Best of BP: 2020 Cy Young Awards: Opponent Quality Issues – MLB Sports

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This article was originally published on September 28th.

The regular season is over and it’s time for baseball reporters to vote for the best pitchers in each major league. Cy young award. Traditionally, this went to the starting pitcher who pitched a “qualified” number of innings (60 this year). Tradition has also encouraged pitcher win and earned run average (ERA) consultations to guide this decision.The pitcher’s victory no longer retains its former influence, but the starters of each league with the ERA “title” are still Cy young.. Writers are also paying more and more attention to Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), which consistently evaluates pitcher performance over ERA.

In this year’s National League, it’s unwise to rely solely on ERA. I’m the leader of NL ERA Trevor BauerSure, he pitched well, he faced the weakest opposition of any qualified baseball pitcher, thanks to the geographical limitation of facing only the central division. Aaron NolaMeanwhile, we are facing fierce competition between AL East and NL East, and ERA is high to prove it. Adjusting for this large disparity in opponent quality, Nora can be equal, if not award-worthy.

The Deserved Run Average (DRA), a baseball prospectus pitcher run prevention statistic, explains these disparities. ERA and FIP are not. Obviously we like our own statistics, but this is the reason why DRA exists. This is to explain a context that can be very misleading even with low (or high) ERA or FIP.

Importance of competition

Some batters are much more difficult for pitchers to face than others. The American League (AL) is traditionally more difficult to pitch than the National League (NL), thanks to designated hitters. Similarly, AL East is often considered particularly difficult compared to AL Central and AL West for reasons such as the Yankees and the Red Sox.

At AL, fortunately, as of yesterday morning, ERA and DRA have agreed. Shane Bieber The ERA was the lowest at 1.63 and the DRA was the lowest at 2.58 (+/- .17).There is room for discussion Kenta Maeda With a DRA of 3.10 (+/- .28), the metric shows that Maeda is a little less likely to have a better pitch than the beaver, and the beaver is throwing more innings. If you’re lucky, AL Cy young The award should be fairly drama-free.

But in the National League, things are very different. Consider some of the best qualified pitchers by ERA, FIP, and DRA.

Trevor Bauer It stands out in his 1.73 ERA. Second place is Yu Darvish, 2.01 ERA. What do both pitchers have in common? They pitched to NL Central this year. After all, you wouldn’t have been able to seek a better draw. This year’s Bauer opponents included two Pirates, two Brewers, two Tigers and one Royals. Darvish faced the Reds twice, the Brewers twice, and the Pirates once. It’s not as weak as a slate, but it’s still a great draw.

The challenge is Quantification This effect is useful. The good news is that we can help. DRA seems to independently believe that Nora is far superior to what ERA and FIP show. What is DRA, seeing that these other stats are not? In this case, it includes the opposite quality of the pitcher.

Worth stats and opponent quality

One way to evaluate the quality of a pitcher’s opponent is to find out how DRC + evaluated the same batter. DRC + is a comprehensive statistic for assessing hostile batters in Baseball Prospectus. Similar to DRA, DRC + is adjusted by the opponent, adjusted by the perk, and adjusted by the sample size. What happens when you look at the DRC + of an enemy batter faced by a qualified pitcher in 2020?

This table shows the lowest DRC + for your opponents this season. In DRC +, the higher the better. That is, qualified pitchers are not faced with a weak collection of opposite batters. Trevor Bauer.. Of course, it’s not just Bauer. The weakest opposition list faced was dominated by pitchers from AL or NL Central, all of whom had the privilege of facing batters in the same division every day. Sure, some chickens or eggs are happening here, but the full persistence of the effect, the fact that it is visible after 60 games, and the DRA and DRC specially designed to capture this effect. The reality of being all brings credibility to the idea of ​​seeing something that is not only real but also very important to understand the success of pitchers in the 2020 season.

Not surprisingly, if a pitcher in one part of the country benefits from a weak opponent, the other pitcher pays the price. The pitchers who faced the tightest opposition schedule are:

This list is “who who” of qualified pitchers from non-central departments. Antonio Senzatela Faced with the cruelest schedule of all.Soon we have Aaron Nola.. Nora faced the Mets twice, the Braves twice, and the Yankees once. Most of his start was against aggressive baseball teams from decent to good.

It’s becoming clear why DRA is more impressed Aaron NolaThe 2020 season than Bauer. The slate of the opposite batter is completely different. Relying on Bauer’s ERA or his FIP is to assume that Nora faced the same lineup as Bauer, or to effectively punish Nora for facing more intense competition. Therefore, using anti-execution statistics that cannot explain the strength of competition can be misleading and probably unreasonable results.

How was the various NLs Cy young Do your opponents have the same quality compared to each other? The most commonly heard name ratings are:

Ramet and DeGrom faced essentially average enemies. Darvish’s opponents were easier than others, but still within average spitting distance. Meanwhile, Nora and Bauer are in different universes.To those who are interested Shane Bieber, His opponent’s average DRC + is 97, which is the same as Darvish.

Opponent DRC + / DRA is not currently an updated feature of the leaderboard, but we may add it this offseason if readers find it useful.


Trevor Bauer He is a very good baseball pitcher who wins Cy Young’s votes, and of course. But his shimmering 1.73 ERA cannot be received at face value. Conscientious writers do not consider just one statistic when filling out Cy Young’s ballot, and many seek to adjust to this situation. Therefore, the DRA (or your opponent’s DRC +, if necessary) should be an important consideration in these voting decisions.

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Best of BP: 2020 Cy Young Awards: Opponent Quality Issues Best of BP: 2020 Cy Young Awards: Opponent Quality Issues

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