All Forums > SimLeague Baseball > MLB > Wins and Losses
12/4/2012 8:43 PM
Still scratching my head over how some of you seem to think a w-l record tells you anything about how a guy threw. All a pitcher does is try to prevent runs. That's his job.

When I ask what you can tell me about the performance of two 12-12 guys from the same season (who was better? were they good? bad? average?), I don't get serious replies because the answer is obvious-that stat literally tells you nothing other than, "They were probably not the worst or best pitchers in MLB history."

When I ask about closers, people say using w-l record to evaluate relievers is dumb (and I agree).

What about two guys, same team, who had every stat identical (if you can think of a stat... they were equal) ... except one guy was 10-15, and the other was 22-7. Do you think one guy was better than the other?

The fact that you can't give a straight reply to what w-l tells you in those cases should tell you a lot about how much meaning the stat has. Those cases literally use only the w-l stat--wtf does it tell you? Nothing. The replies seem to say "The TEAM won more when Some Dude was on the mound, even though he gave up more runs on average than Another Guy." That may be true, but use your brain--is that a reflection of pitching performance (preventing runs) or run support? You guys can make up all the stories you want about Jack the Crafty Veteran Who Really Bared Down When He Had To being a better pitcher than The Reckless Rookie Who Threw Too Hard, but if rook consistently gave up less runs per 9, he was the better pitcher. Period.

You guys say the object of the game is to win. You're right. That's the TEAM'S job. The pitcher's job is to prevent runs, which is why looking at things like ERA is informative (though not the whole story).However, looking at a team stat (wins) says nothing about a pitcher's job performance (preventing runs).

I can only conclude that you are mixing up a team stat (wins) with a player stat (preventing runs), you disagree that a pitcher's sole job is to prevent runs, or you're just nostalgic about the win stat. I hope it's the latter. If so, I understand. I remember Welch winning 25 or 27 or whatever and thinking it was badass. I wish staffs would go back to 4-man so we'd see normal amounts of 20+ game winners again. I'd love to see a 30-game winner. But using it as a measure of performance? As stated, it doesn't tell you anything. At all. The only time it even sheds ANY light is a freakish outlier, like a 25-game winner on a 67-win team.
12/4/2012 8:52 PM
Posted by inkdskn on 12/4/2012 6:33:00 PM (view original):
ERA is an advanced stat? That's what most people use to evaluate pitchers with. I know it will sound all newfangled and far out there and ****, but it tells how many earned runs a pitcher gives up per 9IP, on average.

Are you really so profoundly ignorant that you have difficulty in separating pitcher performance (how effective they were at preventing runs) from team performance (how many times the team scored more than their ooponent)?

Or are you in first grade?
ERA+, numbnuts.

Reading comprehension.  Try it sometime.
12/4/2012 8:55 PM
Posted by bad_luck on 12/4/2012 8:17:00 PM (view original):
Posted by burnsy483 on 12/4/2012 8:09:00 PM (view original):
You know what? Let's not look at ERA either. It doesn't always tell you who is better, as we saw in the Vargas/Darvish example. Use ERA+.

Wait, no. ERA+ still replies heavily on what your fielders do. Pitchers only have control over walks, ks and homers. Use FIP.

No, that's not good either. It's easier to hit homers in some places than other. Use xFIP.

Wait, no...
All of those stats tell you something about how the pitcher performed. W/L tells you nothing.
Ron Guidry went 25-3 in 1978.

I'm not sure if he had a good year or not, because all I know is that he went 25-3, and that tells me nothing.
12/4/2012 8:55 PM
Let's simplify. You have no stats available to you other than W/L. Which pitching staff do you choose? The one with a cumulative 100-40 record or the one with the 40-100 record? If W/L is useless, you might as well flip a coin. 


