- Dumb Luck Wins
- Tough Luck Losses
- Out Prevention Percentage
- Infield Outs Prevented
As a follow-up to my post about 2011′s Opening Day starters
Overall, 17 of the Opening Day starters had done so before, and 13 had not. Here is the average stat line for each group:
Overall, the OD veterans were clearly more effective than the guys who had never pitched on Opening Day before. They pitched about an inning longer and gave up about one run less, on average. The WPA and ERA numbers bear this out.
However, the Rookies may have suffered from poor luck on balls in play; all of the difference can be explained by the gap in hits allowed. In fact, the rookies actually struck out more and walked fewer than the Veterans. The Rookies had a K/9 of 7.64 to the Veterans’ 6.07, a significant advantage. The walk numbers were about the same, but the Rookies had a slight edge, 2.59 BB/9 to 2.63.
If you look at the pool of OD Rookie starters, you can definitely find some guys who are not what you’d call aces: Luke Hochevar, Kevin Correia, Tim Stauffer, Mike Pelfrey, Ian Kennedy, Fausto Carmona, and Edinson Volquez. And these players struggled, by and large. But there are some excellent young pitchers in this group, too, led by Clayton Kershaw, Ricky Romero, David Price, and Jon Lester. These guys matched up well with the Veterans, especially Kershaw and Romero.
Besides, the Veterans group had a few weak spots, too: Livan Hernandez, Carl Pavano, Brett Myers, and Jeremy Guthrie. The interesting thing is that all those guys but Pavano pitched very well (Pavano got shelled, though). The other weak starts from the Veteran group came from Ryan Dempster and Ubaldo Jimenez.
What about the 11 games that matched up a Rookie and a Veteran? The teams who started Veterans won 6 of the 11 games; the Veteran outpitched the Rookie in 7 of the 11 games. So there does appear to be some sort of advantage to starting a guy who has started on OD before. Though I suspect that all of this advantage comes from the fact that most guys with OD experience are very good pitchers, whereas the newbies are a bit more of a mixed bag. In other words, I highly doubt that OD “experience” is helpful at all.
This blog is devoted to the invention and use of unusual baseball statistics. These Junk Stats are designed to reveal the not-so-meaningful quirks that make baseball so fascinating.
JunkStats is written by Jacob Peterson, who also writes for the Braves blog Talking ChopBeyond the Boxscore
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