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Old 08-30-2019, 10:28 AM   #41
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Worth pointing out there are pitchers who can control their babip and a big reason why is their ability to induce weak contact. Often it's the pitchers who throw a change up as their best pitch, and you can see this BABIP control in a high IFFB%.

That being said, yes, pitchers who get more ks will generally have more productive careers.
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Old 08-30-2019, 11:16 AM   #42
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And for how long was Randy Jones successful, compared to, say, Nolan Ryan (and Ryan's control wasn't great)?
On the whole you're right. I'll only note here that quality in the moment is different from longevity. Randy Jones' career span was not remarkably unusual, and was most likely considerably more common than Ryan's. But you can find pitchers of every category among those with really long careers.
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Old 08-31-2019, 02:02 AM   #43
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On the whole you're right. I'll only note here that quality in the moment is different from longevity. Randy Jones' career span was not remarkably unusual, and was most likely considerably more common than Ryan's. But you can find pitchers of every category among those with really long careers.
Everyone in the modern era with a really long career was above average in getting K's at his peak.

Great finesse/groundball pitchers like Greg Maddux and Tommy John were "only" a little above average in K rate, but they were above average. You can have poor control and be great like Nolan Ryan, or give up homers and be great; but you can't have a great career with a low K rate.

The only possible exception among starters in the live ball era might be Lew Burdette, whose control was so amazing he could be quite successful with a slightly below average K rate.
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Old 08-31-2019, 08:03 AM   #44
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Well...hmmm. You're kind of mixing two arguments. As I said upstream, there's kind of a minimum k-rate floor that seems to apply to stay in the majors, so I think we generally agree there. Though that can bend some, and is dependent on the pitcher's other successes. The Randy Jones case works here. Jones was successful with a low K-rate until his walk rate increased. Once that happened, he was basically done. I'd suggest there are similar ceilings on HR and walk rates that play for strikeouts (as you said, I think)...but these ceilings are dependent on each other, too.

In Ryan's case you're not talking about a guy who was above average as a strikeout guy--you're talking about an elite of the elites. You also should add a note that his HRA rate was quite low. So, yes, with those _two_ things working for him, Nolan Ryan could get away with HUGE walk rates. (Ferguson Jenkins was an example of a guy who gave up a fair chunk of homers--but he led the league in walk rate a lot of times .... as well as struck out a lot of guys--the skills play off each other).

Still, though, I don't think the core of this conversation is about career longevity as much as it is what mix of skill sets serve to get guys out "today" (and how to talk about and label those skills). Nolan Ryan had great "stuff" but so did Gregg Maddux, and Tom Glavine, and Jim Maloney, and yes, Jamie Moyer, and--at his peak--Randy Jones. We can argue about that, I suppose, but I say they all had great "stuff" at some point because I've heard or read of cases where smart baseball people have described these guys as having it--despite the fact that they are all very different pitchers.

Anyway, if we were just sitting around and jawing, I'm sure we'd basically agree a lot.

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Old 08-31-2019, 09:28 AM   #45
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Anyway, if we were just sitting around and jawing, I'm sure we'd basically agree a lot.
Yes, I think we probably agree more than we disagree, but good discussion usually comes from focusing on the parts we don't agree on. It's good to acknowledge that we agree on a lot more than we disagree on, though.

Randy Jones had bad "stuff" for most of his career, as stuff is defined in OOTP, which means K rate. His first two seasons he actually did have above average K rates, but when he got famous.

Jones' stuff in his good years was probably good as the term is generally used. I'm not old enough to remember him, but the sink on his pitches, I understand as incredible. But if I imported him into my game using his best year in ERA+ (which he only had one standout year and got famous for that and doing it in a unique way; he had only 4 years where he was above average in ERA+) his stuff rating would have to be low to get stat output that matches his real life stats.

Greg Maddux on the other hand had pretty good stuff as OOTP defines it. He's an all-time great, and had a low K rate for an all-time great; but his K rates were above average, just not as far above average as almost any other starter that could be called an all time great. But his stuff rating would have to be above average.

