of being adjusted for the rules and environment of Strat (please refer HERE to read my last article and get more explanations on linear weights, but in short, weights are roughly speaking to the run value attributed to each event...)

Finally, I went to great length to explain how weights should not be perceived as static. A run is a run is a run, but singles are not created equal. A two-out single with bases loaded has more weight than any other type of singles, so you would be wrong to attribute the value of 0.47 (the average weight of a single) to a clutch single ó this is why many rating systems that Iíve seen around in Strat typically underestimate the value of clutch.

The higher the scoring environment, the more valuable singles and doubles are (the opposite is true in low-scoring environment) and the reason for this is because the run expectancy related to singles and doubles increases in a high-scoring environment --- they have greater chances to produce runs. This explains why the weights for clean-up hitters are usually higher than hitters at the low end of a lineup --- they hit in a high-scoring environment. This explains why on-base pays so much more in Coors Field than in the Marlin's stadium whereas; I should add that the value of homeruns is more constant throughout environments: its value is always 1 run plus something (the contribution of advancing runners), and while the value of that ďsomethingĒ might fluctuate, since it canít go lower than 1 run, then it has less room to fluctuate. Iíll illustrate this effect with an example shortly. 

Scoring environment and pitching

I now turn to how should we best evaluate pitchers. The easier way to measure the value of pitchers would certainly be to use the very same linear weight formulas that we used for the offense, multiply that by the chances that you have on the SOM rating file that is based on the pitcherís card, and finally consider usage.

Consider Arrieta. Against left-handed hitters, his card only allows 6 walks and 1.2 singles; everything else is made of outs (leaving out K and gbA for now). If we use the weights that we had for offense, (0.33 for walks, 0.47 for singles, -0.1 for outs), Arrietaís value vs lefties is = 6*0.33 + 1.2*0.47 Ė 70.8*0.1 = -4.5.

This said, you might realize that what I wrote earlier about the importance of considering the scoring environment will have an important implication for evaluating the pitchers. Pitchers are among the greatest contributors of settling a high-scoring or low-scoring environment. A bad pitcher who allows a lot of on-base creates a high-scoring environment by himself, whereas Arrieta's card creates a low-scoring environment with such low on-base chances that are on his card. So if an average single has the weight of 0.47, what weight should we use for Arrieta? Surely lower, but how much lower? 0.40?

But on the surface, it sure looks like a better rating system for pitchers should assign to each pitcher its proper linear weights generated by the scoring environment the pitcher creates. While this looks like an impossible mission, in fact, it can done relatively easy thanks to the availability of Excel files that integrate a mathematical function called Markov chain. The most accessible file I found is one created by Steve Staude, on fangraphs, which you can download here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/team-specific-hitter-values-by-markov/. In fact, this spreadsheet is capable of not only generating specific linear weights for each pitcher, but it can also generate for each pitcher the (Markov) Expected Runs per game which can more or less be interpreted as the expected ERA. However, the downside of using this approach is that it works properly only if you project the ratings of a pitcher on 216 plate appearances --- so you need to estimate what a typical offense (in your league) will do in 108 chances, what a typical defense will allow on the 30 chances found on the X-chart, and add those value to the ratings that reflect the pitcherís card.

I did this exercise with the new 2015 rating file. Here is the output for two pitchers, the 2015 ace Arrieta and journeyman Feldman:

Team or Player

Linear Weights (derived from Markov)

 

BB (or HBP)

1B

2B

3B

HR

Outs

RA-adj

Feldman,S

0.45

0.57

0.86

1.12

1.48

-0.40

6.70

Arrieta,J

0.30

0.41

0.69

0.98

1.45

-0.20

3.13

As you see, the linear weights vary greatly between the two pitchers, except for homeruns which are relatively similar. Since the spreadsheet already does the job for me of using the linear weights to estimate the ERA, I only needed to perform additional adjustment to take in consideration gbA, steals/cs, and defensive value, in order to get the full value of a pitcherís card. The (earned and unearned) RA-adjusted that you find in the table is the end result of the process (in the case above, the average I used is estimated for a 12-team league with 80 Million to spend).

