Monday, September 11, 2006

Daisuke Bulletin #8

In the time off between starts, I like to do a news update or another analysis type feature. Today, in the absence of any real news, I'll take a look at the pitching ratios that Matsuzaka has posted so far this season and put them in a Major League context. What you will see is the full stat line below, followed by an MLB Top 10 list for each individual category. Matsuzaka will be sandwiched somewhere in his appropriate place. Before I start, I'd like to briefly say that all 3 Pacific League playoff teams have been decided. Seibu, Softbank, and Nippon Ham have all clinched playoff berths and will fight it out for the 1st round bye. Now for the feature:

Let's start with the most recognized statistic associated with pitchers, ERA. With a 2.04 ERA, I'm sure we'll find Daisuke at the top of the MLB comparison chart. Let's look.

1. Daisuke Matsuzaka (2.04)
2. Johan Santana (2.75)
3. Chris Carpenter (2.97)
4. Brandon Webb (3.00)
5. Roy Oswalt (3.15)
6. Justin Verlander (3.19)
7. Josh Johnson (3.20)
8. Roy Halladay (3.21)
9. Scott Kazmir (3.24)
10. C.C. Sabathia (3.24)
11. Bronson Arroyo (3.29)

Okay. So he's the top pitcher on the list. If you add a full run to his ERA, he ranks 5th. If you add 1 run and a half, he ranks tied for 15th (Lackey), and add 2 runs and he's 33rd, ahead of Schilling, Bonderman, and Jake Peavy to name a few. Mind you, that's adding 2 full runs to his ERA, and he's still the 13th best ERA in the American League! How about WHIP. Is there anyone who qualifies that has a lower WHIP than 0.918?

1. Daisuke Matsuzaka (0.92)
2. Johan Santana (0.98)
3. Chris Carpenter (1.04)
4. Roy Halladay (1.10)
5. Mike Mussina (1.12)
6. John Smoltz (1.15)
7. Brandon Webb (1.16)
8. Dave Bush (1.16)
9. Chris Capuano (1.16)
10. C.C. Sabathia (1.17)
11. Roy Oswalt (1.17)

Hmmmm.....there he is again. Add 2 hits and a walk for every 9 innings he pitches and he would have a 1.25 WHIP, and rank 21st in MLB and 10th in the AL. Right now he looks like the Johan Santana of Japanese professional baseball. Let's move on to Batting Average Against.

1. Daisuke Matsuzaka (.195)
2. Carlos Zambrano (.212)
3. Johan Santana (.212)
4. Matt Cain (.213)
5. Chris Young (.226)
6. Chris Carpenter (.228)
7. Scott Olsen (.235)
8. Jason Schmidt (.236)
9. Josh Johnson (.238)
10. Scott Kazmir (.240)
11. Jake Peavy (.242)

Wow. At the top again. Whaddaya know? It's clear that the level of competition is a major factor here, but the thing you understand very quickly is how dominant he is against his league. If you add 50 points to his BAA he sits at .245 and is tied for 13th place in the Majors with Sabathia, Smoltz, and Ervin Santana. That's fine, but how do guys fare against him when it comes to On Base Percentage Against?

1. Daisuke Matsuzaka (.234)
2. Johan Santana (.256)
3. Chris Carpenter (.275)
4. Mike Mussina (.282)
5. Roy Halladay (.283)
6. John Smoltz (.291)
7. Bronson Arroyo (.292)
8. Chris Capuano (.292)
9. C.C. Sabathia (.293)
10. Brandon Webb (.296)
11. Roy Oswalt (.298)

This is getting silly. He's 64 points better than the 10th place Major Leaguer. Add 75 points to his OBPA and he posts a .309 and ranks 23rd, tied with Greg Maddux. Here's a nice SABR metric to chew on, Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP). Let's bet he's first here too. Not too much of a stretch at this point, I know.

1. Chris Young (.242)
2. Kenny Rogers (.246)
3. Carlos Zambrano (.250)
4. Daisuke Matsuzaka (.254)
5. Matt Cain (.254)
6. Josh Beckett (.254)
7. Chris Carpenter (.257)
8. Jeff Francis (.259)
9. Ervin Santana (.260)
10. Randy Johnson (.260)
11. Clay Hensley (.260)

There you go. I was quick on the draw. Matsuzaka is near the top, but a few guys have had a bit more success. For the record, 12th place on this particular list is Johan Santana followed by Barry Zito, Kris Benson, and Roy Halladay. Add 25 points to his average here and Daisuke is tied for 32nd with Mike Mussina. Now that he's been dethroned in one category, I'm prepared to see him fall even further on the K/9, or K-Rate, list.

1. Scott Kazmir (10.14)
2. Daisuke Matsuzaka (9.86)
3. Johan Santana (9.73)
4. Jake Peavy (9.64)
5. Jeremy Bonderman (8.78)
6. Carlos Zambrano (8.77)
7. Brett Myers (8.57)
8. Matt Cain (8.53)
9. Scott Olsen (8.43)
10. Aaron Harang (8.41)
11. Chris Young (8.31)

Impressive. I didn't figure that only one qualifying Major Leaguer struck out 10+ batters per 9. Losing 2 strikouts per 9 would drop Daisuke to 7.86 K/9 and seat him 17th in the Majors, just behind Mussina, and 8th in the AL. Now for my favorite, K/BB. Bet he's up there.

1. Curt Schilling (7.13)
2. Daisuke Matsuzaka (5.97)
3. Johan Santana (5.35)
4. Mike Mussina (4.67)
5. Roy Oswalt (4.53)
6. Chris Capuano (4.41)
7. Dave Bush (4.28)
8. Chris Carpenter (4.27)
9. Dan Haren (4.08)
10. John Smoltz (4.07)
11. Roy Halladay (3.94)

I've written here before that I expect that Matsuzaka's MLB K/BB will be in the 4-5 range in his first season. If that's true, He'd still place on this list of 10 pitchers. I won't bother to rank the GO:AO ratio or his STRESS rating, because the GO:AO is reserved for groundball pitchers, which he is not, and the STRESS rating is something he will lead by about 10 lengths. I will say that within .05 on the GO:AO scale, Matsuzaka finds in desceniding order: Johan Santana, Paul Byrd, Randy Johnson, Scott Kazmir, Javier Vazquez, Jamie Moyer, Jake Peavy, Ramon Ortiz, and Bronson Arroyo.

My point in doing this is not to directly associate his Japanese numbers with MLB players. The samples are very different. The competition is different. No one expects Matsuzaka to jump into the Majors and be better than Johan Santana. My point was to show that spiking his numbers to the point of absurdity still ranks him among the top 20-30 pitchers in the sport in most cases. By giving him a reasonable spike, we see him falling into the top 15 or so. As a power pitcher with great control and movement, he translates a lot better to a higher level than a finesse pitcher. The measurements on his pitches at 95-96 on the fastball and 82-83 on the slider, when combined with the outstanding forkball and change, would also outdo almost every Major Leaguer out there. All of these measurements have me convinced he will translate very well to the #1 role in the Bigs.


At 10:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will we find out if he will be posted?


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