Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> DERA Report for 2003 About the author, Boyd Nation

DERA Report for 2003

Publication Date: February 24, 2004

Out of My Hands

I finally got around this week to putting up the DERA reports for the 2003 season, both starters and relievers. I realize this is a bit late; the reasons are a combination of procrastination, which got it back to about October, and a realization that DERA is probably more useful as a predictive tool than an analytical one.

The extra time, though, turned out to be productive, as I realized along the way that the formula I used last year, one of the early versions released by the inventor of DERA, Voros McCracken, now of the Red Sox, was much more suited to the offensive context of professional baseball than to current college baseball -- it produced values for college numbers that were too tightly banded between 3.00 and 5.00. After reducing things back to their basic components and doing some regression work, I came up with the following formula which is both a bit simpler and which produces results more accurate for college baseball:

              -2.54 * SO + 4.13 * BB + 14.78 * HR
DERA = 3.93 + -----------------------------------

In other words, a pitcher with perfectly average defense and luck behind him and no strikeouts, walks, or home runs should have a 3.93 ERA; each strikeout should reduce ERA, while walks hurt and home runs hurt a lot. All intuitive, assuming that you buy into the basic premise of DIPS and DERA, which I still do (those of you scratching your head at this point should go back and look at this introductory piece), and worth a look to see which pitchers are likely to bust out this year.

Leader Board

You can read the full reports linked in above if you're interested in any given pitcher, but here are the leader boards for starters and relievers:

Team                      Pitcher                    DERA  ERA

Ohio State                Scott Lewis                1.61  1.61
Richmond                  Tim Stauffer               2.01  1.97
Vermont                   Jamie Merchant             2.15  1.56
Rice                      Wade Townsend              2.27  2.20
Jacksonville State        Jessie Corn                2.51  2.19
Wright State              Casey Abrams               2.52  2.83
Long Beach State          Jered Weaver               2.58  1.96
Marist                    Chuck Bechtel              2.61  1.59
Charleston Southern       R. J. Swindle              2.63  1.96
Old Dominion              Justin Verlander           2.68  2.40
Central Connecticut State Barry Hertzler             2.68  2.59
Minnesota                 Glen Perkins               2.71  2.91
Rice                      Jeff Niemann               2.74  1.70
Notre Dame                Chris Niesel               2.78  2.65
Maryland                  Steve Schmoll              2.86  3.49
Navy                      Rich McDevitt              2.94  2.52
Minnesota                 Cj Woodrow                 3.00  4.34
Richmond                  Mike McGirr                3.02  2.25
Tennessee Tech            Dusty Eubanks              3.02  5.00
Southwest Missouri State  Bob Zimmermann             3.07  4.25
North Carolina-Greensboro Scooter Michael            3.09  3.49
Virginia Commonwealth     Justin Orenduff            3.10  2.27
Quinnipiac                Buddy Bengel               3.13  2.66
Virginia Commonwealth     Michael Leishman           3.14  2.66
Marist                    Chris Tracz                3.14  3.19

Team                      Pitcher                    DERA  ERA

Houston                   Ryan Wagner                0.47  1.93
William and Mary          Bill Bray                  1.48  1.95
Washington                Will Fenton                1.49  0.00
Wichita State             Noah Booth                 1.77  2.41
Clemson                   Paul Harrelson             2.05  3.31
Utah                      Martinez                   2.08  3.02
Marist                    Chris Homer                2.09  1.32
Notre Dame                Tyler Jones                2.12  5.27
Notre Dame                Ryan Doherty               2.13  2.20
Tennessee                 Joey Andrews               2.16  4.46
Cal State Fullerton       Chad Cordero               2.26  1.58
Elon                      Adam Acosta                2.28  4.50
Cal State Fullerton       Sean Martin                2.29  2.84
Notre Dame                Ryan Doherty               2.39  2.55
Georgia Southern          Steve Cogswell             2.43  1.51
Florida State             Kevin Lynch                2.47  2.59
George Mason              Mike Puckli                2.49  3.95
UC Irvine                 Steve Schroer              2.55  2.17
Virginia Commonwealth     Cla Meredith               2.57  1.19
Northwestern              Jon Mikrut                 2.58  2.81
Baylor                    Zane Carlson               2.60  2.61
Minnesota                 Jeff Moen                  2.63  1.42
Arkansas-Little Rock      Travis Trammell            2.66  3.08
Notre Dame                Brandon Viloria            2.66  1.57

