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Friday, December 28, 2007

Dayn Perry Ranks The Top Pitching Duos

Via Halos Heaven, Dayn Perry sets out a strange list of what he considers to be the top ten pitching duos in baseball today. It's strange because he gives more weight to rate stats than durability, proof of which comes when he ranks the Twins' Santana/Liriano combo third overall despite the fact that they pitched only 219 innings between them (edit: ... and all of them by Santana!). The full list follows:
  1. ARI: Brandon Webb, Dan Haren
  2. CLE: C.C. Sabathia, Fausto Carmona
  3. MIN: Johan Santana, Francisco Liriano
  4. SDP: Jake Peavy, Chris Young
  5. SFG: Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum
  6. LAD: Brad Penny, Chad Billingsley
  7. LAA: John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar
  8. PHI: Cole Hamels, Brett Meyers
  9. TBD: Scott Kazmir, James Shields
  10. ATL: John Smoltz, Tim Hudson
As I said, a strange list. Here's how I would have ranked them using VORP for pitchers with 120 or more innings pitched, which takes into account playing time. This won't fix the translation for Dan Haren going to the weaker league (but that probably washes out because he's heading to a harder park). It also likely shortchanges the Brewers, whose impressive young starter, Yovani Gallardo, only pitched 110 innings because he was a midseason callup, and would likely have been a ~40-50 VORP pitcher on his team, i.e. the Brewers' ace. It also doesn't try to adjust for incoming Japanese pitchers like Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers, who are essentially unknowns.
  1. SDP: (73.7 VORP) Jake Peavy, Chris Young
  2. CLE: (71.3 VORP) C.C. Sabathia, Fausto Carmona
  3. ARI: (64.9 VORP) Brandon Webb, Dan Haren
  4. ATL: (63.1 VORP) John Smoltz, Tim Hudson
  5. LAD: (58.5 VORP) Brad Penny, Chad Billingsley
  6. LAA: (57.3 VORP) John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar
  7. BAL: (47.8 VORP) Erik Bedard, Jeremy Guthrie
  8. BOS: (47.4 VORP) Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling
  9. CHA: (47.3 VORP) Mark Buehrle, Javier Vazquez
  10. TBA: (39.0 VORP) Scott Kazmir, James Shields
The Giants and Tampa Bay Twins completely fell off the list, in San Francisco's case mostly because Lincecum wasn't as good as Perry represented. With the Rays' Shields, his problem was the longball, tallying 28 in 2007, tying him for third in the league with John Danks, behind first-place Twins starter Johan Santana). Likewise, Kazmir coughed up quite a few taters (18) that hurt his numbers.

Update: I totally screwed up on Minnesota, forgetting that Carlos Silva was a free agent signed by the Mariners this offseason. His absence drops the Twins utterly off this list and moves Tampa Bay back up, albeit their starting two is almost a full win worse than the Chisox, Red Sox, or Baltimore. Liriano gets no love because he didn't pitch a single inning in 2007, and it's questionable what he'll bring to the table in 2008.

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Comments:
How did you calculate or where did you get the VORP numbers listed? I don't see how the numbers relate to the ones I look at on Baseball Prospectus.

Also, VORP doesn't account for playing time in that if two pitchers perform equally well, but one of them pitches 200 innings and the other only pitches 150, the 200-inning guy will have a higher VORP.
 
Sum of the two players' VORP, so Jake Peavy (49.3) and Chris Young (24.4) total to 73.7.
 
Also -- VORP is something like a counting stat, yes, but that's the point. Read Keith Woolner's introduction to VORP for the details. It's not fair to assume that Jason Schmidt or Ben Sheets can stay healthy for a whole season.
 

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