Saturday, September 27, 2008

Idiocy In Action

You may have noticed that the Angels' chances of winning the AL and World Series took a hit today even though they locked up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

How is that possible? Because the Angels looked only at their own pitching rotation when deciding which playoff series to take, ignoring how Weaver-Wakefield is clearly a better pitching matchup for them than Santana-Matsuzaka. (They also picked Joe Saunders for their playoff rotation over Jered Weaver, but that was going to happen all along.)

I hear a lot about how good starting pitching is vital to success in the playoffs. That's true, of course, but it's also an important part of winning in the regular season. The difference is that the playoffs don't involve the back end of your rotation. Thus, if you want to be disproportionately successful in the playoffs, what you really want is a terrible number 5 starter, not a great staff ace.

You might hear someone tell you that the Angels are set up for success in the playoffs with their starting rotation. In fact, the system doesn't favor the Angels at all; Jon Garland isn't great, but he's one of the best number 5s in the league, certainly better than the likes of Paul Byrd and Edwin Jackson. Now Weaver, a very good number 4, was taken out of the equation for the ALDS. It's no wonder the Angels are only the fifth most-likely team to emerge as champs.


Garrett W. said...

Arguing Saunders over Weaver is a very thin stance. Saunders is significantly better by most metrics that are extremely harsh to his style of pitching and very favorable to Mr. Weaver.

j holz said...

I'm sorry, by 'style of pitching' do you mean his low strikeout rate, his low groundball rate, or that he's had a higher ERA than Weaver every year up until now? Calling that a style reminds me of the scouting report on Ricky Nolasco before one game: "Likes to pitch from behind in the count."

I'd happily take even money on Weaver having the lower ERA of the two next year for 10, 20 dimes.

Garrett W. said...

PECOTA is excessively harsh on poor K/BB pitches and low K pitchers in general. It is very friendly on pitchers with strong K/BB and strong K rates in general regardless of their overall performance. I'd be more than happy to fade your Andrew Miller/Andy Sonnanstine/Javier Vazquez action for equal amounts.

Garrett W. said...

I'm curious if you'd like to prop on stronger SNLVAR in the playoffs between the two. I'd take even money for upto 5k.