Laurila: Q&A with Glen Perkins, a Twin, his FIP and math

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on May 9, 2013:

Glen Perkins knows his FIP. He also knows his HR/9, Z-Swing% and O-Swing%. More importantly, he understands what they mean. As the Minnesota Twins left-hander says, “I like baseball and I like math.”

Perkins is more than a stat geek. The 30-year-old converted starter is one of the better closers in the American League (despite his skepticism of modern-day closer usage). Six weeks into the current campaign he’s well on his way to topping last year’s save total, despite a markedly higher ERA — a number he considers less important than his FIP.

Perkins talked about his 2013 numbers prior to last night’s game at Fenway Park.

Perkins on knowing the numbers: “In 2010, when I was in Triple-A, I came across a FanGraphs story about Brandon McCarthy and how he was changing his pitching style to get more ground balls and maximize his abilities. From there I started reading more and more. I’ve always been a math guy and the two sort of go hand-in-hand. I like baseball and I like math.

“In 2008, I thought I’d had a good year. I won 12 games and had a 4.40 ERA. That wasn’t great, but I was like, ‘that’s not bad.’ But the more I read, the more I came to realize it’s not about wins. It’s about the quality of the innings you pitch, and my quality wasn’t that good.

“In 2009, I started out the season with three eight-inning starts and only gave up three runs total. But I only struck out 10 guys in the 24 innings. I read somewhere that I was going to regress. I thought ‘What?’ It didn’t make sense to me. That’s when I began poking into it, but I mostly brushed it aside. Then, in 2010, I started reading more and more. I began to realize wins were a result of quality innings, not the barometer of how good you are.”

Read the full article here:

Originally published: May 10, 2013. Last Updated: May 10, 2013.