12/4/2012 9:15 PM
The entire point is that you have other stats available. If you had to pick a pitching staff using one stat of your choice, you sure as **** wouldn't pick W/L.
12/4/2012 9:21 PM
No one's arguing that W/L is the best stat. We're arguing that it has SOME use as opposed to NO use. You've been ridiculing everyone who didn't select "worthless" on the poll.
12/4/2012 9:23 PM
Posted by MikeT23 on 12/4/2012 8:34:00 PM (view original):
Posted by MikeT23 on 12/4/2012 11:46:00 AM (view original):
Posted by bad_luck on 12/4/2012 11:40:00 AM (view original):
Posted by MikeT23 on 12/4/2012 11:34:00 AM (view original):
Posted by bad_luck on 12/4/2012 11:29:00 AM (view original):
Sure, I could guess he had a great year. But it's just a guess, because pitcher W/L is completely worthless.

If I told you he had an ERA of 1.50 over 220 innings, you'd know he had a great year, regardless of his W/L.
Would you care to find any examples of 21-4 pitchers on losing teams who didn't have a great year?

Hell, let's make it easier.   Find a 16-10 pitcher on a sub .500 team that didn't have a great year.

The point, in case you're missing it, is that W-L record isn't the be all to end all but history tells us that a good W-L record pretty much indicates a solid year.   And I'm quite sure that there are many examples of pitchers with poor W-L records pitching really well.    Nonetheless, pitchers who accumulate wins generally pitch well thus making W/L a little more valuable in evaluating performance than "completely worthless".
Great. Pitcher A went 12-7. Pitcher B went 11-12. Pitcher C went 11-15. Who was the best pitcher?

COMPLETELY WORTHLESS.

But thanks, I had no idea people this dumb still existed. I needed this entertainment today.

This is where being a rational person is helpful.

I can look at those records and say "Hmmmm, I'd probably need more info.   One more win but with 4 and 7 less decisions seems to indicate that he didn't pitch in as many games or he didn't stick around long enough to get decisions." 

A non-rational person just screams "COMPLETELY WORTHLESS!!!!"

Any luck finding that 16-10 pitcher on a sub .500 team that didn't have a great year?

This.
Why does the quality of the team matter?
12/4/2012 9:24 PM
I think wins are important, but you can't look at them in a vacuum. There are two reasons I put stock in wins:

1) Pitcher A is 10-10 with an ERA of 2.70 and a 1.10 WHIP. Pitcher B is 17-8 with an ERA of 3.00 and a 1.15 WHIP. Obviously Pitcher A was better statistically, but I'd take Pitcher B because the difference isn't huge and Pitcher B pitched well enough for his team to win 7 more games. Is that a reflection of offense and other stats? Sure, but you still have to pitch well enough for your team to win the ballgame. You have to outduel the other pitcher, and if you don't, no matter how good your stat line is, you failed.

2) Some pitchers - Doc Halladay always comes to mind - will pitch more to contact with a big lead to try and get quicker outs and make guys put the ball in play. If he has a 1-0 lead, he'll bear down and strike guys out. If he has a 6-0 lead, he's not afraid to win 6-4 if it means using less pitches and getting his team out of the game quicker. Sometimes it's the W that gives you the more accurate picture than the stat line.

Bottom line: the great pitchers pitch well enough to win. It doesn't always happen, but they win more than most because they bear down when the game is tight, and they don't waste pitches and give up free passes with a huge lead.
12/4/2012 9:30 PM (edited)
Posted by mattedesa on 12/4/2012 9:22:00 PM (view original):
No one's arguing that W/L is the best stat. We're arguing that it has SOME use as opposed to NO use. You've been ridiculing everyone who didn't select "worthless" on the poll.
Well said.

To summarize, for the folks who are arriving late to this party:

Nobody is arguing that pitcher's W-L is the ultimate stat for evaluating pitcher's performance.  That would be retarded.  It is not even the primary stat to use to evaluate pitcher's effectiveness.  It is just one of many stats that can be referred to when evaluating pitchers. 

