2010 Big Ten Conference Recap: Team PitchingPosted: August 18, 2010
After looking at some runs estimations on Tuesday that helped us derive expected win percentages, I figured it was a nice time to dive into pitching on the team level.
First, we’ll look at the raw numbers:
K% = K/Total Batters Faced
BB% = BB+HBP/Total Batters Faced
K-BB% = K% – BBHBP%
K/BB = Strikeout per every walk+hit batter
Like Mr. Pavlidis did above, I’ve added hit by pitches with walks, as they’re both essentially the same thing. It’s because of the inclusion of HBP’s that make Indiana and Penn State negative in K-BB%.
However, we can’t know how good Purdue’s K-BB% is until we know how they rate against the average Big Ten team.
(Note: The BB+ column is set up so that the greater the number, the better. Purdue’s 112 BB+ rating means they were 12% better than the average Big Ten team in preventing BB’s and HBP’s.)
Hopefully you’re familiar with OPS+. It’s a fairly easy number to infer. 100 in this table would be the Big Ten Conference average for each category. The categories are the same as the previous table from left-to-right, just with a plus sign to denote that it’s adjusted against the conference average.
With this tool, we can see just how impressive the Boilermakers were in getting swings and misses. They were 22% better than the conference average while no other team was even 15% better than average. Couple Purdue’s high strikeout rates with their above-average walk and hit batter rates, and this is the crux of why Purdue rated as the best team in Expected Win Percentage.
The Wolverines were the second best team in whiffs, but being 15% worse than average in walks and hit-by-pitches really shows why they were estimated to give up 36 more runs than they actually did. If you’re continually putting runners on base unnecessarily, you’re going to run into trouble at some point.
There’s a clear split in K/BB+ among all of the teams with Penn State, Indiana and Illinois being vastly worse than the rest of the teams. The Hoosiers were able to over come it by having the highest estimated runs scored in the conference, but Illinois and Penn State weren’t so lucky with only Iowa fairing worse in the Expected Win Percentage estimations. Iowa’s pitching, however, comes out basically league average, which leads one to the assumption that their offense was the major culprit in their poor adjusted standings ranking.
Putting the focus back on Michigan State, the Spartans come out as the fifth best pitching staff based on K/BB+ — the largest bulk of that coming from their abilities to prevent extra base runners due to walks or HBP’s. The drop-off from MSU to sixth place Michigan is steep and only drops from there. With our knowledge that Michigan State had the fourth best estimated runs scored total in 2010, that kind of solid, all-around play leads to a very high estimated win percentage.
Next up, we’ll take a look at hitting on the team level.