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DERA 2006

Publication Date: January 4, 2007

Trying Not to Pull Something

That break lasted longer than I intended, and I apologize for not communicating on the front end. Partly, I needed a break more than I realized; partly, I've been going through negotiations with a couple of pro teams on some exclusive services for this season, and I needed to see where the lines fell out on what I could and couldn't talk about around here. There will be a few changes to the site this year; I'll talk about that at the end of the piece. As a way of easing back into things, I'm going to do one of my annual pieces; the DERA review to see who might be worth watching for in 2007.

As a way of establishing my bona fides, I always like to look back at last year's list of candidates for improvement (which is one of the reasons why DERA is so interesting) and see how they did. Here's last year's list, with 2006 ERA added in, for anyone who pitched again in 2006:

Team                      Pitcher                    DERA  ERA    2006

Fairfield                 Steve Tyburski             5.92 10.67   7.58
Lafayette                 Brian Cope                 7.27 11.54   9.17
Canisius                  Jordan Neufeld             9.10 12.91   5.40
New Mexico                Darren Coltrinari          4.96  8.50   9.96
Coppin State              Matt Bellon                5.24  8.71   5.71
Air Force                 Paul Pratt                 6.26  9.62   8.39
Cal State Northridge      Craig Baker                4.82  7.88   3.97
Davidson                  Matt Meade                 3.69  6.52   8.39

One of these days (somebody write this down) I need to look at which is a better predictor of ERA, the previous year's DERA or ERA. The problem with using DERA as a predictor for the next year is that, in a lot of cases, you're still pitching in front of the same bad defense that killed you last year. Anyway, Baker is the type of case you do these analyses for, Bellon probably counts as a small win (Neufeld didn't really pitch enough in 2006 to count), and the rest are mixed or bad. Most of the guys on last year's list actually had such bad results in 2005 that they didn't get to pitch in 2006, unfortunately.

Leader Board

The full reports for starters and relievers are online now; here are the top 25 for each group:

Team                      Pitcher                    DERA  ERA

Navy                      Mitch Harris               1.99  1.74
Hawaii                    Steven Wright              2.07  2.30
South Alabama             P. J Walters               2.34  3.20
Notre Dame                Wade Korpi                 2.46  2.00
Army                      Ben Mayhew                 2.51  4.45
Central Florida           Tim Bascom                 2.55  2.47
Mount St. Mary's          Dustin Pease               2.57  3.42
Rhode Island              Steve Holmes               2.60  1.30
Cal State Fullerton       Wes Roemer                 2.60  2.38
St. John's                Rob Delaney                2.61  4.01
Monmouth                  Brad Brach                 2.66  2.44
LaSalle                   Dan Waters                 2.67  2.79
Arkansas                  Shaun Seibert              2.67  2.77
Virginia                  Sean Doolittle             2.68  2.38
Old Dominion              Jason Godin                2.72  4.06
Manhattan                 Chris Cody                 2.75  1.42
Rice                      Eddie Degerman             2.76  2.00
Binghamton                Zach Groh                  2.76  1.85
Northeastern              Adam Ottavino              2.76  2.98
Sacred Heart              Jay Monti                  2.79  3.30
Pittsburgh                Billy Muldowney            2.80  3.16
Northern Colorado         Roy Allen                  2.83  4.64
Yale                      Alec Smith                 2.84  4.33
Houston                   Brad Lincoln               2.87  1.69
Army                      Cole White                 2.88  2.48

Team                      Pitcher                    DERA  ERA

Central Florida           Tyler Bunnell              0.50  2.31
South Carolina            Chase Tucker               1.27  7.13
Army                      Milan Dinga                1.38  0.48
Virginia                  Alex Smith                 1.63  2.79
Georgia                   Joshua Fields              1.99  1.80
Stony Brook               Kurt Jung                  2.01  1.08
Notre Dame                Sam Elam                   2.03  2.19
Purdue                    Chris Toneguzzi            2.04  2.10
Florida State             Luke Tucker                2.06  1.06
Yale                      Matt Fealey                2.11  3.20
Arizona                   Mark Melancon              2.15  2.97
Brigham Young             Joshua Barrett             2.20  2.87
Wright State              Joe Smith                  2.22  0.98
Texas-Pan American        Tim Haines                 2.28  2.06
South Florida             Chase Lirette              2.28  2.90
Connecticut               Ted Garry                  2.34  2.10
Rice                      Cole St. Clair             2.36  1.82
Ball State                Kyle Heyne                 2.37  2.11
St. Francis               Lussier                    2.40  4.82
Toledo                    Steve Wenning              2.43  0.71
Army                      Dan Pluff                  2.44  2.81
Wake Forest               Ben Hunter                 2.51  1.47
Wichita State             Noah Krol                  2.52  2.95
Cal State Fullerton       Vinnie Pestano             2.54  0.97
Long Beach State          Bryan Shaw                 2.54  2.25

Again, none of this is competition- or park-adjusted, so make your own mental adjustments there.

Guys to Watch

Here are the guys with the biggest gaps between their ERA and their DERA who should be returning this year -- this is the top ten plus anybody in the top 25 who had a DERA under 5.00:

Team                      Pitcher                    DERA  ERA

Coppin State              Alex Hangland              5.76 11.60
Iona                      Shane Sveda                4.73  9.16
Chicago State             C Marshall                 5.66  9.95
Albany                    Nick Murphy                4.07  8.17
New Mexico                Jesse Perez                6.66 10.69
Iona                      Justin Karn                6.96 10.88
Delaware State            Dan Perkins                6.72 10.51
Oakland                   Aaron Hines                5.47  9.14
Pennsylvania              Bret Wallace               4.53  7.99
Maryland-Eastern Shore    Kevin Hillenburg           6.90 10.09
St. Joseph's              Chris Prescott             3.16  6.35
Mount St. Mary's          Steve Stone                3.47  6.29
George Mason              J. J Pannell               4.81  7.61
Oral Roberts              Taylor McIntyre            4.63  7.42
Davidson                  Brant West                 4.99  7.76
Coppin State              Dennis Lane                4.83  7.51
Nicholls State            Chris Greer                4.10  6.78
Arizona State             Ike Davis                  4.85  7.42
Memphis                   P. Utley                   3.81  6.30

Now, bear in mind that I'm not predicting that any of these guys are going to go under 2.00 in ERA this year. What I'm saying is that, if you're coaching them and trying to figure out their place this year in your plans, you might want to factor in a bit of bad luck or bad defense that they had last year into your thinking. If that still only gets you to an ERA of 7, you can pull the plug, but 4.50 is worth quite a bit these days. There seem to be a lot more of those "DERA of 4, ERA of 7" guys this year.

A Few Concessions

As I mentioned, I've been negotiating to provide some exclusive data services to a couple of MLB teams this season rather than the patchwork sales I've done the past couple of years. One contract is signed; the other is close, so I'm comfortable telling you about the impact on the site. For the most part, things will remain the same, but I will need to pull a couple of things to protect the rights that I've sold to these teams. The biggest thing will be that the full CSV files for the hitters' and pitchers' databases will not be updated until after the signing date in August. It will be possible to pull stats for individual players, and the raw leaderboards will be updated, but the full stats file won't be available until then. I also won't be doing the smart stats leaderboard this year, although that didn't get much traffic last year anyway. Finally, I can't talk in here about projections of future professional development for players. I don't think I've ever done that on this site, anyway, though, so you're not losing much there. All told, the impact should be minimal, and I appreciate your understanding.

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