Gennaro: Starting pitcher rankings

From SABR President Vince Gennaro at Diamond Dollars on September 10, 2012:

I’ve always been fascinated with pitching. I’m not sure why, but I love to analyze pitching, including talking to scouts about it and making it one focus of my research and analysis. In past posts I’ve referred to my Starting Pitcher Rating System and Rankings. I developed this metric over the past two years in response to my dissatisfaction with the way in which existing stats measured a starting pitcher’s contribution to his team. Many traditional baseball stats tend to measure things in a vacuum, often missing the important interactions, such as the impact of the quality of the opponent on a player’s performance. Our traditional stats may be adequate (in some cases) to record and measure a player’s performance, but in their raw form are a poor indicator of his talent or skill. One reason is that traditional baseball stats typically measure the outcome of the batter—pitcher matchup, giving little consideration to the skills or attributes of the two parties. I’m not only interested in the outcomes, but also how the batter or pitcher got to that outcome—the process measures.

In developing my Starting Pitcher Rating System (SPR), I started with the definition of what baseball people value from a starting pitcher, with the ultimate goal of efficiently preventing runs. I looked at the things we ask a starting pitcher to do to accomplish that goal and categorized them as to whether they are focused on minimizing runs allowed, or getting outs efficiently.

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Originally published: September 10, 2012. Last Updated: September 10, 2012.