Stats that are useless

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Okay, today’s Rockies game was a weird one. Sure, we got a win out of it. But how do I best describe it without making a recap out of it? I got into a little debate with Michelle Hoag @rockieswoman1 about a certain stat, and found a topic worth discussing. So, this post is dedicated to you.

I believe there are a few stats for pitchers that are useless and I wouldn’t mind them seeing the eraser. Those stats are: Win, Lose and Save. Hell, we can eliminate the BS (Blown save) stat, since it is a bunch of BS (bull sh*t). There is also the “hold” stat–though it is officially not an official stat–that is still tracked (and I saw it on the Coors Field jumbotron before the game.) These stats for pitchers are really untrackable, as they assume that the pitcher is in charge of the game, and that is not the case. Let me explain:

For example, the win statistic is used to show the winning pitcher as the winning run is scored. So, in today’s game, while Jhoulys Chacin pitched well, he didn’t get credit for the winning run, since the score was tied in the 8th, thanks to Rafael Betancourt allowing the tying run in the 8th to cross. The winning pitcher was in effect Matt Belisle, who did not allow any runs of his own to cross. But there are several loopholes built into determining a winning pitcher. If a starting pitcher doesn’t last 5 innings, it can go to the first relief pitcher. So, you get injured in the 4th inning, too bad. You get ejected in the 3rd? Sorry. Another loophole allows a relief pitcher to not get credited with a win if you’re not effective. This happened June 9th when Matt Reynolds came on in the 7th, gave up 3 runs to tie, but the Rockies took the lead in the bottom of the inning. Rafael Betancourt (again) got the win despite coming on in the 8th with a lead since he didn’t give up a run or a hit. So, you make it look like one pitcher deserves the credit for the win when it’s a whole team.

The loss, is the opposite of the win: this is credited to the pitcher who gives up the first winning run to the other team. This means if you leave the winning run on the base, get substituted, and then that runner crosses home plate under any means, you become the losing pitcher. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t get an earned run at all because of passed ball or error. If that run scores, and your team cannot tie or make it up, You’re on the hook. Totally unfair stat.

The save, the blown save and the related “stat”, the hold, is also very useless, in that it assumes the pitcher is responsible for controlling the game. I have long argued that Franklin Morales did not deserve a single save in 2010 when Huston Street was on the DL. Not a single save. Why? Because were many plays that if it wasn’t for Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Seth Smith, or another player didn’t make a webgem of a catch, that ball would fall into the field as a hit, and at least the tying run would cross the plate. And what does the position player get? Maybe a 5 second play on ESPN or MLB Network, and a pat on the back. The BS stat is reverse in that the tying run scores. It happened tonight as Matt Belisle (the winning pitcher) let inherited runners from Betancourt score in the 8th. And the hold, which is not an official statistic, acts like a save (though usually in an earlier inning.) Again, it’s another useless stat.

If you asked me, saying that a pitcher is responsible for the results of the game is really ludicrous. Unless the pitcher gets a perfect game, or blows up (such as in the Twins/Giants game tonight), it takes a whole team to help the game. I think we should just eliminate these stats on the pitchers. If you do want to track a win or loss at all, I say we take into consideration the player who is responsible for it. (and I’m removing the save stat).

Current system:
W-M. Belisle (BS 4) (5-2). L-C. Perez (2-3), SV-H. Street (22)

W-S. Smith. L- C. Perez.
Pitcher gets the loss as Seth Smith homered.

Transactions: None on the MLB level today

Footnotes: Chacin held a no-hitter through 5 innings. He did let too many walks in the game (6 BB, 7K) and one eventually scored. But otherwise, he was good. While not related to this game, the Giants let the Twins score 8 runs before SF could come to the plate. The Twins won 9-2.

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National League, Rockies

2 responses to Stats that are useless

  1. Nice Frank! Agreed, those stats really don’t communicate much. I especially dislike wins for relief pitchers, since they might give up multiple runs and yet be the beneficiary of a rally by their offense in the following inning. ERA, strikeouts, walks, etc., are much more informative when assessing a pitcher’s value. The only thing I would change is that when a pitcher is as dominant as Chacin was last night, he should get SOME credit. Perhaps he could share the win with Smith! The reality is, the iffy offense last night would not have won the game if he hadn’t killed it.

    • Frank da Druid

      I don’t put too much value into stats, though I may mention them from time to time. I think of them similar to a UPC code or RFID tag at a grocery store. Some are useful, others are too hard to quantify. Could you see putting a RFID chip into each orange? That’s silly. Yeah, it’s hard to say that Chacin should get credit when he had a strong beginning, but had it wiped away towards the end by someone else.

      In the end, the only Win and Loss stats that count fall in the divisional and wildcard standings.