Monday, August 22, 2011

"Wins" for a pitcher is probably the most misleading stat in sports, and the 2011 Red Sox are a perfect example

There is some slightly in depth statistical analysis here, so if you're not a baseball fan check out now and come back tomorrow.

Tim Wakefield's quest for 200 wins is what got me thinking about this.  In his 199th win, he gave up 7 earned runs.  That is incredibly rare.  He's had 5 starts since then, given up 3, 3, 3, 4, and 4 earned runs, but improbably managed to win none of them.  So of his last 6 starts, the only "win" he got was in his one bad outing.  Weird.

Then there is the curious case of John Lackey.  He has an ERA of 6.02, and a WHIP (walks + hits per inning pitched, basically average base runners allowed per inning) of 1.55, both really bad.  He's started 21 games, and has only 8 "Quality Starts" (a QS is 6 innings pitched with 3 or fewer earned runs).  But miraculously he has 11 wins.  More wins than quality starts is absurd.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Josh Beckett.  His ERA is less than half of Lackey's, 2.46, and his WHIP of .97 is spectacular.  He's started 24 games, and has put up 18 quality starts.  Yet somehow he has only 10 wins, one FEWER than Lackey.

And don't forget Alfredo Aceves, who's 4th on the team with 8 wins even though he's only started 4 games.

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