Baseball Between the Numbers
I’m in the middle of this seven year old book, and it’s way over my head. I understand it on a general level, but much of the math eludes me. I guess I won’t be a sabermetrician when I grow up.
But there are a couple of things that have really gotten me to this point. RBI isn’t a good indicator of hitting or “clutch” because it’s completely dependent on team performance instead of the performance of the player we’re evaluating. Isolated Slugging (ISO) is a better indicator of power because it focuses on extra base hits.
This morning’s chapter was about the five man rotation. I was surprised to read that Baseball Prospectus was against the five man rotation, instead favoring the four man rotation. My understanding of the chapter is pretty simplistic. If you limit starters to 100 - 110 pitches per start then it doesn’t matter if they have three or four days rest. The danger to a pitcher’s arm happens when you let them go past that. A team won’t “overuse” their bullpen any more with a four man rotation than they will with a five man rotation. And eliminating the fifth starter also allows a team to add a bench player or reliever.
If we bring this to the 2014 Mets as they stand today, you would have a rotation of Wheeler, Niese, Gee, and an un-named free agent. Jenrry Mejia goes to the bullpen and gives you a second reliever in the mold of Carlos Torres. Then you’re not scratching for spot starts and long relief appearances like at the end of last year.
I’m not thoroughly convinced of the four man rotation. But I do think it’s an idea that should be explored. It conveniently fills a major issue for the team in 2014. And, if the early hot stove reports are true, the Mets will need to platoon in many positions next season. Having the “extra” roster spot will go a long way.