Maddux, though, didn't have good stuff as the term is generally used. His fastball wasn't very fast, his breaking pitches didn't break a whole lot, etc.. He was an all time great due to command and control, and because he was such a smart pitcher. He used what stuff he had extremely well, and hit the corners consistently, etc.

And guys like Maddux, Glavine. Maloney-- they got K's. Ryan could have awful control, Jenkins could have major problems with gopher balls, they could still be very successful. In ootp terms, Ryan's control rating would be bad and Jenkins' movement rating would be. But they could get by with the other two.

But no one has been successful as a starter over a long career with as bad of stuff (as ootp defines it) as Ryan's control or Jenkins' movement (as defined by ootp), even if they were good at the other two things (or as with Ryan's stuff, super at one of the others).
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:49 AM   #46
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The only possible exception among starters in the live ball era might be Lew Burdette, whose control was so amazing he could be quite successful with a slightly below average K rate.
HOFer Ted Lyons, who pitched from 1923-1942, hardly struck out anyone but he didn't walk anyone either as he also led the Majors in walk rate several years.

If you look at Ryan, once he left the Angels and joined the Astros his walk rate dropped and stayed below that of his early years the rest of his career.

For well over a hundred years coaches have been saying "walks will kill ya". It's no coincidence that the HOF is filled with pitchers who had low walk rates. They also tend to have better than average strike out rates (relative to their peers) because the best pitchers don't just throw strikes consistently, they are painting the corners and otherwise using the whole strike zone to their advantage. This is what puts the batter on the defensive, and that's how you get batters to chase pitches or freeze them to take strike three.
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:59 AM   #47
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(Ferguson Jenkins was an example of a guy who gave up a fair chunk of homers--but he led the league in walk rate a lot of times .... as well as struck out a lot of guys--the skills play off each other).
Fergie was a strike throwing machine. When you put the ball over the plate a lot it's libel to be hit. But because he barely walked anyone, many of those home runs were harmless solo shots that had no bearing on the outcome of the game. HR rates can be deceptive at times in that regard.
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Old 08-31-2019, 12:44 PM   #48
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I believe this goes beyond statistics (which OOTP mimics).

Jim Palmer K/9 - 5.0
Nolan Ryan K/9 - 9.5

Palmer BB/9 - 3.0
Ryan BB/9 - 4.6

Palmer BABIP - .249
Ryan BABIP - .265

Palmer HR/9 - .69
Ryan HR/9 - .54

Palmer ERA - 2.86
Ryan ERA - 3.19

While Ryan started 250 more games than Palmer, he only completed 11 more games. Anyone who watched them pitch knows Palmer pitched to contact. His goal wasn't to strike out every hitter. He would have been perfectly happy if every hitter grounded out to the SS on the first pitch. Ryan, on the other hand, was fueled by testosterone (not IQ).

I do believe (no proof) OOTP would favor Ryan over Palmer because Palmer's 'stuff' would be based on pure statistics and nothing else (as if Palmer couldn't get a K when needed). If one looks at Palmer's stats with RISP or bases loaded, you can see a bigger picture. I don't think OOTP accounts for this.

I think the pitching model in OOTP is pretty good, BUT it isn't perfect. It seems it's based solely on statistics and in that world, guys like Palmer (Maddox comes to mind) probably won't fair as well as they should.

OOTP views pitchers like Palmer as a guy that 'can' (as in 'capable of') strike out 5 hitters a game and not a pitcher that strikes out 5 hitters a game. Big difference. OOTP then inflates 'stamina' for 'control pitchers' and they have slightly lower 'stuff' ratings than they should.
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Old 08-31-2019, 01:12 PM   #49
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Randy Jones had bad "stuff" for most of his career, as stuff is defined in OOTP, which means K rate.
At it's core, this is the "problem" that initiated this thread--which is my point. The game uses the term "stuff" in a much more tightly constrained fashion than the entirety of people who follow the game do. That's a design decision. It doesn't need to do it that way--but it is easier to do it that way than to make more complex design decisions (that's my take on it, anyway...only Markus knows what drives his decisions).