--------

(
Editor's Note: In Baseball 365, if you are not familiar with how their leagues work it goes as follows -- you are allocated so much money to spend to build your team.  Each player is given by Strat a monetary value. Obviously MVP players Bryce Harper and Josh Donaldson (along with Mike Trout) as hitters and pitchers like Jake Arrieta, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Dallas Keuschel, are going to players with the highest salaries {and lets not forget Wade Davis in relief}. So you must draft at least 25 players and you can keep up to 28 players, or hold a minimum of 24 players with a stadium that equals a collective salary of 80 million or less. Obviously if you go for a few players with high salaries you won't have much to spend to fill out your team.) 

--------

Here is the top value for SP and RP (based on a neutral stadium, this is based on RA-adjusted, and not WAR, which must integrate usage, the WAR rankings will come later):

TOP LEFTY SP

 

TOP RIGHTY SP

Hill,R*

2.67

 

Arrieta,J

3.13

Kershaw,C*

3.36

 

Greinke,Z

3.18

Keuchel,D*

3.87

 

Degrom,J

3.63

Garcia,J*

4.07

 

Gray,S

3.99

Price,D*

4.42

 

Harvey,M

4.13

Sale,C*

4.43

 

Cole,G

4.25

Bumgarner,M*

4.55

 

Verrett,L

4.25

Matz,S*

4.86

 

Stroman,M

4.25

Hamels,C*

5.11

 

Scherzer,M

4.30

Liriano,F*

5.20

 

Tomlin,J

4.58

Lester,J*

5.35

 

Hahn,J

4.61

Pomeranz,D*

5.35

 

Wainwright,A

4.61

Wood,T*

5.37

 

Estrada,M

4.74

Santiago,H*

5.40

 

Tanaka,M

4.83

Heaney,A*

5.41

 

Davies,Z

4.83

TOP RELIEVERS

 

Syndergaard,N

4.83

Davis,W

2.67

 

Archer,C

4.84

Miller,A*

3.23

 

Eickhoff,J

4.89

Jansen,K

3.25

 

Duffey,T

4.89

Capps,C

3.25

 

Iwakuma,H

4.92

Melancon,M

3.33

 

Ramirez,E

4.97

Watson,T*

3.34

 

Kluber,C

4.99

Givens,M

3.36

 

Cueto,J

5.01

Familia,J

3.41

 

Warren,A

5.02

Strickland,H

3.46

 

Carrasco,C

5.04

Rodriguez,F

3.46

 

Buchholz,C

5.06

McGee,J*

3.47

 

Lackey,J

5.06

Manship,J

3.48

 

Verlander,J

5.08

Harris,W

3.49

 

Morrow,B

5.11

Uehara,K

3.52

 

Gonzalez,C

5.14

Robertson,D

3.54

 

Salazar,D

5.20

Strop,P

3.55

 

Strasburg,S

5.23

Ziegler,B

3.57

 

Wacha,M

5.25

O'Day,D

3.59

 

Young,C

5.35

Goeddel,E

3.64

 

Anderson,C

5.38

Smith,C

3.70

 

Hernandez,F

5.39

Betances,D

3.71

 

Heaney,A*

5.41

Siegrist,K*

3.71

 

Hendricks,K

5.41

Hinojosa,D

3.75

 

McCullers,L

5.43

Britton,Z*

3.80

 

Blanton,J

5.43

 The numbers appear high, but they include both earned and unearned runs (defensive miscues coming from an average defense were included as hits allowed).