Now, the fact that Lewis had the same DERA and ERA with this formula is one of those things so freaky that it made me lose half a day checking the math; as far as I can tell, it's just a bizarre oddity. He's good, either way, and apparently he's almost devoid of luck, either good or bad, and OSU has a normal defense (or things balanced out, whatever). Ryan Wagner is a good example of how bad ERA is for measuring relievers; he was absolutely obscenely good last year -- almost two strikeouts an inning against one walk every four innings and exactly one home run all year. Then remember that these aren't competition-adjusted, and Houston played a top 10 schedule.

No matter what it looks like, I can't manufacture information out of thin air. The NCAA ERA leader last year was Furman's Tom Mastny, who had a stunning 1.09 ERA. Unfortunately, I have no idea how many home runs he gave up, because it wasn't in the team stat report, so I can't include him here. His strikeout rate was good, his walk rate was great, and he wasn't prone to giving up the long ball in 2002, so I suspect he'd look good here, but I can't say for sure.

Jeff Niemann's DERA points out one basic truth that has to be accounted for in prospect analysis -- it's a lot easier to pitch in front of Rice's defense than it is in front of, say, Tennessee Tech's. Relative to their competition level, Niemann had the same basic success as Dusty Eubanks (competition changes that, of course), but having good D behind you will cover the few mistakes a pitcher of his quality makes a lot of the time.

Guys to Watch

Now, the part that really interests me. Here's a handful of guys who are in school again this year and who did the parts they had control over well but put up bad numbers because of bad luck and/or bad defense behind them. Defense doesn't tend to even out, but luck does, so some of these guys could be worth watching, either for success this year or for talent that might be worth trying in a different context:

Team                      Pitcher                    DERA  ERA

Fairfield                 Pablo Tamayo               4.16 10.64
Norfolk State             Andrew Renshaw             3.78  8.71
Santa Clara               John Redmond               4.46  7.63
Quinnipiac                Dave Bennett               3.31  6.34
Southeastern Louisiana    Jeremy Mizell              4.26  7.06
Villanova                 Nick Allen                 4.40  7.15
Central Michigan          Ryan Cremeans              4.32  6.99
Duke                      Russell Durfee             4.35  6.85
California                Kyle Crist                 3.74  6.02

Pitch Count Watch

Rather than keep returning to the subject of pitch counts and pitcher usage in general too often for my main theme, I'm just going to run a standard feature down here where I point out potential problems; feel free to stop reading above this if the subject doesn't interest you. This will just be a quick listing of questionable starts that have caught my eye -- the general threshold for listing is 120 actual pitches or 130 estimated, although short rest will also get a pitcher listed if I catch it. Don't blame me; I'm just the messenger.

Date   Team   Pitcher   Opponent   IP   H   R   ER   BB   SO   AB   BF   Pitches
Feb 15 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Trey Hearne Texas A&M 7.1 12 10 9 5 3 33 38 125
Feb 20 Arizona Koley Kolberg UC Irvine 9.0 10 3 3 1 7 37 38 123
Feb 22 Northern Illinois Zach Minor Texas Tech 6.2 4 2 1 4 7 24 29 128
Feb 22 West Virginia Ryan Lipscomb The Citadel 5.0 3 3 2 8 8 17 26 124
Feb 22 California Adam Gold Fresno State 9.0 1 0 0 5 10 26 34 130
Feb 22 Arizona State Jason Urquidez Rice 9.0 3 1 1 2 7 30 32 139
Feb 26 Texas-Arlington Michael Gardner Dallas Baptist 8.0 5 3 3 2 14 26 30 127

The Hearne pitch count is a correction based on an actual count sent in by a reader.

(*) Pitch count is estimated.

If you're interested in reprinting this or any other Boyd's World material for your publication or Web site, please read the reprint policy and contact me


Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> DERA Report for 2003 About the author, Boyd Nation