Arthur: SIERA and the purpose of pitching metrics

From SABR member Rob Arthur at Baseball Prospectus on April 10, 2020:

SIERA dropped with a bang, debuting at Baseball Prospectus in the offseason of 2010. Writers Eric Seidman and Matt Swartz introduced the metric (the acronym stands for Skills-Interactive Earned Run Average) as the most accurate and precise pitcher runs estimator to date. Before long, SIERA opened up a debate about the purpose of pitching metrics, one that still rages intermittently today.

The impetus for Seidman and Swartz’ new statistic was, at least in part, a reaction to the idea of Defense-Independent Pitching (DIPS) theory and FIP. The reigning ideology at the time, DIPS claimed that pitchers had no, or very little, control over results on balls in play. SIERA promised to use pitchers’ own characteristics to better evaluate how good they were at preventing hits, a blatant and somewhat heretical contradiction of Voros McCracken’s idea.

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Originally published: April 10, 2020. Last Updated: April 10, 2020.