When I compare this ranking with the one obtained more traditionally, using the same weights for all pitchers (e.g. 0.47 for singles), the changes are more subtle than I expected.  Most pitchers change rank by one or two spots. The impact is more important for only a few pitchers. The biggest ďloserĒ among the potential top 50 starters is Texasí C. Gonzalez, who goes form 32nd on the traditional ranking to 39th (thatís roughly equivalent to losing 0.15---going from 5.00 to 5.15). Among relievers, the impact is slightly more important: Brewersí Rodriguez falls back to the 10th best card and Houstonís Harris to 13th best card---losing both 5 positions. Garrett Cole is a beneficiary of the new ranking, so in his case, it might be explained by the combination of a great gbA numbers and the relatively higher on-base as compared to pitchers of a similar value.

Pitchers usage

Those rankings I shared above are solely based on the value of the card (supplied by league average), but they donít consider usage. A 2-inning reliever who can close might provide more value (and get a better WAR estimate) compared to a 1-inning reliever with a better card.

--------

(
Editor's Note: In the next part of this section, Marc discusses how many innings the starting pitchers might pitch in a Baseball 365 League and you will see very high numbers of innings.  This is because in Baseball 365, how much a hitter or pitcher is used is not based on their actual usage as is utilized by most face-to-face or computer based leagues, but how good their card is and assuming they are not injured - for starting pitchers in Baseball 365 if they are injured, its usually for the game and they don't miss a start, so please keep this rule how pitchers are used in the on-line game when you see the innings listed in the table below.  The same is true for relievers who based on an "R" rating given by SOM are able to pitch a fantastic amount of innings as well. Some teams have won their league with a reliever with a great card going 200 innings!)

--------

Usage is in part influenced by the endurance rating of the pitcher. A 7-inning starter (S7) is likely to pitch more than a 6-inning starter (S6). This said, usage is also determined by the quality of the pitcher. Pitchers who allow a lot of on-base are more likely to reach their fatigue point (or induce the countdown of the SADV {Super Advanced} fatigue system in the online game), which will limit the number of innings pitched. Slugging can also have an impact, especially in inducing fatigue based on the 5-run inning ruling. And of course, if you play with the same rules as the online game, so-called ďstarĒ pitchers will have more starts than ďregularĒ starters. Taking all together, Arrieta is the pitcher expected to pitch on average the highest number of innings with 330 innings:

Starting pitchers

S(7*)

From Arrieta  (330 innings)      to  Samardzija (276 innings)

S(6*)

From Gray (274 innings)          to  Teheran (224 innings)

S(7)

From R. Hill (271 innings)        to  E. Santana (212 innings)

S(6)

Degorm (228 innings)              to several at 150 innings

Relievers also have an endurance rating (form R4 to R1) which will influence the number of non-fatigued expected innings, and they have a closer rating, which allows more opportunities (in the 9th inning to pitch in non-fatigued mode).  I should add that these inning estimates are useful only if you can estimate how many innings are squared in 216 plate appearances. Since the usage rules in the on-line game are rather relax, there are 10 relievers who are expected to pitch 160 innings or more:

Relievers expected to pitch over 160 non-fatigued innings (online game)

Villanueva,C (R3)

174

Uehara,K (1)

162

Schultz,B (R3)

169

Rivero,F* (2)

162

Jansen,K (R1)

167

Goeddel,E (2)

162

Givens,M (R2)

164

Davis,W (1)

161

Rodriguez,F (R1)

163

Petit,Y (3)

160

Leverage index

A final issue that can have an impact on WAR is the leverage index (LI), which is an attempt to quantify the probability that a reliever is used in games that count rather uselessness situations. Closers and set-up men are usually more involved in tight situations compared to a 7th or 8th reliever who job is to mop-up situations. In real-life baseball, by definition, starting pitchers have a 1.00 leverage index, closers have a LI between 1.75 to 2.2 and set-up men have a LI an index around 1.5.  The net impact is important: if a reliever saves 20 runs per year compared to replacement player, and his leverage index is 1.5, the net impact will be closer to 30 runs (20 X 1.5), although I must add that, as I write this, I am still trying different solutions to make sure I donít overestimate by this index the impact of relievers. I kinda believe that relievers that can throw up to 150 innings are probably throwing in more useless innings compared to real-life set-up men and closers who are limited to 60-70 innings.