However, one person (and now, apparently, a second) is arguing that pitcher's W-L is COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY WORTHLESS AND SHOULD BE DISREGARDED AT ALL TIMES.

THAT argument is retarded.

Then again, the person making that argument has a history here in this forum for making retarded arguments.

12/4/2012 9:50 PM
What does pitcher W/L tell you about a pitcher's performance?

Does a pitcher even have to pitch well to get a win? Does he have to pitch poorly to get a loss?
12/4/2012 9:51 PM
To put some real numbers behind this, I took 24 random SP with between 180-220 IP. I selected every 5th guy that came up when sorting by something truly useless to pitching ability (first name, fielding percentage, speed, etc.). I came up with 8 guys with winning records, 4 guys at .500, and 12 guys with losing records. Taking the 12 guys at .500 or better, their average ERA+/OAV+/WHIP+ line was 112/105/105. For the guys with losing records, it was 95/96/98.

Sure it's a small sample, but I think it's enough to show a trend.
12/4/2012 9:57 PM
Posted by bad_luck on 12/4/2012 9:50:00 PM (view original):
What does pitcher W/L tell you about a pitcher's performance?

Does a pitcher even have to pitch well to get a win? Does he have to pitch poorly to get a loss?
A pitcher with a winning record is more likely to be a good pitcher than a pitcher with a losing record. That's what it tells us. How much more likely is the question.

And we all know that sometimes pitchers pitch poorly and win, or pitch well and lose. Any statistic could have its aberrations. A guy could have a great ERA and just be a lucky fool that no one scored the 5 times he loaded the bases. Someone could have a great OAV but walk every other batter. Someone could have a great WHIP but have every third hit be a homer.


12/4/2012 10:16 PM
Posted by inkdskn on 12/4/2012 8:21:00 PM (view original):
Posted by kneeneighbor on 12/4/2012 7:48:00 PM (view original):
Pitcher A: 20-8 3.18 ERA 1.27 WHIP

Pitcher B: 18-12 3.43 ERA 1.29 WHIP

Same season same team.

Who do you want to start the must win game?
Is this even debatable?

Pitcher A allowed fewer earned runs, and fewer baserunners (barring hbp/errors ... fewer baserunners = less chance of unearned runs, although the whip difference is minute).

Plus, since I'm a psychic like bfkfraser, "I can tell he has something that enables him to win more, whether it is more stamina, more strikeouts, or ability to handle pressure situations better," since he had two more wins. Obvoiously those two wins had nothing to do with his teammates.

I imagine Pitcher A is some turd, and Pitcher B rulez. Who are they?
Not really a turd.

Pitcher A is Rookie Scott Erickson 1991 Twins. Pitcher B is 1991 Jack Morris Twins.

As a Twins fan everyone wanted Morris on the mound in a big spot. Sometimes Morris pitched to contact that year, he pitched an extra 40 innings and was teh leader the Twins needed that year.

Sometimes the eyeball test is better than any stat.
12/4/2012 10:16 PM
If someone has a great ERA, we know they pitched well. They may have been lucky or had great defense behind them, but we know that they were effective in limiting the other teams runs. A win doesn't tell us that. It tells us that they pitched at least five innings, had the lead when they left, and the lead held up. Maybe they were great and pitched 9 shutout innings. Maybe they sucked and gave up 9 runs in 5 innings. We don't know. The stat is useless.
12/4/2012 10:20 PM
Posted by bad_luck on 12/4/2012 9:50:00 PM (view original):
What does pitcher W/L tell you about a pitcher's performance?

Does a pitcher even have to pitch well to get a win? Does he have to pitch poorly to get a loss?
What does Ron Guidry's 25-3 in 1978 tell you about his performance?

How about Dwight Gooden's 24-4 in 1985?

Frank Viola's 24-7 in 1988?

Justin Verlander's 24-5 in 2011?
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