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Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



November 2011



Two Random Stats Worth Noting From 2011

Written by , Posted in General

As I was racking my brain on what to write about today I decided to play around with a few of my favorite websites and look for things that stood out to me. I make not conclusions from them, but rather wanted to make them known.

1. Ryan Dempster’s BAbip Was Unusually High

If you’re not familiar with the stat, it stands for Batting Average for Balls in Play. It’s a measurement of how guys do when things like strikeouts are factored out of the equation. In 2011, the league average for pitchers BAbip was .298. Prior to last season, Dempster came in with a career BAbip of .306. In 2011, he posted a .331, his highest total since his pre-Tommy John days with Cincinnati. Norm did a cool look at part of the cause for the rise, citing the location of his splitter in 2011 compared to 2010:



What I also notice is a drop in fastball velocity. In 2010, Dempster’s average fastball clocked in at 91 mph. In 2011, it was down to 90.3 mph, the lowest of his career, yet his usage was up to 56.8%, the highest since his first year with the Cubs in 2004 when he was coming out of the pen and could afford to crank it up and rely more on the fastball.

2. Matt Garza’s WAR Was Head & Shoulders Above Everyone Else

And yet, there has been a lot of talk that he could be dealt this off-season in a rebuilding effort. WAR stands for Wins Above Replacement. It’s designed to measure how many more wins a player provides when compared with the average AAA call up that would not normally have a job if not for injury to someone on the Major League team. A team made up of replacement level talent could expect to win somewhere in the range of 45 to 48 games over the course of a season. Garza’s 5.0 WAR means, you guessed it, that he’d get us up to 53 wins. Compare him with the second best starter on the team, Ryan Dempster, who posted a 2.8 WAR.

What I found very odd, and it was the subject of much critizism in 2011, was the drastic decline in the usage of his fastball. A look at the graph below shows a massive replacement of the usage of the fastball with usage of the slider.

I’m not sure what the cause is, but is a massive change in game plan.

  • Norm

    Baseball talk, nice!

    I think the change has to do with the team defense (TB one of the best, Cubs one of the worst) and the home field effect on HR’s (TB good for pitchers, CHI not so much) so he threw more junk.

    Or maybe the Cubs pitching coach made a brilliant suggestion! (doubt it)

  • Noah

    Norm, I think someone in the Rays’ organization might have liked his fastball more than it warranted. He went from throwing it about 63% of the time as a Twin to 72% of the time as a Ray, and now down to about 53% of the time as a Cub. But I think it’s very likely the changes Garza made will make him a better pitcher for the long term.

  • Doc Raker

    From my observation Dempster left a lot of his pitches up hanging. Those pitches tend to get hit harder and have a better chance of becoming a hit. Garza pitched like an ace, good to know the stat people see the same.

  • Buddy

    Getting out of the AL East and pitching in the NL will certainly help a starting pitcher as well.

  • Chuck

    Facing a pitcher 3 to 4 times a game will do wonders for your ERA.

  • Norm

    Well, pitchers don’t bat 3-4 times a game…more like 2.

    Garza, for instance, had 65 PA’s in 31 games.

  • Holy shit…Norm made a statement that went unattested. This really could be the end of the Johnson Bros era…

  • Doc Raker

    I think Chuck was referring to how many times a pitcher is throwing to an opposing pitcher making his era lower than if facing a DH.

  • Joe

    @jswanson – Jedi and Jeremiah are on vacation.

  • @Joe…we need an interim foe antagonist for Norm. I’ll brush up on some talking points regarding how managers lose games and the importance of walks in case nobody steps up to the plate.

  • Doc Raker

    I like to bunt, bunting is good.