Conclusion

Youíll find below a provisional account of the top WAR for pitchers. As I am still struggling to incorporate accurately the value of relievers, I prefer for now to keep the WAR estimation separately for starting pitchers and relievers with the WAR for relievers are probably overestimated. This being said, it is obvious that the online game allows the exploitation of the super-reliever strategy and there is no doubt that this strategy is successful. So Iím leaning towards thinking that the WAR estimation for super-relievers might not be far from reality.

Perhaps this is a platitude, but you should bear in mind that these WAR values donít add up within a team. If you pick up 4 super-relievers who's worth is above a value of 3 WAR, your team wonít get 12 extra wins, since a few of those super-relievers will mostly be involved in games with low leverage, doing a mop-up role. The WAR estimation with regards to relievers is closely linked to the specific roles of a closer and the set-up man. It represents more a potential rather than an actual prediction. Of course, if you play the online game, you must also control with sufficient ease the bullpen settings to have the proper pitcher play the role you have planned. The interaction between the right bullpen and the rotation must also be considered.

Furthermore, I should repeat something I wrote in the last article, which is that, although my ratings could be adapted for any kind of league, they are definitively set for the 80 Million on-line game. This is clearly apparent in the high ranking of lefty pitchers. In the 80 Million on-line game, expensive lefty crushers are most often left on the bench as Strat players feel that they donít play enough to justify their salary. As a consequence, the league average vs lhp is almost equivalent to the league average vs rhp. In face-to-face leagues with no salary restrictions, league average vs lhp is usually better than league average vs rhp, and this lowers the value of lefty starters.

There are several issues I didnít talk about which are more technical: how to estimate the impact of holding, balks and wild pitches, which could take several paragraphs; plus, in the process of estimating WAR, how to go from a system based on 216 PA to a system based on innings pitched (the transition is more complicated than it seems). As I intend in the future to make available my spreadsheet with a full example of a player and a pitcher being evaluated, these details may be provided to whom it may be of interest.

Provisional ranking of pitchers by WAR (usage included)

Starting pitchers                      WAR

    Relievers                                       WAR

Arrieta,J

8.39

Davis,W

5.90

Hill,R*

7.91

Jansen,K

4.96

Greinke,Z

7.73

Miller,A*

4.72

Kershaw,C*

7.04

Melancon,M

4.45

Keuchel,D*

4.93

Rodriguez,F

4.33

Degrom,J

4.23

Familia,J

4.27

Gray,S

3.97

Uehara,K

4.16

Scherzer,M

3.53

Robertson,D

3.88

Cole,G

3.53

Ziegler,B

3.77

Sale,C*

2.98

McGee,J*

3.44

Price,D*

2.96

Britton,Z*

3.20

Stroman,M

2.88

Givens,M

3.19

Garcia,J*

2.87

Harris,W

3.06

Harvey,M

2.83

Strop,P

3.03

Bumgarner,M*

2.51

Kimbrel,C

2.98

Verrett,L

2.26

Smith,C

2.96

Tomlin,J

1.79

Osuna,R

2.93

Wainwright,A

1.59

O'Day,D

2.91

Hahn,J

1.55

Watson,T*

2.90

Archer,C

1.31

Manship,J

2.88

Estrada,M

1.28

Betances,D

2.83

Tanaka,M

1.12

Capps,C

2.80

Syndergaard,N

1.09

Gregerson,L

2.71

Eickhoff,J

1.08

Goeddel,E

2.69

Kluber,C

1.01

Rondon,H

2.65

Davies,Z

1.00

Siegrist,K*

2.64

Matz,S*

0.99

Cecil,B*

2.51

Cueto,J

0.94

Strickland,H

2.47

Duffey,T

0.88

Hinojosa,D

2.31

Iwakuma,H

0.87

Benoit,J

2.25

 
(Note, while I donít expect the rankings above to be changed, the scale on which WAR is based might evolve more ...)

