Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> Smart Stats for 2002, Part II: The Pitchers About the author, Boyd Nation

Smart Stats for 2002, Part II: The Pitchers

Publication Date: August 6, 2002


When I was in junior high, I set a conference record for the 800 meters in track and field. When they announced it at the meet, I was quite proud. Later that week, though, I found out that they had only started keeping records the year before -- in other words, all I did was win the race and finish faster than the guy who won the year before. That sort of deflated my bubble a bit. I don't know how long my record lasted, but I doubt it was more than a year or two; the time wasn't that great.

Last year, I introduced a new stat called Runs below Opponent Average, designed to be a smarter way to measure pitcher performance. Lots of folks were ready to declare Mark Prior's season last year to be the best ever, and I was pleased when RBOA showed him to be head and shoulders above everyone else for the season. The problem with that was that that perception was based on only one year's basis with nothing to compare it to. It turns out that someone this year (no peeking) put up a higher RBOA total than Prior managed last year with much less fanfare.

To be honest, I think that's probably more an indictment of the stat than of Prior's performance. There's no adjustment made for the quality of opposition that the opponent put up their scoring average against (quick, who led Division I in scoring this year?), and that skews things a bit. Utah and Clemson tied in scoring average this year, for example, but for any given pitcher, I would suspect that Clemson would tend to have put up more runs. This doesn't completely invalidate the results -- I still think they're a better fit than raw ERA or RA -- but it does mean that the numbers have to be considered in context.

On to the numbers. First, the ERA leaders for last year, with a minimum of 10 appearances and 5 IP per start in order to weed out the relievers, for whom I don't have a good measure yet.

 1  Tim Stauffer        Richmond                   1.54
 2  John Tetuan         Wichita State              1.72
 3  Devin Monds         Northeastern               1.80
 4  Brad Sullivan       Houston                    1.82
 5  Justin Verlander    Old Dominion               1.90
 6  Justin Crowder      Rice                       2.00
 7  Geoff Lefeber       Wisconsin-Milwaukee        2.20
 8  Jim Carone          Monmouth                   2.21
 9  Rene Recio          Oral Roberts               2.23
10  Joe Wilson          Maryland-Baltimore County  2.26
11  John Corcoran       Butler                     2.29
12  Shane Komine        Nebraska                   2.33
13  Dave Cerminaro      Lehigh                     2.34
14  Chris Tracz         Marist                     2.36
15  Wes Littleton       Cal State Fullerton        2.40
16  Jeremy Guthrie      Stanford                   2.51
17  Justin Simmons      Texas                      2.53
18  Ryan Bicondoa       Western Kentucky           2.55
19  Zach Otte           Indiana                    2.56
20  Jared Doyle         James Madison              2.57
21  Andy Gros           Louisiana-Lafayette        2.59
22  David Sanders       Wichita State              2.59
23  Lane Mestepey       Louisiana State            2.59
24  O. J. King          Northwestern State         2.63
25  Casey Johnson       Northwestern State         2.70

Next the RBOA leaders. Note that I'm able to be much more thorough than I was last year because of the data that I gathered for pitch count purposes, so there are a few guys here who aren't on the ERA list, for example.

 1  Tim Stauffer            Richmond                 83.95
 2  Kyle Bakker             Georgia Tech             71.19
 3  Lane Mestepey           Louisiana State          68.84
 4  Jeremy Guthrie          Stanford                 61.92
 5  Wes Littleton           Cal State Fullerton      59.92
 6  Brad Sullivan           Houston                  54.71
 7  Bryan Bullington        Ball State               49.98
 8  Matt Henrie             Clemson                  48.82
 9  Justin Verlander        Old Dominion             48.81
10  Matt Lynch              Florida State            47.51
11  Brian Wilson            Louisiana State          46.41
12  Abe Alvarez             Long Beach State         44.53
13  Shea Douglas            Southern Mississippi     43.38
14  Justin Simmons          Texas                    42.48
15  Lance Cormier           Alabama                  41.84
16  Whitt Farr              William and Mary         41.13
17  Steven Carter           Coastal Carolina         41.07
18  Shane Komine            Nebraska                 40.51
19  Helpiz Moises           Bethune-Cookman          39.87
20  Blair Varnes            Florida State            39.65
21  Aaron Marsden           Nebraska                 39.17
22  Bo Pettit               Louisiana State          38.87
23  Justin Taylor           Baylor                   38.30
24  Nick Bourgeois          Tulane                   35.22
25  Kyle Schmidt            Georgia Tech             35.11

By the way, Southern led the nation in scoring last year by almost a run-and-a-half. Schedule notwithstanding, they were a legitimately good offensive team, but not by that much.

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Boyd's World-> Breadcrumbs Back to Omaha-> Smart Stats for 2002, Part II: The Pitchers About the author, Boyd Nation