What you think of the Yankees’ pitching staff probably depends on the statistic used for evaluation. By traditional measures, the Bronx Bombers’ pitchers are decidedly mediocre, while more advanced metrics place them among the best in the league. What explains this divergence? And what does the variance portend?
In terms of runs allowed per game, the Yankees rank fifth from the bottom, with an average rate that is one-quarter run higher than the rest of the league. Earned run average is a little kinder. The Yankees’ ERA of 4.31 is also below average, but when adjusted to ballpark, the resultant ERA+ of 99 suggests a pitching staff more in line with the mean. When it comes to fielding independent pitching (FIP) stats, however, the Bronx Bombers’ pitchers start to standout. The Yankees’ FIP of 3.78 ranks in the top half of the American League, while the adjusted version of that metric (xFIP) moves the Bronx Bombers to the head of the class. If only the Yankees could figure out how get the strength of their pitchers’ peripheral performance to match what is reflected on the scoreboard.
Yankees’ Pitchers vs. American League
Note: BABIP multiplied by 100 for scaling purposes.
Source: baseball-reference.com and fangraphs.com
The Yankees’ pitching staff has had two glaring problems this season: it has allowed the most home runs per nine innings in the majors and suffered the fourth highest BABIP. That’s why the team’s pitchers rate much better when using FIP statistics, which assume the normalization of home runs allowed and batting average on balls in play. If the theory holds, the Yankees can expect improved aggregate performance from their pitching staff. However, when it comes to BABIP, there is reason to believe the team’s inflated rate isn’t about to level off anytime soon. Continue Reading »