I agree with your basic premise around the weighting of strikeout rate, but I think it's more "correct" to say that overall success of an OOTP pitcher (and at a high level, a real pitcher) is some amalgam of their three core skills, their defenses, and whatever influence they may or may not have with regard to tweaking BABIP. There is, for example, some HR rate and some BB rate at which even Nolan Ryan's K-rate would not be able to overcome.

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Old 08-31-2019, 01:46 PM   #50
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Palmer BABIP - .249
Ryan BABIP - .265

[snipping]

I do believe (no proof) OOTP would favor Ryan over Palmer because Palmer's 'stuff' would be based on pure statistics and nothing else (as if Palmer couldn't get a K when needed). If one looks at Palmer's stats with RISP or bases loaded, you can see a bigger picture. I don't think OOTP accounts for this.

I think the pitching model in OOTP is pretty good, BUT it isn't perfect. It seems it's based solely on statistics and in that world, guys like Palmer (Maddox comes to mind) probably won't fair as well as they should.
Palmer is a fun guy to think about. As a kid, I loved watching Jim Palmer pitch. His numbers might suggest that he was a pretty good pitcher who had the great advantage of spending a career in a park that depressed offense (and homers) and that he pitched in front of guys like Mark Bellanger, Brooks Robinson, and Paul Blair.

OOTP will get this "right" too, in that a pitcher's actual result will be dependent upon all those factors. So, this idea would say that it you put Palmer in Coors (or Wrigley Field?), you've probably got a bit of a problem on your hands.

Of course, we have no real idea if the park effects in OOTP are exactly right (or defense, for that matter), so there's that uncertainty.

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Old 08-31-2019, 02:04 PM   #51
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If one looks at Palmer's stats with RISP or bases loaded, you can see a bigger picture.
Like the fact he never gave up a grand slam in his career.
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Old 08-31-2019, 02:44 PM   #52
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Like the fact he never gave up a grand slam in his career.
Given his career HR rate and the number of times he loaded the base, the chances of him doing that by random nature were probably about 2% ... or a little under.
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Old 08-31-2019, 02:50 PM   #53
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Given his career HR rate and the number of times he loaded the base, the chances of him doing that by random nature were probably about 2% ... or a little under.
Really good pitchers don't load the bases on a regular basis and when they do they don't give up home runs
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Old 09-01-2019, 04:47 PM   #54
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I believe this goes beyond statistics (which OOTP mimics).

Jim Palmer K/9 - 5.0
Nolan Ryan K/9 - 9.5

Palmer BB/9 - 3.0
Ryan BB/9 - 4.6

Palmer BABIP - .249
Ryan BABIP - .265

Palmer HR/9 - .69
Ryan HR/9 - .54

Palmer ERA - 2.86
Ryan ERA - 3.19

While Ryan started 250 more games than Palmer, he only completed 11 more games. Anyone who watched them pitch knows Palmer pitched to contact. His goal wasn't to strike out every hitter. He would have been perfectly happy if every hitter grounded out to the SS on the first pitch. Ryan, on the other hand, was fueled by testosterone (not IQ).
And stylistically, I like the Palmer type better, because he did think rahter than just heave the ball as hard as he could. Palmer also had great defensive infields behind him (Brooks Robinson, Belanger, etc.), and a 5.0/9 K rate in his era especially was still good, like Maddux or Tommy John whose greatness was also based on not giving up walks and getting ground ballls, but they also needed good K rates, just not as exceptional as if they weren't great at not giving up HR's or aboiding walking many people. There aren't modern or modern-ish great starting pitcehrs with low K rates, period

It's a stretch to even call Burdette even modern-ish, much less Ted Lyons.
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