Marc Pelletier


If any members of our newsletter would like to speak to Marc directly, you can reach him at his email at: marcalain.pelletier@gmail.com )

-----------------------

Stay tuned to Part III of this article discussing the Marc Pelletier system as Marc guides me into Pelletier Land as I work with him to prepare for my entry in March into a Baseball 365 league based upon the new 2015 MLB card set.  Obviously he has shared part of his ranking system here in this article explaining to you how he evaluates the various pitchers that we are able to draft for these leagues (and their crazy usage rules). Next month I will share my thoughts as I learn his system and what team I was able to draft for the league I joined based upon his evaluation of the available players.  I am very excited to see what will happen next, aren't you?

Wolfman




 

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Contained inside this exciting issue of Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter:
(to view the various interviews, articles, columns and special sections click on the links {underlined}
and this will take you to the appropriate webpage)
 

  RETURN TO NEWSLETTER MAIN PAGE

  INTERVIEW with WILLIE MAYS AIKENS, we return with our 2nd interview with ex-Major Leaguer, Willie Mays Aikens, known for being a member of the KC Royals when they went to the World Series with George Brett in the 1980's.  We ask Mr. Aiken some new questions and his experience as a hitting coach for the players in the KC Royals minors.

  STRAT WISE with MARC WASSERMAN -- commissioner of the Cyber Baseball Association (CBA) continues his new column sharing various perspectives on SOM Baseball. In this issue he discusses about his visit on "Opening Day", the top 20 cards in the 2015 MLB set and some special new videos on our Video Channel on Youtube.

  ARTICLE with CHUCK TINKLER (Part III), a continuation of the article by Chuck, one of our members sharing about a real Strat Master that he met in his early days of playing Strat-o-matic

  SOM BASEBALL LEAGUE REPORT with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO -- the editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" and 2012 CBA Champion, the "Wolfman" puts out a call to the members of various Strat-o-matic Baseball Leagues that he has discovered on the internet to talk about their experiences with their league. This is the first time we get to speak to a League Champion, from NASOMA, who we spoke to their commissioner in our December 2015 issue.  To read his interview, click on the link below:

INTERVIEW with Rick Lackey, NASOMA 2015 Champ, P-I (F2F/Netplay/Computer)

 

  SOM/MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL WORLD NEWS with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO , editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" shares two live reports from Strat-o-matic's Opening Day on February 12th, and introduces you to the Strat Tournament Players Club (STPC) Reporters who starting in March will be sharing with us the latest news and insights from this year's series of grueling and testing tournaments this year.  Also STPC and this newsletter are announcing a test tournament you can join us - we are seeking members to help us.  To read more, visit this latest version of our newsy page.

  INTERVIEW with Jim Gary, he is the head of the West Region of the Strat Tournament Player's Club (STPC) and is on their council. This is our second time to speak to Jim. For 2015 he was the points champion of the club so we inquiry to the keys to his success. It is our goal in this year to interview all the STPC council members as well as begin to share reports of what is happening in their world.

  RECOMMEND ON-LINE SOM RESOURCES -- On-line Strat-o-matic and Baseball related websites
that offer amazing information, special tools and products to improve your game play that we strongly recommend. In most cases, we have had personal contact with these sources who agree with the principle to work together and help promote each other.

  BOOKS TO DIE FOR and Become a BASEBALL GURU -- This page is specifically about special books we are finding that either will expand your insights about the game of Baseball, help you in the creation of your current league teams or with your replays and learn more about the Strat-o-matic Baseball Game and Game Company's history.  We have a special arrangement with Acta Sports, who is a publisher of a number of great baseball books (including Bill James Handbooks) to offer for our members a 10% discount. We will continue to add more books to this page in the future as we uncover other gems our members should know about.


 




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